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Mayan Smith-Gobat and Ben Rueck climbing at Zhangjiajie, China
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Mayan Smith-Gobat, Ben Rueck forge rock climbs in unexplored Zhangjiajie, China


Video: Mayan Smith-Gobat, Ben Rueck, Liu Yongbang and Xiao Ting explore new rock climbs in Zhangjiajie National Park, China.

In April 2016, an international team of climbers comprised of Mayan Smith-Gobat, Ben Rueck, Liu Yongbang (Abond) and Xiao Ting was the first to receive permission to climb in Zhangjiajie, China’s first and largest National Forest Park in China. This stunning UNESCO World Heritage site located in the northern Hunan province attracts over 30 million visitors per year, yet despite its long history the strict park regulations had previously prevented climbers from exploring Zhangjiajie’s maze of 3,000 unique orange sandstone towers.

During their month-long stay in the valley, Smith-Gobat and Rueck focused on two of the highest towers and succeeded in two ground-up first ascents of these 300m walls, the highlight being the Dragon’s Nest (5.13a).

Dragons Nest
300m, 7 pitches. 5.13a (5.11b, 5.9, 5.11d, 5.11c, 5.13a, 5.12a, 5.9), Trad with some bolted anchors
First ascent: Ben Rueck & Mayan Smith-Gobat

Dragon Lady, on the Red Pillar
300m, 6 pitches, (5.10a, 5.11b, 5.11d, 5.12b, 5.12a, 5.11b), mixed, trad and bolts - mostly trad though.
First ascent: Ben Rueck & Mayan Smith-Gobat

Flower Power Tower
60m, 5.12a, Trad
First ascent: Ben Rueck

Last Shadow (off width)
35m, 5.11d, Trad
First ascent: Mayan Smith-Gobat

Beijing Belly, on the Father and Son tower
70m, 2 pitches, Grade 5.10 R, (5.10c, 5.10d R) Trad
First ascent: Ben Rueck & Mayan Smith-Gobat

The Son of Poet, on Father and Son Tower
20m, 5.10a, Trad
First ascent: Abond (Liu Yanbang)

Kungfu Emperor
60m, 5.13c, Mixed trad and bolts (mainly bolted)
First ascent: Abond (Liu Yanbang)

Tear of the goddess
35m, 5.11d, Trad
First ascent: Abond (Liu Yanbang)

Kyo run
70m, 2 pitches, 5.11a, 10d, Trad, bolted anchors.
First ascent: Ting (Ting Xiao)





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