Devil’s Peak

Devil’s Peak is located in east Kowloon near Lei Yue Mun. The mountain is also known as Pau Toi Shan which means “Fortress Mountain”. This is an appropriate name as there are a number of old fortresses and war related structures on the mountain, and it was the scene of a battle in World War II.

In addition to wartime relics, there are also many walls, slabs, and boulders on this mountain. Previous guides have described some trad routes on the outcrops on the northwest slopes of the mountain facing Yau Tong. Access to these crags is difficult as the old military path which once led to the bottom of the slabs has since been swallowed by the jungle.

There is another group of slabs and outcrops on the Southwest slopes of the mountain facing Lei Yue Mun with easy access to the top via the Wilson Trail. These slabs have not escaped the attention of climbers, and a number of explorations were conducted by various climbers over the years. However, the lines offering natural protection are mostly rather low angle and broken by grassy ledges. No routes were publicly recorded and many climbers deemed the slab to be uninteresting.

Nick Smith and Alain Boulanger re-visited the crag in Jan 2007 and noticed the potential for bolted climbs up the steeper and blanker sections of the slab. Returning with a drill the pair set up “Special Forces”, “Honorable Discharge” and “Exit Strategy” (on the small upper headwall). Positive feedback was received from other climbers regarding these routes and subsequently, additional routes were added.

Access to the slab is easy. From Yau Tong MTR station exit A2 walk straight ahead to the first intersection and turn left. Proceed past the large roundabout to a road on the right that leads up the mountainside towards the Chinese Cemetery. Walk up this for about 10 minutes until coming to a flight of stairs on the left-hand side of the road. This is the Wilson Trail and is well marked with signs. Follow the Wilson Trail to the top of the obvious slabs.

A short abseil from the railing of the Wilson Trail provides access to the bottom of the headwall. Alternatively, it is also possible to scramble around the left-hand side of the headwall when facing the harbor. From the base of the headwall, a short scramble down a faint path leads to the top of the main slab. From here it is necessary to abseil down the route of “Special Forces” to the bottom of the main slab. A bolt anchor is available for this abseil, and a single rope is just long enough.

This area offers excellent views of the harbor and fun non-strenuous climbing. It is a pleasant place to climb in cool weather. It should probably be avoided in the summer as the heat reduces the smearing ability of your shoes and there is precious little shade available.

Devil's Peak Main Crag


1 – Before the Battle – F4
Well protected climbing, a good introductory lead with a short crux.
FA: Francis Haden, Sophia Mendelsohn, Jonathan Landesman, Donna Kwok (2012)

2 – Before the War – F5
Well protected climbing, a good introductory lead with a short crux.
FA: Francis Haden, Sophia Mendelsohn, Jonathan Landesman, Donna Kwok (2012)

3 – Honorable Discharge – F5
Start by under-clinging and then mantling up onto the right-hand side of the large detached arch at the far left of the crag. This is loose and care should be taken. Alternatively, the arch can also be climbed on the left-hand side. From the top of the arch, start with a series of decent side pulls until a thin move right at the second bolt leads to a shallow hole / dish. From here continue straight up over progressively easier ground to the anchors. A bit run out at the top.
F.A. Nick Smith, Alain Boulanger (2007)

4 – Special Forces – F6a ***
Start from the clearing just right of the large detached arch. The route follows a direct line straight up to the anchors via a series of small dishes and requires application of various “special forces” – primarily friction.
F.A. Nick Smith, Alain Boulanger (2007)

5 – Over the Top – F5
Start right of Special Forces next to several iron bars embedded into the base of the slab. Using the bars for aid, step up to clip the first bolt the step back down and climb up and to the right into a series of rightward trending scoops that lead into the large hole. Exit the hole on the right, crossing over a crack and move up towards the black streak, which is followed to the anchors.
FA: Francis Haden, Donna Kwok (2012)

6 – Battle Of The Bulge – F6b *
Test the stickiness of your climbing shoe rubber as you battle gravity on the steep lower section of this route, which begins about 5 meters right and downhill from “Special Forces”. Smear with difficulty diagonally up and left past three bolts until the angle lessens and easier ground leads to a large hole in the middle of the face. Interesting moves get you out of the hole and onto the slab above. For maximum enjoyment continue smearing directly up the slab, or reach to the right and use the crack as an easier alternative.
F.A. Nick Smith, Alain Boulanger (2007)

7 – Not The Slightest Chance – F6a **
Winston Churchill said there was “not the slightest chance” of defending Hong Kong against the Japanese in World War II. Hopefully, this climb may prove to be an easier task. Start below a small overhang at a pocket. Climb the steep face directly up to and over the tiny overlap. Then continue up and right to a bolt anchor near the large alcove. Belay here, or proceed to the top of the crag via the upper portion of “A Wing And A Prayer”.
F.A. Nick Smith, Joe Gray (2007)

