Day 26 climbing at Chong Phli. I climbed all my 6a+’s. Exfoliation, Chutzpah, and EFZ. I also wanted to do Zak Attack and Mad Skills but ran out of time and was getting hungry. After climbing, we went back to the room, ate lunch, then took a nap.
It’s been pretty hot here during the day. 34C (93F) during the day and around 25C (77F) at night. I needed a light blanket to keep from getting too hot at night so went to Tesco Lotus in Krabi Town to get a light blanket / sheet and some other things. I also got a bucket and some rice (to make my fingers strong) and a few other random things.
At checkout, everything went into a plastic bag. Even the rice that was already in its own plastic bag. The cashier was going to put the bucket in a bag too but I said it wasn’t necessary. One bag saved. It’s funny how I went from a city that banned plastic bags to a country that can’t give them away fast enough. The drive home was stressful, having to deal with a lot of selfish, dangerous Thai drivers. I made it home unscathed but feeling frazzled.
Luckily I made it home in time to go to yoga which was good because I needed some time to relax. When it was time for Shavasana (my favorite part of yoga class), I realized I had not thought about trying to understand why Thais drive like they are trying to kill themselves and everyone else for at least 40 minutes. Really, I had not thought about much at all. It felt nice to clear the mind.
Now, it is time for bed and to recover from today’s activities. The goal for tomorrow is to get to the top of McLovin 6b.
Nothing much exciting to report. 2 days ago I tried Round the Bend 6a+. Sadly I could not even make it to the second bolt. I need to watch somebody climb this to see how it’s done. It’s only a 6a+. It shouldn’t be that hard. After giving up on Round the Bend 6a+, I climbed EFZ 6a+ a few times then did Mad Skills 6b but needed one take on that since I was getting tired. I led it without pre hanging the quickdraws like I did previously and it was interesting because I ended up climbing it a little differently.
Today I climbed Chutzpah 6a+. Leading it was easier than last time and then I did several laps on top rope.
After climbing we ate lunch at Khow Soy Restaurant. I think this is one of the best Thai restaurants in Ao Nang. They have a good variety of food from all over Thailand and Laos. The dishes are done well and always delicious. The only downside to this restaurant is that it’s a bit more expensive than the others. But it’s worth it for the good service and food.
Coconut shake. Arroy Mak Mak! Means very delicious in Thai. It was so good I had another one for dessert. Last time in Thailand I had more than one of these in a day I was peeing out of my butt for 3 days.
No school today meant I had some time to kill before going to yoga. So I took a little nap back in the room then left for yoga about an hour early to go for a bike ride. Not sure how far I went but I was really tired and hot when I got to yoga. Didn’t do so well in yoga and spent a lot of time in childs pose. It was a pretty good multi-sport day today!
Anong and I met Martin at Chong Phli this morning. There was a good number of people there but EFZ 6a+ was open and we did laps on that. I led it twice and top roped it once. I think I could climb this thing blindfolded now. Martin also climbed it 3 times and is starting to get the beta figured out. After this, we headed over to Simon Sends 4+. Martin led it. Anong climbed it on top rope. I climbed it on top rope in sandals. After this Martin had to go and I was debating whether or not to try to send Exfoliation 6a+. But some other climbing friends I met at yoga were also climbing today so I thought I’d see what they were up to while I decided what I wanted to do. They were finishing up a climb on Pill Box 6b+. They offered to let me try it on top rope so I decided to be lazy and climb something harder on top rope rather than lead something easier. It was a fun climb and happy that I climbed it clean on the first try. I think I could lead it but I’ll wait to try until I actually send Exfoliation 6a+ and Chutzpah 6a+.
Today was a busy day. After climbing we went back to the room and had a quick lunch. Then I went to school. I continue to learn simple sentences and some vocabulary. Probably the coolest thing I learned today is how to spell my name in Thai. It is: คริส and it is pronounced like: kres. Apparently there is no short ‘i’ sound in Thai. The letters are also pretty cool. They are:
- ค – kaw kwai. Makes a ‘k’ sound and means “buffalo”.
