In Bangkok I got to climb indoors at Urban Playground. This is a really good climbing gym in Bangkok. If you’re in the city I recommend checking it out. As great as climbing outdoors is, I kind of liked climbing indoors since it gives a safer environment to work on technique and build strength. I also went to PT Climbing at Big C on Lat Phrao road. It’s a column in the middle of a shopping mall. Smaller than Urban Playground but a surprising number of fun and challenging routes for a small space. Also worth checking out.
But I got back to Ao Nang a couple days before Christmas which means I get to climb outside at Chong Phli. The last few months, climbing at Chong Phli hasn’t been very good because nearly all the routes were wet. But since December things have started to dry off and now in late December nearly everything is dry and it’s prime time for this crag.
First day back at Chong Phli my first climb was of course EFZ 6a+. I’ve done this route so many times now and my first day on it after a couple months away I climbed it pretty much like I always climbed it. Then I mostly redpointed Momentum 6b. I say mostly because the rock up to the first few clips was wet / damp so on my way down from EFZ I set the rope up so I could top rope the wet section then lead from where it was dry. After that I got to try Family Affair 6c on top rope. I surprised myself and climbed it clean. Maybe all the climbing at the indoor gyms in Bangkok really did make me stronger / better. After that, I think one more go on Momentum 6b and then it was time to go home. Overall, a pretty good first day back at Chong Phli.
Went back the next day. Warm up on EFZ 6a+ again. Then feeling confident from the previous day I decided to try leading Family Affair 6c. I was pretty sure I could at least get to the top on lead but not sure I would redpoint it. So I started up unsure of how it would go. Up to the first / middle crux the climbing is not too difficult. 6a, maybe 6a+ in difficulty. I got past the middle crux without too much trouble but was starting to feel tired. Luckily there are a couple spots to rest so I keep moving up and take advantage of the rests when they come. I’m enjoying the climbing. It eases off a bit and before I know it I’m at the second / last crux near the anchor. I’m now thinking I really want to send. I try to go through the crux but it doesn’t feel right so I climb down a little bit, rest, and try again. This time I find a better position on the right hand crimp and go for it. Before I know it I’m at the anchor and just redpointed my first 6c! I rest awhile then climb one more time on top rope.
I take a couple rest days then Anong and I go back to Chong Phli. I climb Chutzpah 6a+ which felt awkward then top rope Exfoliation 6a+ / Exposure 6c+ variation. I got through Exfoliation just fine and easier than I thought in part thanks to a new pair of climbing shoes I picked up in Bangkok. The Evolve Shaman’s are awesome but I probably got them a half size too small which means they are rather painful and fit very tight. But this tight fit lets me be very precise with my feet and stand on little tiny holds. The Exposure 6c+ variation was much more difficult than I expected but I got up to the top after 3 or 4 rests. After this, I did Momentum 6b. A few holds were slightly damp but not too wet and I led through all the clips unlike last time.
The next day I went to Tonsai with Neil and we climbed Humanality. This is one of the classic multi-pitch climbs on Tonsai and I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. Neil led everything. Most of the route wasn’t too hard but the crux on the fourth pitch (6b) was difficult and the crux on the fifth pitch (6b+) pitch was scary but fun. Perhaps in a few months I’ll be ready to lead it.