The collection of rounded boulders in the river bed of Ma Tai Stream provide a good problems on water eroded (i.e. smooth) granite in a pleasant setting.
A draft PDF for the Ma Tai Stream area can be downloaded here.
Either take the MTR to Tai Shui Hang Station (Exit B to Chevalier Garden) on the Ma On Shan Line or take a bus to Chevalier Garden Bus Terminus (Numbers 803, 85X or 89D). Just north of Chevalier Garden (about 150 m), an obvious single-track road breaks right and follows the drainage channel into the hillside area. Follow this track to the location of a dam at its end (just under 1 km). From here, a staircase on the left leads up the hillside a short way. At the top of the staircase, break right around the edge of the dam area until a small dirt trail leads down to the stream itself. The main wall of Ma Tai Crag should now be apparent. Rock hop your way up the stream course, sticking mostly to the boulders and jungle trails on its left hand side, until it is possible to break right level with the base of the crag. The total approach time is about 30 minutes from the MTR station.
River Solo Bloc
Topo to follow when someone lets me know which bloc this is actually on, should be just downstream of the Channel Bloc and a left to right traverse on the downstream narrow face of a rectangular boulder.
1) River Solo – V4
1) Channel V4
Follow the obvious crack on the stream side of the boulder.
2) Stepping Stone * V2
The uphill side of the boulders has an obvious slopey shelf on its right side. Climb this.
Spice Boy Bloc
Located just behind the Channel Bloc is a cluster of three boulders with several lines up the various faces.
1) Endless World V5
Traverse the lip of the left most bloc from right to left, finishing with a mantle on the left edge.
2) X-Men V7
The narrow face of the central bloc, presumably avoiding use of the crack on the right and starting from a low start matched on the sloping shelf? (TBC)
3) Spice Boy V5
Climb the left arête of the steep undercut face from a low start beneath the roof.
4) Spice Girl V6
Climb the undercut right arête of the steep face.
Immediately up the channel bank from the Spice Boy Bloc is another cluster of three low boulders, with the lip traverse of Piano providing a fine (and sometimes frustrating) little line to get you warmed up.
1) Piano (sds) ** V3
From a sit start at the left end of the ledge, shuffle your way along the lip until the presence of the bloc to your right forces a rock over / mantle onto the featureless and smooth slab above.
2) Bear Hug (sds) * V4
Sit start squeezed between the boulders at a good incut pocket. From this slap and grunt your way up the face above you, being careful not to dab the blocs on either side.
Kung Fu Bloc
Sat atop the slab of the Piano Bloc is a very large boulder with a cluster of lines around the downstream face and arête and several interesting looking projects on its right side. Be warned, this bloc is big and Busy Corner (V2) is the easiest way back down.
1) Kung Fu (Direct) * V7
Start from both hands in the undercling and go directly up, without using the arête to the right.
2) Kung Fu * V6
Start at the undercling and then climb the wall above using both crimps on the face as well as the arête to the right.
3) Busy Corner ** V2
Climb the groove on the right arête of the bloc. However, be warned that this is also the easiest way back down
4) Kneed To Know (sds) ** V5
Sit start on the sloping shelf on the right side of the arête. From here make difficult moves up the right side of the groove to eventually gain a good jug and a long move to a positive crimp. Finish more easily above (or jump off after getting stood on the jug to avoid having to down climb the route above).
5 & 6) Project Wall
The wall right of Busy Corner has potential for a couple of very very hard projects.
Angel’s Angle & Slopey Road
1) Angel’s Angle (sds) *** V7
One of the best problems at Ma Tai. Start matched on the sloping jug at the right end of the lip. Doing your best not to dab the boulder beneath you, work your way right along the seam until it is possible to slap up to holds in the big break once you reach the left end of the lip. Mantle here, avoiding all contact with the bloc to the left of the big crack.
