It’s been awhile. It’s now the rainy season in Thailand. It starts a little bit in April then picks up in May and June. This means sometimes it rains all day every day. There are strings of good weather for climbing and strings of bad weather. I’ve also been doing a bit of travelling lately which unfortunately has coincided with strings of good weather for climbing so I’ve only been climbing a handful of times the last couple months.
I’ve been focusing on yoga and trying to stay strong for climbing but I can already feel I am losing strength / confidence. I climbed Exfoliation a few weeks ago and although I did redpoint it I felt a little shaky on it.
Well, that’s about it. I’m still around. Planning to stay in Thailand for about six more months then will come home but depending on what happens over the next few months, I may want to come back sooner rather than later.
On the 27th, Anong and I met Greg and his wife at Chong Phli. We also saw Martin and Dorothea there. Martin had his rope on Exfoliation 6a+ but wasn’t using it so we climbed that one first on top rope. Martin was climbing Grace 7a so when he was done there I got to climb Grace two times on top rope. I’m not ashamed to admit I like climbing on top rope 🙂 The sun was starting to come onto the wall so we went around the corner to climb in the cave. We did Dude Abides 6a+ and taught Greg’s wife to belay. Everything went well and nobody got dropped. Then we did Shady 6b. Anong wanted to climb it and I hadn’t done it in a while so I put it up. The beginning is the hardest part. Very steep and pumpy. The climbing eases off at the top but requires balance and confidence in your feet.
A couple days later on the 30th we went back to Chong Phli. We got a late start so we just did Exfoliation 6a+. I led it once then top roped it 5 more times. For a long time I always felt intimidated by this route and didn’t really enjoy climbing it. But now that I am much more familiar with it I see it really is a good route and is fun to climb. Now if I can just get the 6c / 6c+ extension above it.
On the 1st Anong and I were climbing with Bruce and Erica. I wanted to try Deflowered 6b+ on top rope again. So we warmed up on EFZ 6a+ and Mad Skills 6b. I was happy to redpoint Mad Skills. It’s got a crux that is awkward for me with a small painful pocket. Last time I tried I cheated through it by pulling on a sling. But this time I relaxed a bit more and found a better body position to make the hold feel just a little better. Next, Bruce put up Deflowered for us. I climbed it on top rope and made it to the top cleanly.
I returned the next day to climb with Bruce and Erica again. Anong had to go into town to see the doctor. So we warmed up on Devil’s Backbone 6b. Bruce led this and I climbed it on top rope. Bruce climbed this differently than I did last time. He stuck far to the left but that means skipping the last two clips. Long runout but he made it to the anchor no problem. After this, Bruce and Erica did a couple climbs. I wanted to rest and collect my thoughts before trying to redpoint Deflowered 6b+. This is a 36 meter long route that climbs up a dihedral and threads through a hole in the rock just before the anchor. The rock is a little dirty but it’s got some good moves on it. I wanted Bruce to climb first to hang the draws for me but he was having none of that. So I loaded up on the quickdraws and headed up. I was glad to have Bruce belaying. He knows the route well and was able to give me some Beta when I needed it. It took awhile with a little complaining but I got to the top and redpointed this impressive route! I’m glad to have done it because the window for climbing this is quickly closing. It’s been starting to rain and after a few days rain, this route stays wet for the rest of the year. Bruce climbed it on top rope then my reward for leading was one more lap on top rope. Tamryn showed up just as I was heading up. So I put up EFZ 6a+ for her then we walked over to the new routes on the far right side of the crag and did Humble Pie 5. Tamryn climbed that then with a little persuading she did the 6a chimney climb from the same anchor.
Yesterday Tamryn and I went for a run on the beach because I needed a rest day from climbing. But we headed over to Chong Phli after and met Anong and everyone else there to watch them climb. To my surprise, Anong was getting ready to lead Chutzpah 6a+. And apparently she had also led Exfoliation 6a+ before that! Anong was starting to lead the easier routes and doing well on them but she said she was afraid to try some of the harder ones. Anyways, she led them with style and made it easily to the anchor.
