It’s rainy time and this year has been particularly wet. The river is raging, and the valley is green and lush. We’ve been joined by a few families from Lijiang and Kunming for our first summer camp. It was quite an action packed few days with hiking, climbing, fishing, mushroom hunting, slacklining, juggling, basket making, and house building with bamboo and mud.
Summer’s here kids! We’ve had a busy few months trying to finish a few things on the house. The final job was making the railings and steps for the barn rooms. We’ve now got all of our licences, and we’re very happy to announce that we’re finally officially open.
It’s been a busy few weeks with guests from the USA, Columbia, Germany, France, Belgium, Beijing and Chongqing.
The month got off to good start when Santa brought me an early Christmas present – a mighty Bosch hammer drill – which I’ve been putting to good use on the crag behind us. There are now 6 lines there including a quality 6c (5.11b) slab climb called ‘shark attack’. It’s south facing and a great place to soak up some winter sun.
The Cave has also seen the FA of a new route – 吃饱了 “I’m full”, going at 7c+.Well done Sylvain Audibert and thanks Marcos Costa for bolting it.
And to cap it off the village got together to celebrate a baby’s one month party. Here, as in many rural areas of China, they still follow the tradition that after birth the mother must stay inside with the baby for a whole month. No one except the family can see them and fearing that she’s weakened from birth, the mother can’t shower. After a month has passed, a pig is slaughtered and the whole village joins them for two days of feasting and eating.
I was out on the motorbike last week when I spotted a large rock on the horizon. Large rocks aren’t exactly unusual around here, but the shape and colour was very different to the limestone in our valley, and not like the sandstone of Liming either.
I showed a poor quality photo I’d snapped to a guest Eric from Canada, and he seemed excited to get a closer look. Together with Ling and Ying we set off for a day’s potential bush whacking to see if we could get to the base. On arriving in the closest village our excitement grew. The houses were clearly made of granite, and small granite boulders were scattered around the fields. Setting off up steep wooded valleys our target quickly disappeared. The paths we were on kept ending abruptly and we were forced to backtrack several times. When we saw the rock again we found we’d almost looped around the side of it. A final traverse across a slippery hillside and we arrived. Stained with lichen and covered in moss it certainly didn’t look like granite, but a freshly broken piece revealed that it surely is.
On the return walk we also found a wide track, good enough to get a motorbike or 4×4 up, which goes to a house just 15 minutes from the base, making access extremely easy. I have enough to get on with in this valley for now, but if anyone wants we could talk to the people in this house and could probably arrange a base for people to get some first ascents up this incredible looking rock. The granite looked to extend to the north and south of there and I’m now fairly sure that the spikes of rock on the horizon looking up our valley are also granite.
We’ve just had our first big group – all the way from Seattle. They were looking for some Yunnan authenticity and I think they got it. Despite our lack of comfortable seating in the bar and novel toilet arrangements, they seemed to be quite at home here. Ling did an excellent job introducing them to some fine Yunnan cuisine and I took them on a little hike up the mountain behind the house. I’d previously sent some other intrepid guests up the same valley and so I wanted to see the walk for myself. It proved to be much steeper than I’d expected and the path had become a bit overgrown. Once at the top the views made it well worth it, with beautiful views of the first bend of the Yangtze. The way down was much more straightforward, following a well trod path from a Lisu village to Shigu town. If you’ve got the legs for it, it makes an excellent day hike.