A recently developed (and developing) area that somewhat surprisingly wasn’t ‘discovered’ (or exploited might be a better word) by boulderers until early-2023 despite hiding in relatively plain site for anyone who’s ever travelled down Jat’s Incline. The Forest Blocs provide a huge number of boulders and lines on blocs of (typically) good quality, featured volcanic tuff, with relatively easy access, mostly good landings and blocs of all shapes and sizes (including a much higher degree of overhanging rock than most bouldering spots in HK.
Due to the overall scale of this area (and the fact that two sectors were discovered / developed concurrently), the area has been split into the Upper Sector (Forest Blocs) and the Lower Sector (Sunset Forest). For those keen enough to dig around in the vegetation, both sectors still have dozens more blocs waiting to be unearthed.
Having said this, if you do find something undocumented with obvious signs of cleaning, please leave it alone until details appear here to show some respect for the time and effort someone else has already put into developing the bloc.
The blocs are best approached from Choi Fai Estate at the bottom of Jat’s Incline, which has parking at the estate as well as minibus service (No. 16 from Ping Shek Estate in Choi Hung). From the bus stop, walk up Jat’s Incline until reaching either:
- the staircases just before those leading to the Sam Feng Temple (三峰廟) for the Sunset Forest Sector (about 5 minutes from base of Jat’s Incline); or
- the footpaths at (or 50 m south of) the Country Park Signboard for the Upper Sector (about 10 minutes from the base of Jat’s incline).
The Underworld Blocs can also be reached by continuing up the trails on the left side of the stream, above the Radiance Bloc, if approaching via the Lower Sector.
The blocs themselves are accessed via the various indiscrete hiking trails, requiring a bit of a ‘follow your nose’ approach for the short distances between the trails and the actual climbs. Access to the upper blocs is currently a bit of a pain whilst carrying a pad due to the density of vegetation but this should hopefully ease with future traffic (please do your bit, buy a pair of gardening snips and help keep the trails and blocs reasonably clear of vegetation.
Respect the Rock
This bouldering area (like most others) is within a designated Country Park area that contains sensitive flora and fauna and is widely used by numerous members of the non-climbing public. Please show the area the respect it deserves, follow a ‘leave-no-trace’ ethos (take your litter home and use the public toilet just down the road), keep noise to a minimum (i.e. no speakers/loud music) and, if you must have noodles, eat them at home rather than cooking at the crag (you don’t have to be the sharpest knife in the block to know that open flames in a densely vegetated forest is a pretty dumb thing to do).
Due to the large number of blocs, the area has been split into the Lower Sector (Sunset Forest) and Upper Sector based upon which access trail provides the best approach.
The Upper Sector is best accessed via a small trail about 50 m lower down Jat’s Incline than the Ma On Shan Country Park sign board, or via the trail behind the sign board if heading to the Roots Blocs. The Path Bloc is reached after just a few minutes going up the righthand access trail, whilst the Roots Blocs take just under 10 minutes to reach via the other trail (make sure you take the right split in the path and continue past the picnic table for this approach). The other blocs are located by following your nose along the various smaller trails criss crossing the hillside.
Note: A number of the blocs were developed during somewhat ‘damp’ conditions in April/May 2023 so expect some adjustment in grades over time as experience has shown that dry rock can make lines a grade or two easy than climbing on damp moss…
Located adjacent to the lower of the two hiking trails, only a short way up the trail from Jat’s Incline.
1) Imperious (sds) ** V4
Start with wide side pulls for both left and right and make a powerful move to gain the jug in the niche. From here follow a line of holds up the lip, staying on the face of the bloc, to eventually gain positive holds to top out at it’s highest point.
2) Imperious Low (sds) Project
Start with a positive side pull for the left and a low, small undercut crimp beneath the roof for the right. Make powerful insecure moves to gain the crimps on the face before gaining the jugs in the niche and finishing per the original line.
