One country, lots of systems

It feels hard to write about chinese sport climbing back in Scotland fully ensconsed in a family christmas but here goes. I finished work in Hong kong drank too many beers and ate too much food before hopping the border north into china. I jumped on a sleeper bus and was soon standing in the main street of Yangshou. It was 4 am. I wondered up and down the street in the dark until a kind fellow on a motor bike agreed to drive me closer to where i wanted to be for a mere 20rmb (2 pounds). Everything was closed. At this point I decided to sleep on a bridge in west street (where the climbers hang out) till dawn. This turned out to be pretty cold as i had forgotten to bring any trousers but it seemed the logical solution. That day after agreeing with myself (around 7 am just before the sun rose) that it would be a bad idea to do any climbing having not really slept i promptly went climbing. The first day was a bit of a shock as I was not really ready for the redpoint/projecting sport climbing mentality but i dragged myself up some beautiful climbs. The rest of my 9 days saw me teaming up with a variety of climbers including eben farnworth (who some of you should know). Eben and I went and climbed some good old fashioned trad and even managed to claim a first ascent of a big unclimbed (and obvious) crack line (2 pitch 5.10a (HVS 5a) Chinese Very Severe) Trad limestone in Yangshou is definitely more of an adventurous experience than an aesthetic one though it is a lot of fun to trundle massive blocks to scare the nearby sport climbers. Unfortunately the drill we hauled for the belays ran out of juice after one bolt but at least it backed up my belay that was crumbling everytime i shifted body position…… Essentially it was great to be out in a beautiful place, eat cheap food and escape hong kong. I am now back in scotland enjoying the family life. Trad Climbing ? (racked up and ready to go)

Why do i always have to lead these pitches? the final big wide crack.

Its a hard life but someone has to do it. The Li(?) river at sunset with some of the many towers

The first belay ledge with an excess of gear.

Drilling my first ever bolt with ebens shady chinese drill
Eben climbing above my high quailty belay…. you can see the quality of the rock below and to the right of the blue piece of gear…

No. It really is a hard life

Access, Yangshou style

Eben cruising up the 5.10b cracks of the birdman
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