China unClimbed


With just two hours remaining until our bus will leave town, I throw myself at the route for the very last time. The route is China Climb, the first 8c in China and my project for last few weeks. I glide easily through the first twenty meters, the moves now like family members or close friends. At the knee-bar rest I lock my leg into position and take a few deep breaths, gradually bringing my heart rate back to normal. After two solid weeks of projecting the route I have the thing dialed; I came heartbreakingly close yesterday, falling off the final hard move with my hand just failing to latch the finish jug. I’ve now tried the route 16 times, done a half-a-dozen one-hang ascents and been through the moves at least a thousand times in my head.

Getting a quick shake on the crimp rest hold before the redpoint crux


After a few minutes I am fully rested. I nervously unhinge my knee from its locked position, exhale slowly and then throw myself into the dynamic crux moves above. But I can feel my body is not up to the task at hand. Too many tries in the past few days have taken their toll. I make it several moves into the crux before missing a catch and finding myself flying through the air.

Time up. Failure. I clean the draws reluctantly and pack my bag in silence. I guess it’s the low points that make the high points so special. Who knows, maybe I’ll be back one day…

Here are some pictures of the route, a mix of two red point days about a week (and one haircut) apart:

Stepping through the awkward low crux



Chilling out at the knee-bar rest


Starting the crux section



On redpoint, staring at the finish jug


Video of another climber, Keller Rinaudo trying China Climb last year

The idyllic White Mountain, Yangshuo at sunset


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3 Responses to China unClimbed

  1. Randy Rittel says:

    Looks like you enjoyed the “journey” and challenge of the climb. In layman terms what is a 8c? Regarding your sailing trip, was our daughter able to “keep down lunch?

    Hope you had a good holiday and happy new year If you have any sailing pictures send them our way.

    Randy, your father in law.

  2. capetownsteve says:

    Yes, the journey has been very rewarding (and continues to be – we just arrived back for round 2). I’m not sure how to put 8c in layman’s terms. I guess it entails some dynamic moves between small holds (about the size of the spine of a national geographic) spaced at reasonable intervals (say two to three feet apart) on an overhanging wall (leaning back about 20 degrees from vertical)… Hope that helps!

  3. Pingback: all I want for valentine’s day is an 8c belay! | the stangie travelogue

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