Thanks to Francis Haden for the crag development and information: Download his PDF guide here
Cape Collinson features approximately 55 sport routes distributed over 3 sectors. The crag is located south east of Chai Wan on Hong Kong Island. The cliffs face a variety of directions therefore it is possible to remain in the sun or the shade throughout the day. Aside from Bunker Wall, which is non-tidal, access to the main cliff (The Beach) is affected by the tide. The special ops cave on the main cliff is cut off at high tide and whilst the main cliff can be escaped from, by using the hand-line, your choice of routes will be limited. The Zawn is only affected by isolated high tides at certain times of the year however climbing is still possible on the non tidal area below the access point. Tide times and heights can be easily checked at The Hong Kong Observatory – select tide predictions for Quarry Bay.
Cape Collinson will appeal to the broader climbing community as the majority of routes are in the low to mid F6s with a handful of routes in the mid to upper F7s. The area and the climbing have an adventurous aspect and attention is drawn to the fact that as a new climbing area, small amounts of loose rock may be encountered. Climbers and anyone else in the vicinity of a climbing area are recommended to wear helmets.
Routes have been equipped with safety and convenience in mind to ensure that climbers will enjoy the area and can attempt harder routes without needing to abandon gear should it not be possible to gain the anchors. Routes are equipped to prevent the creation of dangerous run outs between bolts that could contribute to a ground fall. Additionally the intention is to provide another climbing area in Hong Kong which has routes suitable for climbers learning to lead.
Travelling to the area is very easy. Take the MTR Island line to Chai Wan station then take a taxi to the Cape Collinson Correctional Institution. Note: there are 2 correctional institutions, if asked; it is the male correctional facility. Ensure that the taxi driver understands that it is Cape Collinson Road (lower cemetery for those that speak Cantonese) that you require otherwise you may end up travelling towards Shek O! From Chai Wan MTR it takes approximately 10 minutes to reach the car park in the image below. This car park is almost at the end of Cape Collinson Road.
Continue down the road from the drop off point until a small masonry retaining wall is present on your right side and some railings to you left, as shown in the image right to the right. Climb over the railings and follow a vague trail down slope, with a short section using some fixed line to access a more prominent trail below.
There are two bunkers at the base of the approach path. When facing out to sea, Bunker Wall is immediately to your left and beyond that, the main cliff of The Beach. To your right and accessed down past the lower bunker, is the sheltered multi pitch area of The Zawn.
Your return journey either involves a long walk back to Chai Wan, a pre-booked taxi or the other alternative is to catch a bus from outside the prison gate. The last bus travelling back to Chai Wan MTR leaves the prison at 5pm.
During festivals (grave sweeping) Cape Collinson road becomes restricted to general traffic and that includes taxis. A taxi will drop you off at the start of Cape Collinson road and from there it will take approximately 40 minutes walk to the climbing area. The scheduled bus service to the prison from Chai Wan MTR is not affected so this is the alternative to walking in.
The climbing at Cape Collinson includes three distinct crags. However, the show piece of the area is undoubtably The Zawn, which features a wide variety of climbs from short power fests, moderate technical slabs to steep long pumpy routes – basically a bit of everything for everyone.
Bunker Wall features a selection of relatively short easy to moderate routes on variable quality rock whilst The Beach includes a more varied selection of moderate climbs and the impressive ‘Special Ops’ cave.