So, a couple days ago I got to climb Grace 7a on top rope two more times and I’m feeling pretty good about redpointing it soon. I also wanted to hurry up and finish this project because somebody stole my quickdraw off the first bolt and I didn’t want any more to go missing. So last night I ate a good dinner, only drank one beer and go to bed early so I could get an early start in the morning and climb before it gets too hot.
My mind was playing those mental games with me so I slept poorly,woke up later than I wanted, and my body was a bit sore from the previous days yoga session. But I still made it to Chong Phli at about 9am which was later than I wanted to be still earlier than I usually get there. I warm up on EFZ 6a+, and was thinking about doing Exfoliation 6a+ but it was busy so I waited for Grace which was also busy to open up.
Grace starts with some thin slab climbing up to a small ledge then it follows the crack up and to the left. Past the crack it traverses right to some more slab climbing and to the anchor. I made it up to the ledge without trouble but started to panic a little when I tried to clip the next quickdraw too high above me head. But I got it sorted out and made it through the crux without any trouble. The next section was a mental crux. The holds don’t feel very good but I didn’t hesitate, went for it and made it to the jug at the next sling. Clipped it then I knew I would make it to the anchor, I just had to be patient.
Happy for my first 7a send!
Anong tried it then I did one more lap on top rope. Next we climbed Chutzpah 6a+ on top rope. Having a surprising amount of energy I then decided to go up Exfoliation. Then Anong and I headed home to eat some lunch.
Later in the day I went back to Chong Phli to climb with another friend. Even though the main face is in the sun, there are some routes in the cave and back side that get shade. Then at about 6:00pm the sun is low enough to climb routes on the main face and it stays light enough to climb until 6:45pm or 7:00pm. We climbed The Dude Abides 6a+ in the cave then went around to the main face to climb Momentum 6b and finished up just before dark.
Today Anong and I went to Chong Phli. We warmed up on EFZ 6a+ then climbed Exfoliation 6a+. Meanwhile, somebody else was climbing Grace 7a and they left their rope on it so I got to try on top rope. Yay! I have no shame and am not afraid to admit I like climbing on top rope. I’ve had all the beta worked out but the moves past the crux never felt good to me. Well today I was able to get a few tries on this section of the climb. It still doesn’t feel good but I know I can do it. I’m planning to lead it tomorrow and will hopefully send so I can take my quickdraws down. Somebody took my quickdraw off the first bolt last week and now it’s missing. I want to get them down ASAP so no more go missing. It’s probably not good to have them baking in the sun a few hours every day either.
Anong and I met Tamryn again at Chong Phli. Third day in a row climbing for me so I was starting to feel a little stiff and sore. Decided to take it easy so we started off with Simon Sends 4, then moved over to Zak Attack 5. After Zak Attack we tried Mad Skills 6b on top rope. Then we headed over to EFZ 6a+ and finished up the day on The Dude Abides 6a+.
I rested on Monday and Tuesday. Anong headed off to Bangkok to visit some family. On Wednesday I met another yoga friend at Chong Phli. She hadn’t climbed in a long time so I gave a quick refresher lesson and we stuck to the easy climbs. Started on Zak Attack 5 then did EFZ 6a+ and finished on Exfoliation 6a+.
On Thursday I met Tamryn again at Chong Phli for a quick afternoon climbing session. We got there just after 4:30pm which means the main face is in direct sun and would be too hot to climb. But there are some new routes around the back side which is completely shaded. We passed several routes on the way to the wall but all of them are too difficult for me at the moment but there is a section of the wall that has 3 6c’s and a 5. So I put up It’s a Mammoth 5. Put on my lucky shoes to guarantee a send and I headed up. It starts off easy enough but figuring out beta at the crux was a little tricky. I got through it and made it to the anchor drenched in sweat. It felt much harder than a 5. Tamryn tried it, took a rest at the crux then made it to the top. Now we had a decision to make. Yoga or more climbing? We chose climbing! So we each tried one more time on top rope. On top rope it was much easier it felt much more like a 5. Lead climbing really messes with my head…
By this time the sun was nearly set so we walked around the the main face and tried Exfoliation 6a+. The wall was now in the shade but bathed in light from the sunset. I’ve never seen the rock in this light before and it was a different color. Much more orange looking. The rock was also very warm in places from the sun that had been shining on it for the previous 4 hours. I got to the top quickly then Tamryn gave it a go. She struggled a bit past the crux but made it to the top and did well on this tricky route. By this time it was dark and time to go home.
