Final Frontier

Access

The bouldering areas on Tai Mo Shan are all accessed from Tai Mo Shan Road, which in itself is accessed from Route Twisk. For those approaching on public transport,  your best bet is to take the MTR to Tsuen Wan or Tsuen Wan West Stations. From either of these you can then take the #51 Lui Kung Tin Tsuen bus to Tai Mo Shan Country Park Visitor Centre. From here you’ll have to hike up Tai Mo Shan Road a fair way to reach the bouldering areas themselves. A better option is to just grab a taxi from the MTR station to avoid (or at least cut down) the amount of hiking needed.

Final Frontier

The Final Frontier is the last notable area on the southern side of Tai Mo Shan, situated further south of the Switchback Boulders. This area is best accessed by following the approach to the Firehouse Boulders and then breaking left along a dirt trail that contours the hillside and brings you to the bottom of the Switchback Sector (Triple Sloper bloc). Shortly after this the trail veers off to the right towards a boulder covered small summit (Soft Tips Sector), which marks the start of the Final Frontier.

Notable potential for further development remains in the areas to the west and south of the lines documented here, for those willing to make the 45 minute trek out there and then spend a considerable amount of time gardening that is…

Soft Tips Bloc

1) White Mule * V3
The left side of the arete, starting from whatever you can reach.

2) White Mule (sds) * V7
The sit start to White Mule from the arête and a poor undercut side pull out on the left wall.

3) Go Big and Go Home (sds) ** V5
Start matched on the low rail and, avoiding the wall to the left, crack your way up the steep wall to a dynamic finish.

4) Grotbags Corner V0
The corner crack between the two blocs

5) Project Arete
The overhanging arête will give a stunning line for someone keen enough to give it a good clean and put n the time to working it

6) McNuggets ** V2
Climb the assorted chickenhead protrusions in the middle of the wall.

7) Dihedral Dyno *** V4
Using a collection of small protrusions for hands (avoiding the chickenheads on McNuggets) and slightly larger footholds on either wall, climb the wide open corner which may or may not require a bit of a pop for the top.

Gonzalo Carranza holding the swing on Dihedral Dyno (V4). Photo: Stuart Millis

8) Blunt Bulge
The short blunt bulge above the slab looks like it will yield a short punchy problem, starting sat using the pocket around the left side and whatever you can find for the right.

9) Soft Tips (sds) *** V8
Sit start on the sloping ledge beneath the stepped overlap, just left of an adjacent boulder. Make powerful moves between the various ledges and cracks splitting the overlap until big moves (above the edge of the adjacent boulder) bring the top.

10) Stretch Armstrong ** V5
Use undercut holds to get established stood on the shelf and holding the triangular block above. From here make a committing rock over to get stood next to the block and established on the slab above. Finish slightly right using good holds on the arete. A unique problem for much of HK, requiring balance and technique rather than sheer crimp strength.

11) Chock’a Khan ** V4
Wedged between the Soft Tips Bloc and another adjacent boulder is a large undercut chockstone. Starting from matched handholds on the ledge left of this, work your way up and right along the lip of the bloc to its highest point, where a precarious rockover left lets you get standing atop it.

Ron Roy getting his groove on with Chock’a Khan (V4). Photo: Stuart Millis

Starship’s Boulder

Located about 30 m across the hillside from the Soft Tips Bloc is another small cluster of boulders including the Starship’s Boulder and Jabba’s Bloc.

1) Starship’s were Made to Fly * V5
Start matched on the undercut break on the left side of the face. From here, paste your feet on poor smears and slap for the top, being careful not to dab the block on the left. Mantle to finish.

2) Starship Enterprise (sds) * (Project)
The sit start to Starship’s involves transitioning from a painful hand jam into the undercut starting position for the original problem. Still awaiting a complete ascent even though individual moves have all been done.

Jabba’s Bloc

1) The Funk ** V4
The vertical wall around the corner from Jabba, starting from a high right in the seam and a lower left, gives a short but testy little line.

2) Jabba the Hut ** V7
Boulderers in HK will love this one as it gives them a legitimate reason to use a crouching start rather than a full and proper sit start! Start crouched low down using two holds on the inclined shelf. Move up from these to a bad hold in the vertical crack above, before launching out left and eventually fridge hugging your way up the steep narrow face.

3) Alien Slug * V1
The slab wall right of Jabba

Big Willies Bloc

Located down the hillside from Jabba (about 5 minutes walk) is a gully between two blocks with a few lines either side.

1) PE Arete ** V2
Start matched on the rail beneath the the roof. From this, grapple with the slopey arête above before eventually rocking over to the slab to finish.

2) Big Willie Style *** V6/7
From a positive right chickened and low left, make a series of left hand bumps, including a very large one to hopefully nail the top of the bloc.

