28 August, 2013

Climbing in Vietnam: A new climbing frontier in South East Asia…

Have you ever heard about Cat Ba? Huu Lung? Quoc Hoai? Mai Chau? Not yet? Well, you better start having a look on Google map then!

For many years Vietnam has been associated with a terrible conflict that notoriously brought the name of this nation all over the media around the globe. However, after the end of the American War in April 1975 this amazing country has been protagonist of large series of dramatic changes. From the application of the Doi Moi in 1986 onward and in particular over the very last decade, its economic growth has pushed forward the resurrection of this country in all the possible direction, including of course Rock Climbing!

If you are planning a Rock Climbing Trip in South East Asia, you cannot miss the chance to include Vietnam on your itinerary. The cocktail of solid limestone and unique cultural diversity will make your trip and amazing experience.

All the Climbing Areas in Vietnam are located in the north. Quoc Oai it’s about 20 Km from Hanoi, the capital and it can be easily reached by motorbike.  This spot has a dozen of sport routes and some interesting bouldering potential. Cat Ba Island is located in the province of Hai Phong and it’s the biggest Island of Halong Bay in the Gulf of Tonking. Climbing in Cat Ba can be divided in two main categories: Rock Climbing in Butterfly Valley and DWS along the lime stone of Halong Bay. If you are not afraid of big jumps, this is the summer destination for you. Mai Chau it’s about 4 hours driving from Hanoi. At the moment it doesn’t have so many routes available however it’s great spot for beginners. HuuLung is undoubtedly the ultimate climbing area of the country and it was entirely developed by Francis Haden, Giacomo Crivelli, Jean Verly and his crew. Climbing in Huu Lung means being immerse in a Vietnamese post card. Surrounded by flourished green hills, and facing a 130 m vertical limestone wall, this spot show off around 35 sport routes and 3 multi-pitches.

The Weather in the North of Vietnam changes radically all over the year. The best period for Rock Climbing is indeed from September to December while for DWS the best is from April to August. January, February and March are indeed the coldest and wettest months of the years and even though the temperatures rarely drop below 10 degrees, the massive humidity makes your bones shake.

For more detailed information about climbing areas and general climbing tips you can visit the Vietclimb website

Jean Verly bolting the first routes in Quoc Oai

Riccardo climbing a long line at Butterfly Valley, Cay Ba
Jean Verly on War and Peace 7a in Huu Lung

Vietclimb Community heading to Butterfly Valley, Cat Ba

Riccardo on the roof of Tien Ong Cave, Cat Ba