Hillside Boulders


The Hillside Boulders are probably the leat frequented area at Chung Hom Kok, mostly by virtue of the approach being a bit of a pain when carrying a pad due to the vegetation corridors and tunnels you ave to walk through, but also due to some exceptionally crystalline rough rock and a position that makes the area a bit of a sun trap. However, when caught on the right day (i.e. cloudy or with temps in the low teens), this is an area worth seeking out as hidden amongst the (literal) rough are a number of definite diamonds.


Just beyond the roundabout by the us stop is a small roadside outcrop with a few bolted routes on it. The Roadside sector is directly opposite this beneath the other side of the road. For all other areas, climb the stepped rocky slab on the left side of outcrop or an alternative overgrown path a bit further left. At the top of the slab, a dirt trail takes you rightwards across the hillside to the Big Boulders (aka The Devils Claw). If venturing beyond this, traverse the rocky ledge above the granite slabs to reach the climbs on the Big Boulders, from there a dirt trail continues up the hillside taking you directly to the blocs at the East Side. This trail then continues along the main ridge to access all other areas.

The Roadside Boulders

Host to four quality boulders, this small area has by far the easiest approach of any of the sectors – from the parking spot described earlier, walk directly across the road and 10 meters down into the brush. For the truly keen: lines 3 on A1, 1 on A2, and most of 1 on A3 stay dry with a light drizzle – heavy downpours cause runoffs that spread everywhere though. Sadly, being by the road, there is trash about – please help carry away whatever you can.


1) Roadside Crack *** V4
Starting from the furthest left, traverse the entirety of the main crack to finish as for 3. Variations exist exiting early (exit A ~ V??, B ~ V??, C ~ V??). The variations would require cleaning and have not yet been tried.

2) Roadside Variant #1
Exit Roadside Crack along the first vertical crack encountered.

3) Roadside Variant #2
Exit Roadside Crack along the second vertical crack encountered.

4) The Seam * (Project – V5?)
Start with both hands in a small seam, paste your feet on nothings, and crank straight up and into the main crack of Roadside Crack. Finish directly up the wall and cracks above.

5) Right Arete * V1
Climb the right arete, staying on its left side.

6) Bold (心雄) (sds) *** V6
Sit down start with a good left undercling and a good slopey ledge for the right. Head straight up and then veer left towards an obvious finishing jug while keeping true to the arete.

7) Shafted ** V3
Climb the slab from a stand with poor crimps and ok feet. Balance up and left over progressively poorer holds until you obtain the good edge near the curve in the crack. Once established there, it’s a few deep breaths and then straight up and over via easy but intimidating moves.

8) 973 to the Danger Zone *** V6
The picture to the above does not do this line justice – it’s a big line. A very high (8 or 9 meters?) steeply overhanging crack over a sloped sandy landing. It’s hard, and will require pads and balls or a toprope. A more manageable project (V5?) is to try and simply match the ledge at about the 3-4 meter point.

Video here

The Aretes

9) PROJECT * (V??)
This 4 meter tall problem is nestled on top of the slabs on the backside of the big A3 boulder. The prow is more overhanging than it looks in the picture – head straight up it from a stand with positive edges that all seem to face the wrong way. May be very hard, but worth a look if you’re feeling strong.

The Big Boulders

Another quickly accessible area. A lot of rock… should be possible with some creativity to add to this list. B4 is way out of the realm of bouldering – it has a few bolts on top, and one face in particular looks like it’d have some amazing lines on it.

Big Boulders (aka The Devil’s Claw)

1) Size Matters (sds) *** V2
Start sat with good feet, a right hand undercling and a left hand sloper. Move up to left hand edge, and a right hand sloper and finish straight up. May be harder for the shorter. A great problem.

2) The Scoop ** V2
Deceptively hard climbing. Start from the positive holds in the scoop and head right over slopers (exit A). Do not fall on the last move. One can also finish straight (exit B) for a slightly less committing line of the same grade.

3) Easy Variation * V1
Traverse into the end of NBYG on big holds.

4) No Brain, Your Gain (sds) *** V4
An awesome problem. From a sit with a good left pocket and the arete for your right, head straight up to a committing crux throw out left to join line 3. The boulder to the right of the crack is off. Worth having a big pad and a spotter. The direct line of NBYG (marked in the picture) goes at V5.

5) Ugly Sister (sds) * V2
Sit with arete and whatever is reachable for the right. Climb straight up the right arete, without the boulder to the left of crack.

No lines have been tried on the Devil’s Claw (to the right of Ugly Sister) itself due to the general looseness and highly weathered nature of this feature, not to mention the height and poor landing also.

Royce Ferguson proving that No Brain is Your Gain (V4). Photo: Royce Ferguson Collection

6) Fruit Ninja (sds) ** V3
One of the rare ok traverses. From the low juggy crescent, head up to the slanting crack, and then towards the arete. Problem is over once you have turned the arete. Slightly exposed.

