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Winter training starts…

It’s winter and it is climbing season in Long Dong. It is this time of the year that people tick hard grades and start working on their projects. You will also see less leisure climbing crowd in the coast. Which means you hear less spraying and see more climbing done out here. This winter I have focus on training instead of ticking hard routes. I would work on harder trad routes when cracks are dry (a rarity in winter) and jump on circuits which I have created for myself when climbing cracks are not quite an option.

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Xiao Xiang and I working on Taiwan Down Amigos. Each of us took 3-4 tries on the route before sending.

Notable climbs I made this winter is sending Taiwan Down Amigos 12c on trad. My first 12c trad sent and I’m psych to tick off other hard trad routes in First and Second cave.  Power endurance training has started and feel free to add or take out climbs, these are just reference for my training for 2016 summer season. Hope these inspire you to get out and start lead climbing!

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Mr Weng on 笑傲江湖, a mega classic 12c in the Backdoor sector

Stephen’s Circuit (3hrs)

New Ferrari – 11c

Big Rock Falling – 12a

Coach Demonstrates – 12b

笑傲江湖 -12c

Qx’s Circuit (3.5hours)

I’m actually still working on this one and I definitely feel pain all over my body right now after the circuit yesterday. I could not climb Incomparable the legit way and have trouble clearing the last roof.

Everybody’s Welfare – 11a

Big Rock Falling – 12a

Motorcycle – 12c

Incomparable (TR) – 13a

Musical HIT (1hr circuit)

HIT for climbing, focused on volume in short timing,

Fucking Fall – 11a (trad)

Big Drum – 11b (TR)

Finger Crack – 11c (TR)

Musical Arete – 12b (TR)

Wedding Day – 5.8 (trad down lead)

Due to the bolts conditions, the routes on the Music Hall left face are not climbable. I would suggest climbing Fucking Fall on trad and get all the way up to the anchors of Wedding route and build a trad anchor. Use that anchor as a top rope and down climb Wedding route, that will avoid using the Petzl Collinox bolts on this walls which are considered unsafe.

Drink loads of water and have a energy bar in between! Hot chocolate in winter is a boost! Have fun everyone! I will keep posting new circuits!

Winter climbing in Taiwan, Long Dong.

Thinking of a prep trip before going to Yosemite? Or just want to get our during the December holidays for some rock climbing?

Winter in Long Dong can be one of the best times for rock climbing and sending that hard project. Given its low temps and high friction on sea cliff sandstone.

2015 Dec Long dong poster

2015 Yosemite Rock trip

As promised a video edit of what I have shot in the whole season in Yosemite in 2015!

The best thing I have done this year. Guided my mum up Sentinel Dome!

The best thing I have done this year. Guided my mum up Sentinel Dome!

Our third Yosemite Rock Trip since 2013, lots have changed since the first trip and we are still looking for more ways to make the trips more enjoyable and fun for our participants. Constantly looking for new itineraries to suit individuals, I’m glad every season is getting better and better. It will not be possible without your support and I want to thank everyone who have come for our trips and have faith in us to take you out here to hang out on the rocks.

Rene on top of Snake Dike with Kelly doing her first solo guide on the route.

Rene on top of Snake Dike with Kelly doing her first solo guide on the route.

Happy man up Mount Watkins after 4 days of hard work

Happy man up Mount Watkins after 4 days of hard work

2015 Yosemite Rock saw our first grade V big wall guided ascent in Yosemite with Rene from Holland on Mount Watkins. The initial plan to climb Half Dome via the Regular North West Route was foiled after some big ass rock fall occurred from the visor after which the whole pitch came off! I decided I was too young to die and make other plans to climb Mount Watkins which was equally good if not better than the Regular North West Route.

Get a cold shower before the 4 days of sufferfest

Get a cold shower before the 4 days of sufferfest

Rene on Sheraton Watkins early afternoon after a super shag and fast paced day

Rene on Sheraton Watkins early afternoon after a super shag and fast paced day

Summit time!

Summit time!

We also have our first female big wall participant! Essentially other than Kelly, no other women in Singapore have made it up a big wall. Super Siok is the second and after spending about 10 days in the Valley we decided she is ready to go crush some big walls! A power packed 10 days itinerary sees them climbing some famous routes like the Snake Dike on Half Dome, a 8 pitch mega classic, South Face on Washington Column with Super Siok jugging only 3 pitches on this route.

