The Watch Tower

General

The large bloc near Lo Tsai Shek contains a handful of routes at grades between F6a and F7c, with potential for future development and The Scorpion being a strong (but hard) contender for the best F7c in the 852. Although the routes are few in number, their quality and variety as well as the beautiful setting make this a very worthwhile venue for a day out.

Dennis Kwok on the FA of The Scorpion (F7c) Photo: Stuart Millis

Approach

The crag is approached from Hoi Ha Village, which is accessed using the No. 7 Green Mini-bus from Sai Kung Town Centre (or a taxi ride from Pak Tam Chung, which costs about $70). From the end of the road, follow the path through the village towards the beach. Continue past the beach and follow the footpath around the coastline, passing the WWF Marine Education Centre on route. When reaching the narrow spit connecting to a northern headland, double back south and continue on the trail running parallel to the coastline. This gradually increases in elevation and will eventually bring you to just above the crag itself. Keep an eye out for a small trail on the left (currently very overgrown but with a small dark blue ribbon marker), just before a right turn in the trail, that takes you down to the crag itself. A relatively fit party shouldn’t take much more the 35-40 mins to reach the crag from the village.

For reference, the return mini-buses run every half hour at X:25 and X:55 so try and time your walk out to coincide with this.

Routes

1) The Winds of Change ** F6c
Step off the left side of the boulder and, starting from the positive jug, make a series of thin technical moves to get established on the slab above. Note: The second bolt sits quite tight to the rock and requires a relatively narrow quick drawer to be clipped easily.
FA: Stuart Millis, Lily Chow & Dennis Kwok (2021)

2) Electric Ladyland * F7b
Start on the right side of the large boulder on the left of the overhung face. From positive side pulls, get yourself established on the face before levitating up the next few metres using a variety of miserable crimps until it is possible to reach the shallow groove above. Follow this with considerably more ease to the anchor. Essentially a V5 boulder line requiring the use of a rope.
FA: Stuart Millis (2021)

3) The Scorpion *** F7c
The king line of the crag, attacking it through the steepest portions possible. Start on positive side pulls on the undercut wall on the right of the steep, stepped overhanging face. Make bouldery moves up and left through the first roof. Continue left to good undercuts at the base of the stepped prow. Power your way up through this to a good hold on the lip of the last roof. Compose yourself here before making desperate moves to gain the juggy break above and the lower-off.
FA: Dennis Kwok (2021)
Equipped by Stuart Millis & Boybi Sarmiento (Oct 2021)

4) Closed Project – Do Not Climb
Start as for The Scorpion and follow this to the second bolt. Crank up the wall above on small crimps to get established in the crack and then work you way right beneath the roof until it is possible to step back left on to the headwall above and the anchors at the top of this. We had to leave this line unclimbed for the time being as there is a snake living in the main crack of the roof.
Equipped by Stuart Millis, Boybi Sarmiento & Dennis Kwok (Oct 2021)

5) All Along the Watchtower *** F6a
A fun and over too quickly trip along the lip of the overhanging face. Follow the juggy lip all the way left until it is possible to pull up onto the face at its left end via some juggy breaks.
FA: Stuart Millis (2021)

There’s still potential for a handful of additional routes for those keen enough to lug bolting equipment in and settle for gap fillers 😉 (e.g. very hard slab line left of Winds of Change, continuation of the boulder problem Obsidian, a squirm up the chimney right of Long Harbour and then trip up the walls above, hell, if you’re desperate enough you could even bolt the scrappy wall above the start of All Along, etc.)

Feedback

Coming Soon
The Winds of Change
The Winds of Change
The Winds of Change
Coming Soon
Electric Ladyland
Electric Ladyland
Electric Ladyland
Coming Soon
The Scorpion
The Scorpion
The Scorpion
Coming Soon
All Along the Watchtower
All Along the Watchtower
All Along the Watchtower

Boulder Problems

Problems are described left to right, starting at the lower part of the face. Be warned. The problems are typically quite high and above rather poor landings…

1) Obsidian ** V2
Start using opposing sidepulls high on the left arete and the crack to the right of this. Follow good holds right along the crack, making some big moves to jugs out right. Crank directly up from these to reach the break above, which is followed back out to the arete. Drop off from here unless you’re feeling very very brave…

2) Gabbro (sds) *** V5
Start on positive holds in the lower break in the middle of the face. Make a big move left from these to gain a positive jug. Continue straight up from this to more positive holds in the break above, which is then followed to the arete and a drop off finish.

3) Diorite (sds) ** V3
Start on the same holds as the previous problems, but this time launch straight up to the break directly above before following this back left to join the final break and same finish used for the previous lines.

4) Gneiss (Project)
Start at the right end of the obvious diagonal crack splitting the right side of the wall. Follow this left to join the previous problem, which is then followed to its end.

5) Tuff (Project)
An imposing and desperate looking line up the right side of the face. Start at the base of the diagonal crack and attack the wall above via small ledges and holds that then rapidly decrease in size and positivity. Finish when reaching the high break on the right of the wall and drop off.

6) Long Harbour (Project)
Another desperate looking line, this time following the lip formed by the left side of the crack splitting the middle of the face. Start matched in the obvious break low down.

7) XXX (Project)
Start matched on positive holds next to a small sloping ledge at the base of the middle of the wall. Follow the various discontinuous cracks left from here to eventually gain the left arete of the wall high up. Drop off from this.

8) XXXX (Project)
I’m not even sure if this one’s feasible! Start as for the previous line but break directly up the wall to attain the thin vertical crack rather than traversing all the way out left. Stop when things get to scary to carry on any higher (suggested to be where the crack breaches the lip of the wall).

9) Coarse Ash (Project)
Start on a positive crimpy ledge at head height. Crank right from this to more crimps before making hard throws out to the arete. Follow the lip formed by the arete until you get scared, decide enough is enough, and rockover on to the slab above to finish.