2) Angle Direct (sds) ** V2
Start matched on the same slopey jug as above but instead of traversing all the way along the lip, instead make use of the features just up and left of the start to quickly rock over on to the slab.
3) Slopey Road * V5
Start on the right arête of the bloc and make a right to left traverse along the slopers in the horizontal break, finishing by pulling on to the sloping shelf around the corner from the start holds
4) Diamond Traverse ** V8
Start on the far right side of the bloc and climb the sloping crack to the arete and the start of Slopey Road, which is then followed to the top.
5) Diamond Arete * V3
Climb the arête mid-way along Diamond Traverse at the start of Slopey Road, on its right hand side.
Sharon Deng attacking Angel’s Angle (V6) Photo: Stuart Millis
Just along from the end of Angel’s Angle are a couple more short problems
1) Beginner Arete * V1
The left arête of the bloc is climbed from a stand start on its right side.
2) King Ghost (sds) ** V4
Climb into the recesses of the corner and, from a sit start, fight your way out the overhanging crack above.
The next line is located on the bloc behind Slopey Road, and climbs the arete on the downhill face. Topo to follow.
1) Balance Dance – V2
Fear Wall Bloc
1) Killer Fish (sds) – Project
The extension sit down start to Killer Fish, starting out right and traversing in to the prow to join the stand start.
2) Killer Fish *** V5
The soaring arete requires nerves of steel (and lots of pads)
3) Fear Wall *** V3
Start on the obvious jug below the roof and make tricky moves to pull through the roof in to the groove above. Follow this with trepidation up the slab to thank god holds at the top of the bloc.
The middle of the slab has a small hanging flake in its upper attain. Attain this via thin moves, with an easy finish above.
5) Green Slab – V2
The left hand side of the main face of the boulder, just right of the arete
6) Solomon Arete * V2
Sit start on the right side of the small overhung face and climb directly up the slab and arête above, with tricky moves to turn the lip of the overhang.
7) Big Knife (sds) * V3
Traverse the lip of the wall, right to left, starting on the arête and finishing up the groove near the left side of the wall.
8) Solomon Traverse (sds) ** V4
As for Big Knife but keep going to the far arête and finish using that instead.
9) Second Arete (sds) * V3
Sit start on the arête and a good side pull out right and pull up and into the finish of Solomon Traverse/Big Knife.
10) Hidden Jungle (sds) * V4
The same arête, but around the corner on its left side
11) Hidden Wall V2
Currently rather overgrown and apparently a popular toilet spot for hikers. Not advised…
Just below Fear Wall Bloc, beneath Killer Fish, is another small bloc with a single problem (right to left traverse?) on the face facing the stream. Still need a good topo photo for this one so please send if you have:
X) Party BBQ – V2
Start on the two obvious crimps low down and make hard moves up and right to more positive features. Compose yourself and then launch back left, aiming for the good flake near the top of the wall and making sure not to fall as you’d probably bounce several metres down the steep slab to the left of the start.
2) Amazing Movement (sds) * V6
The arête on the right of the face, starting with right hand on the arête and left on a tiny crimp on the wall.
1) Super Bowl – V8
Start matched on the sloper on the left side of the shelf, moving right slightly from this before attacking the bulging wall above and finishing with difficulty via a tenuous mantle.
2) Happy Tree ** V1
Traverse the branch across the face until it is possible to step off on to the boulder behind you.
Located between the two outcrops at Hero Crag is another small bloc with a couple of lines on it.
1) Beast Press (sds) V4
Sit start with small holds low down on either side of the arête. From here slap your way up the face on the left side of the arête to a tricky top out.
2) Taste of Finger Cut (sds) V7/8
Sit start with small holds low down on either side of the arête and climb the arête itself, staying on the right face.
Almost every time i’ve visited this crag in spring / summer i’ve found a tick either on me or my clothes at some point during the day. These little critters can have some quite nasty health impacts if not dealt with properly. If you find one on yourself, don’t panic and simply follow the removal guidance linked below to take it off: