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2024. 4-5 King's day & Ascension day

Ettringen 

Finally climbed at Ettringen (Mayen, near Koblenz). Last year went to wall when it started to rain. This year it is almost sunny (some walls are damp). Easied into it first day (5, 6-, 6+, 7-) and tried harder second day (5,6-, 6+ *2, 7, 7+) at Kraftklub, fully bolted cracks are great. Ruben and Ana joined in the afternoon and stick-clipped Kraftklub 7+.

One morning to the Music Hall, where Ruben trad-led a 5+ to set toprope for the offwidth (6) next door. I bruised knees and elbows on the offwidth and practised placing gear on 5+, told exactly where to place what. But what was I doing? 

Also visited Arena at Kottenheim and led Laura Stern 5 (stout, or I am bad at jamming). Tried a few sport routes, Jamba Wamba Kumba di Wumba 7 is fun, reachy as usual. 

2024. 4

New Jack City 

Back to NJC after 4 years, where I first started climbing outdoors back. It felt so hardcore and sharp and slippery back then. High dessert is hot in the sun and cool in the shade, perfect climbing condition. Sent Espresso -it feels quite chill, not at all pumpy. Stick-clipped King of all media 11d, per CC's recommendation. Bouldery start until third clip, yet Xiaorui found two kneebar that proved crucial in the redpoint next session. Also didn't know the hand jam over top (what does it look like?) but found it the second session (went with HJ), indeed a relief.

Four tries to send (2 toprope first day, put up draw second day (high bolts) and then sent). Nice to be back (old photo). 

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2024. 3.20-4.2

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The Red -2 

Favorite sport crag, routes and vibe. Spent 2 full weeks and climbed 35 routes. Stick-clip necessary (too bad I lost it after the trip). First week with partners from Miguel's (all great --tried Air Ride Equipped 11a with them, so good!) and Miriam for the weekend, 2nd week with CC and Jinzhu. Ran into the same party from NY for 4 consecutive days. 

Sent Knuckle Sauce 12a in 3 tries, per CC recommendation and stick-clipped to TR the moves. Sent next session (warmer) with luck (taped knuckle for sharp pockets but sacrificed friction on the last sloper). 

Tried another nice 12a Scarlet Scorchdropper, hope to RP next trip. Last climbing day (Roadside) cut short by tornado/storm warnings.

2024.3 

Grands-Malades

The closest wall to the Netherlands hence best for day trip, literally zero approach. A lot of climbers and classes, probably better known for via-ferrata/ziplines between spires. 

Tricky short routes, thought provoking, nice routes flow very well. polished as usual and some routes may be chossy, per Canadian lady climber. What a word in NA that needs no explanation.

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2024. 2

Mozet 

Another nice crag for day trips, East of Namur. 10 minute approach to gothic slick limestone, arches and a tower-wall cross-over route. Like one Dutch uncle said, it is like in a movie. 

Climbed with a group of Dutch climbers (camped overnight), they all bring food and all for camping but I had to buy burger for dinner and patisserie for breakfast. I got to sleep in Nikki's car, cozy. 

2024. 2,3,4 -

Weekends at Rocher de Niveau

Rocher de Niveau, or Dave, is a roadside crag outside Namur town. Easy for day trips, especially in long rainy winters, as the crag has big roofs to shelter from rain. Pocketey jugs like swiss cheese (some may say greasy). Fun and nice bolting, no grass on the wall. 

So far stayed around cosmos-central sector. Some jug-hauling, some tricky/powerful moves, Belgian crags are good training (rock and condition). 

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2024. 1.20-1,29

Costa Blanca 

Second time at Costa Blanca, still barely climb and still don't love it. Got the worst flu right out of the plane, Six days of high fever and no sleep, two boxes of ibuprofen and paracetamol, end up still needing wet towel to stay alive. Planned to go to Urgencia everyday but didn't know whether capable to drive there sober. Terrible days. 

Ended up climbing 2 days easy stuff at Guadalest and others. Climbing partner climbed super conservatively (trad people no fall). Would be a chill place for easy multipitches and good sun if with better health and mood.

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2024.1.5-1.16 

​咸宁鸣水泉 Mingshuiquan

REAL home wall, as it is 2-hr drive from my home in Wuhan. A small wall next Xianning reservoir, behind a Taoist temple (with a few aggressive dogs and hens). 

The new year 2 weeks were reasonably warm, got 5 climbing days in. Shady wall (vertical-overhang) polished limestone (tufa, crimps, sharp) . Climbing culture is different here, communal, supportive, and no whips. Stick-clipping common. Tried all three 12a a couple of times, sent a nice 11c (Fog) in three tries. Hope to send some 12a when it gets warmer. 

Food is amazing,  Local veggies and pots are sooooooo good and cheap.

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2023. 12

Malaga again

Warm winter climbing in Malaga area, 8 days. Mostly South-facing walls and one North-facing wall (Desplomilandia),  feet/fingers froze. Walls always have British climbers and Alora is a British retiree town that it even has a "British food store" with corned beef(?), kidney pie and Yorkshire tea..  