7) Warzone (sds) * V4
Start with right hand as in the picture to the right, and left hand at an equivalent height on the arete (arms form a straight line). Bump up the arete until you are in a position to rock over onto the slab.

So Not High

1. Warmup **
Head straight up from the jug left of problem 2.

2. So Not High ** (Project)
Starting from an OK gaston, a poor crimp and a high foot head straight up past poor slopers. Believed to be v-very-hard but doable.

3. Bloody Knuckles ** V3
Starting from the base of the crack at the right arete, follow the crack up and out. Slightly committing. Not in fact painful as the name would suggest.

4. Project
Line right of number 3.

The Groove

1. The Groove *** V7
Start with both hands in the groove on the right. Head straight up and right to good slopers. The groove on the left is on – but was not found to help, and not used in the FA.

East Side

Toasted Bloc

1) Toasted ** V2
From the break pop up to the sloping lip, and top it out. The grade ranges from V1 to V2 depending on where on the break you start – the further right, the easier it becomes. For the V2 the starting left hand is the very left end of the break.

2) Straddle Me ** V3
Start at chest height on the arête and head up. The crux is simply pulling on. Hopping straight for the top makes the problem V0 and a bit pointless.

Perched Block Boulder

Located just beneath the intersection of trails on the summit ridge is a collection of boulders sitting atop a larger boulder. This large boulder, and the precariously perched block on its lip, is home to a couple of fine lines.

1) Won’t Go Quietly * V4
Starting from the break attain the second break. Traverse right to top out. Basically a one move wonder.

2) Going Quietly (Project)
The direct finish to Won’t Go Quietly. More a project due to its height rather than difficulty.

3) Humper Mk 2 * V3
Start with holds on the arête, and the break for your feet. Pop to jug and traverse left to a crux top out (like Humper, but harder). The boulder perched on top is off limits.

4) Longdong Soloist * V4.
Start with feet on the first break, go up to the second break and continue to top out the top block following the left arete.

Just around the corner from the previous problems is an unclimbed arête line:

5) Project
Start at the obvious crack and head straight up via small holds and slopers and maybe a dyno.

The next few problems are all located n the blocs sitting on top of the large boulder

Humper Bloc

1) Humper ** V3
Starting with positive but small holds in the middle of the face, make a move up to the sloping lip and mantle it out.

2) Rocky’s Cave * V?
Start sitting deep in the mini cave on a jug and head out and up. Cramped, with grainy holds – hence the one star – but the moves are interesting. The stand is V0.

3) No Solution ** V5
The arête to the left of Humper and the right of Living Small. Start with a seam for your left, the arête at an equivalent height for your right, and god knows what for your feet!

4) Living Small * V4
Climb the short arete on its left side, starting with right on the arête itself and left on tiny tiny crystals on the left wall.

5) Living Small (sds) *** V8
A short but extremely fierce line up the small arête. Start sat at the base of the prow and head straight up via compression and small holds.

Chris Jenks nailing a quick repeat of Living Small (sds) (V8). Photo: Royce Ferguson

Thumper Bloc

1) Thumper ** V2
Start matched on a good sloper. Paste your feet on the wall, pull on (no jumping for the top!) and fire up and left to the slopey lip.

2) Easy Corner ** V0
Start right hand with a good (but high) edge. Stacking pads allowed if you can’t reach it. Top it out.

3) Project
The arête in the back of the Thumper boulder has a possible line that could go. Looks fingery, high stand starts look easy but reachy.

4) Project
Starting from underclings, slap up to slopers and top out. Pretty much impossible for all but the tall.

Sculpted Bloc

1) Project
From a stand, climb straight up over a so-so landing. Not obvious how a line would go. Not been tried.

2) Jug Haul ** V1
From the huge jug at the lip, make a move up and left to a poor sloper. From there continue up past grainy slopers and dishes to the top.

The bloc beneath the Sculpted Bloc also has a short single line on it.

3) V-Tennie ** V3
Start standing with two slopers, pull on, and head straight up. The arête and the separate boulder to the right are off limits.

Central Boulders

The next major cluster of boulders along the summit ridge line, with a good concentration of high quality lines in a relatively small area

The Campaign Bloc

The main boulder on the summit ridge has a long blank face along the path, with a more featured (but crumbly) narrow face looking back towards the east sector. These faces offer up several highly worthwhile lines.

1) Pain Campaign ** V4
Start matched in the lowest of the huge pockets, with feet on the back wall. Crank up and right to more huge holds and a more tricky top out. A dyne variant is al possible at about the same grade.

2) Smear Campaign *** V7
The epitome of a one-move wonder. Start from small crimps on the slopey rail, find imaginary holds for your feet and then make a big slap left for the jug on Pain Campaign. Finish up that problem. Using a sneaky heel on the Pain Campaign to start is considered most unsportsmanlike like and is out of bounds for the full tick.

