All photography by Ian Rock
This majestic pyramidal cliff is a natural citadel overlooking a narrow road which serpentines between imposing pinnacles. Its two colossal, triangle-shaped shields are an ideal introduction to three-dimensional climbing, characteristic of the limestone karsts in this area. The distance between bolts is a safe invitation to crawl around coned stalagmites and candlesticks and get familiar with their smooth jugs. Head Wall is home to 23 routes ranging in difficulty from 5c to 7a, making it a favourite for beginner and intermediate climbers looking to improve their climbing literacy and push their leading skills.
FUN FACT: Chúc Sức Khỏe multi-pitch at Head Wall is the longest route of Vietnam, with 5 pitches (7a max, 6b/A0 required) and a height of 105 metres.
Arch rock formations always turn climbers’ heads with their harmonious curves designed by the random collapse of millennia-old sinkholes. A steep, hidden trail into custard apple orchards will bring you to the vault of this natural wonder, the only equipped arch in Southeast Asia. Choose from a few climbing routes up to 7a to explore its majestic pillars supporting a ceiling of hanging stalactites, with an outstanding view over the valley below.
WoofStuck crag, named after the livestock and barking dogs watching over the rice and chili fields, is home to some of the hardest routes in Southeast Asia. Here, advanced Vietnamese climbers and international pro climbers meet, miming on the ground the moves they will rehearse at height. They slap elusive slopers, crimp nano-edges, and compress columns slippery as an eel. Near the anchors, the climbers’ intensity contrasts with the quiet agricultural scenes all around.
FUN FACT: This crag was visited by Willis Morris, member of the GB Ice Climbing Team, in 2019. Despite his powerful skills, two projects are still awaiting their first ascent.
The crag of Passe-Muraille (meaning ‘walk-through-walls’) is a lonely, massive buttress soaring up from a large pole in an enclosed remote valley. With a solid range of consistent and long routes up to 30 metres, this crag is a favourite for intermediate climbers ready to transition to advanced grade 7b/5.12a. Work your way through a school of pinching water drop creations sprayed with pockets and holes, while horses and cows quietly chew shrub and grass on the ground below.
The latest addition to Hữu Lũng was only completed in 2020. Dragon Wall crag is hidden in a recess of an incised valley facing west. The wall looks like a medieval castle falling into ruins, surrounded by natural moats and ponds filled with water in the rainy season. Hosting 22 routes for beginners and advanced climbers from 4c to 7b, with some king lines of 40 metres, Dragon Wall serves up colourful pictures of tropical forest, protected by buffaloes lazing in the mud.