Moon Hill Climbing Competition
After a week of hurried preparation, we pulled off a nearly flawless competition today. It’s China, so you have to expect a few delays and last minute changes of plans; overall, though, it was a fun day.
I headed up to Moon Hill a little after 8 o’clock with a few others to finish setting up on site. I started to panic a little bit when our van got stuck trying to travel against the flow of the opening ceremony parade. No one else in the van was freaking out, so I tried to just breathe. Five minutes later, we were on our way, and all was cool.
One of the last minute changes of plans we had to deal with was that we didn’t need to have all of the competitors march in the parade (as we had expected to). We didn’t have time to print a new agenda once we discovered this change, so we ended up on top of Moon Hill about an hour early. Here’s Black Golden (yes, that’s his English name! (and, yes, Chris Sharma gave it to him!)) treating us to some freestyle Chinese rap during our down time.
I thought Abond’s idea to have everyone get their face painted was a little silly, but it ended up being really cool. Here’s the face painting station.
Abond tricked me into getting my face painted by saying he would do it too! Now I’ve learned his trick, and I won’t be fooled in the future. I did, however, learn a new trick for getting people to do something they don’t really want to do (just tell them you’ll do it too!).
Oh, obviously this was more Chinese opera face painting than Maryland State Fair face painting.
We had about forty male competitors and twenty female competitors. It took about four hours to get through two heats. Most of the men were putting up times of about two to three minutes on the 20 meter long 5.11a. My time was just shy of four minutes. Luckily I only needed to embarrass myself once since I didn’t advance to the finals. The final route was a 5.11c, and the winning time was 51 seconds!
We had various people M.C.’ing throughout the day, and at one point I just need to escape the noise and chaos of it all. Dave had told me there was a trail to the top of Moon Hill, and I set out to find it.
I wandered over to this observation platform behind the arch and snapped this photo.
A little ways on up the trail I stopped to take this next, mundane photo. I feel like Nature speaks to you when you’re just quiet enough to listen. This time she taught me a lesson about contrast. I noticed the contrast in size (small leaves in the foreground and big spire in the background), weight (the lightness of the leaves versus the weight of the rock), and color (the darkness of the shade and the brightness of the mountain).
I’ve always thought we see best when contrast is high. At the top of the mountain I noticed the juxtaposition (contrast via location) of traditional farming techniques (foreground in the following photo) and the sprawl of downtown Yangshuo (top right in the photo). I also noticed the contrast between the leisure of our relatively expensive sport (rock climbing) and the daily, hard work and relative poverty of living off the land. I’ve seen the same intense contrast in other parts of Asia (modern butting right up against traditional, East right next to West), and it always makes me sad. I’m no one to say that poor ass farmers shouldn’t have the opportunity to live a rich, Western lifestyle, but I do feel like we (as a global community) lose something every time a local abandons their traditions and assimilates into mainstream Western (trash) “culture”.
Perhaps me giving up my rich and easy lifestyle in the West and coming to live a poorer, simpler life here adds some weight to my argument that we ought to preserve our global heritage and traditions. Sorry for getting all preachy in this post about a fun day of climbing! I’ll leave you with this panorama from the top of Moon Hill. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go on a five minute vacation!