Well climbing in Koa Yao Noi is a very different experience with the monsoon season not yet finished. The rainy season usually ends at the start of December, but here we are near christmas and the rain comes every day at about 6pm for a half hour and last night was no exception; it absolutely bucketed down. The three hours later it was falling sideways and the wind was a little cooler. Fortunately we got out and did a few routes in the day.
We got out reasonably early, which was before the humidity and sun hit the walls we wanted to climb on. Accessing the crag is a series of adventures. First you have to ride your bald-tyre scooter to the access road, then its through the jungle on a very rough and at times treacherous dirt road, followed by a 35 minute walk through the Thai jungle on a track carved by machete in the last week or so due to some idiot diving into the resort pool and fucking it up for every one.
Anyway enough about that!
We headed into the jungle and the humidity was already higher than any test result I had ever achieved. It was 93% according to Google and lets face it they know fucking everything. As the sweat started to build up and our shirts were wet through. We were heading to climb in the shade but already the heat was oppressive. We arrived at the Dump Wall and scoped out the area, also finding the starts to two 55 metre multi pitch routes on this beautiful buttress.
Locating the warm up route, a 6a+, 25 metres high and on stunning grey and white limestone. We tied in and off we went. It was a great way to start the day in the heat and it was only 9:30am and 27 degrees C. The route went though a stemming tufa system down low up to a really techy slab section (for the grade) and up through some vertical face climbing with good feet, to a slightly overhanging finish………awesomeness is all I can say.
The 6b+ was next and it was stiff for the grade according to a local source. It was stiff but only from the style of climbing. not the difficulty. Karine had a bit of trouble with it, but it was technically a little more demanding. Overall the route was really good fun and a good way to get used to the rock on the island.
We walked around to do the last two routes on a wall we had climbed on two days earlier. When we arrived at the base of the route, all of a sudden there was all this debris falling from the top of the cliff. The culprit was a bloody big monkey sitting up there throwing leaves and loose rocks at us. Where ever we moved to…….he moved to. so we thought the better of it and went back around to Breakfast Wall. We met up with two guys we had run into earlier and they were more stoned than when we first saw them.
The 6b on the Breakfast Wall was really a step into “Old Skool” hand jamming and stemming. This was not my strong point at all but i thought “you have to have a go!” Of I went up through tis stemming start through an overhanging crack for about four metres and on to the face. Good jugs helped to navigate the face and then up into the tufa section. I have made a habit of knocking on tufas as most of the time they are very hollow and depending on where you are in the world, some of them sound like a little bell, but this one sounded like the gong at the end of Queens Bohemian Rhapsody.
I sent the route and stole the anchors back from our stoner mates and giggled to myself as one of them looked up and said “wow man you got up here quick.” I laughed and clipped in and Karine lowered me to the ground. Karine tied in and jumped straight in and climbed the route beautifully. She didn’t make it look difficult and I hadn’t seen her climb this style of thing before. A great finish to a really fun day out in the Thai jungle.
Time to head back for a shower and nice relaxing beer at the Tha Kao Bayview to watch the sunset………….