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Chang Mai

View SE ASIA on J kerouac's travel map.

After a few days Sa arrived with Kenny and then Ray showed up. Theyre a good bunch. We spent a few more days in Koh Tao and then went up to Chang Mai. Unfortunatly Chang Mai sits in a valley that was flooded with smoke created by farmers burning the last crop of rice paddies before the upcoming monsoon season.

We did get to see A Muai Thai fight where a third of the matches ended in KOs and I made it to Crazy horse buttress for a day of climbing, then everyone went back to Bangkok for Thai New Year and I headed to Laos.

A climbing story:

I met a climbing partner at the local climbing shop and we caught a ride to the crag with a few other climbers. After a mediocre day in the smoke at the crag this 84 year old swiss climber with wild blue eyes started to tell me about a route that isnt in the guidebook. He said its a hard 30M 6A+ in a cave but that the route isnt offically rated by anyone. Getting to the route was an andentue in itself. We had to shimmy down a 3 foot wide tunnel in the face of the limestone cliff for 15 feet before we entered the first cave. The cave was completly dark with a roof so low that we had to stoop to avoid hitting out heads. From here headed deeper into the crag and further downhill as the air grew continuously cooler. After 5 meters through the increasingly narrow corridor we saw some light and then emerged into a massive room. It was easilly 25 meters by 25 meters and 50 meters tall and was lit by a single beam of light comming through a hole in the top of the cave. It was eerily quiet and my first thought was 'what would the echo of a bad fall sound like in here?'

The light was just enough to sort our gear. We were told that the route was about 12 clips long plus the anchors. I had 12 quickdraws exactly but both my partner and I wanted to tackle the route so we used my extra slings and some locking biners to make extra draws. Of course we took a bail biner just in case.

Rock, Paper Scissors and I lose, so I lead it first. The light was just enough to see the next bolt as youre climbing. Luckilly belaying was a somwhat easier task as you could watch the silouette of your partner asscending into the light. What a cool onsight. Despite needing some serious cleaning it turned out to be the best route of the day. All smooth static moves with two great stemms in a dihedral. It was exactly 12 clips long so we had sufficient gear and the rappell to the floor in the twilight was alot of fun.


Posted by J kerouac 01:05 Archived in Thailand

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