Romancing 黎明, Liming, Lao Jun Shan

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Nested far in the south west border of China is a quaint little village of Liming. Liming is a village occupied by a minority tribe named Lisu tribe. The tribe is made up of Tibetan Burman ethic group, inhabitants of the mountainous region of Burma, China(Yunnan), Thailand and India. Rich in dance and music culture, the Lisu tribe is a big part of the 黎明 attraction.

 

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Sights while walking to the crag

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Very old but healthy Lisu Granny

 

With the beautiful landscape you can get lost here in Liming and forget that you are in a huge country that has been overtaken by industrialization and capitalism. The beautiful costumes that the Lisu tribe wears and the friendliness quickly gets to you too.

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Friendly provision shop owner who seems to love San San and attempts to strike a conversation with him everyday!

 

San San came for Long Dong trad climbing course and multi pitch course in Oct 2015, we had a blast in Long Dong and he helped me put up FA on Blade, Whale’s Head, Music Hall. He’s learnt a lot of trad climbing skills and rope works on multipitch and is looking to put his skills into good use somewhere. So when he asked me where he should go bef0re coming for Yosemite Rock Trip 2016. The answer is 黎明.

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Beautiful view of The Diamond from our balcony
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Enroute to Pillars Area
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Spring and bees are out on Canola flowers

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黎明 offers great weather in March, good scenery, cherry blossoms and if you like peace and tranquility in climbing areas, you will find it here. San San wasn’t quite use to how remote we were and kept asking me where are the climbers?! Apart from all these, 黎明 has loads of red sand stone walls and endless amount of cracks!! A perfect crack climbing paradise if you are looking for crack paradise in Asia.

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Cracks on Screaming to the Moon with the distinct turtle shell features on unique sandstone
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San San working on The Owl, 5.9 splitter crack
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Introduction to easy offwidth for San San on Screaming to the Moon P2
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Me sending Dungeons and Dragons with a roof traverse and a scary offwidth lip to clear

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I have to say getting there is a little hard, with Tiger Airways flying to Lijiang direct only once a week on Wednesday and if you opt to fly with China Southern, it will take you approximately 14hrs to fly a 4hr direct route.

Once you get to Lijiang, temperature drops and the great scenery of Yulong Snow mountains becomes your backdrop. We decided to head to 黎明 without waiting too long in the city and drove out with a mini van at 5am. A quick nap and we arrive in 黎明!

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Morning ride out in the 微信面包车
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Pee break!
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Breakie affair with noodles and loads of pork fats

 

Most of the climbing areas are within walking distances however be prepared to hike a little more than 30 minutes for most areas. It will be useful to have hiking poles if you want to arrive at the crag fresh.

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15 minutes on the road with occasional playtime with friendly dogs
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The not so easy stairs climbing, getting me all tired and delirious, did I read the sign board wrongly or is it orientated wrongly? I’m confused. Perhaps I need some Diamox for my AMS

 

Some might ask what is the difference between climbing in Long Dong, Taiwan and 黎明, China. Long Dong is sea cliff sand stone and the rock is really hard and featured. Making crack climbing really easy because mostly there will be face holds and one does not need to jam too much to get up most routes. Making it a easy transition to learn trad climbing skills in such areas. 黎明 however is splitter cracks that requires jamming skills, laying back may get you up the route but could spell disaster if you are lead climbing as you quickly find yourselves in territories where you cannot place gears.

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Crack climbing difficulty is mainly made up sizes of the cracks and steepness of climbs. The steep hard stuff are usually finger sizes and the off widths. Finger sizes cracks are crack that you could only get anywhere from the full fingers in cracks to just your tips of your fingers in the crack. Offwidth on the other hand is a size where the its too big for 1 hand and too small for the body to be in. Very often offwidth cracks are known to be physical and requires a lot of body strength since you are not really climbing with you fingers anymore. 黎明 is a great place to practice all sizes of crack climbing from 5.4 – 5.13++ .

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Me on sighting the classic fingers at the Guardian, Akumrah, 5.11 +

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A season crack climber will find themselves in paradise with loads of 5.10 and 5.11s within an hour’s hike from the village of 黎明 and climbers on the high pay grade will find themselves with more than enough 5.12 – 5.13 to work on and maybe even send some open projects.
San San already knew how to place trad gears so this trip was really to get him into crack climbing. Most people thinks that crack climbing is painful and unpleasant, however I look at it as another genre of climbing. Using the correct techniques and equipped with the right kind of climbing shoes, San San had his taped up hands swimming up splitter cracks in Liming on the first day.

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A crack climber’s hands

 

Apart from jamming techniques, route reading, gear placements and resting techniques are all part of the crack climbing workshop. I have aimed to get San San up to speed to be able to lead 5.10 cracks of various sizes by the end of the trip. A battered and torn San San could say he is very well acquainted with crack climbing after 10 days in 黎明!

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On his way to sending his first 5.10 in Liming

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I’m looking forward to take Singaporeans out there every March to get into this amazing style of climbing and get super fit from squeezing yourselves into every single crack you can find in Liming, Lao Jun Shan!

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Beginner crack, Looking Through the Glass 5.7

 

Want to head out here for some crack fun? Contact qxadventures@gmail.com or call +65 96828340

 

 

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