On the 11th Anong and I travelled to Koh Phi Phi to visit a friend of mine and her husband who were visiting from America. We woke up early and by 12:00 we were on the island checking into our hotel.
Koh Phi Phi is very beautiful. It has recovered from the 2004 tsunami and is back bigger and “better” than before. I say “better” because Phi Phi now suffers from mass tourism. I didn’t really see any Thai culture here. Just lots of tourists. It could have been a tropical island anywhere. If one wants to relax on the beach and party at night, Phi Phi would be a good place to go. Phi Phi is also the most expensive place I’ve stayed at and I didn’t think it offered good value for money. Even though this is kind of critical of Koh Phi Phi I did enjoy my time there because I got to see some friends and the climbing is also good. Oh, one good thing about Koh Phi Phi. There are no cars on the island! So at least I didn’t have to worry about getting hit by a car like I constantly do in Krabi / Ao Nang.
So back to the first day. Anong and I met my friends for lunch then we headed off to Tonsai Tower for some climbing. I had heard the grades here were soft so I was curious to see what the style of climbing was like and what I could do.
- Trong Pai (Straight Ahead) 6a+, Relatively straightforward climbing with a cruxy move near the anchor. Onsight.
- Seven Samurais 6b+, Did this one on top rope but I should had led it. Easy climbing up to a roof which then has huge jugs to pull on to get over the roof then moderate climbing to the anchor.
- Scenic Bulimic 6a, Huge blocky holds up a slight overhang. A little pumpy but easy. Onsight.
- Gladiator 6c, A steep jug haul. Big fun moves. Just when I thought I couldn’t hang on anymore it eases up near the anchor. Onsight.
- Sol y Sombra 6b+, By now I was feeling tired and thought I’d lead a nice relaxing 6a+ by heading up Sud Jawt. Well, 3/4 of the way up my friends informed me I was on a 6b+. Oops. But it was going well so far so I continued up and was going well until I got to the crux. WTF. Had to rest to figure it out then pulled on the sling to get past. Oh well.
- Crisis? What Crisis? 6b, By now very tired but climbed cleanly on top rope. Fun climb up some tufas.
So, yeah. The grades seem soft. Or maybe I’m that good? No, they’re soft. But it feels good to lead 6b+ without too much trouble and even onsight a 6c for the first time!
Warm up on Scenic Bulimic 6a again. Still feels pumpy. Then we get started on today’s objective. Going Dutch 6c+, a 4 pitch climb. The first pitch was great. More steep climbing with lots of jugs and pockets. I was following but climbed it clean. The next two pitches had some awkward sections on them. Beta was difficult to figure out though graded easier than the first pitch I thought they were actually harder. The final pitch was easier but the rock quality not as nice. But overall it was a really good climb. I was an idiot and dropped my ATC from the top of the third pitch which meant some time wasted on the rappel. Amazingly enough I was able to find it in some bushes when we got down. The sun was going down by the time we made it back to the ground and beers on the beach after tasted really good.
- Golden Copulation 6b, I had to climb it for the name but it also looked fun. A two pitch climb that I climbed as a single pitch. Easy down low and very fun climbing up higher. 50+ meters of rope is really heavy. Onsight.
- Mr Viper, Mr. Pit Viper 6a, Slightly overhanging climbing up huge blocky holds. Onsight.
- Pirates of the Andaman 6c, Bouldery start then easier climbing to the first anchor. Onsight. Follow second pitch. Starts off easy then some tough moves on pockets. Onsight.
- Sud Jawt 6a+, Decided I should actually climb this climb that I intended to a couple days ago. Not a bad climb. Onsight.
The climbing in Koh Phi Phi is pretty good, even with the aggressive monkeys. I’ll post some pictures later. The grades on a lot of the climbs are on the soft side. Onsighting two 6c’s as well as a 6b and top roping 6c+ cleanly has me feeling good about myself. But some of the climbs are very weird and maybe it’s just figuring out the beta but I thought were full value. I’m thinking of the 6b+ pitches of “Going Dutch” and the 6b+ Sol Y Sombra. Overall a good trip that was lots of fun.