Unintentionally, we got hammered last night – chatting to the barman, dressed from head to toe in Rastafarian colours introduced us to a good friend of his, a chap called Henry, him and too many long island ice teas saw me teaching an Ulsterman to tie a figure of eight knot, using a plastic drinking straw as a prop. It was that kind of night!
Sometime around midnight we fell out of the bar, at which point I proceeded to get completely and utterly lost or as I call it, momentarily misplaced! Crashing out around 1am I really wasn’t looking forward to the alarm clock waking me in a few hours.
Meeting up with Tar at the climb shop (lots of high fives, knocking fists kind of action – I was getting in to the climbing groove too easily) we headed to the cliffs at the bottom of East Railay beach, opting to climb inside the treeline rather than the beach as it was already starting to get warm and I was regretting too many cocktails.
I’d explained to Tar that my preferred climbing was on grit-stone and that I tend to struggle on limestone – grit tends to be more ‘holdy’ with excellent grip whereas Limestone tends to be more ‘fingery’ more ‘slippy’ and a much ‘steeper face’ a bit like Red-Rum – I’m really unconfident on this type of rock so I was a little bemused when Tar pointed out the 35m 6A we’d be starting on!
Eventually, with a lot of huffing and puffing, I dragged myself (and beer barrel) up the to the top of climb, with if truth be told, few dramas and no broken legs – decent climbing shoes and competent BB (belay-bitch) made for a great start to the day though once down I thought my forearms might explode and my lungs burst!
Moving right we knocked out a cheeky 5 before dropping down to the beach to join the climbing throng of mostly groups doing a half-day taster courses. Being low-season it was a really mellow vibe and everyone was friendly, enjoying themselves.
Our next climb, was a straight 6 – like all the climbs,, they’re straight forward with one possibly two tough/cruxy moves to overcome, this one had an overhang start and after a few attempts, I made it.
I was pretty pumped by the stage and Tar wanted to crack a 7A – I was more than happy to be his BB so off he went, flying up without stopping, making it look very easy.
We broke for lunch and if truth be told, I was ready.
Heading to a different wall/beach, Tham Phra Nang or Princess Cave – which is absolutely stunning, apparently its one of the most beautiful beaches in the World; limestone crags, stalagmites (or stalagtytes, whichever one comes down) coming off the cliff face and climbers, of all abilities climbing the rock or chilling out on the beach and just watching – a real festival kind of atmosphere.
This was to be my final climb of the day, a 30 or so metre high, quite steep 6, with a chimney type feature three quarters of the way up, quite exposed. This was my toughest climb today – very little in the way of holds and those that were there were quite small, very much a case of using friction and wedging your body in, inching your way up. I did top out though took several breaks and maybe just once, Tar gave a little assistance by pulling me half a foot!
Its been a great day, I’m shattered and off to bed. Day 2 tomorrow…