General Rock

Crag Developer Renée Mullen abseiling down General friction Slab. Photo: Bob Moseley (the other crag developer)

Background

A small blocky promontory known as General Rock 將軍石 sticks up on the steep eastern face of Mount Parker, midway between Sai Wan Ho and the summit. A few meters to the south lie two climbing venues with different personalities. One is a large continuous face, dubbed General Friction Slab. The other is the steeper, more complex North Flakes Tower with varied routes ranging steep friction, lie-back flake systems, and slightly overhanging pinnacles. This is a quiet, isolated place on the eastern end of Hong Kong Island with great views across Victoria Harbour to the mountains of Kowloon all the way to Sharp Peak on Sai Kung Peninsula.

A full PDF guide to the Mount Parker Area can be downloaded here

Access

Start at the Sai Wan Ho MTR station. Exit Door A onto Shing On Street. There’s a bus stop to your right and you’ll see a sign for the #50 green minibus at the far end. #50 busses make frequent and continuous loops of Sai Wan Ho. You’ll never wait long. After about a 10-minute ride it ends at Yiu Tung Estate Bus Terminus, which is where you want to get off. You can take #50 back down to MTR station.

From the bus terminus, you’re basically going to make your way straight up slope to General Rock, first using multiple levels of stairs through a large slope-stabilization project then several well-maintained trails up through the scrub. It takes about 30 minutes. The trail system in this area is complex, so detailed beta is found at the end of this guide.

Access to the base of both General Friction Slab and The North Flakes Tower is via the “Exit Gully” on TNF Tower. Continue on the trail behind General Rock, winding through the scrubby forest for just 10-15 m. Look to your right through the forest to see a bright opening that is the top of General Friction Slab. Head in this direction for a few meters on a small track and then straight down the hill through the forest following a track with red flagging to the top of North Flakes Tower. Rope railing also guide the way. Wind around through the rocks to the lowest platform. Cut hard left on a small trail to the top of the Exit Gully and scramble down with the aid of a fixed rope. This deposits you at the base of Baguette and Jam on the west face of North Flakes Tower and a short distance from the upper belay platform on General Friction Slab.

Before discovery of the Exit Gully, abseil anchors were placed at the top of General Friction Slab and The North Flakes. They are now an alternative to scrambling down.

Routes

General Friction Slab
There is a diagonal break in the topography across the middle of the slab, with the lower half being steep enough for fun climbing. There are three belay “platforms” at the base. The lower (routes #6 to #7) and mid-level (routes #4 and 5#) platforms are separated by a large boulder. The upper platform (routes 5-6) is connected to the midlevel by a short trail. And all of these platforms are connected to the base of The North Flakes Tower by short trails.

Access climbs via the “Exit Gully” on The North Flakes Tower. Alternatively, there is an abseil anchor at the top of the slab, with two options:

  1. Single-rope abseil (29 m) to the upper belay platform. Access lower routes via trail. Angle climbers left from the top anchor to line up for this abseil.
  2. Two abseils (23 m and 18 m) down the two pitches of General Friction gets you to the midlevel platform.

When leaving use Exit Gully on North Flakes Tower, a short distance from the upper belay platform.

1)  Unknown
Start at the left side of the buttress and climb this portion of the slab to the top of the wall
FA: Unknown (2020)

2) Moon Flakes F5+  18 m  6 bolts
Starts on left side of upper platform on a thin flake, followed by some thoughtful slab moves at the 4th bolt, ending on the upper fins. Can continue to top of slab from these anchors.
FA: Renée Mullen and Bob Moseley (2018)

3) Small Steps F6b  17 m  6 bolts
Starts from upper platform, 2 m right of Moon Flakes. Very delicate footwork needed to surmount smooth slab mid-route.
FA: Renée Mullen and Bob Moseley, (2019)

4) Get in the Groove F6b  20 m  7 bolts
Starts up fat flake on left side of mid-level platform. Easy ramp mid-route is followed by crux headwall and route’s namesake (very shallow) groove.
FA: Renée Mullen and Bob Moseley (2019)

