Ha Fa Shan


By far the quickest and easiest of the boulders to get to, and with one of the more varied circuits, these are the boulders most frequented by Hong Kong’s climbers. Having said this, it’s very rare that you’ll actually meet other climbers up there unless you’ve already arranged to do so!

Ha Fa Shan Guide (PDF Download)


The easiest approach via public transport is to take the MTR to Tsuen Wan and then get a taxi to the end of On Yat Street (ask for Tsuen Wai Fa Yuen). From the end of the road, walk along a concrete footpath which heads left until you reach a small bridge. This point can also be reached by taking the 39M bus from Tsuen Wan to the TL Adventist Hospital and walking up the concrete staircase opposite the hospital entrance.

Once you’ve crossed the bridge turn right and continue up the hill to a catchwater (this point can also be reached by car – limited parking). Continue up the concrete path for about 1/2km until a path breaks right. Contour the hillside a short way on this path before continuing all the way up the hill to small shelter at its top. Turning right on to a small dirt track leads to the Ha Fa Shan Boulders (approx. 5 minutes away), whilst breaking left off the main track and following a dirt path leads to all the other areas (all approx. 25 minutes away).

From the small shelter described in the general approach section, break right and follow a dirt path rightwards up the hillside. The Summit Boulders are reached in about 5 minutes and make a convenient point to base yourself.


Summit Bloc

1) The Classic *** V2
From pockets on the far left hand side of the boulder traverse rightwards along the lip, via an assortment of pockets, jugs and crimps, to the large slopey hold on the far right of the face. Mantleshelf this to the top. A problem which defines the word Classic!

2) North of America (sds) * V4.
Start on two good pockets and launch upwards for good holds at the lip. Mantle to finish.

3) V4 * (sds)
From pockets on the wall reach up to small holds on the sloping shelf above.

4) ?
The direct to the mantle shelf jug at the end of ‘The Classic’ traverse

5) 螳螂拳 (Mantis Boxing) **V10/11
An audacious and desperate line up the tiny crimps and pockets (mostly mono’s) on the left side of the steep, narrow and high face at the end of the boulder. Demands strength, technique and balls in equal measure…

6) Project
One for future generations who learn the art of levitation. The narrow blank face starting form the obvious pebbles / protrusions.

1) Aretenaphobia * V4
The right hand arete of the slightly overhanging face gives a testing problem. Stay true to the arete for the top out.

2) V1 **
Start with both hands in the thin flake and pull up onto the wall above (without using the right hand arete). Finish up the wall on small pockets.

3) VB **
The delightful sharp arete.

4) VB *
Follow the line of shallow pockets up the slabby main face of the boulder.

5) V0 *
Pull through the small overlap and continue up the pockets above.

Highball Bloc

1) Gaston * V3
The thin crack on the left hand side of the face is awkward yet strangely satisfying.

2) V-Notch ** V1
The middle of the face from a stand start

3) V-Notch Sit ** V5
Sit start (one pad max) and use the bottom of the left side pull and one of the low right hand crimps to lift your butt off the floor (crux). Once lifted, crank through to the start holds on the stand start and finish up this. If your butt wasn’t the last thing to leave the floor, you cheated…

4) Self Explosion (sds) * V7
An eliminate starting as for Problem #3, but staying left of the V-notch and climbing through the bulge on small holds to finish (avoiding the crack on Problem #1).

5) Stretch and Slap * V2
The righthand side of the face. Start at an undercut and use small pockets and slopey side pulls to make upwards progress.

1) The Rib * V1
The rib on the left of the face.

2) The Groove ** V2
The prominent left hand groove line has a tricky start and an exposed end.

3) Ramp and Wall *** V3
The ramp and wall to the left of the arete. The crux is at the top when you’re a long way above the floor!

4) Billy No Mates ** V3
Starting left of ‘The Arete’ attack the narrow face right of Ramp and Wall.

5) The Arete *** V1
A gem of a problem up the rounded arete.

The Hillside Boulders

1) Dirty Slapper * V4
Start on a poor side pull with the right and a small sharp pocket for the left. Lift your feet off the floor and then slap high and left for a sloping ledge and good side pull. Rock over and mantle to top out.

2) Dirty Slapper Ext. * V6
A harder (V6) start is possible traversing in from small crimps to the right.

3) Fung’s Traverse ** V8
Start on positive crimps and a good foothold just right of the arete and at a small overlap.  From here make a low traverse left until it is possible to finish up Dirty Slapper.

4) The Crack ** V2
Follow the diagonal crack line.

5) Nose Direct ** V2
Start on the good jugs and pull up and right onto the nose above. Top out using sloping holds.

6) V6 **
Starting on the good jugs at the beginning of Nose Direct, traverse right (keeping relatively low) on tiny holds to join a diagonal line of small sharp holds and slopers. Finish up these.

6a) V8 **
Sit start beneath and left of the good jugs at the beginning of Nose Direct. Crank up to these and then traverse right (keeping relatively low) on tiny holds to join a diagonal line of small sharp holds and slopers. Finish up these.