Super Siok on Stone Groove

Super Siok on Stone Groove

The way we stretch while Siok Ming ignores us and continues with her photo fest

The way we stretch while Siok Ming ignores us and continues with her photo fest

Siok and Harshil on the way up to the summit of Half Dome!

Siok and Harshil on the way up to the summit of Half Dome!

Kelly and I barely had any time to hang out and do some climbing, but whenever we have a break we will dash onto the walls and get some done! Being all tired and worn out from the whole month of guiding, we decided to head up Lurking Fear on El Cap when a heat wave was coming. Thinking that Singaporeans are never too afraid of the heat, we were wrong and got burned off the wall from high temperatures, leaking water bottles, broken haul bag and a seared haul line. Bummer but it also serves as a reminder that I do get tired sometimes and its only wise to retreat when all goes against you.

The hard work before the fun.. hiking our loads

The hard work before the fun.. hiking our loads

First time bringing a portaledge up the Captain

First time bringing a portaledge up the Captain

The granite bites back and tore through my haul bag and bottle

The granite bites back and tore through my haul bag and bottle

The static rope got seared!

The static rope got seared!

We also put together a Singapore Taiwanese team to work on Separate Reality. A mega classic roof crack and made famous when Wolfgang Gullich soloed the route! I promptly recruited 5.14 climber Xiao Pao from Taiwan who lives in LA to get on this project with me. Both of us have not climbed a roof crack before and when we found the route (which by the way was the crux), both of us were amazed and at the same time intimated by it. I got pushed up as the rope gun and set off to get the gears up on the route. The jams were pretty pumpy and the constant tension on the hips and back in order to keep the feet in the crack was burning my core. Soon enough I was out of the crack and out of gas at the tight hands crux. A few burns on the route and I knew I have to get some specific training on before jumping back on the route.

Xiao Pao on Separate Reality. He pulled off some moves that I can only imagine..

Xiao Pao on Separate Reality. He pulled off some moves that I can only imagine..

Thats me on Separate Reality! Will be back to get it!

Thats me on Separate Reality! Will be back to get it!

The most notable climb was the North Face of Rostrum. Leading all pitches and on sighting the first 4 pitches was my super proud moment in my climbing career in Yosemite. However the top 3 pitches proves to be the real crux for me as I humped and bitch my way up the OW pitches and pitch 7. It was a important climb because when I started out climbing in Yosemite a friend once told me I will never be able to get that route done. Which is kinda true till now since I did not onsight the entire route however, I feel it wouldn’t be out of reach and it will be part of my goal and route to free climb a route on El Cap.

Rostrum on the 11c fingers crux pitch (in terms of grade) I feel that the 11c is so much easier than the overhanging 11b crack on P7

Rostrum on the 11c fingers crux pitch (in terms of grade) I feel that the 11c is so much easier than the overhanging 11b crack on P7

Kelly on the crux pitch

Kelly on the crux pitch

When I met Tommy Caldwell in the Valley store, the man told me to keep going and its great that we are so committed to climb the walls in Yosemite flying half way around the world to hurl ourselves on the granite monolith. Coming from the man who spent 7 years on a route, I’m determined we will get there one day if we do not stop trying!

The man and me

The man and me

Yosemite Rock Trip 2016 here we come! Live an adventure with us too!

BBQ after a hard day of climbing is always welcomed

BBQ after a hard day of climbing is always welcomed

Tom and Xue Ling ready for BBQ!

Tom and Xue Ling ready for BBQ!

Tom and Xueling on honeymoon climbs!

Tom and Xueling on honeymoon climbs!

Chow drops in for a day of guided climbing after a long flight in!

Chow drops in for a day of guided climbing after a long flight in!

People gets really tired during our trips

People gets really tired during our trips

Bryan's cozy luxury tent camping

Bryan’s cozy luxury tent camping

Bryan and Mark on NutCracker

Bryan and Mark on NutCracker

Getting to the top when rain starts pouring

Getting to the top when rain starts pouring

Zhu yan and I on top of Central Pillar of Frenzy. Great crack climbing!

Zhu yan and I on top of Central Pillar of Frenzy. Great crack climbing!

POSB neighbour first

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVuGGdbqRDs]

I know I have been slacking off writing posts and I’m sorry readers. However I am working on a post with some video edits on our summer Yosemite trip. Please stay tune for that!

In the meantime, here’s a video of our POSB neighbour first project. Not so much of climbing but very much a publicity stunt for the local bank in Singapore. Thanks for watching!

