Ambassador, Ooan Kongsingh spent the past few week's climbing China's beautiful sandstone cracks. Ooan picks up the story from here, "I met Mike Dobie (Li Ming's rock climbing pioneer) in Yangshuo during the summer of 2012 while working for Insight Adventures. He recommended that I come climb in Li Ming if I was interested in learning crack climbing. We stayed in touch and I've been looking to a lot of pictures of this area for the past two years. Last year, I decided to make the trip to China with Gee Suriwan from CMRCA, we had a great crack climbing introduction and I realized at the end of the trip that I had to come back to learn more about this type of climbing. So here here we are 2015 Liming crack climbing trip with new goals and also all the routes that I want to climb to apply to the Rock Guide Course in the future.
We arrived in the beginning of October, my partner Mario and I started our first day with a review of the basics of crack climbing in order to adjust our body and mindset to this specific type of climbing. Then we slowly started to work our way to achieve some of the objectives we set before our trip.
We jumped on our first project on the fourth day, we climbed "Soul Awakening 5.10+ 6 pitches." The first pitch start out with an easy 5.9 hand jams, it's a perfect pitch to warm up your fingers, pitch two was A2 aid climbing because there is a big block of loose rock that you can't climb, pitch three another 5.9 and you got two options to go right or left, pitch four is the money pitch of this route, it's 5.10+ almost 35 meters long, it's start with hand and foot jams half way up and an off width section up to the anchor it's a very beautiful combination of moves and quite technical so it took us quite a long time to free this pitch. Then I led the fifth pitch 5.10R it's a chimney traverse with a lots of loose rocks and bird poop, most people stop here but we kept going all the way to the top even thought the last pitch was super sketchy. It was worth it, and we were the second ascend to top out this route this year. After a short celebrating on the top with Mario we started our descent and we had a problem on our way down because our rope got stuck on the rock and we couldn't pull it out, Mario had to aid climb back up and finally we have been able to take it out and made it safely to the ground.
After almost two weeks here, the weather became more chilly and and we felt more confident to climb our next project " Back to the Primitive 5.11+ 8 pitches." This route is much longer and difficult than what we climbed before and our goal was to free all the pitches. The warm up pitch is a short 5.8 then the most difficult pitch of the entires route is the second pitch 5.11d with fingers section and unfortunately I still didn't free this pitch, then pitch three is a perfect hand crack section, i like it because I'm good at this technique, pitch four was a roof pitch with width crack that allow you to layback all the way to the top. We had a short break before the 40 meters traverse ,pitch six just A2 aid climb, pitch7 it's a 5.11-flake pitch with layback, I was so tired and grind my teeth to fight through the crux, I almost fell but I made it free! Finally the last pitch is a 5.10 called " Turtle in space " it felt so amazing to top out and see the spectacular view of Li Ming valley. The walk off was good and even thought it look a little bit overgrown after the rainy season it wasn't too difficult to find the path. Our experience on this route was amazing each pitch is unique and different from the other, I highly recommended to climb it if you ever come in Li Ming for me it's definitely the best line I have been climbing here !
The time flies when you have fun and we have only one more week left before going back home so we will enjoy the rest of our time here and climb some harder routes as much as we can !!
Big thanks to my beautiful wife, Olivia Morandin for all of her support and letting me do what I love, Mario Wild for sharing this climbing experience with me, special thanks to Mike Dobie the homeboy who started developing this beautiful area and of course my great sponsors Black Diamond Thailand and Point6 socks for their support."