- ริ – raw rua. Makes a ‘r’ sound with short ‘e’ sound and means “boat”.
- ส – saw sua. Makes a ‘s’ sound and means “tiger”.
So I will also answer to “buffalo boat tiger”.
After school I went to yoga. Today was my 9th class. I keep waiting for it to get easier but it doesn’t seem to be and I still can’t say I enjoy it. But I signed up for a month long membership today so I need to go at least 18 times to get value out of the membership. My plan is to go every day…
Busy day today. First it was climbing at Chong Phli. I was feeling a little excited and nervous because I wanted to get on Exfoliation and try to send it. I feel like I’m ready. But it was not meant to be. Another group was on it so I climbed the easy 4 next to it a few times hoping they would finish up. But after a few laps they were still on Exfoliation and I was getting bored, and very sweaty. It rained a lot last night and it was warm and overcast today which made for very humid weather. Next it was over to EFZ and I climbed it well. The top part that had been giving me trouble wasn’t an issue this time. So a few laps on that then it was time to eat lunch.
After lunch I headed off to class. Pretty much the same as yesterday.
Then yoga. The class wouldn’t have been very difficult but I was not fully recovered from climbing so it was a bit of an effort. I’ve been doing yoga 3 or 4 times a week and I still can’t say I enjoy it. But I have been noticing subtle improvements in my core strength and flexibility. There was also a moment where I felt a slight boost to my ego. The teacher had us on our back doing some sort of bicycle like thing with our legs. After 20 reps I thought we were done but she kept us going for 10 more and I giggled a bit cuz I was really tired. Anyways a couple more reps in and half the class stopped but I made it to 30! I’m sure I’ll be sore tomorrow.
Now it’s drinking beer. Goodnight.
Well, I could have taken this picture but instead I decided to go to yoga. Watching sunsets is nice but it will just make me fat and weak. Yoga will make me strong and flexible which is good for climbing.
After yoga we were hungry so had dinner at “Cheap Cheap Restaurant” in Ao Nang. Dinner was 275 Baht which is cheap by standards back home and not too bad for Thailand either but I’ve spent as little as 100 Baht for dinner before. Here’s what we had:
A bottle of water and rice – Not really worth taking a picture of.
Mango fruit shake.
Green curry with pork.
Tom Yum with mushrooms.
Got a late start and didn’t make it to the crag until about 10:30am. I was hoping to get on Exfoliation but there were already people climbing it and the easy unnamed rout to the right of it. So I was forced to try something new. A little further to the right is Chutzpah 6a+. Protection is only slings which sketches me out a little bit. The guidebook says 10 but I think there are more. Anyways, I decided to give it a go. Right from the start I was struggling. I think someone in a group next to us was enjoying watching me struggle but the felt sorry for me and suggested I start a little further to the right. Much easier. Thanks dude!
The next few clips are pretty easy but then there’s all these tufas and it got confusing so I was not climbing it well but I eventually made it up to the last sling before the anchor. The rock up to the anchor from here was looking a little mossy and damp and it was also a little but run out up to the anchor so I was having some confidence issues even though the moves weren’t that hard. After a few feeble attempts at going for the anchor I was starting to panic a little bit and thought I was going to have to sacrifice another carabiner. But I saw a nice dry path to an anchor one route over so I got over there without much trouble and was able to relax.
The rest of the climbing day was working out the moves on Chutzpah (well, all of them except the last section to the anchor). Easily done on top rope. I guess my trip to Laos didn’t help my climbing 😦 I’m also starting to wonder about the grades on some of these routes. EFZ, Exfoliation, and Chutzpah are all graded 6a+. But Exfoliation is significantly harder than EFZ and Chutzpah seems harder than Exfoliation. For my ego it would be nice if Chutzpah was a 6b or 6b+ but it’s probably the other way around, Chutzpah is a 6a+ and EFZ is more like a 5. All the routes at this crag were set by a small group of guys who must all be extremely good climbers. There are routes graded up to 8a here so my theory is that it’s hard to accurately grade the easier climbs. Seems like anything easy for these guys got a default rating of 6a+.