Our presentation video on The Red Dihedral, The Incredible Hulk

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/137917130]

3 weeks since we left California and I’m already missing the big walls of Yosemite Valley, the slabs of Tuolumne and the big alpine climbs in the High Sierra. However we gotta get back to work and be back in Taiwan to get our hostel The Bivy 小屋岩 ready for the climbing season in Long Dong.

Waterproofing of the house is underway and gearing the interior up for our guests’ comfort! See you in Taiwan this autumn and winter!

Gear Review by Kelly: Arc’teryx Acrux FL GTX Approach Shoes (Women)

Arc’teryx is now making footwear! And I am excited to throw my pair of Acrux FL GTX out there to see how they work for our climbing season in the US.

Arc'teryx Arux FL GTX Approach Shoes (Women) enjoying a sunny day out

Arc’teryx Arux FL GTX Approach Shoes (Women) enjoying a day out

When we first received the shoes from Campers Corner, I was kind of skeptical about how they would fit me comfortably. Yes, my feet were snug in the shoes but there was a pressure point on that little bump on the inside of my forefoot (especially the right foot which is slightly bigger than the other). Oh well let’s give this a go!

The Hike

The first time I brought them on a serious hike was on the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail, a 7.2 mile (11.6 km) round-trip with an elevation gain of 2,700 ft (823 m) to the top of the Yosemite Falls. The weather forecast expected thunderstorms and heavy rains in the early afternoon so I thought I’d better move quickly. That would work since it was part of my cardio training for our trip to The Hulk in the High Sierra few weeks later.

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Upper & Lower Yosemite Falls – altogether, they form the tallest waterfall in North America at 2,425 feet (739 m)

The hike begins with a series of polished stone steps laid down during the 1800s (!), transits into endless switchbacks, brings you into the woods, then onto a rocky plateau before arriving on the summit. Halfway up the hike, I had been blessed with pretty blue skies and plenty of sunshine, despite some hounding storms not too faraway.

Beautiful view of Half Dome & the valley floor

Beautiful view of Half Dome & the Valley floor

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Along the Upper Yosemite Falls trail, the grandeur and beauty of the Falls

Two-third up, heavy and dark clouds were already brewing and flashes of lightning in the background of the Falls. I knew I wouldn’t have much time and didn’t want to spend too much time up so close to where the storms were approaching either. After spending a few quiet moments enjoying the breathtaking view on the summit, I took some photos and promptly headed for the descent.

On top of Upper Falls

On top of Upper Falls looking back down

Just as I expected, little drops of rain which gradually turned into bigger droplets started to fall. Soon enough, it was hailing (in the middle of a hot summer!) and rain started pounding down in the Valley. I already got my other favorite, the Alpha SL Hybrid outershell jacket on (click here for gear review) so I was pretty dry but still wanted to get down fast before the terrain gets really slippery.  Finally when I touched down on the Valley floor, I realized my feet were dry and that’s pretty cool, considering I’m all wet bottoms down. So here are some of my personal takes on these shoes!

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Prefer blue skies and sunshine

Walking in the rain

Finally back to the Valley floor!

The Performance

Hands down, the Acrux FL GTX was awesome! I felt some dampness where my socks were exposed so probably if my socks were shorter, that wouldn’t be a problem. The shoes did some wonders especially on my descent. I was running down the trail which I seldom do to prevent sore knees. Man did the shoes grip well on those polished stone steps (which are usually sandy and are really slippery even on dry conditions), the Vibram Mega Grip rubber on the soles is definitely doing its job.

Probably the shoes need some breaking in (I brought them on shorter hikes before this), the pressure point on my foot was no longer there.  And where my knees would get sore sometimes on longer hikes (despite having a light pack) and ankles roll at times on rocky terrains, the shoes were stiff and held my feet together, giving them more support and stability.

The Shoes

(i) Midsoles give great support

I must say I’m starting to like these shoes after the hike up Yosemite Falls. I wasn’t used to the stiff midsoles initially. Most of my previous approach shoes had softer midsoles so when I stepped on rocks, the midsoles would bend slightly to take the contour of the rocks. When I did the same on the GTX, the midsoles were so stiff they hardly flexed on the rocks. There were a few times when I cringed my feet in the shoes to get ready to take the shape of the rocks (which wasn’t necessary) and I lost balance. Then did I realize all I had to do was to relax and let the midsoles rest on the rocks and I could balance them without much trouble! Awesome! That saved some strength, especially on rocky and uneven terrains and provided great support especially when I was hiking with a heavy pack (as I realized when I wore the shoes to The Hulk). I am still getting used to the stiff midsoles and I think they will work out well in the long run.