3) Project
Start on the obvious rail and then tackle the wall above via a collection of very small crystals.

Quickdraw Blocs

Contouring the hillside south of Jabba’s Bloc for about 30 m will bring you to a trio of blocks with big, but relatively easy, lines on the east face and a shorter but more interesting faces on the back side. The safest descent from this block is to climb down the approximate line of Quickdraw, jumping the last few feet to the ground.

1) Buddha’s Arete ** V3
The left arete of the back face is a fine climb that’s over far too quickly. Needs a sit start adding too.

2) Quickdraw ** V6
A deceptive problem that looks like it should be quite easy, but isn’t. Start on two positive but small crimps on the left side of the wall, beneath a shallow pocket. Either with or without the pocket, climb directly up the face.

3) Hanging Tuff ** V4
Just right of Quickdraw are more crimps in a continuation of the same seam. Use these and a positive foothold out left to launch for the top of the boulder.

4) One Trick Pony * V5
Start on the lower platform on the right side of the face and climb this using an assortment of tiny pockets and poor fee to eventually gain a good pocket a few feet beneath the top, from which one last big pull brings the lip and much relief.

5) Give It The Middle F * V3
The short wall to the right of the main Quickdraw face succumbs to technical and balance pocket pulling.

The front side of the bloc also has one absolute king line V6 and potential for several more lines for those brave enough.

1) Slow Burn * V0
Start one the right side of the ledge on the edge of the boulder and shuffle your way left across this to gain a thing flake feature. Finish using this above a slightly high and worrying landing.

2) Redemption *** V6
Powerful, technical and committing climbing makes this a true king line. Attack the overhanging face by compression moves using each arête and pockets in the face, before continuing up the hanging arête above to an insecure top out.

Utopia Boulder

A stunning but large bloc (about 7 to 8 m tall) with several easy’ish (but tall) lines and a couple of potential highball king line projects. Lines are described counterclockwise from the south face.

1) Elysium * V1
Starting from the left arete and pockets to the right of this, climb the bulging wall to several lay back pods, which are followed to the top.

2) Gattaca ** V3
Start spanned between a positive pocket for the left and two finger pocket for the right. Move up to a large shallow pocket before trending left to, and then up, the exposed open groove

3) Zion * V2
The middle of the wall has a crack low down, pockets in the middle and a well defined crack/groove higher up. Link these together.

4) Project
The wall lower down and right is split by a flared crack. Use this and the arete out right to somehow climb it.

5) Paradise Lost *** Project
The middle of the downhill face is split by a gently overhanging open book groove. Getting established in this is tricky, with moving up to attain the snake eye pockets on the lip likely to be equally hard.

6) London Calling ** V1
The crack trending out along the lip of the overhanging wall will feel easy to those who’ve mastered the dark art of jamming and desperate to those yet to attain this skill.

Enterprise Boulders

1) Breaking the Ice VB
A short warm up climb over the shelf on the right side of the face.

2) NCC-1701 ** VB
The middle of the upper bloc is split by an obvious flake in its upper part. Gain this and then climb it.

3) Captain’s Log * V1
The left arete of the face, on it’s slabby right side. The arete can also be climbed on its left side at about the same grade.

4) Equinox * V1
Climb the slabby right side of the face on the lower bloc.

5) Constitution * V2
Climb the left arête of the lower block on its right hand side.

6) Project
The arête of the lower bloc on its left side gives a much higher and harder feeling proposition than its neighbour. Unlikely to be that hard but slightly worrying given the smeary nature and propensity of the rock surface to crumble a bit.

7) Excelsior ** V0
The curving sickle shaped arete provides a fine introduction to smeary lay back climbing.

8) Warp Speed (sds) ** V5
Sit start with a curving side pull for the left and small crimp for the right. From these, tackle the back arete of the bloc using an assortment of crimps side pulls and slopers.

9) Ambassador (sds) ** V3
The main arête of the bloc on its right hand side provides a fine exercise in technical lay backing and smearing, with a slightly worrying top out too.

10) Sovereign ** V2
The other side of the arête (avoiding the block to the left) is a far more comfortable proposition.

11) Universe * VB
Lay back up the short corner crack before finishing up the slab above the ledge.

12) Odyssey * VB
The slab on the front face of the leaning block can be climbed almost anywhere at about the same grade.

Voyager Blocs

Just down the ridge from the Enterprise Boulders is another collection of large highball slabs (Vengeance Blocs) with a cluster of smaller blocs situated just beneath them. These house several fun short lines.

1) Dragon’s Teeth (sds) ** V2
Sit start on positive (but sharp) jugs on the left of the short steep face before traversing the lip right to its highest point. Either finish direct here or rock round to the right and on to the slab.