7) Slapper Left (sds) ** V4
Start sat at the large undercut hold. Pull up using this before moving left up the blunt arete to eventually reach the finishing holds on Nose Direct.

8) Slapper * V2
Start on the large undercut and climb the wall above via some rather poor slopers.

9) Flake and Mantle ** VB
The righthand side of the face using the large flake.

1) Jon’s Traverse *** V4
An excellent problem. Start on the righthand side of the boulder, at the arete, and traverse left (feet just above the floor) to finish on the slab.

2) Sick Puppy (sds) ** V4
Start on two good crimps left of the arete. Move right to a good sidepull on the arete and climb straight up from this via the rounded arete and pebbles. Stay true to the arete higher up for maximum satisfaction.

3) Nipple Grazer * V4
Start at the good side pulls approx. half way along Jon’s traverse. Climb straight up from these. A dyno from these holds to the top has been oft attempted but seldom latched!

4) Gordon’s Pocket * V5
Sit start at a layback on the left side of the block. Reach out right to poor holds before bumping up to to a big pocket on the slab above (avoiding holds on the left arête). Finish more easily above this.

1) Dave’s Traverse (sds) *** V5
A full body pump of a problem along the rounded boulder. From the short overhanging arete on the left of the boulder fight your way rightwards along the lip, pulling onto the slab only when you can traverse no more. A slightly harder variation (V6) is possible avoiding feet on the lower block just past half way.

Kelvin Leung is one ‘Sick Puppy’ (V4). Photo: Stuart Millis

Black Streak Boulder

1) Horror Arete * V4
The striking tall arête yields via small sharp pockets and lay aways. Terrifying…

2) Black Slab * V2
The left-hand side of the slab.

3) The Black Streak *** V3
The centre of the slab, veering slightly right near the top.

4) Black Streak (Left) ** V4
A slightly harder variant on the slab, staying more in the middle and climbing through the bulge, avoiding the crack on the right.

5) Thin Crack Rib ** V3
The leftwards trending thin crack on the right side of the wall provides a tenuous and technical line.

6) The Black Rib (sds) V5
The rib on the right side of the boulder, starting from the two pockets in the middle of the face. An easier V3 stand start variant can also be climbed from the higher pocket and the crack to the left.

Rocky’s Boulders



1) U Four (sds) * V5
The left side of the left arête of the bloc.

2) Claw (sds) * V6
Sit beneath the left end of the wall, realize how the problem got its name, and climb straight up the bulge with assistance from the left arête.

3) Slope Direct (sds) * V7
Left of the crack is a horizontal sloper, start on this and finish directly above.

4) Project (sds)
The sit start to the crack line.Come on all you strong kids! Pull your finger out and get this sent already…

5) V Ten (sds) * V7
From small crimps low on the wall, crank to the lip and mantle to finish.

6) Angels Traverse (sds) * V5
Start on the right of the small overhanging face and traverse the sloping shelf.

7) Rocky’s Traverse (sds) * V8
Start on the triangle shaped hold at the left end of the boulder. Make thin powerful moves right to the arete and continue around this on sloping holds to finish where the face steepens up.

8) Air Jet (sds) ** V4
Start on low crimps and make a rising traverse left and up via positive side pulls and pockets.

The Tip Off Boulder

A late addition to the bouldering at Ha Fa Shan following a ‘tip off’ to Stuart Millis from the Obe Wan of Hong Kong Climbing, Martin Lancaster (who also had a bit of a resemblance to Alex Guiness at the time, as well as being the font of knowledge for HK Climbing in the 1990’s). Now you know where some of the names came from 😉

1) Sideshow Bob V3
A relatively poor, in comparison to the other problems, line up the thin pockets immediately left of the scooped wall, finishing over the suspiciously hollow flake.

2) Scoup de Grace *** V5
A delightful problem that feels frustratingly desperate for the grade until you’ve unlocked the sequence. Start directly beneath the flared hanging crack and somehow attain it.

Stuart Millis on the first ascent of Scoup de Grace. Photo: Stuart Millis Collection

3) Avalokitesvara V7 (sds).
Sit start at the jugs on the arete before launching (or attempting to at least) up the scooped wall left of the arete on tiny holds to reach the lip of the most overhung section of wall. Essentially a more direct version of The Riceman that avoids the big jug for the hands (but still seems to stand on the edge of this?)

4) The Riceman Commeth (sds) ** V4
Sit start at the arete and make a big move for the huge jug on it’s right side. From here launch out left to good side pulls before continuing left along the slopey ramp to more big moves out to the lip. Continue left along the hanging ramp to a daunting rock over finish.

Olivia Hsu eyeing the crux last move on the first ascent of The Rice Man Commeth. Photo: Stuart Millis

5) The Tip Off (sds) *** V2
The awesome arete from a sit start.

6) Little Women (sds) *** V6
Sit start at the arete and make a big move for the huge jug on it’s right side. Using this and a flake out right, aim up for the pocket above before making big moves right to a pocket / flake combo. Finish up the wall and crack above.

