Mayan Smith-Gobat, Ben Rueck, Liu Yongbang (Abond) and Xiao Ting explore the sandstone pillars of Qingfeng Valley, China. They are the first team granted permission to rock climb in Zhangjiajie,
China’s first and largest National Park.
Zhangjiajie, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the northern Hunan province of south-central China, houses more than 3,000 unique orange sandstone
pillars. Previously, regulations prohibited climbers from exploring the park.
During the expedition, they established two ground-up, first ascents of 300-meter walls, the highlight being the Dragon’s Nest (5.13a). Abond
also opened a sixty meter endurance test-piece, a mixture of bolts and gear, called Kungfu Emperor (5.13c).