CraSh Williams' Blog

Posts Tagged ‘climbing’

Next stop – Ton Sai

Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on June 12, 2011

View of Ton Sai, from the beach at West RailayStill to complete my climbing course – I decided to take a ‘rest-day’ as I was pretty shattered and have aches in places I never knew existed, plus Tar was shooting up to Bangkok for a few days so it’s been a well-timed break.

We’re moving on from East/West Railay, though only by about a KM or so – moving to where all the climbers tend to live/hang out, Ton Sai. By all accounts it’s a very chilled out and relaxed area, they only have electricity during the evening and there’s only a few bars and smattering of places to eat – it sounds idyllic!

I resume climbing this Tuesday, my final day of the course. Tar was talking about a 150m multi-pitch route, which would be a first so hopefully that will happen. Sometime next week I’m also hoping to do some Deep Water Soloing (DWS) climbing above water minus ropes/protection. 

 

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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! 

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(*) 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!

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Half of six is three!

Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on June 9, 2011

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…

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