As a solo traveler, but for sure not a solo climber 🙂 , I am always on a search for a climbing partner. Having a big network of climbers is great, but the pity is, that mine is spread all over Europe, so it is hard to meet. But I have some advantage, since my friends aren’t couch potatoes and so some of them have already been to Yangshuo, which means that I could get some advice in advance.
Meeting people here is really easy, especially the Westies, because they stick out of the crowd. Most of them live and work here as English teachers or tour guides, so they have built a small community with social events like quiz nights and jamming sessions. What made them decide to stay? The main reason for the majority is climbing, because Yangshuo offers over 300 climbing routes raging from 5.6 to 5.13 on the American difficulty scale, as well as a relaxed life and breathtaking scenery. As a go-with-the-flow-person I try to meet as many people as I can and if they are not climbers, I try to get to the ones they know. The keywords that I use while speaking to them are obvious… CLIMBING and DO YOU KNOW SOME CLIMBERS HERE and did I mentioned CLIMBING already 🙂 ?
Spotting climbers is a piece of cake, since everywhere in the world they have their own sort of style. They usually wear a down jacket even in the summer, their clothes have either holes or stitches, depending on how lazy they are to stich them. Besides that you can notice that their fingers are a bit thicker and well they look a bit messy. Because Yangshuo is really known in the climbing community, I knew that sooner or later I will get to the crags and of course this day came.
While eating in the canteen at the Chinese college and talking with foreign students, I meet Sophie from England. She came to Yangshuo to study Chinese and of course she picked this place because of the great climbs here. So soon after the conversation we were hanging together on a rope.
Then I met Nathan, American guy, that is teaching English and has work colleagues that climb. He wanted to try out climbing and invited me to join. This is how I got to know Marek, a Czech guy, that is also an English teacher. After climbing some routes you soon see, if you can trust a person, that belays you and if everything goes right, then you arrange for another climb. And wallah, you get a climbing mate 🙂 .
The weather was terrible during the first two weeks, it was really cold and rainy, so it was more cosy to stay in the room. But you have to move to keep the balance, so I went to train on an artificial wall. There are two boulder walls in the city center, one is located in Rock Abond bar and the other at Ale House, so even during the shitty weather, there is still a chance to train. Once I went with Marek to Ale House and soon two Frenchies joined us. It is fun to climb in a group, because you motivate others and they motivate you, so you push yourself a bit more and of course the fun factor rises immediately. So the boulder wall is another good option to find climbing buddies. The next day we were three idiots riding one motorbike, towing a fourth on a bicycle, heading towards the crag to hang around on the wall and enjoy the climbs.