And that brings us to today. My legs are tired, my feet are sore, and I’m feeling low on energy from yesterday’s run. The 5 beers I drank last night also might have had something to do with it. But today Anong was my rope gun. She did EFZ 6a+. Then Mad Skills 6b. She had to rest a bit at the crux but got through it without much trouble. Then we did Exfoliation 6a+. I also had her take a few practice falls. I’m super impressed with her new found ability to lead more than just the easiest route at Chong Phli.
Anong and I met Martin at Chong Phli for a bit of climbing. First, we warmed up on Family Affair 6c. Martin led most of it and used his fancy new clip stick for the cruxes. I was lazy and climbed it on top rope. I got through the first crux without too much trouble but had to rest at the top. Maybe tired from yesterday’s climbing but I felt like the crimp at the top was slipperier than before. Maybe it’s the heat / humidity. Anong tried it but got stuck at the first crux.
Then Martin put up Deflowered 6b+. I was lazy again and climbed it on top rope. A section in the middle was a little tricky to figure out beta. Then at the top it gets difficult. I had to rest but once I found the holds hiding around the right side of the tufa it was much easier. Then at the top is what makes this route cool. You have to climb up behind a big stalactite and then climb through a hole. I had trouble getting through the hole but once I found the right way to position my body it wasn’t too bad. I’d like to climb this one again but and 80 meter rope is needed to lower the lead climber all the way to the ground. With a 70 meter rope the leader will have to down climb a couple meters. But a 70 meter rope will lower the second all the way to the ground if the rope is not clipped back into the quickdraws. Fun 3D climbing at the top but the route is very dirty. I think I would like to try this again.
So maybe next time I climb with Greg I will try this since he has an 80 meter rope. But I think I can figure out how to do this with my 70 meter rope, an extra rope and another person to transfer the belay to.
Anong and I went to Tonsai with Greg. We also met Mateusz and Holver there and climbed with them a bit. We warmed up on the beach / Dum’s Kitchen area. Greg put up Schlingel Moritz 6a, Anong top roped it and got to the top of it for the first time. It’s cool to see her getting better. Then I led it and cleaned. I had a bit of a hard time with it. The starting move is very powerful and I had to try a couple times. Some of the longer reaches at the top also gave me a bit of trouble. Last week I climbed the route easily. I couldn’t figure out why it seemed so hard today.
Next, we did Schlingel Max 6b. Greg was first to climb, he got one bolt past his previous high point but couldn’t get through the crux. Then I climbed. Again, it felt harder than I remember. After getting to the top I realized it was the bottle of wine I drank the night before. I didn’t really feel hungover but I didn’t have the power / endurance I normally have. Note to self: Don’t drink a bottle of wine the day before climbing. Next Anong climbed / cleaned on top rope. She had not climbed this route before and did well. She got up to the crux but could not get through.
Meanwhile, Mateusz and Holver were working on Wake & Bake 7a+. We watched them put up the route. First Mateusz tried but couldn’t clip the second bolt. Then Holver tried and made it up to the second but could not get to the third. Then Mateusz tried again and fought / willed his way to the top. It was cool watching these two try the route. I think I am a little stronger than them but they are bolder / more confident than me and have better technique. So with some more training, I know I can be much better than I am. After Mateusz put up the route, they let me try on top rope. I powered through the opening moves up to the crack then took a rest. Then started up the crack. Figuring out the sequences was tricky but I quickly learned if I stem off the left side of the wall things get much easier. One more rest and I got to the top of the crack. Then there is a good ledge to rest on. From here the moves are not too difficult but are beta intensive. So I got to the top of my first 7a+ on top rope. It was very difficult but I feel like it’s something I will be able to do. It will be my goal to redpoint this before I go home at the end of the year.
We ate lunch then headed over to Monkey Wall and climbed two of the routes I did last time. We did the first pitch of Curious George 6a and the first pitch of Chunky Monkey 6b. We finished up at about 4:30 and began making our way to Railay to catch a boat back to Ao Nang. This time of the year it’s better to go to Railay because there aren’t usually people in Tonsai wanting to go to Ao Nang so you wait a very long time in Tonsai and/or pay extra for the boat.