After several laps on Chutzpah I thought I’d try the actual climb my rope was on. It looked significantly harder. It starts of sort of slabby and balancy. Then much easier climbing up to a ledge. Then I got stuck. I could kind of see what to do but the hands were a bunch of one finger pockets with terrible feet. Not going to happen and I didn’t want to injure my fingers by trying it. Well, it was fun to try something way above my ability.
After climbing it was back to the room for lunch of Chang beer and Pad Grapow Gai Kai Dao (spicy stir fried chicken with a fried egg). Then to Tesco Lotus to get a helmet. Then finally to Aonang Yoga for Yin Yang Yoga. I had not done this style of yoga before which is holding poses for 3 to 5 minutes with no muscle contraction and focuses on increasing flexibility. I can definitely see how it can increase flexibility but I thought it was kind of boring and I could do on my own if I wanted. Maybe I will try it again but for now I think I will stick with Vinyasa.
After a breakfast of Gai Tod and sticky rice, we headed over to Chong Phli for another day of climbing. I thought I’d try something new. Exfolation 6a+
It follows the diagonal line that goes up and to the right. But first, warm up on EFZ for the 100th time (not literally but I think it will be true at some point). EFZ was uneventful except for some reason I am making that last few moves at the anchor harder than they need to be. There’s almost a little cave near the anchor and it feels really nice and secure to wedge myself in there. But it’s awkward moving up the clip the anchor. Much easier to climb on the outside of it but it is more exposed.
Now on to Exfoliation. I sat around for 5 or 10 minutes because somebody left their quickdraws on the route and rope at the base of the climb. But a group next to me mentioned they had been there for 2 days! WTF!? Who leaves their shit out for that long? So at this point it’s obvious nobody is going to be climbing the route any time soon except for me! I get ready to climb and start on the route. Starts easy enough. Big jugs everywhere. I think it’s going to be like this all the way up. But half way up where the texture of the rock changes it gets thin and crimpy. Uh oh, I don’t know what to do, I feel the burn in my arms and I’m starting to get confused. Take! It goes like this for the next couple bolts but then it’s smooth sailing to the anchor.
Exfoliation shares the same anchor with another route called Devil’s Backbone rated 6b. So on my way down I clipped into the bolts for Devil’s Backbone to try it on top rope. You can see the route in the photo above. It climbs up that vertical line of black rock in the right of the photo. Well, the rock is black because it’s very wet and has moss and mildew or something growing on it. Whatever it was it is very slimy and made the route much harder than if it was dry. I got to the top then done for the day. Packed up. To room for a shower then off to lunch.
Lunch was at some restaurant at the end of Nopparattara Beach Everything on the menu was expensive! Almost everything was 100 or more BHT So I ordered the cheapest and most boring thing on there. Chicken Phad Thai for 90 BHT. Clearly this restaurant is for the tourists. And the Phad Thai wasn’t even that good. Very oily and tasted kind of funny. I won’t be going back.
Yoga! I’ve been doing yoga off and on for about a year and a half. I don’t like it. But I do it because it helps with flexibility and core strength which is good for climbing. It’s been a couple months since I’ve done any but decided I should get back into it. So I decided to check out Aonang Yoga I think it’s a little expensive but still cheap compared to home. I bought a 8 class punch card for 2000 BHT which works out to about $8 per one hour class. It was different than I’m used to but still good. I was dripping sweat at the end of class. It’s pretty much like hot yoga back home except it’s just normal yoga in Thailand because it’s so hot and humid here and only shopping centers and 7-11 have air conditioning.
Then dinner. At a little restaurant on the the side of the road across the street from 7-11. Kuai Tiao Gai (noodle soup with chicken). For 40 BHT. And way better than the Phad Thai for lunch.