7) Obe Wan *** V6
Attain the flake / crimp combo on Little Women in a more direct fashion from small crimps and flakes in the centre of the wall. Finish up the wall / crack above.

8) Obe Wan Extension (sds) ** V7
Start at the big pocket low down on the right side of the wall. Make thin, and slightly painful moves left (hence only two-stars) to reach the start holds on Obe Wan, which is then followed to the top.

Stuart Millis on the first ascent of Obe Wan Ext (V7). Photo: Stuart Millis Collection

9) Klingon (sds) * V9
Start as for the previous problem but continue directly up the wall on small pockets. From a good pocket at two-thirds height, slap out right to a small hanging crack and finish above this.

10) Bellybutton (sds) * V5
Start beneath the right arete of the face with an undercut pocket for the left and pockets / side pulls (depending on what you can reach) for the right. Slap your way up the arete using an assortment of pebbles and flakes.

Pockets Wall

1) Pacman * V3
The right arete of the boulder yield to determined pocket pulling.

2) Manic Miner ** V2
Roughly follow the line of the thin crack splitting the wall, using good pockets and holds around it.

3) Jet Pac * V1
At the left end of the horizontal breaks is a large flake line of questionable stability. Follow this.

4) Spectrum ** V2
The slabby arete at the righthand end of the wall.

5) The Barrel * V4
Just beneath the main boulder is a low roof with numerous sharp pockets in it. Crawl to the back of this and follow the line of pockets out through the steepest part.

The next three problems all start on Pacman and finish as for Jet Pac. It is also possible to continue all of them past Jet Pac to finish up Spectrum, adding about one grade to each problem.

6) The Rail * V2
Climb the first few moves of Pacman before breaking out left along the highest of the three horizontal breakss.

7) Breakdance ** V2
Start as for the previous problem but follow the middle break line. More satisfying to continue across the whole wall and finish as for Spectrum (making the problem V3).

8) Chi Wai’s Traverse ** V5
From the starting holds of Pacman, follow a line of pockets and poor crimps along the lowest of the three breaks. Finish either up Problem 3 or continue left to finish up Problem 4 (V6).

Lone Tree Boulder

1) V3 *
From two small pockets, reach up and right to a sloping ledge. Finish directly above via the large pocket.

2) VB **
The left arete of the slabby face.

3) VB *
Follow the slabby groove. The centre of the slab can be climbed avoiding both the arete and the groove at about V0 – 5a.

4) V4 *
Follow a line of small pockets and crimps above the roof, avoiding both aretes.

5) V4 (sds) **
A tricky sit start leads to delightful climbing up the steep arete.

The Lower Boulders

1) VB *
Start right of the overhang and follow the faint crack in the slab above.

2) Wall and Flake ** VB
Start up the pocketed wall and finish up the slab and crack above.

3) VB *
The largest of the crack lines, finishing up the righthand most flake.

4) Gully Slab ** V0
The slabby arete on the righthand side of the gully.

5) VB *
The thin crack above the large pocket.

6) VB **
The leftward trending flake.

7) The Groove V2
Climb the hideous thin groove on the small boulder in front of the large wall.

1) The Bulge V2
From a standing start off the V-shaped pocket and crimps, reach up and mantle the lip.

(1a) V3 (sds)
From a sitting start off a sharp side pull and small crimps reach up into the starting holds of the Bulge and finish as for that problem.

2) Cave Roof Layback V1
Start on a sharp pocket on the lip of the overhang and a good side pull. Pull up and mantle onto the slab above.

(2a) V6 (sds)
The sitting start to the previous problem gives a fierce and not particularly pleasant problem

1) Twin Tree Groove * VB
The groove at the left hand end of the wall. Finishing right through the overhang adds some interest.

2) Scooped Wall *** VB
The centre of the wall, going straight through the overhang on huge pockets.

3) VB *
The vague groove line at the righthand end of the wall.

4) Slab Arete ** VB
The slabby arete at the righthand end of the wall.

The next three problems are located on the steep wall right of the arete.

5) The Money Shot *** V0
Climb the steep side of the arete on an assortment of pockets.

6) V0 *
Take a line up the centre of the wall on good but spaced pockets.

7) VB
Climb the flake and groove at the right end of the wall.

1) No Women No Climb (sds) * V1
Climb the left arête and diagonal crack to the highest point of the boulder.

2) Destiny V0
Start matched in the diagonal crack and rock over on to the slab above. Finish up this.

3) Twelve Monkeys (sds) *** V4
Sit start matched on the good flake. Move up to the small side pull before throwing out left to gain a small hold near the arête before cranking through to the good jug on the lip.

4)  Van Halen (sds) ** V5
Start on the good flake as for Twelve Monkeys and finish on the good hold on the lip, just miss out all the holds in between!

5) Destinies Child (sds) * V?
Follow Twelve Monkeys to the small hold on the arête but, instead of going up for the main jug, continue out left for the diagonal break and finish up Destiny instead.

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[…] the ill fated crash pad search, we took the 39M bus to the beginning of the hike to the Ha Fa Shan boulders. The hikes I’ve been on in Hong Kong have been short and brutal. The incline is intense, […]