The lone big bloc (and several small blocs) on the southern side of Pak Shui Wun beach near the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is home to a fine collection of mid-grade gems. Originally ‘discovered’ some years ago by Chris Tang, the bloc has recently been brought kicking and screaming into the 2020’s by Gordon Hoi and Matthew Sze who have repeated most of Chris’ lines and added a few of their own too (big thanks to Gordon for the guide info herein).
The blocs are located on Pak Shui Wun beach, which is best accessed by trails leading down from behind the bus stops on University Road, North Gate of HKUST – the trail starts behind the concrete bus shelter on the uphill side of the road and then loops back under the road. This path follows some (actually, an insanely large number of) concrete stairs down the hill and skirts the northern side of the university campus before eventually dropping down the hillside to the beach. The Bonanza Blocs are very obvious and located on the far southern side of the beach, with the Norse and Campus Blocs located further south along the coastline and accessed by following a high-level scramble along the top of the rock outcrops (rope handlines of variable quality installed along much of this).
Chris’ Secret Hidden Bonsai Bonanza
This bloc is the main event and the largest of the boulders in the area. A reminder before tackling any of the lines that the easiest way to get back to the ground after topping out is down climbing Gold Water (V1), so make sure you have that line dialed and are comfortable reversing it before getting on anything else.
1) Vault Faith ** V2
Start at the good jug in the middle of the face and then follow a series of positive ledges to the top of the face.
2) Black Gold ** V1
Start on the good hold in the middle of the face, but this time trend up and left following a series of smaller, but very positive, holds diagonally across the face.
3) Vault Hunter * V2
Start on the slightly elevated platform to the left of the bloc, with a good jug for the right and lower side pull for the left. Make some insecure tricky moves up from these before committing to the easier finish above.
4) Dirty Mine V4
Start on the good jug on the right side of the face and follow the [slightly dirty] arête above this.
5) Skull Coin ** V4
Start on the good jug on the right of the face. Make a powerful move left from this to join the start of Vault Faith (#1), which is then followed to the top.
6) Make It Rain * V5
Start matched on the good jug on the right side of the face. Move left from this to the jug at the start of Vault Faith, however this time keep moving left across more good hand holds, but bugger all footholds, to eventually join and finish up Vault Hunter (#3).
7) Mine Dynamite (sds) *** V5
Start at a good jug beneath the roof. Make a powerful move up from this to the start of Skull Coin (#5), which is then followed to the top.
8) Gold Digger (sds) ** V6
Start at a good jug beneath the roof. Make a powerful move up to the start of Make it Rain (#6), which is then followed across the face and to the top.
Potential for a further extension to the above two lines appears possible by starting even further under the roof at a positive undercut, although the holds surrounding this are a bit friable so be careful not to snap too many off…
9) Leap of Fame *** V3
Start matched on a pinch in the groove. Reach up from this to get established in a bridge position with holds in the groove and on the left wall, before making a committing little pop for the top.
10) Leap of Fame (sds) *** V5
Start sat at the base of the groove. Use the vertical gaston on the right wall to make a powerful move into the start of the original line. Continue up the groove, however this time eliminate the large foothold / ledge on the right arête (you just get a V4 if you stand on this) and continue precariously to a committing snatch for the lip.
11) Just Around the Corner * V3
Start matched on the pinch in the groove. Move up to the juggy jolds above before straying off right and around the arete to finish on the final holds of Vault Hunter.
1) Gold Rush *** V8
Start matched on the positive good slopers in the middle of the narrow face of the bloc. Making use of the shallow groove above these and the right arete, tackle the narrow face via a series of committing compression moves.
2) Runes of Power ** V7/8
Start on the same hold as the previous line, but this time move left to gain (and stick) the large sloper on the arete to the left. Finish up the steep side of the arête above this as for Lucky Clover.