Last Wednesday Anong and I went climbing at Chong Phli. We did a little climbing with Martin and met Tamryn there later in the day. We warmed up on EFZ 6a+, then Anong led Zak Attack 5 which I happily repeated on top rope. After that I climbed Exfoliation 6a+ then put up Chutzpah 6a+ so I could try Hunting Shrooms 6c+ on top rope. I think I climbed Hunting Shrooms twice and have mostly gotten the beta of the crux figured out. I should lead it but I’m still scared. By this time the sun was coming onto the main wall so we headed around to the back. Martin put up Early experiments in transportation 6c. I tried it two times on top rope. It was a little tricky figuring out the crux. Second time I climbed it cleanly. Then we did It’s a Mammoth 6a. By now I was really hungry and tired. We packed up and headed home.
I haven’t written about the last several days of climbing I’ve done because I haven’t done anything interesting. But I have been working on figuring out the crux of Hunting Shrooms 6c+ at Chong Phli. I’ve been able to climb through it on top rope a couple times. A new bolt also went in and protects the crux move much better than before. So I should be able to lead it soon but I think it will still be very scary.
A few days later Anong and I went to Railay. We were planning to climb at 123 Wall but the tide was extremely high and none of the climbs could be done there. So instead we went to Muay Thai wall. First we did Valentine 6a+. I thought I had already redpointed it but turns out this was the first time for me. Next, we did Alone 6b on top rope. After this we ate lunch and headed over to Wee’s Present Wall to climb with Tamryn. We climbed Way To The Top 5 then Roi-Et 6a. I hadn’t climbed these routes in awhile so it was fun to try them again. Next we moved over to a new climbing area. Cave Wall was established in January 2014 and has two routes. I looked at No Good Deed Goes Unpunished 6b+. This is a long intimidating route with vertical to overhanging climbing. I decided to give it a go and was able to onsight it! Now I want to try the other route on the wall which I expect would be a similar climbing style but is a little harder.
A few days after that, I went to Tonsai to avoid Songkran in Ao Nang. I stayed 4 nights / 5 days and climbed every day! I climbed with a variety of people, got lots of massages, and drank lots of beer. It was a fun week! Here’s a list of climbs done:
- Snake Skin 6a+, redpoint
- Cobra Head 6a, redpoint
- Snake Whiskey 6a+, redpoint
- Baby Snake 6c, toprope
- Schlingel Max 6b, redpoint (first time!)
- Don Quijote De La Mancha 7a, toprope
- Chunky Monkey pitch 1 6b, onsight
- Curious George pitch1 6a, onsight
- Monkeying Around pitch 1 6a, onsight
- Schlingel Moritz 6a, redpoint
- Schlingel Max 6b, redpoint
- Groove Tube 6a, redpoint
- Boobtube 6b, onsight
- Up In Smoke 6a+, onsight
Wee’s Present Wall:
- Hello Christine 6a+, redpoint (first time!)
- Same Same But Different 6b+, top rope 2x
- Way To The Top 5, redpoint
- We Sad 6a+, redpoint (finally!)
Muay Thai Wall:
- Alone 6b, redpoint (first time!)
- Schlingel Max 6b, redoint
- Missing Snow 6b+, redpoint
- The Wrath Of Nantawan 7a, toprope
- Langes Feschtl 6b+
- Overstay 6b+, redpoint (first time!)
A few days ago I sent the middle 6a+ (one route left of the 5). This route is a bit of a scary lead for me. Even though there isn’t too much space between the bolts & slings I find myself clipping with a couple bolts at my chest or waist which means I’m standing a few feet above the last bolt.
Then yesterday I climbed the 6a+ again then moved the rope over to the anchor for the 6a. I projected that route which took me a few tries to figure out beta that feels good to me. It starts off as a chimney climb between a couple big tufas. Not the style of climbing I usually do so it feels a bit harder than 6a to me but I’m sure it’s a 6a.
In other news, it looks like another new route is going in to the left of the 6a. I heard it might be a 6c / 6c+.