Go back to China.
Blown tire en route to Getu.
A fairly painless series of flights via Vancouver and Beijing put us in the city of Guiyang in the early evening hours. This metropolis of 4 million people is the capital of the Guizhou province in southern China and is the jumping off point for trips to the now famous Getu region. And is of course one of those sizable Chinese cities that we’ve never heard of before. For the price of a shithole in Vegas, we got a nice room with a panoramic view of the downtown. In the morning we met Ola as well as “the boss” and his wife who would drive us out to the country and whose establishment we’d stay at while in Getu. Boss’s driving habit was to keep things at a steady 60km/h – regardless of whether we were driving down the wrong way on a street in Guiyang, holding up traffic on a divided 4-lane highway or rattling apart on a potholed nightmare of an unpaved country road (which of course resulted in a blown tire). The drive offered us the first views of the stunning karst mountain landscape. After a quick stop at a market in Ziyun, we eventually made it to the village of Getu and got our first views of the formations that we had seen in the guidebook. The triangular shaped SW face of Pussa Yan mountain was particularly impressive.
In the Arch. Photo by Ola.
That afternoon, with Ola’s help, we dragged ourselves up to the Great Arch. While the two easiest single pitch lines we climbed there were OK (well, maybe less than OK in the case of that flared and seeping chimney nightmare), the setting and the views were truly stunning and one of a kind! We rounded out the day by hiking through the upper arch and ended up exiting via the lower arch using some backside cave trails. This also included jumping a couple of locked gates as well as riding down an elevator inside the cave. Now if you’re worried that the heavy handed Chinese development has ruined this part of Getu, don’t be. It really is no worse than the climbing gym that Smith Rock has become…picture Smith enhanced by an elevator to the top of Misery Ridge but absent other climbers. Not so bad eh? In the evening we got our first taste of the living conditions in Getu: decent food, functional accommodations (unless the water was shut off, then things were less functional), and – tragically – shitty beer. With its ~3% alcohol content, it was almost like being in Utah.
Welcome to Beijing (Sept. 2016).
For the price of a Motel 6 shit hole in Vegas, we had this nice room overlooking the Guiyang skyline for our first night in China (Sept. 2016).
View from the motel (bathroom) window unto a city park below. Click for a short video (Sept. 2016).
More views of Guiyang from the hotel room (Sept. 2016).
A bit of home improvement work…8 stories up.
Guiyang street sights (Sept. 2016).
Street market in the town of Ziyun (an hour of driving from Getu; Sept. 2016).
Ziyun street scenes (Sept. 2016).
How about some cherry jello?
Shirley & Ola walking the street market in Ziyun (Sept. 2016).
Road traffic on the way to Getu (Sept. 2016).
Despite our driver’s best effort to fly over all potholes at 70km/h, we nevertheless blew a tire (Sept. 2016).
Helping the boss change the tire…notice how we pulled off the road and all (Sept. 2016).
Having arrived in the village of Getu in the early afternoon, we decided to hike up to the Great Arches for a bit of single pitch sport wank…a good call since there was really nothing multi pitch there that was easy enough for us to climb (Sept. 2016).
The approach begins with a short ferry ride. Upper Arch is visible here (Sept. 2016).
The famous Great Arches from the river (Sept. 2016).
Ola and Shirley hiking up to the upper Arch. The next part of the hike involved climbing through the window of the yellow house here in order to get “around” the fence (Sept. 2016).
Shirley hiking into the Great Arch. A spectacular place no doubt about it!
An example of a pocketed limestone inside the Upper Arch. The wall overhangs by a good 20-30 degrees here and pockets are downward sloping…yeah, there was really not much there that was climbable for us.
Leading the Ceramic House route (6a) belayed by Ola…who also established the route by first free soloing it and learning how to bolt on the way down.
Higher on the same pitch – cool limestone “mushrooms” (Sept. 2016).
Leading Nudel Power (6a+). Kind of a nasty, damp squeeze chimney but one of the few doable lines there. And the location is just so unique! Photo by Ola Przybysz – thank you!!
Crux move of the line…kind off off-width-y, kind of flared chimney-ish. Surprisingly enough Shirley was not interested in TRing. Photo by Ola (Sept. 2016).
Hiking through the Arch to the far side at the start of our very scenic hike out in the afternoon (Sept. 2016).
View of the Upper Arch from the “rear.” We’re now heading down some walkways to an elevator…which will allow access to the Lower Arch (Sept. 2016).
The complex three dimensional topography on the “backside” of The Great Arches (Sept. 2016).
Shirley and Ola admiring the Lower Arch from inside a huge cave system. Note the Chinese flag on the right side, about 3/4ths of the way up the arch. Bird nest collectors free solo that section (nowadays, only for tourist apparently).
The river disappears into a cave system inside the Lower Arch (Sept. 2016).
Hiking out of the Lower Arch via a floating walkway – the development here could’ve been much worse. As it is now, it’s quite functional even for climbers (Sept. 2016).
Shirley bypassing the third and final locked gate on our hike out (the one that was fortunately unlocked would’ve been the sketchiest to climb over…). Photo by Ola.
More deep water solo action. Photo also by Ola (Sept. 2016).
One more parting shot of The Great Arches (Sept. 2016).
Pijiu – a very cute puppy girl in Getu…name (Beer) was inspired by the post climb drinking sessions (Sept. 2016).
Shirley and Ola walking the main street (in fact, the only street) in the village of Getu (Sept. 2016).
Go to CMDI Wall.
Go back to China.