The first few routes of Lions Rock’s West Face are located on a small block just to the left of the main crag:
1) Cat Shit F7a
The rock encountered in the initial few metres is as soft as…so use bolts 1 and 2 for direct aid then go to work.
FA: Francis Haden and Donna Kwok (2017)
2) Confined to the Cattery F7a+
Finger shredding madness tackling the vertical crack / weakness on the far lefthand end of the wall. Start from a raised ledge. Step off the ledge using the only good holds on the route, push on, to a series of pockets and bouldery crux reach for better holds. Remaining climbing holds your focus until a lower off above.
FA: Francis Haden, Donna Kwok (2017)
3) Sauriaphobia * F6a (originally a trad E1 5b)
Climb the grubby central crack to the left of Henry’s Walk, using the overhanging crack on the right to start (Trad). Recently retro-bolted with a new, inferior, start to the left of the crack.
F.A. M. Puttnam & L. Griener (1994)
Retrobolted by unknown party
4) Henry’s Walk * F5+
Follow the obvious leftward slanting crack line to just right of S before heading vertically up.
F.A. G. Pilcher (1994)
5) The Pilcher * F6a
Start below the crack on the right side of the face. Follow this to the ledge and traverse left to join the finish of Henry’s Walk.
F.A. G. Pilcher (1994)
6) Obsession F6a+
Climb the left hand wall of the corner to the right of Henry’s Walk.
F.A. G. Pilcher (1995)
Classic Multi-pitch Climbs
P) Prelude – F4
Climb the easy slab up to the grassy ledges. Originally quite poorly protected but now littered with bolts.
F.A. G. Pilcher (1992)
G) Gweilo *** F6a
A Hong Kong Classic offering relatively amenable climbing in a stunning situation.
Warning: As of October 2020, for inexplicable reasons the Hong Kong Police Force (allegedly) have chopped the bolts above the tree on the last pitch rendering this pitch pretty much unsafe to climb for the time being! A fine use of our taxes (not…)
Pitch 1 (F4+): Start up the grassy gully before trending right to blocks below a dark overlap. Follow a rightward trending flake to a belay at the base of the right hand corner.
Pitch 2 (F5): Take the right hand corner crack, belaying on the ledge above (as for Wards Groove).
Pitch 3 (F5): Make a short traverse right and climb around the corner to a large ledge. Belay at its far side.
Pitch 4 (F6a): Climb a short way up the wall above before traversing right to a small tree (crux). Follow the grooves above to the summit. Rope signals should be prearranged for this pitch as communication is difficult.
F.A. G. Pilcher & T. Brown (1991)
W) Wards Groove *** F6b
The original line up the crag and still one of its most interesting lines.
Warning: In the interests of ‘patriotism’ and the further development of trad climbing in HK, our caring Government kindly chopped the bolts on (and at the top of) the last pitch of this climb in Nov 2021. Trad gear is now needed to safely finish this route.
Pitch 1 (F4+): Start up the grassy gully before trending right to blocks below a dark overlap. Follow a rightward trending flake to a belay at the base of a corner. Little in the way of fixed protection, can be better protected with wires, friends etc.
Pitch 2 (HVS 5b): Take the left hand corner crack before swinging right to a belay just below the lions head. (Trad). This pitch can be avoided by climbing pitch 2 of Gweilo.
Pitch 3 (F6b): Climb up the crack and chimney directly above the belay.
Pitch 4 (F6a+) Step left from the belay, using the tree if necessary, and climb onto the right hand side of the lions head. Finish up the short wall above.
F.A. J. Ward & J. Bunnell (1958)
Retrobolted by unknown parties sometime in the 1990’s
F) Feline Phrenology ** F7a
Pitch 1 (F6b): Climb Reunion II.
Pitch 2 (HVS 5b): Climb the left hand corner crack, as for Pitch 2 of Wards Groove, but don’t traverse right at the top. (Trad – small wires and friends.) A better alternative these days is to climb Feline Fee to avoid the need for trad gear on just one pitch.
Pitch 3 (F6c): Climb the cracks and shallow grooves in the wall above. Belay at the large ledge. A short but sustained pitch.
Pitch 4 (F7a): Move left and climb the undercut corner crack, very technical. Continue more easily diagonally across the slab above to a final exposed move.
F.A. M. Lancaster & F. Nell (1993)
Single Pitch Lines on the West Face
1) Waikiki Beach ** HVS 5a
Start as for Gweilo Pitch 1 and head left where the flake curves right. Continue up and slightly right to a ledge and abseil chain. (Trad) A good alternative start to Feline Phrenology.
