Last updated: April 26th, 2019
China’s longtime capital has played an important role in the development of Chinese rock climbing. Most recently, Beijing climbing was hit by the change of conditions in Baihe valley. However, a number of gyms in the city provide training for a still strong community. After all a lot of foreigners ex-pats and students live and train in Beijing so you won’t have trouble finding climbing partners.
This page has a lot of different information around Beijing rock climbing, so hopefully this table of contents will get you right to what you’re trying to find.
Table of Contents
- Beijing Overview
- Beijing Climbing Season
- Beijing Climbing Guidebook
- Beijing Climbing Gyms
Beijing Rock Climbing Overview:
Beijing rock climbing consists of granite faces, cracks, slabs, and overhangs mostly north of the city. Sport climbing is predominant with some traditional and multi-pitch lines available. The majority of rock climbing routes are in Baihe. A few other areas are smaller but will likely see more development since the closing of most Baihe crags. These areas include John’s Crag, Huairou, and Sidu.
How to Get to Baihe
The three best ways to get to Baihe are as follows:
Easiest: Join a weekend Meetup trip
For new climbers in Beijing, the best way to go out with people who know the area is through the Beijing climbers Meetup Group. If you’re unfamiliar with Meetup, it’s an app and website that allows you to connect with groups that share a common interest, like rock climbing.
Meetup trips to Baihe happen most weekends from the Spring to Fall. All you have to do is sign up and show up at wherever they decide to meet in the city.
From the meeting point you will take a minibus directly to the crag of your choice.
After a day of climbing you will most likely have dinner with the group in Baihe then return to the city. The minibus probably won’t make it back to the city until after 9pm.
Notes about this method:
- This is the best way to meet the expat climbing community in Beijing
- The cost depends on how many people sign up. Expect to pay around 100 CNY round trip.
- Be prepared for a long day. The group usually meets around 7-7:30am to avoid traffic leaving the city.
- If you want to avoid going back and forth to Baihe in one day:
- Go with the meetup group one way then use one of the other two methods to get back to the city. Sometimes there are trips Saturday and Sunday so you could go up with the Saturday group then return with the Sunday group.
- Make sure you communicate any independent plans like this with the group.
Cheapest: Public Transportation/Taxi
Go to Dongzhimen Station 东直门 then take the 980 Bus to Miyun 密云. Get off at the last stop in Miyun, called Gulou 鼓楼站. From there you will have to negotiate with cab/minivan drivers to get a ride to Baihe.
As many drivers won’t know anything about rock climbing, it’s best to have an address and have them drive you straight to your accommodations.
For example, you could get a ride to Delai’s 德来家, drop off the things you don’t need at the crag, then have Delai give you a ride to the crag of your choice. One of the open crags, Secret Garden, is a hike up from Delai’s anyway.
Once you are more familiar with the area, and know where the crags are, you can direct a driver to drop you off directly at an approach trail.
Notes about this method:
- This is the cheapest way as long as you go with 2-3 other people to split the cab ride from Miyun to Baihe. The cab ride is generally 100 CNY and the 980 bus is 15 CNY.
- This is also the longest and most hassle-filled way since the trip is split up into:
- Getting to Dongzhimen
- Dongzhimen – Miyun. You could be delayed getting on the bus here if there are long lines. Friday after work is a busy time for example.
- Miyun – Baihe. It’s possible but difficult to get a cab without speaking Chinese. Make sure you at least have the address of where you want to go.
- I only would recommend this method if you’re both committed to getting to Baihe as cheaply as possible and able to avoid the morning and evening rush.
Most Convenient: Shunfengche directly to Baihe
Use the ride-hailing app Dida 嘀嗒 to post your desired trip. Note that this is a different section of the app than calling a taxi/private driver. The drivers in the Shunfengche 顺风车 section aren’t necessarily certified, just people with cars that are also going to Baihe and have space to take you.
See more detailed instructions on booking shunfengche in tip #2 here.
Once a driver sees your trip they will contact you and confirm the details. At the agreed upon time, they will pick you up wherever you choose then take you directly to your destination in Baihe.
Notes on this method:
- This is the fastest and not necessarily the most expensive way to Baihe.
- The cost depends on where you get picked up. It’s generally between 100-200 CNY total for one way.
- As with the cab from Miyun to Baihe, the more people with you the cheaper it is.
- You need to speak Chinese or at least have a friend who does help you use the app and communicate with drivers.
- Post your trip as early as possible ahead of time to increase your chances of finding a driver.
- It’s easier to find drivers for the journey to Baihe than the journey from Baihe but I have done both successfully.
Current Availability of Rock Climbing in Baihe
Open Crags at Baihe
Officially Closed Crags at Baihe
- All other crags listed in the Beijing Climbing Guidebook (photo of front cover below)
John’s Crag 火焰山岩场
John’s Crag is a new destination northwest of Beijing. About 40 lines in total, in contains mostly moderate routes 5.10 – 5.11 with a few 5.12s and warm up routes. Note that it’s located within a scenic park called Beijing Back Garden 北京后花园 so you have to pay about 30 CNY to enter.
How to Get to John’s Crag
John’s Crag is accessible by public transportation from the city. Just be prepared to walk for over half an hour from the closest bus stop: Houbaihujiancunlukou station 后白虎涧村路口公交站
Otherwise get a cab or a shunfengche to take you all the way to the park entrance. Put 北京后花园风景区 into your navigation app or show it to your driver.
Photo directions from the park entrance and topos to all of the routes are on this
Beijing Climbing Season:
The best time to climb in Beijing is undoubtedly the fall and spring. There’s a sweet spot between nice temps and friction in May and October. Climbers go out through the summer bearing higher temps and occasional rain storms.
Beijing Climbing Guidebook:
There is a Beijing Climbing Guidebook in print. However, since most of the crags in it closed it only useful for topos of the open crags listed above. Nonetheless, all proceeds go to the Baihe Climbing Fund, which will help the development of future areas. If you go with the Meetup group to Baihe, someone will most likely have it and you can take a look.
If you’re going to Baihe, I would stay at Delai’s Climbing Hostel 德来家. Delai owns the original climbing hostel in Baihe and still hosts climbers.
Beijing Climbing Gyms:
Indoor climbing conditions in Beijing have improved dramatically over the past couple years. Gyms are constantly opening and closing so it’s best to consult with local climbers for the best places to go when you are there.
Rock Hour 岩时攀岩馆
Rock Hour is the most popular climbing gym in Beijing right now. The quality of routes and overall conditions make it worth the price for most. Note that they don’t set above V6 in the bouldering section, so if you’re a real crusher you might get bored here.
- Price of Day Pass: ¥120 CNY
- Schedule: Monday – Friday 10:00 – 22:20, Saturday – Sunday 10:00 – 21:00
- Address: Rock Hour, 27 West Dawang Road, Courtyard Block 74, Chaoyang District, Beijing China
- Address in Chinese: 北京市西大望路27号院74栋岩时攀岩馆
- Tel: +86 137 1888 1250
- The person who picks up may only speak basic English.
O’le 798 Climbing
O’le Climbing is a bouldering gym that provides a cheaper alternative to Rock Hour.
- Price of Day Pass: ¥65 CNY
- Schedule: Monday – Saturday 10:00 – 22:20, Sunday 10:00 – 20:00
- Address: This gym doesn’t have a street address but you can see the location on a map here
- English Tel: +86 186 1846 1002
- Chinese Tel: +86 010 8479 1599
Given the size of Beijing, I recommend you look up the closest rock gym to where you’re living first. If you aren’t satisfied then give Rock Hour a try.
Looking to Rock Climb Elsewhere in China?
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