A small bloc located just off to the right side of the lower trail, with a few worthwhile lines that are worth a quick stop on your way to other blocs. Unless you fancy a jungle bash, the easiest way back down is to descend Kipling Slab.
1) Kipling Slab * VB
Climb the featured slab to the left of the overhanging face.
2) The Jungle Bloc (sds) ** V2
Start matched on the jug low on the left arete of the overhanging face. Slap your way up the features along the arete, avoiding straying too far left and staying predominantly along the overhanging arete. Upon reaching the prow, pull over the lip and onto the slab, following the arete to the top of the bloc.
3) Rudyard Roof (sds) Project
Start sat using the opposing crimps on the right side of the overhang. Somehow slap your way up the right arete of the overhang until it is possible to pull on to the slab above the rounded lip.
A slightly larger bloc situated just to the right of the lower hiking trail, a few minutes up the hill from the Jungle Bloc.
1) Emporium (sds) * V2
Start sat using the good high side pull for the rigth (the short will need to stack pads) and the low flake for the left. Move up to the pocket above the side pull and then reach up into the crack / groove above. Finish up this.
2) Emporium Low (sds) Project
Add one extra move to the previous line by starting low and left at the crack and flake. The crux is trusting that the flake won’t simply explode n your hands.
Possible line up right side of the bloc from low holds? not tried
With a bit more clearance there should also be some lines on the left side of the bloc, closer to the path.
Located off to the right of main hiking path from the Country Park signboard, cutting across the hillside and past a concrete seating area and picnic table to reach the blocs. Currently partially cleared but without any lines attempted
The Roots Blocs
A good cluster of blocs forming a nice spot to base yourself for an hour or so. The blocs can be accessed from either of the approach trails by either: i) break off right from the main hiking trail to contour the hillside along a secondary trail, passing a concrete picnic table a short way off the main trail; or ii) contouring left over very vague trails a short distance upslope from the Jungle Bloc.
1) Karmacoma (sds) *** V3
Sit start near the back of the gull, using a positive crimp for the left and side pull for the right, both near the lip of the roof. Make a powerful long move from the sit start to a positive crimp, before following a rightward trending line of knobbles up and across the face to eventually get more positive holds on the ledge out right. Finish above this.
2) Naked Aroma (sds) ** V4
The more direct finish to Karmacoma, avoiding the ledge out right and staying direct up the slab after pulling through the roof via technical balancy moves and avoiding any dabs on the tree behind you.
3) Roots Manuva ** V2
Climb the arête at the end of the gully, avoiding the large root around the corner.
4) Roots Manuva (sds) ** V4
Add a sit start to the arête, using crimps on both it’s left and right side to get going and move up into the stand start version of the line. Surprisingly easier than you might expect
5) Trunk Funk * V1
Climb the large trunk on the front face of the bloc.
6) Trunk Funk (sds) ** V2
Sit start at the horizontal portion of the trunk before following the wood up the front of the bloc.
7) Walk Alone V0
The (currently) very dirty arête on the right side of the front face of the bloc.
The Roots Slab
The slab on the left side of the gully formed with the Roots Bloc has a couple of worthwhile slab lines.
1) Pinball Wizard * V0
Climb the left arête of the face.
2) Animal Nitrate * V1
Climb the slab just to the aright of the arête, avoiding all holds on the arête itself.
3) True Faith ** V3
Start in the middle of the slab, just left of a small overlap low down. Climb the face above via some thin sub-horizontal seams, small smears and long reaches.
Just up and left of the Roots Bloc is a small slab and obvious lip traverse line.
1) Discombobulated (sds) ** V2
Start with right hand on the fin at the end of the lip and left on a jug around the corner. make tricky moves to get established on the lip and then make a rising right traverse until a tree prevents further progress, at which point rock over the lip to finish.
2) Branching Out ** V0
The left side of the slab, with the crux porbably being the moves to step over the large branch without dabbing on it.