Anong and I met a new friend at Tonsai today. First we warmed up on the beach. I’ve had my eyes on Rod Yaak / Schlingel Max 6b for awhile. I wore my new lucky shoes hoping for an onsight. Unfortunately I did not onsight. Most of the climb is pretty straightforward but the crux is just before the anchor. The rock is extremely polished with a long reachy move then jugs to the anchor. This is one of those routes that will be rather difficult for short people and easier for tall people. Unfortunately I’m not quite tall enough for this move to be easy. But I got to the top and climbed it one more time cleanly on top rope. I’ll probably try again next time I’m in the area. I see on Mountain Project it’s rated 6b+. So I feel a little better about failing to onsight. This was probably a 6b when it first went up and a few years after. But not it’s so polished it’s definitely more difficult.
Next we headed over to Freedom Bar and climbed Cowabungalow 6b. It had been awhile since I climbed this. I struggled a little bit to relearn some beta but I got to the top cleanly. Climbed once more to clean. We ate a quick lunch at the restaurant in front of Tonsai Bay Resort. I can not recommend this restaurant. A small plate of Pad Thai was 140 Baht and Mango shake was 80 Baht. Things are more expensive in Tonsai since everything is brought in by longtail boat. But the food was barely edible, bland, and oily. On top of that, they don’t have a bathroom for customers. You have to pay 20 baht to use the bathroom in the resort. Absolutely ridiculous. So I won’t be going back there.
Then we walked along the beach to The Nest / Wild Kingdom to find some easier climbs. On the way we stopped to play on a slackline for a few minutes. At Wild Kingdom we climbed the first pitch of Barato Barato 6a+. Onsighted it but it was harder than I expected. Then climbed again on top rope to clean. We had time for one more climb. Tamaryn wanted to do Caroline’s Last Day 6a but it was busy so instead we tried a new route for me, Techno Bug 6b. Thought I’d try my lucky shoes again. Even though they let me down earlier in the day they came through this time. Onsighting 3 out of 4 6b’s isn’t too bad I guess.
After this, we packed up and caught a boat back to Ao Nang. Not a bad day.
Wanted to get some volume in today but got a late start. Again! Nevertheless, I climbed a decent amount.
- EFZ 6a+, lead once, then two more laps on top rope.
- Momentum 6b, lead once, then two more laps top rope.
- The Dude Abides 6a+, lead once, then one more lap top rope.
Occasionally when climbing I’ll skip a bolt. Usually it’s the first one off the ground or on very easy climbs mid route. If I do skip, it’s always a conscious decision and I’m 100% confident I won’t fall before I reach the next bolt. But on Momentum I found myself about a third of the way up and climbing past a bolt. It’s not one I would normally skip. I skipped it because even though I knew it was there from previous climbs, I forgot / didn’t see it on this climb. But when it was at my knees I saw it and decided I should clip it. I mention this because I thought it was a significant moment when I was just focused on climbing and not stressed out about reaching the next bolt.
I went climbing at Chong Phli again today. The goal was to get on Grace 7a again and refine the beta. Unlike my last time on Grace, I didn’t think I might send and unlike last time at Gibbon Roof I did not send when I thought I wasn’t going to. First I warmed up on Exfoliation 6a+ then moved over to Grace. I moved well up to the bolt just before the crux before taking a small fall. This was a new high point on lead so I was happy with my performance. Then after a couple tries I was able to move through the crux. But this doesn’t mean I cruised up to the anchor. The next few moves are still difficult with bad feet and it’s farther to the next clip than I would like. Took a “fall” will my waist at the bolt then lowered down.
