Header image courtesy of @quest.adventures (via Instagram)
If you have gotten the hang of indoor rock climbing and are starting to grow a little too comfortable, maybe it’s time to take things outdoors for some real thrills! Boasting a hilly topography crammed with rugged peaks, dramatic cliffs, and unique rock walls, Hong Kong is a premier playground for adventurous rock climbers; and not to mention, a scenic land abounding in mountainous views to sate those with an appetite for the outdoors.
Whether you’re looking for outlying island cliffs or a convenient crag in the city to scale, Hong Kong has it all—so take advantage and get on board this fun and exciting sport! To get you started, we’ve rounded up the best spots to go rock climbing in the wild.
Tung Lung Chau has long made a name for itself as the legendary locale for adventurers and geologists alike. Lying off the southern tip of Clearwater Bay Peninsula, this remote island is inhabited by few but brimming with unique geological treasures and impressive views to match, all the makings of a rock-climbing paradise. If you visit during the weekends, you’ll probably be in good company, but fret not—with the area‘s concentrated collection of climbing spots, there won’t be a need to jostle for space on the walls.
Numerous spectacular crags abound here, but the Technical Wall, Sea Gully, and The Big Wall—all situated on the northeastern coast of the island near Tung Lung Fort—are irrefutably the showpieces, comprising high-quality volcanic tuffs and blocky features that practically beg to be climbed. Just be careful of waves that may sneak up on you during high tide!
If you are new to the world of outdoor rock climbing, Beacon Hill is a great place to get your feet wet and build up your climbing skills. Thanks to the rough and grippy granite surface and short routes, this rocky peak in the western side of Lion Rock Country Park draws a regular crowd of curious climbers searching for a low-stakes scale. Don't think that means the pay-off is any less rewarding though—the high elevation puts you in an excellent position to take in the entire Kowloon peninsula skyline in one fell swoop. Plus, the climbing crags dotting the upper slopes of the hill are relatively accessible—just a short, 15-minute trek up from Lung Cheung Road!
Graduated from the basic routes of Beacon Hill and ready to up the ante? Located within the same country park, Lion Rock is sure to take care of the daredevils who love gravity-defying thrills. Just as the famous lion-shaped outcrop is a must-visit destination for avid hikers, it is also a favourite haunt among ambitious mountaineers, hosting dozens of long, multi-pitch routes that promise breathtaking city views and a good, full-body workout.
With the two main walls—the East Face and West Face—facing opposite directions, you can choose to stay in the sun or shade depending on the time of day. You’ll also find some more relaxed climbs on the Hind Paw buttress located just 100 metres below the foot of the main cliff.
Surprise, surprise—the peninsula named “Rocky Bay” (石澳) in Chinese after its self-described landscape is a rock-climbing wonderland. While there's a fair smattering of rocks in the Shek O Village area that can be used for bouldering, the best granite slabs and scalable boulders are primarily concentrated in the small eastern headland of Tai Tau Chau, accessible by the newly rebuilt Shek O Lovers Bridge.
No matter if you're a noob or a seasoned pro, this climbing hotspot has something for you to throw yourself onto. First-timers can have a go at Beginner's Wall, known for its rich with cracks and crevices that provide good friction and foot placement; once you've built up your confidence, head on over to Rubble Zawn and put your skills to the test with some more challenging trad climbs! Just a friendly word of advice: the rocks at Tai Tau Chau are best tackled during the cooler months, as there is little shade in the area and the sun can be harsher than the climbs themselves.
Channel your inner Spiderman and take on the heights of Victoria Peak the vertical way. Rising above the bustling heart of Central district, Central Crags is for all the zealous urban climbers out there in need of a quick adrenaline fix. Getting to this precarious cluster of crags is a bit of an off-the-beaten-track scramble in itself—often deterring people from making the pilgrimage—but if you can get past that, you’ll be privy to some of Hong Kong’s most postcard-perfect views! There are over 100 routes here catering to the full spectrum of climbing experiences, ranging from big angled slabs to steep overhangs and vertical walls—you’re bound to find the perfect challenge for you.
Is there anything more exhilarating than being 30 metres high above majestic blue waters, with roaring waves crashing below you, cooling you off with their gentle sprays of salty mist? Set against the dramatic blue backdrop of Tathong Channel between Siu Sai Wan and Big Wave Bay, Cape Collinson offers a climbing experience of unrivalled invigoration in an enviable coastal location.
The picturesque headland boasts three major crags: Bunker Wall, The Beach, and—the crown jewel—The Zawn, a secluded U-shaped enclave with exceptional vantage points of the sea and a wide variety of easy to moderate climbing routes on aretes, walls, and slabs. If you want some easier climbs to get you warmed up, Bunker Wall features some great shorter routes and is a little more inland, so you don't have to worry about your climb being affected by the whims of the tide.
Despite Cape Collinson's huge popularity, it is a relatively new climbing area and some loose rocks may be expected, so always approach with caution and fasten your helmets!