3) Moss Slab * VB
The centre of the slab
4) Scooped Slab * VB
The scoop in the right side of the slab.
Located directly uphill from Discombobulated Walls is a small roof, which when viewed from certain angles (and combined with an appropriate amount of mind altering drugs) has the slimmest resemblance to a dino’s head.
1) Rex’s Roof (sds)
Harder than it looks… Start matched on the good crack on the far right of the roof (taking care not to disturb the ant nest in the crack to the right). Pull on, make powerful moves left to another good hold in the break and then try and attain the lip, which if latched can be followed left to an easier finish.
Potential for a longer extension coming in from much further right also exists.
A large bloc with a fine face on the downhill side and a narrow highball face on its eastern side too. The bloc is located in an area where many of the paths in this portion of hillside converge.
1) Habitation * V1
Climb the left arete of the face.
2) Diaspora * V2
Climb the face on th left side of the bloc, starting from small flakes to eventually reach the jug on Orchard.
3) Orchard ** V2
Climb the face just to the right of the vein/seam of rock, aiming directly for the obvious jug at about 3/4 height.
4) Rubber Soul ** V3
Attack the middle of the face, starting beneath the flared crack.
5) Hacienda * V3
Climb the face just to the left of the right arete, with a tricky start leading to an easier finish trending slightly left to follow the juggy ledges.
Climb the highball right arête of the face. High, tricky and with a slightly sketchy landing…
A large slab on one side that offers a number of fun lines at amenable grades, all be it with a bit of added fear factor due to the overall height, plus a steeper highball face of harder lines on the far side. All in al, a bit of something for everyone (provided they like highballs). The bloc can be accessed either from Sunset Forest by following trails either side of the Radiance Bloc or by scrambling over the top of the Plantation Bloc and contouring the hillside.
1) Smooth Operator * V2
Climb the blank looking slab on the left side of the face, between the arete and flake and avoiding use of both these features.
2) Slime Line * VB
Follow the obvious left to right trending flake feature.
3) Knobble * V1
Follow the chicken head knobbles up the face above the boulder step, eventually entering a scoop feature high up to finish
4) Sickle * V1
Start just beneath the boulder step and follow the curving sickle shaped feature on the right side of the slab, entering the scoop high up to finish.
5) Science Friction ** V2
Climb the blank portion of slab on the right side of the face. A committing line requiring a steady head.
6) Snake in the Flake ** V0
Climb the flake feature on the right side of the main slab, trending slightly right to a good jug near the top.
The lower one-third of the Friction Slab still needs cleaning and will probably give another three or four easy slab lines, broken at two-thirds height by the big ledge. The steep slabby wall on the lower end of the bloc will be a different proposition, hopefully yielding a proper hard slab line.
The back face of The Motherlode houses one of the most impressive faces hereabouts, with a featured 4 to 5 m high wall of gently overhanging rock that yields (for the most part) at surprisingly amenable grades, provided you can keep your head together.
1) Only Fans (sds) *** V4
Sit start on the right arête of the small bloc at the left end of the face. Work your way up the arête to the lip before making a big span to the base of the hanging groove. Continue out along the lip to the right of this before rocking back into the groove to finish.
The direct start to the above line will be extremely hard. Similarly, both of the following lines would benefit from lower or sitting starts, but these will also be rather hard…
2) Fools Gold *** V4
Start with a chest high side pull for the left and a small high crimp for the right (shorties will need to stack a pad or two to reach this). Make powerful moves to the ledge above and then commit to the wall above this, eventually gaining the obvious jug on the ledge high up. Finish with committing, but easier moves above this.
3) Broken Dreams *** V4
Start with the broken side pull for the right and a tiny high triangle crimp for the left (shorties will need to stack a pad or two to reach this). Make powerful moves to the large ledge above before making even larger moves up the various features right of the crack, plus the crack itself if you feel the need, to top out through the bulging wall/crack.
