New Routes / Boulder Problems

If you’ve climbed something new that’s not in the pages of this website then please let us know by adding details as a comment on this page so we can keep track of things and update the guides accordingly.


75 responses to “New Routes / Boulder Problems

  1. We went up to Temple Crag, Lantau, yesterday, for the first time since November.
    In November we had noticed the beginnings of a new approach trail leading off the Chi Ma Wan mountain bike trail. Yesterday this trail featured steps in its lower section. The middle of the trail had been cut from the surrounding vegetation, with trees and bushes cut back approximately one metre either side of the path. The upper section, which joins the original approach trail from the bottom had been similarly widened by a metre or so on both sides. The boulders which had previously provided footing and stability had in some places been removed, and climbing ropes had been installed to provide a handhold where previously the adjacent vegetation had done the same job. Removing the vegetation has predictably led to erosion, and the ropes have made this worse as people have slid down them. In some 18 years of visiting the crag I had never been able to identify the approach trail from the climbs – yesterday a grey eroded strip on the hillside made it obvious. What was previously a relatively shaded woodland trail is now an exposed dusty slide.
    At its RHS the base of the cliff has been similarly de-forested, with trees cut back a metre, and in some places, more. What was previously a shady place for at least the first belay is now fully exposed to the sun. The base is already dusty and eroded and, like the path, will presumably wash away once it starts to rain.
    There are a few new climbs and the couple we did seemed pleasant enough.
    Several existing climbs have been re-bolted, in whole or in part. The work looks competent, although it is not clear that the original equipment was as yet in need of replacement – it seems to have mostly weathered well. At least one pitch of an existing climb has been retro-bolted with double the number of bolts originally used, or more.
    There was at least one other party climbing there yesterday, and I asked them if they knew who was responsible for the tree-cutting and creation of the erosion path – they said they did not.
    I have no complaints against people who have invested their time, talent and resources to put up new climbs here and elsewhere in Hong Kong – over the years I’ve known and climbed with many of them, and enjoyed their efforts. I do have personal reservations about the grid-bolting – bolts delineating every square metre of rock, like a Leisure and Cultural Services Department climbing wall – which seems to have happened all over Hong Kong, and I cannot see the rationale for doubling the number of bolts on existing, easy climbs.
    But these are relatively minor quibbles. What I find incomprehensible are the actions of people who come to a relatively (by Hong Kong’s shrinking standards) remote and unspoiled place and then set about more or less systematically destroying it. I don’t understand how – with the constant media attention now given to the environment, sustainability, and conservation – climbers, who presumably think of themselves in some degree as “outdoorspeople” would choose to cut down trees (and I am not talking about a little judicious gardening of a crack or a nylon scrubbing brush on a hold) and trample new paths where others passed leaving little trace for decades. I have to assume that those responsible believe they are doing good, by “comfortising” any aspect of the experience which seems a little inobvious, or inconvenient, or just a little bit of an effort.
    I have outlined the practical objections to this – in terms of shade and erosion – above. The broader ethical issue, of treating the shared outdoors like your personal bouldering gym, I leave to the individual. The legal position seems to be at least partly covered by Section 26 of the Country Parks and Special Areas Regulations (Regulation 8).
    I’ve always tried to leave climbing areas I visit no worse, and if possible a little better than I found them, usually by picking up rubbish, so I removed the ropes from the eroded trail and dumped them in the public refuse bins in Ham Tin. I will continue to do this as and when I can. I seriously thought about removing much of the new and superfluous hardware adorning the crag and dumping it in the same manner, but whoever placed it (and the sponsors’ names – currently individual rather than corporate – are all over it) had at least removed the original stainless steel hardware, so I did not. I won’t go to the silliness of removing bolts, because I’ve been climbing for 46 years and I love it too much to want to see the rock more damaged than it already is.
    Whatever the arguments for industrial route and trail creation at areas where there had previously been no climbing at all, I am mostly just deeply saddened that this should have been done at a crag which was first climbed on 70 years ago, and where, until a few months ago, climbers had trod lightly, leaving the cliff and surrounding hillsides much as they had always been. I would ask anyone engaged in, or considering, further such development to think a little beyond paving a highway to the latest convenience crag, and to look a little at the small wonders they are trampling to get there.

  2. Over the last week-end two classic routes at EAGLE CRAG (Lantau Island) were re-bolted with (Titan Climbing) titanium glue-in bolts and Hilti RE 500 epoxy.

    1) Jumping Jack Flash – F6c** F.A. Storm Bate & Ken Brown

    New holes has been placed near the existing ones.
    Old gears (kept there for redirection purpose) has been partially removed. We will remove everything asap.

    2) The Gift – F7a*** F.A. Paul Collis & M. Lancaster (2003)

    All previous bolts has been pulled out and all the holes has been reused.
    Both routes are climbable again and retain their original character and style.

    Many thanks to Gianfranco Bigazzi and Brian Smeets for their help on this project.
    Also big thanks to our funders:
    Please follow their calendar project and keep supporting them to have more re-geared routes.

    Alberto, Brian and Gianfranco

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