Half of Six is Three (part II)
Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on June 10, 2011
Waking up full of aches and pains, I rolled out of bed showered ready for day 2 – I was shattered, my arms felt weak and my fingers were covered in lacerations, these few days are meant to be enjoyable! Today was going to be a more technical day, rather than climbing as I would be leading my first climb here in East Railay – with a top rope set up for the first one or two.
Tar set up a quick stance to show him I could clip-on, as is always the way I completely messed my first attempt up (even though I’ve climbed a fair amount and previously had no issues) and clipped ‘back-to-front’ whilst I felt a little stupid it was a good learning curve particularly as it’s something I’ve never really thought about previously.
We also went through what to do once you reach the top, something I’m a lot more comfortable with.
The following hour was spent going through these drills, I was happy with this as I was still tired and not looking forward to my first lead. The time came – the majority of climbs here start with an overhang so for the first couple of moves you’re ‘solving’ a boulder type problem – I now realise how important bouldering is to gain strength and become technically stronger.
Once past that problem it’s pretty straight forward though as ever with limestone, the wall is quite steep and the finger holds minimal, sharp and slippy – I really don’t like this stuff! Eventually making it to the top with a couple of falls (mainly due to slipping or arms blowing out) I tied off – did my thing and came back down only to be put straight back up again by Tar – I was blowing!
We completed one more route before breaking for lunch then heading across the Island to Phranang Beach.
I only got to do one climb on that side – my first proper lead(*) with no top rope at a height of 30’ish metres – I’d climbed the line next door the day before which was quite tough at the 3/4 point, so wasn’t really relishing my first lead, particularly as this one had a bouldery/corner to get around and a chimney for good measure.
Apart from the two problems above, I pretty much flew up the route and with real elation, arrived at the top – the view was awesome and I stayed up there for a good ten minutes taking it all in – that and as much breath as I could breathe into my lungs!
I came down – several of the climbers/instructors came up to high 5 / knock knuckles and generally give me a pat on the back – Shelley had grabbed some phots and she told me that several people had been watching my ascent – I was properly buzzing! We decided to call it a day at that point – Tar mentioned some caves we could scramble through which culminates with a stunning view of Ton Sai and West Railay, plus a 35m abseil down to the jungle before (he then taught me how to set-up an abseil.)
Tar also invited Shelley along, plus his girlfriend – he did tell a little white lie to Shelley – that the cave was easy to scramble through, it was not too dark(!), and the abseil was a short one… The caves were stunning, using ropes to heave up steep inclines, climbing bamboo ladders which in the most part were in an ‘off-balance’ position we eventually made it to the opening from where we would abseil down – Tar was right, the view was stunning!
By the time we got to the beach, it was already dark – Tar shot off to buy some beers whilst his girlfriend and I dived straight in to the sea – the best way to finish a days climbing. Shelley chilled out on the beach and we spent a good hour just chatting drinking cold Changs, it was just perfect!
(*) Re the first lead – Tar placed the first two clips so whilst it was a first, I’m not properly claiming and therefor adding this caveat!