Only two months passed and we actually arrived in Qingdao. The express train from Beijing arrived in the middle of the night and we took a cab (our favorite means of transportation) to the Kaiyue Hostel, where we would be staying for the next week.
The next day we checked out the beaches, which are oddly numbered: There are the beaches one, two three and six. When the bouldering potential turned out to be slim to none, a sudden skepticism started creeping up. There are some bouldering possibilities at beach number two, but all climbing is prohibited there at the moment.
All this reminded me of bouldering on the island paradise of Ko Tao, Thailand, where the best bouldering area is now an upmarket holiday resort. That evening we got the relieving news. A short email arrived with nothing but a few words and a telephone number: call me, we are going bouldering tomorrow. After a short phone call we had a meeting point and time. The next day we got picked up by Lang Lang (who also has the nickname „Victor“ – all the chinese climbers seem to have „western“ nicknames). LangLang took us to the JinLin mountain, where we would be meeting some other locals: We met Wang Zhen aka „Rocker“, who is the father of Qingdao climbing and developed most of the climbing and bouldering areas. Rocker started
climbing after having seen it on tv as he thought it looked really interesting. Starting off soloing with no equipment at all he even took a fall but just came back even more motivated. Apart from us there was another visitor: Marcos, originally from Brazil, who is now living in Shanghai and came to Qingdao to put up some sportroutes. We had a great day bouldering, as the quality of the rock was really good and Rocker led
us through three different bouldering areas around the JinLin mountain that day introducing us to some of the local projects and classics.
The openness and hospitality the locals showed towards us was overwhelming from the first minute. Maybe the reason is that the local climbing scene just consists of 20 people or maybe ist just the mindset of the people in Qingdao, but travelling all around the globe and being welcomed so nicely because we were fellow climbers really was a good feeling. As there was no topo we were introduced to the different bouldering areas and as foreigners canʼt rent cars and drive we were often enough picked up and taken to some spot that couldnʼt be reached by taxi or public transport.
Without this help we would have never had the chance to see maybe the two most beautiful bouldering spots that the area around Qingdao has to offer.
One spot, thats situated right on the shore is called Fung Chao, meaning beehive – not because itʼs populated by stinging animals, but because the granite makes a couple of roofs some of which have honeycomb-reminiscent structures. One of the nicest line is a tunnel-like roof followed by a nice mantle. Apart from really steep and overhanging lines there are also some slabby to slightly overhanging crimpy lines and even some unclimbed futuristic projects that await first ascents, as the area has just recently been discovered.
The other incredibly beautiful are we we lucky to check out belongs to the area of Lao Shan, which is a famous mountain. The natural scenery is really amazing there, as the mountain area is close to the ocean, thus making Lao Shan a sight even for non- climbers. The boulders we checked out were situated in the midst of green tea plantations and the whole day we had a stunning view on the ocean and a nice cool breeze.
If you want to go to Qingdao for bouldering make sure to contact the local climbers up front. An adress to start could be climbinginchina.com. Spring and Fall provide ideal weather conditions, and it even gets cold during wintertime. The Kaiyue Hostel is a good choice, as it has friendly englishspeaking staff and a cozy lounge/cafe with good food. The locals are working on a topo, so stay tuned for more information.