When rock climber Andrew Hedesh hit rock bottom in his job in 2008, he came to Yangshuo, a popular tourist destination in southern China, to clear his mind.
"I came to China, and I typed into the internet "rock climbing where in China"," said Hedesh, who is from the United States. "It showed a photo of Yangshuo, and I decided to come here."
Yangshuo, a small county in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, is known for its karst formations and the beautiful Lijiang River.
It is a backpacker paradise that boasts pleasant weather, easy transportation, and - most of all - countless crags suitable for rock climbing.
About 300 rock climbers live in Yangshuo, including about 50 foreigners.
After spending almost 10 years working as a tour guide, Hedesh wanted to share his experience in rock climbing in China. His book, Yangshuo Rock - A China Climbing Guide, has hit the stands in Europe and the US.
"Yangshuo is the most popular international rock climbing destination within China," he wrote in the book. "The local karst topography offers a lifetime of crags unique in rock formations, atmosphere, and scenery. Potential development is limitless and only bound by imagination."
Hedesh said he spent four years collecting information about the crags and climbing routes, taking pictures, and interviewing people about their climbing stories in Yangshuo.
"I really wanted to celebrate Yangshuo and the culture, and I wanted to advertise this location to the rest of the world," he said. "Climbing here has a very good, satisfying feeling. Even the short routes make me feel alive."
Hedesh started rock climbing in 1998. Since coming to Yangshuo in 2008, he has tried a variety of difficult routes.
"Over the years I developed a lot of routes in Yangshuo, and it gives me more opportunities to develop other parts of China," he said. "There are maybe 10 to 20 different locations, and around 230 routes inside China."
In recent years, Hedesh has made many friends through rock climbing, such as Zhang Yong, who was among the first Chinese rock climbers in the 1990s. He settled in Yangshuo in 2004.
"The karst formations in Yangshuo have holes, cracks and stalactites, so the routes are quite interesting," Zhang said.
Along his journey, Hedesh also met an 11-year-old climber named Zhang Pinyuan, and a 68-year-old man who continued to climb after having both legs amputated.
"Most Chinese are caught up with everyday city life, but there is something more out there," the US citizen said. "Rock climbing can give them a little sense of adventure and a sense of life."
Hedesh said he plans to write a second book, in which he will use his own experience to tell readers how he fell in love with the sport and the dangers it involves.