Trip Report
"Gwei Lo" Lion Rock Hong Kong

by gf
Sunday December 18, 2011 6:40pm
Work takes me through Hong Kong a few times a year; on rare occasions ...
Work takes me through Hong Kong a few times a year; on rare occasions time, the weather and a partner line up with the chance to sample some of the superb crags such as waterfall rock, tung lung island or yesterdays' outing, Lion Rock.
Credit: gf
There is a first rate network of hiking trails in the Hong Kong SAR, a...
There is a first rate network of hiking trails in the Hong Kong SAR, along with an active trail walking and running culture. Shot taken on the popular trail leading to summit of Lion Rock which links into a much broader network. LR visible through the tre
Credit: gf
Did I mention that this is on the edge of "town"?
Did I mention that this is on the edge of "town"?
Credit: gf
The chosen "cours" for the day was "gweilo", loosely translated it mea...
The chosen "cours" for the day was "gweilo", loosely translated it means "grey ghost". Classic finger-hand corner, marred by misguided bolt placements
Credit: gf
Steely-eyed hero shot; with a bolt at my waist
Steely-eyed hero shot; with a bolt at my waist
Credit: gf
View to the west, quite a contrast with the more urban vistas to the s...
View to the west, quite a contrast with the more urban vistas to the south
Credit: gf
My friend Jason has been a devourer of HK trails for years but is just...
My friend Jason has been a devourer of HK trails for years but is just getting into climbing via his boys who are members of a local gym
Credit: gf
Starting the final pitch
Starting the final pitch
Credit: gf
summit biscuit courtesy of jasons' better-half, rebecca
summit biscuit courtesy of jasons' better-half, rebecca
Credit: gf

  Trip Report Views: 4,009
gf
About the Author
gf is a climber from Vancouver Canada.

Comments
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MH2

climber
  Dec 18, 2011 - 06:42pm PT
I liked this trip report!
snakefoot

climber
Nor Cal
  Dec 18, 2011 - 06:43pm PT
bump for the crags, very nice.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
  Dec 18, 2011 - 08:12pm PT
Wow! looks like excellent rock and a great route. You are looking mighty fit for an old guy Greg. I'm guessing all the haze looking over the city is grade A smog.
gf

climber
Author's Reply  Dec 18, 2011 - 07:28pm PT
Mike-i was sucking in my gut on all the shots...and yes, that is the detritus drifting around from one of the most densely populated places on the planet-the pearl river delta. Improvements have been made in many areas, but the rate of car growth never mind grand-fathered smokestacks keeps it pretty grim. Good thing Canada is leading by example re kyoto? That said, i'll burn in hell for the time i spend on a plane-i try to defend it on grounds that i fly economy-but one of my biz class friends claims economy has a larger footprint due to the methane the passengers give off from the crappy food served in the back. who knows?
T H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Dec 18, 2011 - 07:44pm PT
Great bouldering too, and pretty girls. I'd just move there if I was you. T4P^
martygarrison

Trad climber
Washington DC
  Dec 18, 2011 - 07:50pm PT
Great stuff! I always wondered about those cliffs but never had time to get up there. thanks
Tami

Social climber
Canada
  Dec 18, 2011 - 08:03pm PT
They serve "food" on airplanes still?

Great tr. Hope yer back in Van fer the winter break.

Or we'll get that weird winter surf at Amblesnide :-D

Nice tr o holy eater of food.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
  Dec 18, 2011 - 08:49pm PT
Thanks for the TR. I'd heard of the climbing in HK, but didn't really know anything about it.

As to the pollution in the PRD -- a lot of industry is pulling out of Guangdong and moving inland. I don't know how much of an impact that will have in the Delta, but things will get uglier in places like Chongqing and Chengdu. We're seeing huge increases in air traffic into and out of both those places as electronics manufacturing moves there.
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Dec 18, 2011 - 08:50pm PT
Bump!
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Canada
  Dec 18, 2011 - 10:21pm PT
There's that "you can't catch me" smile again ...

