Climb Europe

Red Dragon – Sport Climbing in Yangshuo, China by Andrew Hedesh

Yangshuo Introduction

If you’ve ever wondered what China or other parts of the Far East look like, now’s your chance. Yangshuo is one of the most unbelievably hip places on this planet. It’s a microcosm of everything you ever wanted in life. You know how there are those tiny locations nestled into the threadwork of each countries daily life labeled an ‘escape’, well Yangshuo is one of them. Life is pleasant here. Everyone walks around with a smile and are content with life. It’s a place removed from big city drama, allows cultures to cross, and welcomes every idea under the sun.

The karst limestone rock found in Yangshuo offers an experience like no other from pulling on tufas to tip-toe crimping. Other areas in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam can’t compete with the plethora of rock nor the subtle variations found in the rock of Yangshuo.

For starters, Yangshuo is located amidst the most amazing and fantastic scenery you will ever lay eyes upon. Plentiful 200m tall green towers rise abruptly in every direction starting immediately outside your hotel balcony continuing past your wildest fantasies. And when there aren’t any towers, you’ll find farmer villages surrounded by lush rice paddies and crazy amounts of interconnected trails with swimming holes and hidden caves. The best way to enjoy it all is by grabbing a bicycle and heading out to discover a surreal world where ancient lifestyles mingle with contemporary pursuits.

Heading back into town, you might be turned-off by the blistering pace of China’s population and their go-get-it attitude, but then you’ll realize what’s ahead of you is more interesting than the tranquil nature 5 minutes at your back. The town of Yangshuo offers a different perspective of China’s rich history more than any other tourist destination. As said before, it’s used as an escape from the real world, a weekend holiday get-away. The upbeat metropolitan tourists have forced Yangshuo to host an array of first-world amenities rivaled by few and far between. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the comfort.

So as you can see, Yangshuo is a tale of two towns. One with unrivaled natural beauty and a downhome local scene, ahhhh…the climbing, local people, and landscape are simply amazing. Then the second, an upbeat take-it-as-it-comes metropolitan escapade, with either a romantic calmness or wild eccentric nightlife. Yangshuo is an incredibly rare treasure to find on this planet, and its calling for you to experience it. Bring your smiles, climbing shoes, and adventurous soul, all to let yourself get lost in the splendor of everything that is China.

Rock Climbing Introduction

The only way to discuss rock climbing in Yangshuo is to start with the complete experience.  Sure, you can travel here purely for the climbing, but after a few days you’ll realize there is so much more. Yangshuo is stocked full of the most interesting international climbers you will meet anywhere, and when intertwined with such a huge diversity of climbing styles it has evolved into the epitome of a world-class rock climbing destination.

Yangshuo rock is stupendous. The karst topography present in South China offers an experience like no other; areas in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam can’t compete with the plethora of rock nor the subtle variations found in the rock of Yangshuo. Each of the 50+ crags are located on different towers resulting in every climbing sector having different atmosphere, scenery, and approaches. Furthermore, none of the crags are similar to each other with regards to sun exposure, weather protection, or rock features. Once you experience it, you’ll easily understand why Yangshuo’s rock caters to everyone’s preferred climbing style…even limestone cracks!

As mentioned, there is something for everyone. The routes range in difficulty from F4 to F9a (US 5.5. to 5.14d) with plenty of high-end Open Projects. There is steep pumpy terrain, technical edgy face climbs, and 3D body torqueing routes. You can pull on tufas until your heart’s content or tip-toe crimp your way to heaven. Everything is possible in Yangshuo including, multi-pitches, deep-water soloing, traditional routes, and limitless development potential. These are the main reasons why Yangshuo has been repeatedly featured in climbing films as well as magazines, and continues to attract professional climbers from around the globe.

Yangshuo is one of the best climbing locations in the world. Yes, the rock diversity plays a major role in this designation, but when mixed with friendly welcoming people, a plethora of opposite sex eye-candy, comfortable and familiar living amenities, as well as easy access to international travel hubs, it’s difficult to find another location with such appeal. After you’ve been here for a while, you may never want to leave. The amount of psych emanating from your crag mates is unrivaled anywhere. You’ll push past individual mental limitations and find undiscovered motivation to attain your next high-point. Give Yangshuo the chance to show you what is possible in this world. It could be the next place you call home!

Yangshuo Climbing Beta

Yangshuo rock climbing guidebookGuidebook – Yangshuo Rock by Andrew Hedesh is the comprehensive guidebook.  It describes nearly 800 routes across 40 different crags, with all the routes shown on colour photo topos along with a brief description.  Buy this guidebook from our shop.

When to go – From September through to March, with the best conditions in December and January.

Getting Around – The cheapest option is to rent a pedal bike, or a moped.  If there is a group of you then sharing a taxi is a viable option.

Visa – As a tourist you will need a visa that is advisable to get sorted early.  Typically a 30-day tourist visa is required.

Getting to Yangshuo – Travel to the large city of Guilin (usually from Hong Kong or Beijing) and then a bus ride to Yangshuo.

Accommodation – Most climbers choose one of the numerous hotels downtown away from the bars and restaurants, where air conditioning, private bathroom, hot water, and internet connections are standard.


Yangshuo rock climbing guidebook

Yangshuo Rock is the comprehensive guidebook covering the world class sport climbing at Yangshuo in southern China, famous for the limestone karst towers that dominate the skyline and surround the town itself.

The guidebook also doubles as a travel guidebook for the area with plenty of information about getting there, Visa requirements, accommodation options, navigational maps, cultural idiosyncrasies, and details about the vividly entertaining streets of Yangshuo’s nightlife.

Buy this guidebook from our shop.