Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rock Climbing in China: Getu He 格凸河 and Yangshou 阳朔县, China

 Climbing In Yangshou and Getu China

Norma and I have just returned from a climbing trip in Asia.  We traveled to China in search of cooler temperatures after a sweaty two weeks on the beaches of Thailand.  We did in fact find cooler temperatures, and basically ideal climbing conditions.  We were nervous to commit to China as many travelers told us we were making a mistake going to China.  Fighting other people's advice seemed to be a theme on our trip as we got deeper into the heart of China, better climbing conditions, and little to no other climbers around.  That was climbing Getu He in mid March. 

Our plan was relatively last second because of my doubts that the temperatures would be good enough to climb in China.  This is part of my motivation for this blog is to put a little more travel and weather information about climbing in southern China out on the web, as well as to hopefully inspire people to make a journey to this beautiful part of the world.  What I consider to be perfect conditions for climbing were found in China in early March.  Though many morning ins Yangshou were rather cold after a half hour ride on a double bike through the city and then the fields is a perfect warm up to start some climbing in high friction conditions.  There were a couple days of rain for sure in early March.  None of these affected our climbing as it was when we arrived and the stopped for the afternoon and there is lots of climbing in overhanging areas that stay dry.

Getu was my original motivation for climbing in China.  The place looked inspiring in the pictures I had seen.  Also it is in a very poor rurarl area without much tourism.  This means the people are incredibly warm and welcoming which can be nice after being in Thailand where thousands of climbers migrate through and there is a general sense of tourist burnout among the Thai people working in the tourist industry.  It is for this reason I hope future climbers act responsibly and treat the local people in Getu with respect.  Getu being the second rural climbing area I have visited post Petzl Roctrip, I have noticed the locals are stoked about climbers!  I thank Petzl for creating these relationships.

After a  little over a week in the touristy city of Yanshou we departed on a bus towards Getu.  This journey took us about 24 hours of travel.  Unfortunately there is no longer a train between the two major cities near Getu and Yangshou. The two major cities are Gulin to Guiyang. I could give the details of the series of trains and buses we took but the best beta on how to get from Yangshou to Getu would be to go to the Climbers Inn and talk with Lily.  Lily runs the Climbers Inn and speaks perfect English.  She is a warm and welcoming person who is excited about climbing, and willing to help with the details of the journey to Getu.  She can even help purchase train tickets in advance in Yangshou.  Her email is and her website is

After our 24 hour journey to Getu we arrived at our hotel with free wifi, and ventured out to do some climbing near the river about 10 minutes from our hotel.  The climbing was great as we climbed right next to the river which disappears into the depths of the cave we are climbing in.  Much of the climbing in the Great Arch was a little moist with water seeping through that time of year.  The climbing in all the other areas was dry and amazing.  We tried to tour around Getu in our few days we had there to sample most of the crags.  As we had been warned so much about the bad conditions of Getu in early March we had low expectations and not much time left.  Our expectations were surrpassed as we arrived and met to German climbers who said they also came from Yangshou and found the weather a little warmer and had been climbing all week.

During our last Getu crag sampler day we ventured up to the CMDI wall to do some multi-pitch and climbed the really fun 5.10 Blue Spirit route.  The views of the flowering fields below, and the winding canyons was amazing from the route.  From here we continued down the climb some great steep single pitch routes.  We ended up visiting five crags that day just to get a feel of the area and stoke the fire to come back.

Now I am back in Mexico over a week later after leaving Getu.  The journey took extra long due to our budget methods of traveling on buses and smokey Chinese trains.  I look forward to my next journey to China to climb.  I don't know when it will be I know one day I will go back and see Whan the park ranger at the entrance who let us borrow his guide book, and whose wife fed us every meal.  If you are interested in a guided trip in Getu and Yangshou contact me at:

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post Mark. Will definitely share with The Climbing Zine! Hope to visit there someday with you, and Thailand too. As always, you are inspiring.