Checked out various walls (Valle de Abdalajis, El Torcal, etc), lots of polished climbs in EC, didn't find a route to rp until second last day and was too tired to send it, but nice route (Patachula) with sharp "crozzles" holds.

Made a couple new friends.

2023.11.

Weekend at Rumney

Weekend climbing after a short conference at Boston. Snatched a friend's friend for the first day and begged for belay at the wall second morning. The latter wasn't fun but alright.

Interesting rock, mix of schist and some granite?  Walls were crowded with over-educated people. Climbing season is short, it rains a lot and when it doesn't rain, water seeps from the wall. 

Underdog 10a is a good one, Peer pressure looked fun from below.

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2023.10

The Red 

First trip to the Red around Halloween, for 8 days. Great weather climbing for the most part, sampled different walls with different partners. Powerful climbing that my back was sore first time ever. 

Fall colors were beautiful. It rained the day we went to Oompa-Loompa, poetic to climb in the rain with the sound of falling leaves (good thing about overhung walls), while watching people trying the first bolts of Pure Imagination. 

Lightening rod arete is another good route, recommended by the partner of the day. beach whaling + top out platform + spicy(?) arete climbing. The rock looked the tip of Titanic. 

Gallery and Drive-by are also fine crags. The Red never gets polished. Next time maybe find some projects to send.

2023. 10. 

Pont-a-lesse 

Weekend trip in friend's van to Pont-a-lesse, it is next to Freyr, free camping nearby.  Warm weekend for October, many climb classes there.

 

Vertical polished cracks, usually twin-cracks with feet in different ones. Fun dihedrals too, sandbag. Need to up jamming skills. Well-bolted at least, and good anchors due to the traffic.

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2023. 8-9

SoCal summer 

Not the best time to climb in SoCal, too hot.  Had to chase the shade and high-elevation, but finally got time to project something and climb on non-limestone (i.e. lithified volcanic ash at Malibu Creek and grainy granite at Big Bear). 

Redpointed King of the Castle 5.12a, which wouldn't happen without good belaytionship, including TRing it until all beta is figured out --might have overworked it (4 tries over 3 sessions before RP), but still helpful to minimize forceful/low chance moves. 

Malibu Creek approach is still too far (45min), nearly heat stroke both days back-approach to the car. What are the aromatic small trees by Mt Gorgeous upper section? Not oleander. 

2023.8.

Avalonia  

Weekend to Avalonia (near Dortmund). Got topo from Daniel (beautifully hand-drawn topo and NOVELs), bought two main ones and took pics of the bigger picture books. 

Managed to chill-boulder at Katla cave before the afternoon downpour, picked wild berries. Daniel walked around to show us variation problems (eliminates) and comforted us that in this humidity everything is harder. 

Second day ran into a local stonesmith and did some easy boulders together, while friend projecting his thing. 

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2023.8

Freyr

The century-old most well-known crag in Belgium. Beautifully located by the river across chateaus. Rainy, only got half a day climbing in a 3-day trip. 

Polished, grading below 6a is nuts. Grabbed the draw on a 5a. Guidebook reads (French and Dutch only) like a history book and lacks most information a topo needs. At least the approach (and beer) is not bad.

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2023. 6. -7. 

Sport climb in China

First time climbing outdoor in China. 

2-days in Beijing amid 40c heatwave. Waterfall dried, wall/ground hot, borderline heatstroke (nauseous and headache), nice blocky granite but rubber sucks in the heat and feet swelled too fast. 

2-days in Kunming, Yunnan. Super nice tufa climbing just like in Europe. Fantastic local climbers (and crazy driving techniques). One day on vertical tufa and one day in cave. The cave kicked my ass (as usual), first time to climbing in this triangle-shaped cave. Post-climb dinner/boba are enjoyable. 

Met climber/route developer from 丽江 and it is now high on my to-do list.

2023. 6

Carriere des Awirs

A local crag near Liege, Belgium. 0-5min approach. Big S-facing slabs possible to mult-ipitch, Harder climbs in the back. 

Very dirty rock, Le Sabier (that is a good route, solid at its grade, like other Belgian crags) indeed. 

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2023. 5

Geyikbayiri, Turkey

Less than 1-hr drive from Antalya. Peaceful village with gay goats and local farmer market with inexpensive local produce. 

Standard limestone like Spain/Greece, new routes are being developed and topo available (only) at Flying Goat camp. A lot routes are equipped with perma-draws (at mid-point, crux, or all the way for roof) to encourage over-hang climbing or ease cleaning. Approach from 0-15minutes. 

Ran into many Russian climbers, who fled the country since the war. Very grateful for their help during my little climbing accident/injury (oh yeah and the Antalya hospitals are GREAT). 

2023. 5

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Siurana

Back to Siurana in a surprisingly cold spring. Last year it was climbing in bras and this time belaying with big down jackets and trembling in the gust wind. 

