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TGG Bouldering Gym Reborn as T-Up Bouldering Gym

TGG Bouldering Gym, a small but well run bouldering gym on the border of Taoyuan and Hsinchu, has been massively expanded and reincarnated as T-UP bouldering gym.

Tup 2 pano

Like the newest generation of bouldering gyms in Taiwan, T-Up’s climbing walls features color coded holds, and  geometric wall design that creates uniquely challenging terrain. Slabs, dihedrals, overhangs, you name it its here. Featuring three well-sized climbing areas spanning two floors, T-Up is currently the largest bouldering gym in Taiwan, with significantly more climbing surface than STONE.

T-Up has fantastic holds sourced from all over the world, and the routes that we tried made good use of them. Route quality was for the most part quite good, though not quite as consistent as STONE.

Besides the well designed climbing facilities, T-Up has solid amenities and well-thought out layout including a waiting room, changing rooms, multiple bathrooms and a chillout area on the second floor.

For families with small children, there’s a walled-off kids area complete with mini slide and climbing holds.

T-Up also has world-class training facilities.

There is a Full-Tension training board, a system board, a peg/sloper board, a campusboard, as well as three fingerboards including, of course, a Beastmaker 2000. A Moonboard on the first floor completes the steep board trifecta.

At $280 for weekdays and $340 for weekends, the prices are almost as steep as the training boards, though time-based discounts and package pricing help. Is it worth it? For a world class climbing experience in a well designed gym with generous opening hours, we think the answer is yes.

Long Dong Fall Cleanup 2016

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Rebolting Starts again at LD – with Titanium

The Rebolt Team has announced that Titanium bolt product has finished – over 1000 bolts have been produced, and rebolting will start again soon.

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Read the rest of this entry »

Guidebook Plus Update September 2016

GB+

Guidebook Plus is the best way to stay up to date on route safety status at LD

Guidebook Plus, the online supplement to 2012′s Rock Climbing Taiwan guidebook, has been updated for September 2016. The full online version is here and the PDF version designed for easy printout for reading at the crag is here.

Recent major developments include rockfall in the backdoor area that has rendered a few routes unclimbable, pull testing of bolts, and new trad ascents.

Rockfall at Backdoor

photo - A-lang

photo – A-lang

Reported by local climber A-lang, a major rockfall in the backdoor area in June in the backdoor B2 area has rendered  a few routes near Old Man Wall unclimbable. Routes 67, 70, and 71 were affected.

304 AustriAlpin Bolts

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photo – Austrialpin

Last year the discovery that some older Petzl Collinox bolts previously believed to be made of marine grade 316 stainless steel were in fact, made of 304, shook the Taiwan climbing community and meant many more routes were now suspect.

This year it has been discovered that Austrialpin glue-in bolts used in some routes in the Backdoor B2 area as well as Lower Dragon Ridge outside of First Cave are also 304 and not 316 steel as previously believed.

Pull Testing

hydrajaws

photo -HydraJaws

Extensive pull testing has been done on nearly all the 304 stainless steel bolts at popular areas in Long Dong except for the Austrialpin bolts previously mentioned, which are unable to be tested due to the shape of the bolt. These tests involve pulling each bolt 5 times to a load of 8KN, each time holding the peak load for 30 seconds.

These tests have uncovered a number of failed bolts, and also “passed” many other ones. The safety of whether routes with completely “passed” bolts is not entirely clear so Guidebook Plus errs on the side of caution and marks these routes still as unsafe(red color.) For more daring climbers comfortable climbing on tested and passed 304 bolts, Climbio provides detailed pull test results.

New Trad Routes

New routes

photo – Nathan Ball

New trad routes have been put up officially and unofficially in several areas of Long Dong including the Grand Auditorium, Music Hall, and Euro Wall.

Because of Long Dong’s history of low-key first ascents, many of these climbs are not claimed as official First Ascents(FA) but as First Recent Ascents(FRA). However, the recent ascent of “Blade”, a new 5.11 in the Music Hall area, is confirmed to be an official first ascent by Cheang Qing Xin.

Xizhi Bouldering Gym Review

In the last two years, shiny new sports centers have started popping up in New Taipei City, each with its own Entreprises-built climbing wall. The quality and design of these contract-built climbing facilities has varied greatly, but the Xizhi one, with its angular, orange, white, and gray panels, and Mallorca-esque arch shape has been tantalizingly promising.

Xizhi Outer

Situated on the second floor of a swimming pool, the climbing gym itself occupies the entire level and is surprisingly spacious

It’s not the biggest climbing wall in town – STONE wins that race by a mile, but it uses its 218 square meters of climbing space well. Every facet of the main boulder has climbable area for a surprising amount of climbing packed into a moderately sized structure. The island style boulder design also creates a totally different experience from typical climbing gyms where the walls surround the climbers. Here the climbing area is center stage, surrounded by plenty of space for climbers to rest and spectate.

Amenities

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Downward dog your heart out

Amenities here are as good as you’ll find in Taipei – no foot baths, but you have a yoga and stretching area with foam rollers, simple but ample spectator seating, tables to eat or relax at, and a TV to watch climbing videos on. A slackline, and fingerboard are supposed to be in the works as well.

The bathrooms are Taipei sports center quality – clean, with water dispensers and showers. Whereas Red Rock has one stingily-used wall mounted AC cooling the entire gym, Xizhi has the real thing – five commercial grade units blasting arctic temperatures at full strength. This may be the most comfortable climbing gym in Taipei.

Climbing

Xizhi Stitch

The climbing itself is a mix of incredible terrain held back by mediocre routesetting. The wall itself is world-class. The arch is a multifaceted, geometric wonder with every angle and shape you could think of. From vertical, slab, and slightly overhung to roof, to multi-angled terrain. Climbing this thing is akin to climbing something outside, dihedrals, aretes and all.

However, uninspired holds and routesetting detract from the experience. The holds on the wall are sourced completely from the wall manufacturer – EP. While you’ll find every type of hold on the wall – from crimps to slopers to jugs or pinches, what you won’t find is much variety – many holds are repeated, and all the holds feature the same coarse texture and matte color scheme common to EP holds.

The routes are ostensibly color-coded, but routefinding is still frustratingly difficult on many walls because holds of the same color are used closely together on different routes. I talked to the setter and he said they will use tape to help delineate routes, but for the time being it’s difficult at best and impossible many times to isolate a single route on a wall.

The quality of the setting itself is not stellar, but not that bad. However route difficulty is bipolar – either quite easy  or very hard, with little middle ground. Along with the colored hold issue, this makes climbing the set routes an exercise in mild frustration.

Despite all this the gym is somehow still quite fun to climb at. There are enough holds on the wall to make up interesting routes on any part of the wall fairly easily. Ignore the colors, make up your own routes, play around on the mutli-faceted terrain, and you’ll have a good time.

For Location, Pricing and other Details visit our climbing gym entry for Xizhi Bouldering Gym