Monday, September 3, 2012

Thailand 2012

*Note: a bit tired of the blogging narcissism, I'm planning on following this with a new type of blog post that centers around a place instead of an individual, and could help friends travel and climb around in Thailand. Check back soon!

     Tonsai. The most beautiful climbing I've ever experienced. A sport climber's paradise. The place where your rope falls apart, your shoes never really dry, your chalk bag fills with sand, and you don't really mind.
     Josh, Emily, and I were really glad we chose to go here before worlds, not just for the amazing environment, but because it really suited where we are in our outdoor climbing careers. There were a lot of 5.13's right there on the beach, a minute's walk from our hotel, so Josh and I did most of them. The exceptions tended to be either too dirty or too unsafe. Emily did the same with many of the 5.10's and 11's.

Photo: Emily Andrews
Photo: Emily Andrews


     This was my second time in Thailand. Although over five years I got a lot taller and a lot less tan, Lars & Lars (above) is still my favorite 5.11 in the world.

Photo: Emily Andrews
     This 5.11, however, was a contender. I could stem across to that tufa, so it was a good thing I put up the draws. Josh had to jump across. You could deck or hit that shelf from almost anywhere on the route. 

    Early on in the trip it seemed like my shoulder would put a serious limit on how hard I climbed on Tonsai. It was scary for me to push through some pain while I had two world championships in the coming weeks, but I desperately wanted to take advantage of the amazing climbing Tonsai had to offer. Fortunately, I only missed one climbing day and managed to improve the old injury's condition by taping, stretching, and warming up more effectively. 
     Then I had the best day of sport climbing of my life so far. Cara Congresso, a 5.13d that has been called 5.14a- probably a guidebook error, but still flattering- finally went down after many falls from the top on previous days. The last several jugs were very wet and a bit crumbly, but luckily I managed to pull through. It was fortunate that Alyse and Allison, some friends from Canada, were passing by as I was climbing because there was a big tangle in the rope that wouldn't go through the GriGri. They totally saved my send. 
     It was my hardest redpoint ever, and the day was young!
Photo: Emily Andrews
Photo: Emily Andrews
     After Josh sent his project on the other side of the beach (a ridiculously hard 13d called Jai Dum), I took a shot at Asia's Shadow Play 5.13c, managing to send it before lunch. Crimpy, technical, and 15 degrees overhanging, I'll remember the climb as one of my favorite routes in the world. Here's a great shot of Josh on it:
Photo: Emily Andrews

     After lunch and a smoothie I hopped on Tantrum 5.13c. It's an amazing line with a big dyno as the first move, some campusing and heel-hooks through the middle, and a big jug at the end. No pics of the send, unfortunately, but here's one of me lowering off:
Photo: Emily Andrews

     I knew it had been a great day, but I thought I might finish up with another send. Josh hopped on and set the bar high by flashing Sex Power, 5.13b. Unfortunately, I fell just beneath the chains as the day was coming to an end. Still, three 13+'s in one day felt pretty good!

     As if there wasn't enough excitement in our lives, we went deepwater soloing and multipitch climbing on two of the days. It rained both times, but somehow that didn't stop us on either occasion. I lump these vastly different experiences together because they shared some key things in common- they took me way out of my comfort zone, they made 5.11 feel like 5.14, and I didn't bring enough food. Great memories, not so great getting down.


Photo: Charlie Andrews
Photo: Josh Levin

My favorite memories, though, will be of hanging out with Emily and Josh. 
Photo: Josh Levin

Photo: Elise Sethna
Photo: Charlie Andrews

 Singapore post will be up soon, once I gather enough pics. Thanks for reading!




2 comments:

  1. Wow. Great post and amazing looking routes. Congrats on the amazing day of sends!!

    ReplyDelete