Tried "Siurana's softest 7a" La Morena del Monstant, 40m route consists of (boulder+ rest)*3. First time led it hangdogging due to the pump and scared by the exposed roof before the anchor. Felt bad.

Went back another day aiming to put up draws and try one more time. Turns out I only fell once while putting up draws, at the roof before anchor (because beta differs between clipping & putup draws and right hand forgot to leave room for left hand). Took a whip but called it a day without another try --Don't have to RP it just need to know that I don't suck.

2023.4.

Koningsdag at Berdorf

The only(?) crag in Luxemburg, and no wonder on a no-rainy(?) King's day weekend it sees too many Dutch. A small crag of roughly 150 routes with likely 400 climbers and 100 walkers/picnikers, Climbers get unhappy with long waiting lines for moderate routes. 

Mossy damp sandstone, cracks filled with soil/leaves/mud. 

Walked around the first day after the rain. Empty valley with birds, breeze, and few humans. Magic place. 

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2023.4  Easter

Finale Ligure

2nd time in Finale, still love it. But given Easter holiday, the village was full of (German) mountain bikers. Raining half of time, too. 

Did another shorter seaside traverse per friend's ask, ran into a Jesus (or Santa Maria?) statue midway. Went back to Grotto dell' Odera but still couldn't send Prana 6c+, the crux was sharp, hard to rehearse on TR, had to take once at the crux, but the rest is ok.

Checked out the castle?fotress? overseeing the village in a rainy day. Found another roadside crag, Boragni.

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2023.2

El Chorro

Winter climbing paradise in Andalucía (too hot sometimes).  Approach 20-40 min but mostly flat. Sunny walls and nicely bolted. 

Followed the Poema de Rocca 7a, likely greasiest 7a in the world, I will never be able to send it...... so many strong climbers in that cave. 

Liked the Arab Stairs crags a lot. Picked a vertical 7a that looks like my style (technical with good rests) and luckily sent it in 4 tries. My first 7a: Hockey Night in Canada. 

Stayed in Ardales with a very nice seafood restaurant. Visited El Caminito del Rey. impressive.

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2022. 11

El Potrero Chico

Expecting warm weather but it was cold as the Netherlands for the most part. Hotels (read as 农家乐) had zero insulation and trickle showers. Same breakfast everyday and pollo/ribs every dinner, Occasional trips to Monterey for Galbi boba and kimchi (Big Korean community there). Easy approach. Temporary crag doggie from the hotel.

Well bolted, friendly grade (inconsistent),  good friction grey limestone. Did my first multi-pitches (2,4, 7 and 11?). Dropped a biner rapping in the dark. Onsighted a couple 11a.

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2022. 10

Albarracin & Costa blanca

Joined ATu's group bouldering at Albarracin and then a bit sport climbing at Costa Blanca (Calpe).  First outdoor trip after the surgery, limping.

Albarracin - Red frictional sandstone, sloppy holds/top-out (but lowball and nice landing). Weather varies a lot. Flashed a V3 maybe. 

Costa Blanca - met a 60yr lady on FB who showed the way and belayed. She never fell in 35 yrs of climbing ! (only climbs 4 to 5- now). Tried a few classics like Tai-Chi and Tufa Grove by luck (a pickup truck drove us from the parking to the trailhead which saved 30min approach). 

Also tried the Queen's Bath at Calpe, an ancient Roman archeological site by the beach. Water is cold.

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2022. 1&4&5

Siurana

Finally touched real rock again after 7 months since the move from USA to Europe. Took a while (via unlikely channel) to find climbing partners. Finally got connected to Ayun at Siurana, so there I went. 

January was sunny and cold, numb fingers. Climbed 6a/6b on vertical limestone, hear Adam Ondra screaming across valley. 

April (Easter) was warm, everybody chased shade at Siuranella (iron cable stairs up). Onsighed my first 6b+(11a) and repointed a nice 6c. Great belayer makes a big difference. Saw Chris Sharma hanging at El Pati.

May again was warm, tried other Tarragona crags, less crowded (sometimes historic/sandbagged). Spent one day at Margalef and flashed a 6c and took once on a 6c+. Newbie friendly. 

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2022.2

Finale Ligure 

First time climbing in Italy. Pretty beach town and medieval village overseen by a fortress. Climbed for 6 days in a row.

Rained a lot, hence spent a few days at the overhung amphitheater, a lot of historic, polished climbs. First day climbed in the rain and cold, had to retrieve draws the next day. 

Checked out the famous Grotto dell-Odera. Climbed the 6b/6b+/6c+ left of entrance. Didn't go far on Lubna. Goat looking down on us from the top of wall. 

First multipitch (traverse), 10-pitch easy traverse along the sea cliff, took 6 hours, mostly by sorting rope and path finding. Rope got wet, the second half should have been done without rope. Climbed from midday sun to sunset and moonlight. 海上生明月,天涯共此时。

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