Crazy Horse Buttress and climbing in Northern Thailand:- Part 2…. I think?!

Sitting in my little teak bungalow waiting for the coffee to brew and its 6:30am. The sounds of a Mae On district Sunday morning continue as the loud speaker pray seems to echo on through the valley. This unknown little area is where the best milk in Thailand is produced, where some of the best coffee in the country is grown and it is where a small band of enthusiasts come in the Northern winter to spend some time in the sun, rock climbing and living minimally.

Welcome to Crazy Horse Buttress. This beautiful outcrop of limestone offers some stunning lines in the 5’s and 7’s (14 to 28)…oh yeah theres one 8a (29) or something, but the bee’s normally rule that out pretty quickly. There is nothing harder than that, so if you want to climb harder go to Tonsai and hangout on the beach. Oh we are spoilt for choices here in Southeast Asia aren’t we?!

Karine flashing an unknown 6b (19/20) at Aircon Wall Sector.

But, if you want to experience a great time on great rock and meet a bunch of really cool people who wanna climb and enjoy the experience, this could be the place for you. I have met a lot of people during my three stays here and only met one person who was really not enjoyable to be around. It’s not bad given the amount of traffic that rolls through the place.

Anyway, on to more important things. There are eighteen sectors to extoll your vertical virtues on, with varying styles and funky movement. You have the beautiful vertical face of The Furnace to cook yourself on after 10:30am every morning. The sun hits it hard everyday from then on until sunset. “Balance of Power” 7a+ and “Black Hole Sun” 6b+ are the choice routes here and well worth the effort of an early start.

Robert delicately clipping the draw below the crux on “Balance of Power” 7a+ (24). The Furnace Sector.
Derek working his way through “Black Hole Sun” 6b+ (20). The Furnace Sector.

Another favourite of mine is Gate Keeper Buttress. This is a pretty cool experience, as you are belaying at one of the opening’s into the Anxiety State Crisis cave. The opening is about 45 metres from the bottom of the cave and you can feel the abyss calling you to peer down. “All’s Quite on the Eastern Front” 7a (23) is the stellar technical classic of this sector. It really doesn’t get much better at the grade and the finish of the route puts you right out there on the edge……..literally.

The author midway through the crux on “All’s Quiet on the Eastern Front” 7a (23). Gate Keeper Buttress.
The abyss calls from the belay station at Gate Keeper Buttress.

Rooftop Sector only has a few routes, however “Skyscraper” 6a (18) is the pick of the bunch. A stunning line to open up the Mae On Valley view at the top. I could go on for hours about the different sectors, but there would be no real point. You need to go there and climb yourself.

Josh Morris and the team at Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures (CMRCA) are continuing to do a fabulous job in the area and be sure to go into town and check out the shop.

My only disappointment is the guide book is ancient and I really like having a guide book. There is an app available through iTunes, but I really like books because I can draw in them and have them on my shelf as a constant reminder of wonderful adventures with “good humans”.


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