Weighing my options between various underreported climbing destinations in China, I decided to spend the fall rock climbing in Qingdao. I had gone bouldering there once on a short trip back in 2016 and it was enough to stoke my curiosity. The sheer amount of granite there merited a longer stay.

The most active climbing crew I found in Qingdao. These guys showed me some great boulders!

So with those thoughts in mind, I moved to Qingdao. One of the Wechat climbing groups helped give me ideas of where to rent a place. Unfortunately I booked things last minute so it was the availability of homes on Airbnb that dictacted my decision. Not that I complained once I got to the apartment, a flat on the 33rd floor with an amazing view of the mountains, I just could have booked earlier and found something walking distance to a crag. For climbers looking for a long term stay there, I would recommend something near Mt. Fushan 浮山 if you want easy access to sport climbing, or Mt. Jinling 金岭山 if you are more interesting in bouldering.  Luckily these two spots aren’t too far from one another so you could just as easily book something halfway in between. 

Once I arrived I made a trip to the climbing gym recommended by my contacts: UP Climbing Gym. As I understand, that’s the only climbing gym in Qingdao with rope climbing. Top roping and lead climbing is available. Everyone I met there was welcoming and friendly. Nonetheless I had some difficulty finding active outdoor climbers. Things were further complicated by a fatal climbing accident during my stay. The death of a key member of the climbing community shocked everyone and for many put the sport on indefinite hold. Out of respect for the community I stopped messaging the group chat about climbing plans. Needless to say, not much climbing happened during this period of mourning. 

As it usually goes on a long term trip, everything came together just in time for me to leave. I met another active community of climbers just two weeks before my flight out. I enjoyed a couple trips with them both to Mt. Fushan and Mt. Jinling. Their stoke and motivation left me feeling like the spirit of Qingdao rock climbing remained. At least now I know who to climb with when I return.   

Qingdao often ranks as one of the top places to live in China. After two months there I had to agree. Something about the urban, sea, and mountain views give Qingdao a unique charm. All amidst the historical European architecture most notable in areas like Badaguan. Any climber could enjoy days at the beach with climbs on sea cliffs a walk away.  Finishing the day with a swim then a hike up the beach to a local barbecue restaurant with Qingdao beer on draft and skewers on the grill. It’s a city that puts you in awe. Qingdao, hit the the beach, go for a hike, get those draws up on a new project. 

Planning a climbing trip to Qingdao?

See more info on Qingdao rock climbing here.

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