Christopher Miller, Mike Dobie: Alpine Bouldering Expedition

This past July, Mad Rock athletes Mike Dobie and Chris Miller ventured to a Tibetan bouldering paradise known as Dao Cheng.

Dobie originally found the area on a scouting mission for more potential rock climbing destinations in China.  In and around the town of Dao Cheng are two areas with a concentration of granite boulders comparable to famous areas like Hampi and Bishop in quality and concentration. This along with the high mountains, Yaks, and traditional Tibetan culture, Dao Cheng is a world class destination for anyone willing to climb at high altitudes in search of adventure and expedition style bouldering.  

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Rubu Chaka was the first on our list. A small village just outside of Dao Cheng, this place was a great starting point for us and anyone arriving in Western Sichuan’s Tibetan regions. Located at 3700m (about 12,140 ft) acclimatization was key upon arrival, as well as lots of yak butter tea and soaks in the local hot springs. We spent a few days exploring the rolling hills of boulders and found some awesome problems.
rolling hills
Chris Miller on “Spicy Boy” V7
Chris Miller on a pebble crimping V5
The climbing in Rubu Chaka was great, but not nearly as good as the endless boulder fields of Haizishan. This expansive plateau littered with granite boulders has a nearly endless supply of potential. After getting used to the altitude in Rubu Chaka village we loaded up on supplies and ventured onward (and upward) to Haizishan – elevation 4300m (about 14,100ft).
Mike Dobie on the second ascent of “T-Rex Ballsack” v5
Chris on the first ascent of “Around the World” V3, an awesome warmup!
Marcos Costa on “Battle for Endor” V6
Dobie putting up a fun one for all with the first ascent of “Thor’s Hammer” V1
An unsent project (V10ish)
High altitude bouldering is not a sport for everyone, but if you find yourself interested in a cultural adventure as well as some climbing challenges, Dao Cheng just might be what you are looking for in a trip to China. The bouldering options in Dao Cheng are also a great way to spend acclimatization days for people interested in other alpine objectives in Sichuan/Tibet.

For more information and a guidebook for the bouldering in and around the Dao Cheng Area, visit the website

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