8 – To Hell And Back – F6a
A scarier variation to “Not The Slightest Chance”. Climb the grooves / cracks beginning two meters right of “Not The Slightest Chance”. Follow these diagonally up and left until they merge with Not The Slightest Chance at the small overhang. Delicate moves between the first and second bolt.
F.A. Nick Smith, Austin Smith (2007)

9 – Balance of Power – F6a
There is a large obvious diagonal crack splitting the slabs. This crack is mostly an easy scramble. However, this climb tackles the bottom portion of the crack, which is more a set of shallow, rounded grooves. A few difficult moves are required to get through this section and gain access to the easier crack above. Continue up the easy crack to join “Not The Slightest Chance”. Or, for a little more excitement, run it out up and right to join “A Wing And A Prayer”.
F.A. Joe Gray, Nick Smith (2007)

10 – A Wing and a Prayer – F6c *
About 5 metres right and downhill from “Balance Of Power” is a steep shallow groove. Climb this to anchors at the large alcove in the middle of the slab. End here or continue up the easy second pitch to the top of the slab. Praying may not help, but you will definitely need faith in your shoes.
F.A. Nick Smith, Austin Smith (2007)

Joe Gray on Gin Drinker's Lane11 – Gin Drinker’s Line – F6a+ **
Start as for “A Wing And A Prayer” but move right onto a large ledge. Climb up onto an obvious flake, clip the first bolt and continue traversing delicately up and right using friction and small slopers until you are able to pull up onto the large ramp leading to the alcove in the middle of the slab. Scramble up this and then ascend the wall of the alcove diagonally up and left until joining with the upper portion of “A Wing And A Prayer”. Follow this to the anchors.
F.A. Nick Smith, Joe Gray (2007)

12 – Rajputs Remembered – F6a+
Follow Gin Drinkers Line to the large ramp but at a flake continue straight up the slab above to the anchor atop Public Execution. A 90m rope is required to lower from the anchor down to the ground.
FA: Francis Haden, Donna Kwok 08/01/2012

13 – Public Execution – F4+ **
Near the right-hand side of the slab is a faint corner with a seam. The seam is shallow, smooth, and rounded and the rock is rather steep and friable – adding to the excitement. A fun and direct line. Begin by scrambling up onto a ledge at the far right-hand side of the slab – just before the point where passage is blocked by the jungle. Continue scrambling carefully up to the first bolt about 8 meters above the ground.
F.A. Joe Gray, Nick Smith (2007)

14 – With a Knife at a Gun Fight – HS
Scramble up as for Public Execution, but traverse farther to the right to reach a crack system separating the left and right portions of the Main Slab. This is a few meters right of Public Execution. Insecure protection is possible using cams in the flaring shallow cracks. Just before the grassy ledge is reached, climb up onto the arête to the left (just above the large loose boulder) and follow Public Execution to the top. Do not climb on or under the large loose boulder as it (and some large flakes under it) are completely detached and adhering to the surface of the slab by friction only.
F.A. Joe Gray, Nick Smith (2007)

The next route is located on the buttress right of ‘With a Knife at a Gun Fight’. This line is best accessed by abseiling in from anchor at its top.

15 – Wave no White Flag – F4 **
An excellent, lengthy slab and recommended first lead. Access to the base of the route is gained by abseiling from the anchor atop Public Execution.
FA: Francis Haden, Donna Kwok (2012)

The final of the routes currently established at Devils Peak are located on the small buttress immediately above the Main Crag.

1 – Exit Strategy – F4+
The central line on the headwall. Large holds are available on the left-hand side of the bolts until a harder move is required to move back right at the third bolt. Climbing on the right-hand side of the bolts increases the difficulty significantly (F5+ / F6a).
FA: Nick Smith & Alain Boulanger (2007)

2 – Retreat From the Devils Peak – F5/6a
Companion route to Exit Strategy offering slightly harder climbing. Move left at the 6th bolt.
FA: Francis Haden, Sophia Mendelsohn, Tom Blackford, Jonathan Landesman, Donna Kwok (2012)

4 responses to “Devil’s Peak

  1. Miscellaneous updates:
    The descent gully from the concrete path has been cleaned up quite a bit — now 50% less evil and unpleasant than before. An exposed, but faster alternative to rapping in or climbing out.
    A lot of the brush has been cut back at the base, some stone steps added, now much easier getting around at the base of the main wall.
    Hell and Back is probably a groundfall if you blow the crux.
    Balance of Power is missing a bolt midway, so expect a long runout on easier terrain.

  2. You would want a 60 meter rope to rap in from Special Forces. There is another anchor, not shown on the topo, above Before the Battle, where you could get down with a 50. if this sounds confusing, look for a single bolt at the top of the main wall. the station for Special Forces is directly below. if you are facing out, the Before the Battle station is down and to your right. You have to climb out for the main wall, can scramble up and right for the upper wall. PS: watch out for the occasional loose hangers.

  3. If I good remember you have to scramble up to the path from anchor of “Exit Strategy”. Easy, but you wouldn’t fall.

  4. For the approach, when it says a single rope is just long enough, what length is this? 50m? 60m?
    Also abseil in, so would we need to climb out?

Say something

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s