3) Pure Campaign *** V9
Start with left hand on the slopey rail and right on a crimp high up to the right. Slap for the top. One move of shear desperation. If you find this easy, try extending the problem from the start of Smear Campaign to gain an extra move of utter desperation (Note: this variant hasn’t been sent yet).

4) Beached Lightyear ** Ungradable!
This is one to test your slam dunk / ninja warrior ability! Take a good run up, plant a foot on the wall and then leap for the top of the bloc. Mantle to finish.

5) Meathook ** V5
From a high start with a good (but crumbly) right hand and a slopey hold out left on the lip, pull up and attack the bulge above to somehow gain the juggy lip out left.

The featured wall right of Meathook provides the easiest way back down off this block, at about VB.

6) Frodo Lives *** V8
The left side of the arête from a crouching start, with moon shaped slopey edge for the left and the arête at an equivalent height for the right.

Polar Bear Bloc

Directly opposite the Campaign Bloc is another large and featured boulder that provides lines of very different styles. Bring a good supply of skin for some of the slopers on this one!

1) Doo Doo Dab (sds) * V4
Start matched on the arête and head straight up.

2) Sandy Crack (sds) * V2
From a sit with good side pulls follow the crack up and left.

3) Sandy Slopers (sds)* V6
Start as for Sandy Crack but exit early to finish up the right side of blank scoop mid-way along, topping out almost directly above your start position.

4) Quechua (sds) ** V6
Sit start with left on the crack and right out on a pinch beneath the prow. Slap your way up either side of the prow to gain the slopey arête above.

5) Polar Bears Love Ice (sds) ** V4
Start matched in the lowest break. From here move up the breaks above to the very rounded lip above. Using a microscope to identify holds, turn the lip to get established on the slab above.

6) Project
Sit start low on the lip right of Polar Bears. Traverse the lip, making use of the breaks when they come in to reach, before continuing all the way across the face and around the corner to finish as for #4.

Crystal Blocs

Located just behind the Polar Bear bloc on the northern side of the hill are a couple more boulders with interesting problems on their northern faces.

1) Crystal Clear (sds) *** V6
Start matched on the low rail. From here pull up and right to holds on the arête before finishing directly above the start hold using a poor sloper on the face. A direct version avoiding the arête also seems feasible.

#2 and #3 are on the next bloc behind the Crystal Bloc and haven’t been tried yet, however both look well doable and not that hard.

CHV Bloc

The area on the southern side of the hill and beneath the Central Sector has several scattered blocs that are well worth seeking out, in particular the CHV Arete which is one of the best problems in the whole Hillside Area. The other boulders nearby tend to be very grainy and loose and will typically give you a quartz shower if you try to climb them.

1) CHV Arete (Left) ** V1
The left side of the prominent arête gives a good introduction to technical lay backing, fortunately with some good holds out left of the arête itself to ease the overall technicality.

2) CHV Arete *** V3
A must climb problem of the area that is reminiscent of the classic Crescent Arete at Stanage Edge in the UK, all be it a mirror version and with slightly less positive holds. Balance your way up the right side of the arête through some classic smeary lay backing. FYI: CHV = Chris Hates Vegetation.

3) Warm Up Slab * VB
The cracks on the right side of the slab give a good little warm up, and also the easiest line back down the boulder too.

The Undertaker

Located a bit further down the hillside (about 5 minutes hike) is another boulder with a single very worthwhile line on it.

1) The Undertaker *** V4
From undercuts in the crack, where it starts to branch out left, paste on your feet, grab some tiny crystals out right and then make your way to the very slopey top out above.

2) The Undertaker (sds) *** V5
The sit start. From narrow slots low down in the vertical crack and a good foothold, gain the start of the original line and then finish up this.

West Side

The next major cluster of boulders back up on the summit ridge

Dragon Ball

The large prominent boulder has several lines partially up its faces, the entire bloc simply being too big (and a little crumbly) for any sane boulder out there.

1) Arete ** V0
To the right of the main bloc is a prominent arête. Climb this on its right side.

2) The Mangler *** (Project)
More of a route than a boulder problem, but a beast of a jamming crack regardless of how you decide to approach it.

3) Dragon Thigh (sds) ** V4

4) Dragon Eye (sds) *** V5
The thin crack on the left side of the face yields to a combination of side pulls, slopers and shear determination. Finish at the obvious shelf halfway up the block and careful descend form here.

Dragon’s Slab

To the right of The Arete and above a footpath is a large slabby wall.

1) Gully Arete ** V1
The left arête of the slab wall provides a nice exercise in smeary lay backing.

2) Dragon’s Slab (Project)
Theres just about enough crystals and ripples on the slab to make a line up is middle part conceivable.

3) The Flake * V1
Start with the hollow looking flake high up and climb the right side of the slab. More fun if you avoid the crack on the right.

4) Stepping Stones * VB
The short wall on the backside of the gully.


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