F.A. T. Brown, R. Wilkinson, & M, Eckhardt (1994)
1a) Space Odyssey E1 5b
Start as Gweilo, up the grassy gully and stretch across to ledges on Wakiki Beach, move back left and up to small ledge. Continue up (slightly left) then go right to the Wakiki Beach belay (Bold).
F.A. Martin Foakes, Tim Brown (1994)
2) Feline Free * F6a
A much needed alternative to Pitch 2 of Feline Phrenology that means you can go bottom to top of that route without needing to bring a trad rack along to link bits of it together. From the belay at the top of Reunion II, head left up the tricky ramp and then follow the arête above to reach the belay at the base of Pitch 3 of Feline Phrenology.
F.A. Francis Haden & Donna Kwok (2014)
3) Double Espresso ** F8a+
Start at the end of Pitch 2 of Gweilo. Tackle the blank slab and wall in the centre of the ‘open book’ (which can be climbed as an excellent little slab test piece to the Gweilo anchor in it’s own right, 4a) Single Espresso ** F7b) before launching up the steep headwall above via outrageous dynamic moves in a wild position.
F.A. Rocky Lok (2005)
4) Reunion II ** F6b
Climb directly up the wall to the left of Gweilo, pitch 1 via a long reach to a small shelf and the crack above.
F.A. M. Lancaster, G. Pilcher & M. Nichols (1992)
5) Unemployment Line ** F6a
A fine alternative to Pitch 2 of Gweilo. Climb the arête and slab to the right of Gweilo Pitch 2.
F.A. Mark Nichols (1992)
6) Topcat * HVS 5b
Pitch 1 (HVS 5a): Follow the obvious crack line, steep at first, moving right to a belay. (Trad)
Pitch 2 (HVS 5b): Move back to the crack, climb up easily to the blocks above making a final hard move to the belay. (Trad)
7) Aslan * E2 6a
Start approx 5m. to the right of Prelude. Scramble up the grassy ledges and start up a short corner before moving right into the main crack line. Follow this to crux moves at its exit. Belay off to the left as for Reunion II, placing protection on the traverse to safe guard the second. (Trad)
F.A. M. Lancaster & R. Mugglestone (1993)
8) Fickle Felines ** F6b
Start by traversing right from the top of Prelude to a new two bolt belay with abseil chains on a good ledge at the base of the main crack of Aslan. Clip a bolt on the rib to the right then step right into Cats and Dogs for a move until it is possible to step back left to the rib. The same point can be gained by climbing directly up the rib but is more difficult. Move up for a few meters and then make a rising traverse rightwards (crux) to the edge of the Cats and Dogs belay ledge. Step left around the rib above and then climb insecurely in a fine position until easier ground and the abseil/belay station is reached.
F.A. P. Collis & A. Thomson (2003)
9) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof * F7b
The direct on Fickle Feline, tackling the obvious blunt roof and technical groove above. Follow FF (start re-bolted so no longer run out) to the rest where FF moves right. Boulder the hard wall above to an all out dyno to latch crucial holds on the lip of the roof. Crank over then reposition and stretch for better holds that lead into the technical groove. Final exit moves lead to easier ground and the shared anchor of Fickle Feline.
F.A. Francis Haden (2016)
10) Walking on Sunshine *** F7b+
Warning: The final bolts at the junction with Wards Grooves have been chopped so this route can’t be safely finished at present
An airy variation to the final pitch of Feline Phrenology. From the ledge make tricky moves up and rightwards onto the Lions Head with nothing but thin air beneath your heals. Continue diagonally right until it is possible to rock round onto the final slab of Wards Grooves. Belay here and then finish up Wards Groove.
F.F.A. Rocky Lok or Jacky Tang (not sure who did it first??)
Stuart Millis on Walking on Sunshine (F7b+). Photo: Willy Muirhead
11) Feisty Feline * F7b
Powerful and sustained climbing up the steepest part of the Scardy Cat headwall. The belay can be reached by abseiling down the West face descent route and swinging across, or from the end of the fourth pitch on Gweilo. Shortly above the belay, a powerful extended move gains the prominent undercut by the third bolt. Lock off, clip the fourth bolt above then power out right to gain another crucial undercut. A final power move back left gains a large but hidden jug in the scoop above and a welcome but cramped rest. Break out left from the scoop and sprint up the bulging wall above to a final pull onto a ledge and bolt belay Cat
F.A. Francis Haden (2014)
12) Scaredy Cat * F6c+
Start as for pitch 4 of Gweilo. Climb a up the wall before traversing right to a small tree, as for Gweilo. Climb a short way up the groove above before breaking out left across the wall to the arete. Swing around the arete (crux) and climb the wall above. It is possible to belay just after swinging around the arete in order to avoid horrendous rope drag.
