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[Photos] Scaling the Cliffs of Northern Vietnam

Despite its incredible potential, rock climbing in Vietnam still flies relatively under the radar.

However, as the sport gains popularity worldwide, the Vietnamese climbing community is growing slowly but steadily.

A view of the limestone cliffs and rice fields of Huu Lung from one of the main climbing walls in the area.

A big part of that growth is thanks to the climbing gym Vietclimb and their weekend trips to the beautiful limestone cliffs of Lang Son's Huu Lung District, a two-hour drive north of Hanoi. The climbers stay at the family-run Vietclimb Homestay, located in the heart of the valley, providing easy access to stunning crags and interaction with the Yen Thinh community.

Afternoon life at the Vietclimb Homestay.

Jean Verly, the founder of Vietclimb, looks for his next hold on one of the 110 climbing routes located in Huu Lung.

Vietclimb has been at the forefront of the growing climbing culture in Vietnam, first starting as a club in 2005 and officially becoming a gym in 2011. Since 2012, they have bolted all 110 routes currently found in Huu Lung. These routes are open to anyone staying in Yen Thinh, and Vietclimb offers both gear rental and guiding for all experience levels.

Climber Benoit ascends the long and difficult route known as "I Have A Dream." The routes in Huu Lung vary widely in difficulty accommodating experienced athletes and beginners alike.

Left: Climber Tien pulls himself out from under the overhang at the La Conche crag.
Right: Climber Trang rests briefly on a tufa before continuing her route at the La Conche crag.

Left: Members of Vietclimb watch a fellow climber ascend a route at the crag called Woodstock.
Right: Benoit ascends a rope at sunset.

Left: Climbers Benoit and Son enjoy a cool recovery swim between climbs in a nearby river.
Right: Benoit hangs Spiderman-style as he is lowered back down to the ground after a grueling "battle" with the "I Have A Dream" route.

Left: Horses graze in front of the limestone cliff "Passe-Muraille," one of the most popular climbing walls in Huu Lung.
Right: Benoit heads back to the Vietclimb Homestay after a full day of climbing.

Top photo: Verley climbs the crux of the "Sleeping Corner" route on a cliff in Huu Lung.

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