2) Voyager (sds) ** V4
Sit start precariously on the right arete of the steep face. Pull up and gain a positive pocket on the lip before making a leap of faith out left for a positive pocket just below the lip. Finish direct through the tallest part of the boulder.

3) Transwarp Coil * V5
A real one move wonder. Somehow establish yourself on the left arête of the face and, once static, make a desperate slap for the lip above. From here joyfully bounce your way right along the juggy lip to top out at its far end.

Vengeance Blocs

The only lines currently attempted on these blocs are all located on the lower and easiest angled boulder, and both featured around its upper arete. Be warned, getting off this bloc requires a precarious and worrying jump / step / swing on to the bloc behind. Not for the faint hearted.

1) Vengeance * V1
Climb the slabby front face of the boulder, making good use of the right arete and, once closer to the top, the other arete too.

2) Star Into Darkness ** V0
The right arete of the front face, climbed on its right hand side, also gives a fun arete climb.

Discovery Bloc

This is the first notable bloc reached on the final ridge line before the slopes start to drop south towards Kowloon.

1) Number One (sds) * V1
The slabby wall on the right of the bloc, starting from a sit with hands matched in the large break.

2) Kirk * V2
Climb the narrow face between the two aerates, veering left towards the top to stand on the positive chicken heads around the corner.

3) Across the Universe ** V3
Start on the right edge of the face, matched on the arête. From here, traverse the crimp rail left and all the way across the face to finish up the far arête.

4) Star Trekin ** V5
Start on a positive chicken head and crimp on the left side of the face. Move up and right from these via more small knobbles to eventually gain positive crimps in the middle of the crimp rail. Finish direct.

5) Star Craft ** V4
Start as for Star Trekin but this time also make use of the left arête of the face to gain the crimp rail and an easier finish up the arête.

6) Spock’s Shuffle (sds) ** V3
Sit start matched on the far right of the shelf. Shuffle your way left along this to the far arête, where a tricky rock over / mantle hopefully brings the top.

7) Scotty * V1
Stand start using holds on either arete and climb the narrow face on the downhill side of the bloc.

8) Beam Me Up (sds) ** V4
The sit start to Scotty, using side pull crimps on either side of the face.

9) Uhura * V0
The right hand slab gives a pleasant introduction to the slabs hereabouts.

10) Sulu * V1
Make a tricky high step to get established on the slab, which is then followed with ease to the top of the boulder.

The Spice Bloc

Located just down the ridge from the Trekin Bloc and directly above the footpath is a tall slab.

1) Leftism V1
Climb the left side of the slabby wall.

2) Spice up Your Life ** V3
Start on the left side of the slab at a positive small pocket and crimp. From here balance and teeter your way spicely up and right across the wall to finish at its highest point.

3) Take That * V2
The right arête of the slab has a tricky start, followed by a committing finish.

Domino Blocs

Slightly further down the ridge from the Spice Bloc is a large boulder with a proud arête (XXXX) facing the path and series of stacked blocs just around the corner.

1) Domino Dancing * V2
Climb the right side of the face on the left most bloc, starting from the horizontal break and using a positive pocket to gain the arête above the balanced bloc. All parts of other boulders are out of bounds.

2) Go West ** V1
The left arête of the middle bloc provides some fun lay backing, with positive hand holds but poor feet.

3) Suburbia * V1
Climb the left arête of the main boulder, making use of the crack to the right where necessary.

4) Pet Shop Boy ** V0
The sickle shaped crack is easier than it looks, largely due to the presence of the large foot ledge low down.

5) Left to My Own Devices *** V4
The steep arête above the footpath requires powerful moves low down using crimps on the face and the crack out right to gain the juggy ledge, from which full on commitment is required for the easier but intimidating top out.

Pocket Bloc

The final notable bloc on the main ridge before the path disappears down the hillside.

1) Project (sds)
Sit start with right in a good pocket and left undercutting another pocket low down. Pull on from these and use pockets and pebbles to attack the wall above.

2) Power Pocket (sds) ** V3
Sit start with a small positive pocket for the right and the arête for the left. Make powerful moves up to good crimps before launching for the good flake above.

3) The Slap (Variant) ** V1
Start matched on the good jug in the middle of the wall and slap up and right for either the flake or positive holds just left of this.

4) The Slap *** V4
Start matched on the good jug and slap directly to a small horn like pebble and crimp on the lip above this, avoiding the holds out right.

5) Pocketful of Dreams ** V4
Start with left in the good pocket and right on the arete. Using poor feet, pull on and work you way up the arête above.

6) Short Slab * V1
Climb the short slab on the down hill side of the boulder.

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