F.A.P. Collis (2000) – with one rest point
F.F.A. S. Millis & A. Christensen (2002)
13) Cat and Mouse F6c
Starts from the Belay at the end of Fickle Feline / Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Climb the hard short wall left of the belay, to an obvious groove above which is followed to join Gweilo before the mantle onto the terrace.
F.A. F. Haden & D Kwok (2017)
14) Cats and Dogs ** F6a+
Pitch 1 (VS 4c): Start up the left hand side of the pinnacle and move left into a small crack/groove near its crest. Follow the groove right to a bolt (Trad).
Pitch 2 (F6a+): Fom the belay ledge climb diagonally right and then up to a short crack. Belay on the stance above.
Pitch 3 (HVS 5b): Follow the left hand crack and then traverse right across the slab to a large ledge and belay stance (Trad).
F.A. M. Lancaster & F. Nell (1991)
15) Jet Roar ** F6b+
Start up Catastrophe (Route 15) and move left to a small slab. Continue out left onto the face and then follow the groove above, exiting on its left (crux). Follow the awkward right hand crack line above. Belay above Catastrophe.
F.A. M. Lancaster & P. Dockery (1992)
20) Kitten Claws F7a
Start as for Jet Roar. From the second bolt on Jet Roar, step right and make technical moves to gain the small groove above. Climb directly past the sixth bolt using a good edge out left and so gain good holds that lead right into Catastrophe. Follow Catastrophe for several meters to a ledge then leave the groove / crack by way of an exposed step left onto the wall via a series of small edges that end at a small hand ledge. Follow the technical slab above to an anchor.
F.A. Francis Haden (2012)
C) Catastrophe HVS 5a
Climb the obvious chimney / crack, leaving only for a short section near the top.
21) Pussy Galore * F6c
Scramble up the gully until it is possible to step onto the wall at the level of the first bolts. Move up and right using the arete and holds on the right wall to reach easy ground. Follow this up the arete to reach a steeper head wall. Make a series of committing moves up the arete / wall and then follow the right side of the arete, with occasional rest stances on the arete itself, to the large ledge and belay anchors.
F.A. Stuart Millis, Christophe Terasse and Paul Collis (2009)
22) The Arete ** F6a
Start just right of the main face at a small off width crack, jam up this to the ledge above – those not liking jamming or rope drag may wish to avoid this section and scramble up to the ledge. Stride left onto the arete and climb up it with minor excursions either side in search of holds, easy but very run out in central section. Keep left near the top and follow Catastrophe to the anchor.
F.A. G. Pilcher & M. Lancaster (1991)
23) Groove Finish *** F6b
A better alternative finish to The Arete is to move right into the groove near its crest and follow its right hand edge to the top.
F.A. M. Lancaster & P. Dockery (1992)
24) Hello Kitty ** F7a
Follow the thin leftwards trending groove line to a tricky finish on the headwall above.
F.A. S. Millis & S. Yip (2004)
25) Firecracker ** F6c
Climb the overhanging layback crack directly above the final belay of Cats and Dogs.
F.A. M. Lancaster (1992) – bolted by G. Pilcher
26) Dancing with Fire ** F7b+
Climb the line of old aid bolts directly above the ledge, traversing left to join Firecracker at the base of the groove.
F.A. Rocky Lok (1998)
27) The Power of Love *** F8b
An awesome looking line tackling the obvious headwall directly above the belay ledge of the Arete (between Dancing with Fire and Balance of Power).
F.A. Rocky Lok (2009)
28) Balance of Power ** F7a
Warning: Likely to be missing bolts thanks to the stupidity of certain Government bodies.
A spectacular free climb up the line of the old aid route Gerbolt. The free line does not exactly follow the original line. From the belay of The Arete step right and climb the arete to the top of the obvious groove. Traversing about 3.0m right and climb up the wall above, past a single bolt, to a good jug and rest. Move back left on to the arete itself and make exposed moves past old bolts up to a sloping ledge, possible belay. Follow the arete and cracks to the summit.
F.A. S. Monks (1992)
Routes 1-10: Abseil down the line of Wards Groove / Gweilo (Anchors in place as of Dec 2020)
Roues 11-16: As for 1-8 if topping out. Abseil down the line of The Arete (30m)