E’ uscita la prima guida “fisica” del paese
Una versione digitale e meno attualizzata era disponibile sulle piattaforme a pagamento, ma adesso, finalmente anche le splendide torri di calcare del Vietnam, spesso “immerse” nei larghi fiumi interni, è disponibile. La storia della scalata nel paese inizia nei primi ’90 aon le aperture dei mostri sacri americani (Todd Skinner e Paul Piana) per poi arrivare ad Arnaud Petit e agli inglesi impallinati per il deep water solo, che in Vietnam raggiunge una qualità di livello supersonico (anche perchè la componente “onda” praticamente non esiste”. Vedere il video qui sotto per credere! Le foto della galleria sono dell’autore della guida Luca De Giorgi
The release of this stunning new guidebook enables the seasoned climber to effectively navigate climbing of various disciplines including sport, trad, deep water solo and bouldering throughout the country’s inland karst limestone valleys and Ha Long Bay’s towering sea cliffs.
In the last few years, climbing in Vietnam has vastly expanded into the mainland from its origins in Ha Long Bay, turning the region into a prime climber’s playground.
Ha Long Bay, a sweep of water from which approximately 1,600 limestone karst islands soar, lies in the Gulf of Tonkin just off Vietnam’s northern coastline and is part of the UNESCO world natural heritage. The areas of Huu Lung and Mai Chau are both situated in karst tower and valley systems in Vietnam’s rural inland areas, amongst agricultural communities. Quoc Oai sits on the outskirts of Hanoi city.
Vietnam’s craggy towers and islands boast a stunning mix of rock blanketed in jungle and steep, exposed faces. Although not all of these walls contain solid rock, there is an overwhelming abundance of magnificent climbable faces. Many walls rising directly from the water in Ha Long Bay are ideal for deep water solo. Inland faces overlook serene valleys and rice paddies, creating a unique and isolated climbing paradise.
While community life in most areas still centers on agriculture and other traditional forms of commerce, authorities and locals now have a basic understanding of climbing and have begun to see its potential for local revenue. Climbing and bouldering gyms have opened in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, introducing the sport and opening opportunity to local communities.
Climbing is new enough in Vietnam that crags still see relatively little traffic. Rock remains largely unpolished, even on classic routes. Crags still feel wild. In addition to first-class climbing, established destinations offer endless potential for visitors with ambitions to further development.
The first climbers to visit Ha Long Bay came in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Americans Lynn Hill, Todd Skinner, Scott Milton, Paul Piana, Greg Child, and Frenchman Arnaud Petit, among others, led climbing expeditions to Vietnam and the Ha Long Bay region, bolting some of the area’s first known sport routes. Greg Child and Andy Parkin established early traditional multi-pitch lines in the bay, documented in the BBC’s The Face, Episode 2. British climbers such as Neil Gresham, Tim Emmett, Seb Grieve, Grant Farquhar, and Chris Lindner also visited, establishing sport and deep water solo routes. Deep water solo is especially popular and has been featured in films such as Big Up Productions’ Dosage Vol III and BS Productions’ The Players..
The majority of crags on Cat Ba Island and in the Lan Ha Bay region were explored, bolted and first ascended by Erik Ferjentsik, co-founder of Slo Pony (now Asia Outdoors), around 2007-2008. Many other first ascents have been made by his friends or in collaboration with Asia Outdoors. More recently, groups have begun visiting with the goal of further establishing trad lines in the area.
Quoc Oai, Hanoi’s closest crag, was discovered in 2008 by Søren Kruse and Guillaume Da, and saw first ascents by Jean Verly of VietClimb later that year. Further concentrated efforts by Marcelo Berti and Jean Verly facilitated the establishment of Quoc Oai as a climbing destination easily accessible from the city.
Onslo Carrington, Vu Nguyen, Jo Bulmer and Matt Raue explored Mai Chau and established its first wall in 2011. A second area in the region, Mai Hich, was discovered by Asia Outdoors staff in 2017. Nate Mathy spearheaded further development of Mai Chau and established two additional walls in Mai Hich.
Huu Lung was established in 2012 and 2013 by Jean Verly, Francis Haden, Gordon Jenkin, Donna Kwok and Giacomo Crivelli. Since then, with the aid of a major grant, VietClimb has continued to invest heavily in further developing Huu Lung, expanding to eight crags and building community connections with a local homestay.
Thanks to these pioneers, Vietnam has become established as a popular and affordable stop on South East Asia’s climbing circuit. Although Cat Ba Island and the Ha Long Bay Region have a plethora of established routes, potential for new lines is unlimited. The organized push for sport climbing development throughout Vietnam’s mainland has just begun.
Vietnam Climbing is a comprehensive guide to rock climbing throughout the country. The book expands on 2016’s Ha Long Bay Climbing, which followed in the footsteps of Erik Ferjenstik’s Vietnam: A Climber’s Guide (2008).
The guidebook details 275 sport and 19 trad routes on 29 crags concentrated in four main areas, and 200 deep water solo lines on 20 cliffs in Ha Long Bay. Routes range in difficulty from 4a to 8a. Vietnam Climbing also covers some bouldering areas further south and gyms throughout the country.
Aside from thorough topos and route notes, Vietnam Climbing provides information needed to adequately prepare, get to these places and go about climbing in a way that will keep them open. Some aspects covered include pertinent local background, development history, logistics, and further development potential for those who are interested. With 215 full-color pages, the book’s photography alone is enough to whet any aspiring adventurer’s appetite for a climbing trip to this beautiful, unique country.
Vietnam Climbing was written and edited by Luca De Giorgi and Gavi Piper; sponsored by Asia Outdoors and VietClimb. The book was published on Amazon in December 2018, making it available throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. It was published in Vietnam in January 2019, and will be released in app form by Vertical Life in spring of 2019