A small cluster of big boulders to the south of Shek Lung Tsai near Ma On Shan with some very high quality problems on rough coarse ash crystal tuff.
The best approach is from Ma On Shan Mining Village, which is accessible using the NR84 shuttle bus (see here). From the bus stop in the cup-de-sac follow the stairs up the hill to another small road. Continue along this as it transitions from paved road, to dirt road, to eventually become a dirt trail just beyond the car park area.
Follow the trail up the hillside until it eventually brings you to a crossroads on a small summit with a rest pavilion on it. Take the small slightly overgrown trail in the southwest corner of this (far right side as you approach it and just behind the pavilion area) and follow this southwest, staying to the right of the deep drainage ditch when the trail splits after a 100m or so. Continue along the trail, which follows a vague ridge line on its left side before eventually disappearing amongst the vegetation. After this you’re left to your own bushwhacking ability for the last 10 minutes of the approach hike – hopefully with a bit more traffic the trail will become more established. In the meantime, keep an eye open for little bits of white rope tied to vegetation as we tied some of these to help mark the way. Regardless, your best bet will still probably be to use Google Maps and head for 22.392724 114.244738.
War Games Bloc
The first notably sized bloc you pass on the way to the main cluster has a single fine, and pretty hard, problem on it.
1) War Games (sds) ** V6
Sit start at the positive opposing side pulls on the right side of the face. From these make powerful long moves, first right and then left, before a committing throw may or may not bring the top.
About 10 m further across the hillside from War Games is a cluster of large boulders, with the access path bringing you directly to the right side of the Lower Bloc, a long overhanging wall of classy problems.
1) Kev’s Arete (sds) ** V5
From a sit start on the flake, dynamic moves to a good jug are followed by insecure moves up the arête and a committing finish high up.
2) Candy Crush *** V4
Start matched on a sloper high in the groove and make dynamic moves to good holds higher up. From here decide whether to crank up a left to another small groove or continue up and right along the main groove to finish. Both options work at about the same grade.
3) Candy Crush Low * V6
An uninspiring extension seemingly added as the true sit looks desperately hard. Start matched in undercut holds lower in the groove and make difficult moves to get established on the start of Candy Crush. Finish up that.
4) Jellybelly (sds) *** V2
Sit start at the positive v-shaped flake with right and crimps with left. Make a rising right wards traverse from these along the various ledges bulging out from the steep wall.
5) Project (sds) ***
Sit start on the side pull rail low down and make a series of desperate snatches through the assorted poor crimps and edges above to eventually gain the small hanging grooves and some more positive holds at the top of the wall. Likely to be somewhere between V10 to V11 when it eventually gets done.
6) The Mongrel ** V8
A desperate extension to Purebred Arete, starting with right hand crimping the far left side of the rail and left on a low undercut. From these, work your way right along the rail to eventually gain, and finish up, Purebred Arete.
6) Purebred Arete (sds) *** V6
Sit start using whatever holds you can reach either side of the arête (lots of options so no need for pad stacking). From here, slap, grunt and heel hook your way up the bulging prow to a committing top out. A powerful piece of fridge hugging.
Immediately above the left side of the Lower Bloc and to the side of the Upper Bloc is a large cave formed by the stacking of several big boulders. This is home to a couple of absolute classic lines.
1) Beast of Burden (sds) *** V3
V2 climbing in a V5 setting. Sit start deep in the recesses of the cave (basically as far as you can go) and follow the line of holds formed at the junction between the two blocs all the way out to the lip on the left side of the cave. Rock over the lip of the roof to finish.
2) The Abyss *** V5
The right to left traverse along the crack beneath the large roof starts easy enough but soon bears it’s teeth for a tricky, terrifying and highly committing ending with a tree worryingly placed in the drop zone (strongly advisable to pad this as the bounce off the tree has been tested).
To the right of the Cave and immediately atop the Lower Bloc is another long gently overhanging wall filled with quality lines.
1) Ferrero Rocher (sds) ** V1
Sit start at the left arête of the face and make a rising right wards traverse along the lip to eventually gain the large pocket at the top of Toblerone.
2) Toblerone (sds) * V4
Sit start low on the obvious flake and work your way up this, with tricky moves to reach the good pocket above when the lay back holds runs out.
2) Le Crepe ** V5
Start matched on the positive crimp right of the tree. From here, move up and left to another positive crimp, muster all the commitment you can find, and then launch for the ledge above. Finish more easily above.
3) Dreadlock Rasta *** V7
Start on a small right crimp for the right and high left side pull. Paste your feet on poor holds and then launch for the bottom of the shallow groove above the crimp. Match in this before making a long reach out left to holds on the flake before finishing directly above.
4) Buffalo Soldier *** V4
Start matched in the pocket behind the tree. Pull on, being careful not to dab the tree, and make powerful moves out left to the bottom of the shallow groove. Match in this before making long moves out left to holds on the flake and a committing finish above these.
The walls to the right of Buffalo Soldier have a number of easier, but very high (i.e. 8 to 10 m), lines on them too.
1) Buffalo Bill * V1
More of a solo route climb than a boulder problem. Follow the disconnected line of elongate pockets and flakes up the worryingly tall left side of the face.
2) High Plains Drifting (Project)
Another extremely highball moderate looks possible up the various features right of Buffalo Bill, but has not yet been attempted as a result of frayed nerves following the ascent of Buffalo Bill itself.
A small trail directly beneath Candy Crush brings you to another cluster of the three blocs with a handful of problems on them and notable potential for more. Anyone bagging some of the lines we left on these blocs owes us a beer as a significant amount of effort was required to unearth them from the foliage…
The first of these blocs is The Kennel.
1) The Dog House * V1
Climb the left-to-right diagonal lip, making equal use of holds below this as the lip itself isn’t quite as positive as one might hope.
2) Close Shave * V3
Start using the obvious chest high horizontal seam with good crimps. Avoiding any use of the arete on the left or ledge to the right, climb the wall directly above.
The backside of the bloc is characterised by a small juggy overhang with a couple of great lines
3) Molly the Bulldog (sds) *** V1
Start matched on the big jug on the right of the roof. From here make a rising left traverse on more jugs until a big rock over allows you to turn the lip.
4) Foo and Boo (sds) ** V1
Start matched on the ledges beneath the diagonal crack. Pull from these into the crack, which is then followed to the top.
The next boulder along has a fine looking downhill face (with poor’ish landing however) and a big slab on the backside. Currently only one line tackling the biggest part of the slab via the easiest line of weakness has been done. There’s room for two or three more lines on this face but a serious amount of wire brushing is recommended. The downhill face also looks to have good potential if you bring enough pads to make the landings a bit nicer.
1) Weave World * V1
Start at a sloping ledge near the base of the tallest part of the slab and then weave a line up and right wards through the face. Easy but committing.
The last of the blocs is by far the most impressive, with an imposing gently overhanging lower face and a huge sketchy slab to the right of this. Again, only one line has been done so far but potential for numerous more exists (although extensive cleaning, most likely from ropes, is likely to be needed for these).
1) The Bison (sds) ** V6
Sit start in the undercut crack on the left of the overhanging face. Make tricky and powerful moves up the features right of this before making a big throw left to a good pocket above the lip. Match this before rocking out left and using the crack to help with the finish. In need of a more direct finish. Also possible to move left to the crack lower down, but that’s kinda avoiding the main challenge isn’t it…