Back to work, slacker !
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Dec 18, 2011 - 11:09pm PT
Nice, thanks!
reddirt

climber
PNW
  Dec 18, 2011 - 11:13pm PT
excellent TR... didn't know there was such nice rock in HK...

The route name is a bit, er, funny. I had to check if it was "that" gwei lo. Hee hee
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
  Dec 18, 2011 - 11:31pm PT
hooda thunkit. it looks like nice stone too
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Dec 18, 2011 - 11:39pm PT
An "eye-opening" TR.

I clicked on it with some ---hesitation.

No problems.

I have had my eyes opened for urban Hong Kong climbing.

I remember reading about the Brit Expat hill-running club there.

They seemed a pleasant blend of outdoor-suffering and urban-drinking.
Powder

Trad climber
the Flower Box
  Dec 20, 2011 - 09:52am PT
Nice!!

To think that I've never expected there is any mountain or crag except for skyscraper in HK to climb (based on my very superficial impression), this is absolutely cool!

Thanks for sharing.
matthewtraver

climber
Hong Kong, living in London
  Dec 20, 2011 - 11:59am PT
Hey,

Thanks for posting this up. Really cool to see something Hong Kong related as this was (is?) once my home turf... Gwei Lo was my first multi-pitch route way back when and my first roped solo... so it seems its a special place for many of us ;-)

If you ever want some info. on other areas and some lesser visited spots drop me a line. There's tonnes of other stuff to be had!

Have a good one,

Matt
JSpencerV

Trad climber
Santa Monica, CA
  Dec 20, 2011 - 01:53pm PT
pretty cool.
bpope

climber
Sunnyvale, CA
  Dec 20, 2011 - 02:03pm PT
So far, I've only had a couple days of bouldering when I'm out there for work...one of these days weather/partner will line up. Way to go!
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  Dec 20, 2011 - 04:06pm PT
Great TR!

Hong Kong is a trip, with one of the most populated places in the world on one side of the peak and mostly undeveloped on the other.
Storm Bate

Trad climber
Conwy, UK
  Dec 23, 2011 - 06:21am PT
Great report, it brought back many memories as I've done that route numerous times when I lived in Hong Kong. Your hero pose does come immediately after the crux when you've got the 'thank god hold' in your right hand. It's a crying shame they've bolted it, but that's the way they are. My partner and I climbed a trad route to be watched and followed up by a pair who bolted it!
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Dec 23, 2011 - 10:40am PT
Good looking route!

I spent my senior year of high school at Hong Kong Int'l School. Lived in Kowloon. Harbor City.

Not a great place for a high school kid.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Dec 23, 2011 - 11:12am PT
Most entertaining! So can they not afford gear in Hong Kong or haven't
they figured out how to use it?
gf

climber
Author's Reply  Jan 1, 2012 - 01:14pm PT
Hi Reilly

A crag called waterfall rock features splitter crack climbing and the need to have widget placing skills -things have evolved. I'll try to put together a trip report for this area if the planets align.
Fletcher

Boulder climber
A very quiet place
  Jan 6, 2012 - 01:16am PT
Thank you for the very enjoyable report! I spent two years in HK and it's where I really amped up my climbing (my small kids have now put the kabosh on that! Ha ha!).

Your comment about HK and misguided bolt placements is spot on. I have never seen so many baffling bolts anywhere. Almost random. Actually, probably some really were random, especially down in Shek O.

You brought back some fond memories for me. Where else in the world do you take a subway to go climbing (and then a bus, mini-bus, or taxi)? I checked out Lion Rock once, but didn't do any routes there. Did have a few adventures on nearby Fei Mo Shan Peak though. Tung Lung is awesome, especially the random ferry to get there (more of a barge!). Plus a million other little tiny micro-crags you had to bushwhack through jungle, poisonous millipedes and killer butterflies to get to for a five minute climb. I loved it all of course. Thanks again!

M'goi sai!

