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Pac Ngoi (Ba Be)

23 March 2011

bouldering north vietnam

Pac Ngoi is in Ba Be National Park, one of the most beautiful locations in north Vietnam. There are crazy cliffs, a 500 ha lake, rivers that snake through the valleys, lush jungle, and extremely welcoming Tay people. The village of Pac Ngoi is to the south of Ba Be lake and is a good base camp for exploring the region. And like any self-respecting base camp, there is bouldering on-site.


It is best to get an early start (Hanoi to Pac Ngoi is about 5 hours by motorbike)
1. Hanoi – Thai Nguyen (due north, 2 hours): one of the most dangerous roads in northern Vietnam; trucks, buses, schoolchildren on bicycles, baskets full of chickens, and a narrow road relative to the amount of traffic => avoid this road at night!
Alternative: possible to take the airport road. Turn to the left at the last intersection 3-4 km before the airport, and then take a right; straight all the way to Thai Nguyen.
2. Thai Nguyen – Cho Don / Bang Lung (2hrs). In Yen Do (about 30 km to the north of Thai Nguyen), take route 254 to the left in the direction of Cho Lu (or Dinh Hoa) – Banh Lung (ou Cho Don).
Nice road on a motorbike; smaller and quieter than the previous one. Possible stop in Bang Lung / Cho Don
You pass the last hill that overlooks the lake (tickets are for sale, but irregularly)
3. Park entrance to Pac Ngoi (1 hour). On the right there is a small road that climbs the side of the mountain and follows the south of the lake before arriving at the Tay village of Pac Ngoi.

Pac Ngoi in a glimpse

From Pac Ngoi village, the best cliff for bouldering is on the opposite bank of the Pac Ngoi river. To get there, either cross the river on your own, or take the bridge and turn to the left to get down to the bank.

Facing the cliff from left to right

Problem 1: Project
Great problem. This one starts in a recess, and then exits along tufas. Start as far the left as possible, follow a fingery horizontal crack with invisible footholds. Exit the recess by 2 tufas to arrive at a small platform.

Problem 2-3, FB 5A
Follow the narrow stalactites.

Problem 4, FB 5B
Start as low as possible, climb a tufa to pass the overhang and arrive at a small platform.

– Problem 5, FB 5A
Left to right traverse on good slopers.

– Problem 6: Project
Superb problem. Start on jugs then a three-finger hold and a tiny crimp, then it gets brutal.

– Problem 7, FB 5B
Crimps, finish at the tree.