Today was our last day on rock and I would not be back here for a very long time. There was a couple routes that I wanted to try and send before I left, but in the grand scheme of things I was not particularly worried if I didn’t get them clean. I just simply wanted to try hard and have a good go at them. One was called “The Sound of Music” and the other was called “Nid Toi Nid Noi”. Both routes were 7a (23). I had tried the latter route a couple of days before and fallen at the crux a little disappointed, but happy with where I got to.
Karine and I warmed up in the Elephant sector on some cruisy routes or so we were to believe. The 5b was really more 5a and the 6b felt like a 6c. God the latter route was a battle of epic proportions for the both of us. We fought our way up this short bouldery shit of a thing and both had long moments of profanity as we descended back to earth frustrated and perplexed.
We then walked over to the wall where “Sound of Music” is to find our friends Mario and Maurice already attempting the route. Maurice had put the draws on the route as he had sent it a few days prior and Mario was just lowering off from his first attempt. Karine and I were yelling support from across the crag when we saw Mario at the crux. He tried and then fell, got back on and then finished the route. “It’ll go next time Mario!” we said.
The boys said “Tie in Craig and have a go!” I looked up and thought “Ok! I’ll give it a shot!” I tied in and sat down to put my shoes on and surveyed the route. There was a woman on the 6c beside us and I thought it a good idea to let her get through the next four bolts before I pulled on. She was now out of the fall zone on our route and I stepped up and pulled on. Lets go I thought to myself.
This route is steep on good holds and I climbed fast. Arriving at the rest near the crux rather quickly, quicker than I expected. I settled in to a semi-comfortable position and managed to get a no hands rest. Shaking out for a couple of minutes and then pulling on to check out where the crux was going to take me. Reaching around to feel my way through I managed to hit the crux hold quickly and thought “MOVE!!”. I pulled around the face and found the footer I needed to push me through the mantle move to the anchors up a little slab. I had flashed the route…….STOKED!
Everyone climbed well throughout our stay here and there was a level of improvement that was very noticeable in all of us. Karine and Ingrid definitely tied for the “Most Improved Climber Award” (The MICA) and the boys battled well and we all have the scars to prove we tried. Mario strained a foot ligament in a fall, clipping the lip of a ledge. Maurice had no skin left on his fingers, Ingrid strained her knee slightly and Karine fell and banged her tibia (shin) on a tufa. I have more scratches than you’d get in a cat fight.
Despite all of the pain, scratches, bruises and strains, we’ve had an awesome trip here and all ticked some great routes. The climbing here is truly wonderful. The rock is varied and the routes are long and well bolted. We met a great bunch of people and cheered and jeered as they all tried super hard to send.
Oh and trying to slack-line over the river at the Green Climbers BBQ at Tha Falang was awesome fun too.
Gotta love the climbing community………..see you all in Chiang Mai next week guys!