5) General Friction F5
Starts from right side of midlevel platform. Two pitches. P2 is the exit pitch for most climbs on the slab.
P1. F5-  18 m  6 bolts.
P2. F3  23 m  5 bolts up easy slab to top anchor.
FA: Bob Moseley and Renée Mullen (2018)

6) Colonel Grit F4  20 m  7 bolts
Starts on lower level, 4 m left of Butterfly.
FA: Renée Mullen and Bob Moseley (2018)

7) Float Like a Butterfly F6a  17 m  7 bolts
Being a butterfly would help, at least for the crux moves off the ground. Then it’s a romp to the anchors. Starts at lowest point of slab.
FA: Renée Mullen and Bob Moseley (2018)

8) Unknown
P1: Start as for Float Like a Butterfly and, after opening crux, veer right to a line of bolts up easier ground on the right side of the slab.
P2: Amble up the easy slab above the belay
FA: Unknown (2020)

North Flakes Tower
North Flakes Tower has two distinct climbing faces, The North Flakes and The West Face. The access trail brings you down to a ledge at the top of North Flakes. From here scramble down the “Exit Gully” to the upper end of the West Face or use the abseil anchors that deposit you at the base of the route Mindful Friction. The base of North Flakes Tower and General Friction Slab are close together and connected with short trails, so accessing the base of either gives you access to all climbs. There is plenty of shade in the dense forest surrounding the base.

The North Flakes
A wide chimney breaks the north face into two segments, with two routes on the left and three on the right.

NorthFlakes-01

(1) Palms Down 6b 15 m 4 bolts
Starts at left edge of face. Dominated by the big flake looming on the upper third of route. But the start is the most thought-provoking part, especially the friction mantle above the first bolt.
FA: Bob Moseley and Renée Mullen, 22 September 2019

(2) Be Like Water F6a+ 15 m 5 bolts
Left of central chimney. A calm mind and steady feet help conquer this route where thoughtful friction moves dominate the start and upper slab.
FA: Renée Mullen and Bob Moseley, 22 September 2019

(3) Jezebel F6a+ 15 m 5 bolts
Right of chimney. Start up chimney for first couple of moves, stepping onto face and up bolt line on right side of chimney. Crux is getting to and through the 2nd bolt.
FA: Ron Roy, Renée Mullen, Bob Moseley, 3 November 2019

(4) Flake News F6b 14 m 6 bolts
This and Flakebook start in the same place at right corner of face. Lie back the opening flake, clipping bolt line to left. Traverse below and then lie back up the second flake, eventually crossing steep open ground to the anchors (the crux).
FA: Renée Mullen, Ron Roy, Bob Moseley, 3 November 2019

(5) Flakebook *** F6a 14 m 6 bolts
Superb route. Start on initial flake as for Flake News, clipping bolt line on right. Launch up second, right-facing flake, transition to the upper, left-facing flake, with the final segment being short friction face at top. Crux is transition from middle to upper flake.
FA: Bob Moseley, Ron Roy, Renée Mullen, 3 November 2019

The West Face
Three climbs (so far) clustered at the upper end of the West Face, opposite Moon Flakes on General Friction Slab.

Exit Gully – Five meters left of Baguette and Jam. Follow the rope up this steep, but short gully to the top of The North Flakes at the abseil anchors. It’s the preferred way to schlepp packs and gear out from the base.

(6) Baguette and Jam F6b 11 m 4 bolts
Stem up the blocky start, clipping the left-hand bolt line. Gets progressively harder with the crux at the top of the slightly overhanging pinnacle.
FA: Ron Roy, Bob Moseley, Renée Mullen, 3 November 2019

(7) Grace on Strike F5+ 9 m 4 bolts
Start as for Baguette and Jam, clipping the right-hand bolt line. Stubborn chimney move above the roof gets you to the upper face.
FA: Bob Moseley and Renée Mullen, 19 October 2019

(8) Fric and Frac F5 9 m 3 bolts
Line farthest right. Lay back start gives way to series of small flakes and ledges.
FA: Renée Mullen and Bob Moseley, 19 October 2019