Climbing in Yangshuo & Getu Valley, China
Over the Christmas break Brad, Gerd and I travelled to China to sample the treats of Oriental limestone. We visited Yangshuo, the world famous sport climbing destination, and the Getu Valley. A brand new climbing area developed by Petzl to host their 2011 Roctrip.
Yangshuo is a haven for travelling climbers with thousands of routes within a 30 minute bike ride. Food, accommodation and travel are super cheap, it’s possible to live on AUD$10 per day including beer! Yangshuo is quite a tourist orientated town making it easier to manage simple tasks like ordering a meal or finding a room. There is also a steady stream of visiting climbers providing an endless supply of climbing partners and drinking buddies.
The Getu Valley would have to be the polar opposite of Yangshuo. A collection of small villages surrounded by a National Park right out there in the middle of nowhere is where Petzl decided to park their Roctrip last year. To get there from Yangshuo takes at least 18 hours on different modes of transport depending on how fluent you are in playing charades.
Getu boasts the single most incredible limestone feature I have ever seen, the Great Arches. The climbing inside the arch is incredible with these crazy scalloped pockets which are all slopey nonsense unless you manage to assume the perfect body position taking advantage of the small positive part of the hold inevitably resulting in an undercling or sidepull. It definitely took some learning.
Caves straddling streams, wandering water buffalo and local spectators on motorbikes are all common sights in Getu. Nobody speaks any English, coffee and chocolate are nonexistent and during our time there we saw a grand total of two other westerners. Oh and it was dang cold! Visiting Getu is a unique experience not to be missed.
To us white people the land of the Dragon often seems mysterious, unknown, shrouded in mist. It’s culture, it’s people and their way of life are totally alien to most of us. But their chilli is hot, their beer always comes in a longneck and their climbing is really really good, so go check it out.