Rock Climbing in Yangshuo, Guilin
Yangshuo is the most popular rock climbing destination in China. It is a backpackers mecca, famous for its tooth-like hills, only 90 minutes by road from Guilin.
Something for everyone: There are plenty of nice "juggy" beginners routes, a vast array of 5.8 to 5.10 routes, and then there is more and more being logged by the serious climbing fraternity for you to discover and try your finger tips at. Yangshuo's karst has its own guidebook being circulated locally.
Famous rock climbers to set the toughest routes in Yangshuo include Todd Skinner (first 5.13) and Chris Sharma (5.14b).
Easy access: Flat valleys between the karst hills and a network of highways and decent dirt roads mean that you never have to walk far. There are many crags within 30 minutes by minibus or cycling from the little town.
Also read Top Outdoor Activities in Yangshuo.
Professional Rock Climbing Trip Providers
There are five or so climbing outfits in Yangshuo providing climbing guides to set up the routes and keep you safe, equipment, and transport to the cliffs. A typical price for a day’s climbing is 200–300 yuan.
Karst Climber — one of the pioneers of rock climbing in Yangshuo, established in 2000, it has a strong brand reputation.
Insight Adventures (formerly pioneer Chinaclimb) — established 2010 under the new name, but still specializing in school group adventures.
X-Climber — established in 2002, they boast the best climbers, well-trained guides, and flexibility
Terratribes — founded in 2008 by two Chinese outdoor enthusiasts, they offer high-quality, community/environmentally-sensitive trips
Spiderman Climbing — a small outfit offering half-day and day-tours for beginners and advanced climbers.
The Best Time to Climb
See Guilin Weather. Fall is the best time to climb, with warmth (but not too hot) and lower rainfall from late September through November.
Winter is generally cold, damp (though low rainfall), and generally unpleasant on the rock faces. However, when the southerlies blow temperatures can get into the sunny 20s °C, dropping off quickly at dusk. There is daylight from 7:30am to 6pm even in the middle of winter. If you don’t mind the cold you can have the rock to yourself in the low season.
Spring, from mid-March to mid-May, is wet with rising temperatures.
Summer is scorching with high rainfall, but it generally falls in torrential bursts that dry up an hour after you’ve sheltered. Some crags have faces that don’t get soaked even in the worst downpours. Sun protection is a must for the fair skinned.
Top Rock Climbing Sites
The crag looks like a Swiss cheese, hence the name. The easiest grade is 5.6, and the most difficult is 5.10a.
This crag is named after the supposed resemblance of a nearby hill to a wine bottle. The cliff is one of the best in Yangshuo, having lots of easily accessible, high-quality routes on good rock. The cliff is just off vertical and the climbing is generally technical rather than strenuous. The cliff has every grade of climbing difficulty from 5.6 to 5.11d.
200 meters long and 60 meters high, White Mountain is steeper than other crags, so it is a challenge for climbers. The middle part is most precipitous. 60 meters west along the face climbers encounter 15° overhangs. White Mountain is a good choice for experienced climbers. Famous Hong Kong climber Chu Kai Wai finished a 5.14 route on White Mountain in 2008.
Moon Hill is a top place to have a bird's view of Yangshuo's countryside. Its natural stone arch attracts master climbers. Legendary American climber Todd Skinner bolted the first route, a 5.13 climb called "Moonwalker" traversing the underside of the arch, in 1992. Now there are 15 routes, eight on the arch wall, two traversing the arch, and four between cliff and arch, with different elevations. Above average climbers will like it there.
Climbing Grades (USA Yosemite Decimal System) and Descriptions
- 5.0-5.7: Most climbing beginners start from these levels.
- 5.8-5.9: Climbing skills and techniques are required, but not very difficult for experienced climbers.
- 5.10: The top level for amateurish climbers, requiring proficiency in climbing skills and techniques.
- 5.11-5.15a: Expert level. Talent and lots of application is needed.
Yangshuo Climbing Festival
Yangshuo Climbing Festival has now been going for five years.
It takes place over a weekend (in October/November), and includes bouldering and other climbing competitions, climbing training, taster climbing opportunities, and other outdoor activities.
Include Yangshuo Climbing in Your China Tour
Book a Yangshuo tour with China Highlights. We can seamlessly include a half-day or a day of climbing in your itinerary, with professional climbing staff, equipment, and routes suited to your requirements, without you needing to book up with a climbing outfit or make arrangements yourself.
List Yangshuo climbing on our tailor made form along with the other things you would like to do in China, and we will design you a custom-made tour from scratch. Free consultancy and unlimited changes ensure that you can discover China your way.
- The Best of Yangshuo — recommendations for hotels, restaurants, nightlife, shopping, and activities
- Yangshuo Attractions — all the main tourist attractions
- Silver Cave — the biggest of many caves around Yangshuo — if you like climbing you might like to do some caving too!
The Best 5 Places to Go Rock Climbing in China
Questions and Answers About Rock Climbing in Yangshuo, Guilin
I updated this article on February 24, 2014
See all my travel articles