This weekend’s outing was to climb some multipitch routes on the slabs of Temple Crag on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island. Lantau Island is home to an eclectic mix of nice beaches, the Big Buddha, Hong Kong International Airport, an outlet mall, hiking trails, camping grounds, mountain biking and feral water buffalo.
My alarm didn’t go off so I missed the “fast ferry” I was aiming to take with friends, Tim and Tommy, to Mui Wo on Lantau Island. The next ferry leaving was a euphemistically named “ordinary ferry” which dutifully arrived in Mui Wo in roughly the same time it took Magellan to circumnavigate the planet.
Mui Wo was where the penultimate Southern Song dynasty emperor died after after being pursued south by the invading Mongols. Tim and Tommy – who had gone ahead – were now one fast ferry ahead of me and soon enough messages saying how much they were enjoying the up hill walk-in started coming thick and fast.
After a sustained up hill walk we were all at the top of Temple Crag and after a bit of bush bashing and scrambling were standing on a large rock platform with beautiful views across the water and down on the villages of Pui O and Ham Tin. Maybe it was the lingering effects of the annual staff party the night before but I began to think the view rivalled that in Queenstown whilst imagining that this humble bluff was a mini-Stawamus Chief.
The climbs at Temple Crag are accessed from above – you abseil down and then climb back up and out. Now that we were on top of this platform we had a problem. None of us had climbed there before so we were relying on a picture of the routes taken from afar that was hard to match-up with what we were seeing when standing on top of the crag and couldn’t see the face.
There were a lot of bolt anchors to choose from although some were rusted and the hangers were missing from others. After a bit of debate we descended one route. With the added perspective from not standing on top of the crag we figured out where we were – which is not where we wanted to be – so climbed up and back to the large platform for lunch and then the walk out.