Editor's note: We'd like to thank Lósang Hita for compiling this Kunming climbing guide and Tom Kirkpatrick for providing the photos of Xiaomoyu cave. If you would like to contribute to GoKunming, please contact us.
A mild climate and an abundance of quality limestone make Kunming a great place for rock climbing. Both sport and traditional climbing are now more popular than ever among a diverse group of Kunmingers. There are also gyms in downtown Kunming where climbers can improve their strength and technique on rainy days or between trips out of the city. Here are some of the most established places to climb around the city:
There is great climbing at the cliffs rising above the Tanglang River (螳螂川) about three kilometers south of the town of Fumin (富民). The area is normally a 45-minute car journey west-northwest of Kunming, but heavy road works and traffic can sometimes significantly lengthen the trip.
There are many bolted sport routes and crags that provide lovely technical face climbing in an airy setting. There are also some relatively shallow routes that are good places for beginners to develop technique without exhausting their arm muscles. Grades range from about 5.8 to 5.13 and there are even some multipitch routes.
To get there take the G108 highway to Fumin and head south along the Tanglang River on Liyang Lu (黎阳路). After about three kilometers, turn left and cross the river on a small bridge to access the crags. Coming in from the direction of Anning in the south is also an option for those familiar with local roads.
This is a hard-to-find cave near a small village called Xiaomoyu, about a five-minute drive northwest of Bamboo Temple (筇竹寺). One of the cave's major advantages is that it stays relatively dry and allows for climbing on real rock during the June to August Yunnan rainy season.
The most difficult routes are inside the cave and range from 5.10b (6a) to 5.13d (8b) with heights of 10 to 25 meters. The heavily featured limestone offers nice variation in style, ranging from short bouldery problems to longer flowing lines. Even good climbers can expect to be defeated on their first try of some of the more difficult routes, especially if they have been enjoying the holiday grades common in other parts of Asia.
While the inside of the cave has a higher concentration of quality routes there are also nice problems to be found on the wall outside, with routes from 5.10 and up.
The cave faces north and can get quite chilly: don't forget to bring a long-sleeved top even in summer.
To get there follow the road to Bamboo Temple for about 1.5 kilometers beyond the temple and turn left onto the four-lane divided highway with which it intersects. A few hundred meters later a sign indicates the turnoff for Xiaomoyu (小墨雨) on the right. Turn right and follow the dirt road past a quarry to the village of Xiaomoyu. A clean rock face should be visible from the village on the other side of some corn fields. The entrance to the cave is on the left side of this rock face.
Red Point is the largest climbing gym in Kunming. It offers a nice environment and is frequented by many high-level climbers. Most of the 100-square-meter wall is overhead climbing but there are also some vertical sections. Red Point also has a clothing and climbing equipment shop and occasionally holds small climbing competitions that are partly an excuse to throw a party.
Location: Number 1, Building 49, Sujia Cun, Dongjiawan, Huancheng Dong Lu
Price: 20 yuan
Flying Eagle is an outdoor activities club that opened in early 2007. It has a quality rock climbing wall covering about 70 square meters with a bar and a small outdoor clothing shop. Most of the wall is overhead climbing. The decor and music are pleasant.
Location: 20 Xuefu Lu, 2nd floor
Price: 10 yuan
The area around Kunming is littered with limestone crags waiting to be developed by intrepid climbers. Leave a comment with your favorite climbing spot or additional information about the places we've profiled.© Copyright 2005-2021 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.