Anong tried then I went again. I climbed clean up to the last bolt I clipped, essentially climbing it on top rope. Then climbing up a little higher so the bolt was at my knees before falling. I let out a shriek, partly in terror, partly because it was a little fun. The fall here isn’t bad at all so I just need to go for it despite the moves feeling bad.
Update on climbing.
I was supposed to go climbing yesterday but cancelled because I was feeling sick. So I got a lot of rest yesterday and today still feeling kind of bad and not too stoked to climb but I forced myself to get out anyways because I was feeling a bit cooped up. So Anong and I met Martin and Dorothea at Gibbon Roof. I warmed up on Gibbon Roof New 3 6a then spent some time on my way down brushing dust off the holds. Then decided to try Gibbon Roof New 1 5 since I hadn’t tried it yet. It was very dirty which detracted from the quality of the climbing but there are a couple nice moves on it. Even a short overhanging section which I would say is the crux of the route. Onsighted. Then I ate some food, drank some water, and layed down on a hammock somebody set up. It was actually very nice and peaceful. If I ended the day here I would have been happy. I was feeling lazy and tired but watching Martin on NWA 6c+ got me motivated to try it.
So after Martin came down I got ready to climb it. I put on my new shoes and started up. I’m still feeling a bit sluggish so had no expectations as to how I would do. If anything, I expected to fall off somewhere before my previous high point. But I made the first 3 clips without much trouble then moved quickly through the next two to get inside the cave and rest for a few minutes. Out of the cave, I made the next clip then set myself up for the crux. I made the swing through the crux, grabbed the hold, then clipped the next bolt. Then I was thinking holy crap, I don’t know what to do next because I’ve never been this far. But there were some other people cheering me on and they gave me some good beta to get to the anchor. So I pulled through the last few pumpy moves and clipped the rings on my first 6c+! Pumped silly and feeling good, Anong lowered me down and then I was done for the day.
It’s funny how I redpointed this when I had no expectation of doing so. But I guess that’s the way it works. Thinking back on it, I think having a group of people there encouraging me on was a big part of it. Maybe I need to start climbing with headphones and a video of Chris Sharma climbing so I can hear shouts of “Venga Kris!” while I climb. 🙂 I was thinking I should have someone video me or take some pictures but decided there was no point since I was sure I would not send. So here’s a picture of my new shoes and the jungle on the trail between Tonsai and Railay.
New shoes. Hot pink isn’t really my color but so far I love them. For the three climbs I’ve worn them on, I’ve onsighted two 6b’s and redpointed a 6c+. They must be my lucky shoes!
Warm up on EFZ 6a+. Then decide I need to push my comfort zone a bit and try leading Grace 7a. I climbed it cleanly on top rope a few days before so thought there was a good chance I would send. But I was quickly reminded leading and top roping are completely different. I took a couple small falls and had to fight to make it up to one quickdraw before the crux. I came down and let another guy climb it with my rope so I could top rope it some more. Ended up doing two more laps on it. Not sure I will send next time but I have the beta figured out pretty good now. But I’m still feeling a little anxious about a few of the moves just past was is the crux. They are not easy either.
Warm up on Chutzpah 6a+. Then a couple top rope laps on Exposure 6c+ variation. I should be able to send this one but the last few moves before the anchor are not easy and it’s a big fall. When I’m feeling a little stronger with more endurance I’ll give it a try. One more lap on Chutzpah then I moved my rope over to Devil’s Backbone 6b to climb it on top rope cuz I was feeling lazy. I haven’t climbed this one in a long time and it took me a while to remember / figure out the beta.