Why would anyone leave 阳朔?

Posted: September 5, 2011 in Climbing, Travel
Tags: , , ,

As I walked through the immigration checkpoint of 白云机场 (White Cloud Airport) in 广州 (Guang Zhou), I looked down on the stamp on my passport that said “departure”, and realized that I was finally heading home. China has been a home away from home for the past 6 weeks, but now I am more than ready to be back in Seattle. I miss my family, my friends, my dog, the fingertip-splitting granite, and the sub-80 degree days.

China has been very good to me. I made better friends in a month in 西安 (Xi’an) than I did in Seattle given an entire year. I know that someday, I will see them all again. Climbing in 阳朔 (Yang Shuo) blew my mind, and I live for the day that I can return to clean up unfinished projects.

It was difficult for me to leave 阳朔; I feel like I was only just getting settled in. It was probably a good time to finish the trip though, as a violent rainstorm came in the same day that I flew out of 桂林 (Guilin). In fact, it had been raining pretty consistently all week, though that didn’t stop us from going out and getting a few more pitches in.

Lei Pi Shan - overhung enough to climb in the rain. Crash and Burn - 5.11d up the black waterstreak on the right, second go

Early Saturday morning (10 am, early for me), 莘哥 and I hoofed it out to 雷劈山 (Lei Pi Shan) to climb before his work at 3. The drizzle kept the temperature down in the mid 80’s, but couldn’t dampen our psyche. 莘哥 is a bit of a sandbagger, and has no qualms about telling me a warm-up route is .11a when it’s really .12a. 雷劈山 is kind of weird – either it’s really thuggish 60-degree climbing with big, powerful moves, or it’s really technical crimping in shallow pockets. I’ll let you guess which one I’m better at.

After returning to the hostel at 2:30, I promptly hopped onto a bicycle, and headed out to Swiss Cheese Wall for a few more pitches. While the rock quality at Swiss Cheese Wall is quite high, it suffers from indistinct routes, leading to quite a bit of over-bolting. Routes meander left and right, and quite often it’s difficult to tell where exactly you are. However, given the picturesque setting, I would gladly spend an afternoon here any day of the week.

Belaying among the bamboo groves

Lomito Complito, an alright .10a with great picture opportunities

My excitement for climbing has clearly turned Chinese

I totally climbed that route on a rope owned by Chris Sharma. When he visited 阳朔 back in ’08, he gifted his rope to Abond, and I tied into one end to climb that day. If only I had known about that rope earlier, I would have been using it every day on all of my projects. If it’s climbed 5.15a, surely it has magical powers to get me up 5.12b as well?

I left 阳朔 with many things undone. I never climbed at 月亮山 (Moon Hill), never sent Yangshuo Hotel, and never ate 啤酒鱼 (Beer fish). All of these are excellent reasons to return sometime in the near future. But for now, my future holds a plane flight back home, a big serving of french fries, and a large Chipotle burrito. Not before stopping in Singapore for two days to visit my grandparents.

Moon Hill

Karst towers on the way to the airport

Who would want to leave this place?

  1. Layying says:

    Beautiful mountains. I’m going too next time.

  2. Amy says:

    Yeah Chipotle! Pictures are beautiful and the climbing looks great! But the U.S. will be happy to have you back :)

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