Eric

P.S. Also remembering the absurd deals I got on equipment. I got my Kaukulators there, brand new, for something like $87 (and no sales tax, of course!).
kc

Trad climber
the cats
  Jan 6, 2012 - 01:29am PT
Anyone else out there thinking 'Balls of Fury' (the movie). "What do pandas eat, anyway?"............

Looks like an awesome route/awesome rock. Good job!
cowpoke

climber
  Jan 6, 2012 - 03:54pm PT
thanks! always a treat to read beyond North America tr's...and that rock looks really nice
hongkongstuey

Trad climber
Hong Kong
  Apr 20, 2012 - 11:37am PT
have a peak at http://www.hongkongclimbing.com to get a better idea of what we've got to offer out here - more than enough rock to keep most folk happy

Stu
KaiPL

Mountain climber
Boulder, Colorado
  Apr 20, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
"Gwei Lo" doesn't really mean "grey ghost". It is a pejorative term for white people.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
  Apr 20, 2012 - 01:30pm PT
cool. Our indigenous people say "white man" or "honkey".
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
  Apr 21, 2012 - 06:15pm PT
Back in the early 1980s I was posted out to Hong Kong, and lived in Kowloon Barracks, beneath, and a couple of miles away from Lion Rock. My wife and I did this in it's original form, a Very Severe route with a lot of aid, though we dispensed with the vast majority.

But, the notable groove used to have an exotic tree at the top, and a root, about 1 1/2" in diameter hung down the length of the corner and was used as an occasional hand hold.

It was all very overgrown and dirty, and had a number of rotting pegs scattered about on each pitch.

All these routes were the work of the local RAF Mountain Rescue team, and were climbed in 'big bendy boots'. The original description is scanned below for posterity. Sadly I have no photo's of the groove, tree or route.

I recall we were up there one weekend and followed three local Chinese lads repeating a route they had put up on the steep East face of Lion Rock not long before. We chased them up it it, an much to their annoyance we dispensed with a couple of nuts they used for aid. They were particularly irritated by the fact that Bronwen did it free. (They shouldn't have been, they had no idea how good she was!) The line seems to have been consumed by bolt routes claimed in the 90s! It was ever so!

I also freed a single pitch aid route, Marathon, on Kowloon Peak, in front of a local climbing club. I got a round of applause!

We didn't really do much in our two years though, I was much involved in the local squash scene and the weather, with it's extremes of heat and humidity, and the dirty nature of the crags made it all a bit unappealing. Looks much better now though!

Credit: Blakey

Unfortunately not many photos have survived, but here's a few from BITD

This could be Marathon on Kowloon Peak
This could be Marathon on Kowloon Peak
Credit: Blakey

Definitely on Kowloon Peak
Definitely on Kowloon Peak
Credit: Blakey

Regards,

Steve


gf

climber
Author's Reply  Apr 21, 2012 - 11:56pm PT
Steve
Thanks for the historical post -super interesting


Heres' a bit more on Gweilo for those interested:
gweilo
(n.) vaguely pejorative Cantonese slang for foreigner. Translations differ depending on who you ask. Apparently it was once meant to mean "foreign devil" (an extreme insult), but usually these days is said to mean "ghost man" due to white foreigner's pale skin and is used as a general term to mean foreigner. Gweilos get upset about being called this. Chinese think it's no big deal.
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
  Apr 22, 2012 - 02:42am PT
Hey GF,

Damn! - knew that and meant to add it - Doh!

:-)

Steve
Fletcher

Boulder climber
A very quiet place
  Apr 22, 2012 - 03:10am PT
We used to refer to ourselves as gweilo's all the time. "Vaguely pejoritive" is a good definition. We were odd creatures to the locals, indeed! Kind of like Akroyd and Steve Marting in that old SNL skit "What.. the hell.... is that?!!!!" :-)

"I don't know, but don't put your lips on it, kid!"

Eric
kc

Trad climber
the cats
  Apr 22, 2012 - 08:57am PT
Ahhh....now 'Balls of Fury' makes sense!
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