Us in our GTX with big packs

Us in our GTX with big packs

(ii) Tongue-less inner liner keeps dirt out

The Stretch GORE-TEX liner keeps the feet dry and snug in the shoes. Personally, I think the beauty of the liner lies on its tongue-less design which ensures there’s no room for dust, sand nor dirt in the shoes (I usually have to take out my regular approach shoes a few times to get sand and twigs out). The liners are integrated into my shoes and are non-removable. Those worn by Qx are removable and I kind of appreciate having them removable when we were at our basecamp at The Hulk. Other than climbing shoes, the Acrux FL GTX were our only other footwear (to cut weight!). I was jealous when Qx could simply just pulled out the liners, put them on and walked around basecamp, all done when I was still in the midst of wearing the other side of my shoes. Removable liners makes cleaning more effective and shoes dry faster as well. They weigh slightly more than the non-removable ones though.

Acrux FL GTX Approach Shoes (Men) and the liners

Acrux FL GTX Approach Shoes (Men) with a removable liner

(iii) Others

I always tie a two-loop shoe lace knot and reinforces it with another round but for my regular approach shoes, I still find the knots loosen up and undone especially during long hikes. I did the same knots on these shoes and the laces have never come off. Nothing is mentioned about the construction of the laces but they work great for me!

Both sides of the shoes are constructed with stretchable nylon mesh. Keeping the feet dry without compromising breathability of the shoes (and the feet ;))

Any woes?

For me, their weight! The Acrux FL GTX is both heavy and light – heavy for approach shoes and light for waterproof hiking shoes. Well, I had them on my harness and wore them down on The Hulk and although they are slightly heavier (about 200g) than my previous approach shoes, I really appreciate the comfort and support they gave on the steep and sandy descent after a day of climbing.

I guess the price will be something that is difficult for many people to compromise since after all, a regular pair of approach shoes would cost about less than S$200. But if you looking are for a good pair of shoes that transcend prolong rocky, wet or even cold conditions and you have some budget, the Acrux FL GTX is totally worth its value and more importantly, like other Arc’teryx products, they are going to last you a long time.

The Acrux FL GTX Approach Shoes are available in men and women’s versions. Check them out at Arc’teryx Singapore store!

Taiwan Rock Trip Sept – Dec 2015

Taiwan Rock trip 2015 Sept2 months in Yosemite and we have many exciting news that has yet to be posted on this page. Just some sneaks for everyone, Qxadventures has the first grade VI participant summiting Mount Watkins in June! Rene from Holland came for a 10 day big wall preparation trip to Taiwan Long Dong in Jan 2015. We did some trad refresher course, big wall technique training and trad multi pitch pitch in Taiwan, while I sent him home with some homework to do between the Taiwan refresher trip till the big walls in Yosemite.

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Rene on the fixed ropes summiting Mount Watkins via the South Face. Half Dome and Glacier point in full view behind him!

The result, we had a great 12 days in Yosemite climbing various routes including the Snake Dike on Half Dome. The 4 days on Mount Watkins proved to be tiring and mentally draining. As well prepared as Rene can be, climbing that many days with limited water supply and food is a great challenge.

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Rene lowering out from the Pendulum Bypass pitch

While posting this from Yosemite, we are ready to have you sign up for our Taiwan trips now! You can be a aspiring trad climber or looking forward to climb your first multi pitch with proper instructions, we wish to have you here at our training ground in Taiwan Long Dong!

The cosy private room of our new hostel in Long Dong, The Bivy

The cosy private room of our new hostel in Long Dong, The Bivy

Great good, great climbing and our brand new hostel opened now, you will have a great holiday while knocking off climbs that you have been thinking about!

Consider doing your SNCS Sports Level 1, 2 or 3 in Long Dong! If you are a confident lead climber or already have your Sports level 2 done and looking forward to other challenges, consider getting on the trad course or known as the SNCS Rock level 1!
Check out the dates on the poster and choose an activity, we will put the rest of it together for you. Hope to see more climbers in the prime climbing season of Long Dong this year!

Backdoor, the premium sports climbing area in Long Dong. While most climbs are bolted, you can have some imagination and climb them on gear too!

Backdoor, the premium sports climbing area in Long Dong. While most climbs are bolted, you can have some imagination and climb them on gear too! Photo by Kelly – Qx climbing Coach Demonstrates 12b on trad. 

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