Crocodile Blocs

General

A developing area that was only really opened up in late-2021, with plenty of potential still abound for those keen enough to deal with the vegetation clearance required. The Stone Forest should also have a tonne of opportunity for those who can deal with the crevasse field landings too…

Luk Chau Shan is a popular hiking area thanks to the presence of the nearby ‘stone forest’, a talus field of large volcanic boulders on the western slopes of the peak. Given its popularity and the plethora of Instagram pictures of people hanging off Crocodile Rock, it’s a wonder that no bouldering has been recorded here pre-2021 (although we’re guessing most easy lines have almost certainly done prior to this by passing climbers or ambitious hikers). Regardless, its a fun and developing spot on rough as f#ck coarse ash tuff that’s not too difficult to access, making it a great option (especially if combined with the nearby Buffalo Boulders).

Leave No Trace – given the popularity of this area with hikers, please take extra care to cleaning up after yourself. make sure you take all trash home, give the problems a good brush to remove chalk when you’re done, and go early to avoid the crowds…

Stuart Millis on the FA of The Crocodile Hunter (V2) Photo: Channing Lai

Approach

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 fist turning on the right and follow the dirt trail up the hill until you reach a cluster of boulders at the Summit Ridge, this is the Slasher Bloc.

Bloc names to be updated

Problems

The Sword Bloc

The first of the notably sized blocs reached is readily apparent thanks to the long cracks that look like they have been slashed though it with a sword blade. This bloc provides a number of amenable stand start problems, which can be made considerably harder through the addition of sit starts.

1) Excalibur (sds) ** V2
Start sat beneath the base of the undercut crack. Crank up and through the lip to finish more easily up the crack and slab above.

2) Goujian ** V0
Start on good side pulls at the lip of the arete. Crack on to the right wall using these and layback joyously up the wall above.

3) Goujian (sds) Project (about V6?)
Start on a small crimp beneath the lip and a small pebble out right. Make hard moves to gain the juggy lip and a far easier finish above. The move has been done, but was sadly followed by a dab hence an FA opportunity remains…

4) Heartsbane *** V1
Start with a positive left side pull and a small crimp out right. make a stiff pull to huge holds inn the crack above. Rock up into this to finish.

5) Heartsbane (sds)
A sit start to the above problem seems vaguely feasible?

The Prow

Located just to the east of the Slasher Bloc is a large steep wall with a number of possible hard project lines on its faces.

1) Uncommitted * V1
Step off the boulder to the left pf the Prow and, using the positive crack for the left, follow the slight scoop in the wall above.

2) So Committed ** V4
Start on two high small crimps that are roughly level with one another, which may require you to step off the block to reach. Make a [very] hard pull up from these to a better crimps before finishing directly above with the help of the arête.

3) So Committed (sds) Project
Sit start using the small circular pocket for the left and small features out right. Somehow work you way up from these to the crimps at the start of So Committed, which is then followed to the top.

4) The Prow
A stunning feature that will prove a quality test piece should anyone ever figure out how to climb it.

5) Slaptastic Voyage ** V5
Start matched on the slopey jug. From here work your way left along the lip of the overhanging face to eventually gain the good jugs at the lip of the prow to finish.

6) Slapstick * V4
Again start matched on the slopey jug, but this time just head straight up.

Channing Lai on the FA of Slaptastic Voyage (V5) Photo: Stuart Millis

Crocodile Rock

Probably the most well known rock feature in the Luk Chau Shan Stone Forest Area, with the mid-point jug being a popular IG photo opportunity for hikers. This beast of a rock feature also offers up several steep compression style problems for those willing to risk a tumble into the chasm on its left side. You have been warned.

1) Crocodile Tears (sds) ** V4
Sit start using a small triangular crimp for the right and a poor pinch on the lip for the left, just beneath a positive crimp that’s annoyingly out of reach. Pull up and gain the good crimp with the left, before making a powerful reach to the lip way above. Finish above this.

2) Crocs ** V2
Start crouched using the good crimp and a small feature at its left end. Make a big throw left to positive holds before finishing through the bulge.

3) The Crocodile Hunter ** V2
Start as for Crocs but continue further left and across the Crocodiles mouth via several spaced pockets, eventually finishing at the left arete.

The above line really needs a lower start and a further continuation (pref. avoiding the high pockets and staying along the lip) to eventually gain the line below.

4) Crocodile Dundee *** V1
A fun but terrifying trip up the far face of Crocodile Rock, starting matched in the obvious jug on the lip. Climb the face from the jug, making use of the right arête as needed and being careful not to fall into the chasms either side of the narrow launch pad.

The next problem is located on the bloc below Crocodile Rock.

5) See Ya Later Alligator (sds) *** V2
Longer and pumper than many sport climbs in Hong Kong! Sit start at the left end of the low lip, at the vertical flake feature. Pull on using the lip and the flake and then make a loooooong traverse right across the lip of the bloc, continuing around the arête to eventually finish via the narrow end face.

Martin Eriksson working his way along See Ya Later.. (V2) Photo: Stuart Millis

Highball Wall

Just around the corner from Crocodile Rock is a tall wall that has several fun lines on the shorter, lefthand section as well as one very highball line on the right.

1) Blindness (sds) * V3
The sit start to Blindness, using the lowest of the pocket features (beneath the runnel) and a positive side pull around the arête. Make a stiff to gain the two pocket features on the arête of the face. Work your way up and right along the arete from these, eventually gaining the positive holds in the middle of the lip. Rock over / mantle this to finish.

2) Blindness * V2
Start in the two pocket features on the arête of the face. Work your way up and right along the arete from these, eventually gaining the positive holds in the middle of the lip. Rock over / mantle this to finish.

3) The Art of Flight ** V3
A fun problem up the right arête of the face, avoiding any use of the wall to the right of the crack (other than to initially reach the starting left hold if you’re a bit of shorty – after that, its out of bounds). Start using a positive side pull low on the arête and a crimp in the idea of the face. Slap up the arête a bit, get yourself set, and then launch for the lip above.

4) How Amiable ** V0
Climb the amiable crack, primarily making use of the arête to its left.

5) Poisoned Mind * V0
Start just to the right the vertical crack and work your way up to the horizontal break. Traverse this right to the edge of the boulder and then finish up the easy right arete, not looking down to check how high you are or how bad the landing is…

Stuart Millis latching the lip on the FA of The Art of Flight (V3) Photo: Channing Lai

Lone Slab

Located further to the north of the main boulder cluster is a large bloc with a big slab on its southern face. This is home to several easy, yet pleasant, slab problems

1) Lone Star * VB
Climb the shorter left side of the slab.

2) Just Me, Myself, and I ** V1
Climb the middle of the slab via small protrusions and faith in friction.

3) Solo Slab * V0
Climb the flared cracks on the right side of the slab, being very wary of the drop on the right of the landing.