Note: Both problems #2 and #3 can be started slightly lower using the broken crimp on #3 for right and a good side pull level with this for the left (Satoshi’s Start), then moving up to the small high crimp described above before going to the ledge. This adds a hard move and cranks up the grade a bit too.
4) Dark Necessities *** V2
Start with a mediocre side pull for the right and a high positive crimp for the left (stacking again needed for shorties). Climb the face above via a series of features that culminate in a committing top out through the rounded lip above.
5) Necessary Evil Left (sds) *** V3
Start sat at the big ledge. Lift off using this and then move left to small crimps on the wall and powerfully work your way to slopers above, finishing up the slab left of the groove.
6) Necessary Evil (sds) *** V3
Follow the previous line ton the slopers but this time stay right and finish up the bulging wall right of the groove. S similar level of difficulty to the left finish but much more committing.
7) Resident Evil * V2
Start in the high juggy flake and climb the wall immediately above this.
8) Resident Direct (sds) ** V6
Start at the ledge. Move left to the nearby crimp and then launch directly up to the juggy flake at the start of Resident Evil. Soft at the grade for anyone with an ape index of 180 or more.
9) Resident Evil (sds) ** V6
Start sat at the big ledge. Pull on and make powerful moves out right to small crimps holds. Lock these in tight and make the long reach to the start of the stand start version, which is then followed to the top.
10) Resident (Directest) (sds) ** V7
Don’t like the crimps on Resident Evil (sds) or Resident Direct (sds)? Simple, skip them and just dyno from the start hold to the flake!
The collection of blocs downslope from the Friction Bloc provide a fine selection of slabs, walls and one of the longest continuous overhangs yet found in any HK bouldering area. Access is via the trail down the drainage line just beneath the Friction Bloc (or via a trail just up and left of the Radiance Bloc in Sunset Forest if approaching from below).
The first bloc reached in the drainage line offers a single line on a steep face.
1) Good Vibrations * V1
Use a thin flake to pull on to positive foot ledges in the middle of the face. Reach to a thin flake above (doing your best not to further snap the edge off this) and make a committing pull fo ledges just beneath the top of the bloc. Finish above.
2) Stuttered Vibrations ** V4
Start on the right side of the face with a small crimp near the arête and the good side pull flake. Pull on using thin footholds and move diagonally left across the face via further side pulls and crimps until you can gain the ledge in the middle of the lip. The arête on the right is all off route.
Descent is via the sloping ramp on the uphill side of the face (about V0 if climbed up), using the nearby trees to navigate the lower part.
The slab to the side of the Vibration Bloc may look easy angled, but the undercut at the bottom injects an additional amount of difficulty to most lines on it.
1) Guifang * V0
Climb the left arête of the slabby face
2) White Fang ** V2
Climb the left side of the slab, starting just left of the small stepped slab and staying on the right of the ‘v’ shaped flakes higher up. A tricky start that eases above.
3) Fenrir ** V2
Start at the stepped slab and climb directly through this and up the slightly featured slab above.
4) Targ Nar * V2
Climb the right side of the slab, starting right of the fang like triangle of rock on the lip of the low roof.
To the right of the Fang Slab is an impressive 3 m high long roof capped by a 4 to 6 m high slab. Sadly the roof itself is unlikely to yield many lines through it, with most lines having to start on features at, or near, the lip and then braving the slab above once this has been turned. Whilst many problems can be escaped back down adjacent trees after turning the lip, the simple rule here is NoTopNoTick, so if you do this, you didn’t finish the problem. Good luck!
1) The Exorcist (sds) *** V7
Start matched on the flat ledge on the very far left side of Demon Roof. Move right along this feature to eventually gain a crimp at its right edge and a higher side pull up and left. Make powerful moves to the lip before turning this (harder than it looks and the crux of the line) and then continuing up the easy slab above. No top, no tick!