2a) Rune of Power (Left) ** V6
Start matched on the hold in the middle of the face, as per the previous lines. Make powerful reaches out left to gain side pulls around the arete and, eventually, the start hold of Lucky Clover, which is then followed to the top.
3) Lucky Clover *** V4
Start matched on the slightly cemented hold on the right side of the face. Move up and right from this to the sloping ledge on the arête, before tackling the remainder of the arête using spaced pockets and a committing move to the lip.
4) Gold Water ** V1
Start matched on the slightly cemented hold on the right side of the face. From here move up and left following the line of least resistance. This also forms the easiest decent route for the bloc.
5) Lucky Clover (sds) ** V6
The sit start to the right arête of the face, starting matched on a good jug down and left and making difficult moves to get established on the cemented starting hold of the original line.
6) Gold Water (sds) ** V5
The sit start to Gold Water, again coming in from the jug low and to the left of the original start.
7) Tension of the Game (sds) V4
Start on two adjacent undercuts beneath the right side of the undercut roof. Slap to a good hold above and then finish more easily up the wall above.
8) Tang Dynasty (sds) * V5
Sit start beneath the roof, with the same undercuts as the previous line but this time trend left once over the lip to follow holds leading over to and then up the left arête of the face.
The next few lines are located on the small blocs in front and to the right of Chris’ Bloc.
1) Edge of the Sun V2
Start with a good sidepull for the left and crimp for the right before reaching up and then left to finish.
2) Edge of the Moon V3
Start as for the previous line but this time move further right and rock over on to the slabby face.
3) Slap High V3
Start on a sloper and make tricky moves up and left along the lip of the bloc.
Ship of Norse
1) Marksmanship V3
Start at the crimp and pull directly to finish (the blocks of good foot holds on the right can be used) .
2) Kraken Slayer V4
Start as for marksmanship, gain the good pocket to the left and then continue further left from this to finish at the vertical crack line.
3) Serpent V5
Start on the right side of the face as for Marksmanship, get the good pocket to the left of this and then traverse all the way across the wall to finish as for Horn of Valkyries, avoiding any use of holds on the lip until the very end.
4) Nordic Wind V2
Start at a good pocket just left of a blank section of wall. Move directly up from this to finish.
5) Battleship V3
Start at a good pocket just left of a blank section of wall. Traverse left from this to gain good holds near the vertical crack, which are followed to the top.
6) Magni Bicep V6
Start on two undercuts just down and right o the crack. Using whatever power you have, beast your way up to better holds above and easier finish.
7. Columship V7
Start on the good jug and make powerful moves right to gain the good holds, which are followed to the top. An eliminate version of this line has also been climbed at about V9, avoiding the pinch indicated by a green circle in the topo above.
8) Winter Fang V5
Start at the good jug. Make long moves to get the side pull and good crimp above. Knee bars optional.
9) Horn of Valkyries V6
Start at the good jug, move left to get the crimps and make powerful moves to get the good holds above.
1) Over3, explode4 V4
Start at a good undercut, make powerful moves to gain the top.
2) ChibLib life V5
Double start on a crimp on left and side pull on right, do powerful gaston on the cracks to squeeze up.
3) Scholarship (sds) V5
Double start on an undercut on the left and in the middle of the bulging block, pull up to the start of 3a and finish along this.
4) Scholarship V2
Start on a big pinch, use the bulging pinches above to gain the top.
5) 830 lesson V2
Start on a good crimp, make tricky moves along the cracks to top.
6) Flying GPA
Potential mega dyno project, start on a good jug and launch yourself up to the top.
You can also download an awesome min-guide prepared by Gordon Hoi here.
The problems at Pak Shui Wun are located within an area of the Che Kwu Shan Formation and comprise eutaxitic welded crystal-bearing fine ash vitric tuff and tuff breccia that are about 142.5 million years old (give or take). The rocks were most likely deposited as pyroclastic flows during periods when Hong Kong was volcanically active.