This small crag is perched on the lower slope of Sui Ma Shan above upper Tai Hang valley. Unusual for a Hongkong crag the base is not in the forest, so you have great views of Wan Chai, Central, Victoria Harbour, Tsim Sha Tsui and beyond. Splendid place to watch the sun set behind Victoria Peak and the city lighting up below you. The downside is that Sunset Wall faces due west and can be hot if in full afternoon sun. Mornings and cloudy afternoons are best during warm days.
Sunset Wall is another satellite of Monkey Buttress, along with Garden Buttress, Morning Buttress and a couple others yet to come. All are composed of the same Mount Butler Granite formation that covers much of northeastern Hong Kong Island.
A mini-guide for the crag can also be downloaded here.
The easiest access, or at least the most familiar, is from the west end of Braemar Hill Road across from the Monkey Buttress access trail. This is a short distance up the street from the Braemar Hill Bus Terminus, with many large- and mini-bus options available. Start the approach hike by hopping the railing directly across from the Monkey Butt trailhead. Follow the well-trodden trail around the fence line to the base of a stairway. A short climb will bring you to a large trail called Sir Cecil’s Ride. Turn right and follow Cecil’s for 1.5 km to where it ends on Mount Butler Road. Turn right again and follow the road for 100 m to a stream crossing. Go right yet again, scramble down the steep, rocky stream course for 200 m to the crag. The approach takes about 30 minutes. See map at end of guide.
From the other direction, you can take the 24M minibus from Admiralty MTR to Mount Butler housing estate. Walk Mount Butler Road around the valley for 1.25 km to where you start the descent scramble to the crag. For those with vehicles, you can drive up Mount Butler Road. There are parking spots along road, including one near the point where the footpath from Monkey Buttress joins the road, about 100m beyond the point where the stream to access the crag crosses the road.
1 – Beeware ** F6b+
Follow the seam until you pull around the arete below the roof. Haul onto the ledge and clip the anchors.
FA: Ron Roy, Renée Mullen, Bob Moseley (2020)
2 – Ratatouille F6b+
Climb the lower wall via a series of rails until a hard move brings you to the overhang. From here, use the crack and arete to get established in a layback for a final sprint to the anchors. An eliminate avoiding all holds on the right side of the crack is also possible at about F6c+.
FA: Ron Roy, Bob Moseley, Renée Mullen (2020)
3 – Rat Race! *** F6a
Name is a nod to both the Chinese zodiac and Bob Marley. Mostly a face climb but makes liberal use of the angular off-width for a lie-back or two.
FA: Renée Mullen and Bob Moseley (2020)
4. Year of the Rock Rat ** F6a+
Start at off-width and transition to face above. Crux comes at the transition mid-way.
FA: Bob Moseley and Renée Mullen (2020)
The next set of climbs are on the wall to right, around corner from Rock Rat. It’s overhung about 10 degrees.
5 – Borat ** F7a+ (Previously F6b before the tree feel off the start)
The hanging flake line in the upper wall is gained by a series of powerful moves low down, involving shallow underclings, poor slopers and some slaps up the arête. Once positive holds at the bottom of the flake are obtained, launch up and right along the series of positive, but spaced, flakes to reach the anchor.
FA: Ron Roy, Bob Moseley, Renée Mullen, (2020)
FA (Sans Tree): Tom Tam (2020)
6 – Unfinished Business ** F7c
A very hard line up the middle of the wall (probably a bit of a sandbag as Dennis doesn’t realise how good a climber he actually is…)
FA: Dennis Kwok (2021)
Equipped by Ron Roy (2020)
7 – Ratnarok *** F6c
Follow seam and shallow crack system on far right of face. Sustained from the first move, building all the way to a pumpy crux at top. Very fun and frustratingly easy to fail at the last minute…
FA: Ron Roy, Renée Mullen, Bob Moseley, (2020)
8 – Closed Project (please respect and leave alone until further notice)
Steeply overhanging, south-facing wall around corner from Ratnarok.
Equipped by Ron Roy.
A story about development of Sunset Wall:
We first studied this crag back in 2017 but went onto other projects instead. Upon revisiting it sometime in mid-2018 we found that anchors had been (oddly) placed on three potential lines, but no other evidence of climbing activity (for example, no gardening of heavily vegetated lines). After a bunch more projects, we returned in the last days of 2019 to find that there had been no new activity during the past year and a half. So, we went to work and a couple of months later came up with this – Sunset Wall. And the earlier bolts turned out to be mostly spinners (use only glue-ins and stay away from any expansion bolts that remain).
Bob Moseley, March 2020