2) The Conjuring *** V6
Start with a good jug above the lip (the tall can reach, the short can jump). Move left along the lip using whatever you can find to eventually reach the groove on The Exorcist, from where you finish as for that line via the same committing moves through the lip and up the easy slab above. Hard for the grade.
3) Annabelle (Open Project)
Start with a good ledge just above the lip (the tall can reach, the short need to jump). Make difficult moves to get established on the slab directly above the start and then climb this directly to the top. There’s several very small holds directly above the jug but using them effectively is proving rather tricky so far…
4) Demon Roof *** V3
Start matched on a side pull / pinch jug on the left side of the large block on the mid part of the roof. Make powerful moves up and right to climb through the roof before continuing directly up the slab above, crossing over the positive crack line rather than following it. The full tick requires a top out, although those lacking the moral servitude to achieve this can always turn around and climb down the tree once stood above the lip (and then walk away with their head hung in shame).
5) Valkyrie *** V1
Start matched on the juggy break just left of the tree. Make powerful moves up and left to breach the lip. Once established above the lip, step further left to gain the base of the diagonal crack, which is followed up and across the high slab above. Again, there is an option to downclimb the tree behind you once established standing above the lip, but where’s the fun in that.
6) Sleipnir ** V3
Start on a jug just right of the tree. Make powerful and tricky moves up the small ledges right of the tree (being careful not to dab the tree itself, difficult for the tall) before continuing up the slab above using small incut crimps and footholds, trending right to the ledge and an easy top out. No wussing out permitted for a tick of this one i’m afraid…
7) Inferno *** V7
A stunning lip line along the bottom face of the bloc. Starting from matched on the jug on the left end of the overhung face, pull up to the lip and follow this all the way right to several positive holds near its right end (at about 4.5 m height). Once on these, make extremely committing moves up onto the slab above and finish up this.
Located high on the hillside, the Lumberjack Bloc comprises an outstanding bloc that is likely to yield a host of very hard overhanging lines in the cave on the right side of the bloc. The bloc can be accessed either by following trails directly up the hill from either the Plantation or the Friction Slab.
1) Stu’s Traverse (sds) ** V3
Start matched on a sloper at the left end of the face, just above the point where the base of the boulder becomes undercut. Make a tricky left to right traverse along the lip to eventually finish up the far arete.
2) One Four (sds) * V4
Start matched on a small crimp just left of the big jug. Pull on and slap your way to the lip above. Prob just a V3/4 one move wonder.
3) The Lumberjack (sds) *** V2
A short powerful and punchy line up the arete. Start with left on the big jug and right on the crimp right of the arete. From these make powerful moves up the arete utilising positive holds on either side.
4) Man of Steal (sds) ** V4
Start with left on a small crimp on the right side of the low ledge and right on a small crimp beneath the oblique overlap. Move up from these to a large sloper, before breaking out left to a pinch that facilitates a slap to the top of the bloc. Some people will be able to keep their left foot in one place throughout the whole problem, and will likely find it very soft for the grade. Others won’t be able to do this and will find it evil…
5) Flex Luther (sds) *** V4
Follow the previous line to the sloper, then moving out right to the glued flake before making a powerful long move to the lip. Either rock back left to finish above the sloper or, if you’ve plenty of gas left in the tank, make a left to right lip traverse across the whole of the block to finish as for the next line.
6) One Pump Chump (sds) *** V6
Start on a positive undercling and good crimp just right of this. Move up through the overhang above via crimps, pinches, big slaps to slopers and a victory leap to the lip.
The next lines are located on a bloc slightly downhill of the Lumberjack Bloc.
Several lovely looking blocs sadly somewhat inaccessible in parts due to a well-established squatter structure right next to them (we’ll keep an eye on this to check it is actually inhabited). The blocs in the lower photos have currently been cleared but no lines were attempted. The main squatter bloc has awesome potential if we can work around the squatter development adjacent to it.