Tag Archives: outdoor climbing

Thailand: Climbing in Chiang Mai

After a few days of eating everything Thailand has to offer and accumulating some substantial podge around our mid areas, we finally made it to the climbing area in Chiang Mai.

Situated in the North of the country, Chiang Mai has unfortunately become far more touristy than when I last visited Thailand a decade ago. The climbing has also now been discovered by more than just a handful of foreigners, but it is still nowhere near as popular as some of the more well known destinations, such as Krabi in the South of the country.

And as the first place to begin our rock climbing adventure, it is absolutely perfect, with a huge range of easier climbs, and a wonderful change from the hustle and bustle of the cities.

The climbing area, called Crazy Horse, sits around 45 mins drive outside of Chiang Mai. We couldn’t get our hands on a guidebook in England, so we bought it when we got here from a company called Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures (CMRCA), which looks after the crags.

CMRCA shop
CMRCA shop

They run a gym in the city, through which people can book climbing courses or transport to and from the crag. We used their service to get out to Crazy Horse, though by Thai standards it’s pretty expensive – around £12 each (525 baht), return.

We were also recommended to stay at a place near the crag called Jira Homestay, but it turned out November is a busy month and they had run out of rooms. Instead, we were offered a tent, which was completely set up for us when we arrived and turned out to be a really nice place to spend the night. And we paid…just 250 baht per night for this. A whopping £6 for the two of us!

They also do amazing food. It comes at slightly  higher  prices  than some  of the food markets, but the portions  are huge! And they prepare  lunches  to take away to the crag  too, which is  awesome!

We’ve mostly done very easy climbing so far, but that is exactly the start we needed. Even the easy routes are very interesting, with lots of features, and extremely well bolted!

The heat and humidity have got to us though, and we have struggled a bit with stamina, and general breathing throughout the day. But apparently it’s actually pretty cool now, so we better acclimatise fast for when it gets hotter again…

Can’t wait to check out more areas over the next few days. We have recommendations from a few people for an easy multi-pitch with breathtaking views, so that’s definitely on the bucket list.

Climbing in Northern Spain: Destination guide

‘Wow! A lifetime would not be enough to climb all the rock in this place!!’ – that was my thought when I first arrived in Asturias, a region in the North-West of Spain, in June this year. I have now just come back from a second trip, and I want more already!!!

Asturias
Entrago in Asturias

My love affair with Asturias dates back to a day in mid-May when I was googling somewhere cheap to fly to in Spain at relatively short notice, to climb, of course. I stumbled upon Asturias on skyscanner.com. The flights were cheap! Even for the May bank holiday weekend, the return tickets were barely over £100. ‘I wonder if there is any climbing there?’ I thought to myself, so I looked around and came upon this article on UKC…and I knew straight away I had found something pretty damn special!

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The changing perceptions of summer

Your perceptions of a ‘disappointing’ summer change quite substantially when outdoor climbing is the main goal.

This summer has at times felt distinctly British – we’ve had a coupe of properly hot weeks so far and a couple with mid-twenties temperatures in the heart of the city, but most of the time leaving the house without a jacket and an umbrella hasn’t been advisable.

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A breakthrough weekend

This weekend I went back to Tintern Quarry, where I have already been before, but somehow it felt massively different and I liked the place so much more this time around. Everything worked together this time to make this weekend a breakthrough moment in my outdoor climbing so far this summer.

Tintern Quarry lies on the east bank of the River Wye, not far from Chepstow and just over the Severn Bridge if you’re driving from London. The Wye Valley will always be memorable to me as the place where I did my first trad lead, but the sport climbing in England hasn’t really managed to find its way into my heart until this weekend.
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Sport climbing in Portland

This post is a little late – my trip to Portland was over the first bank holiday in May, but better late than never!

Both my knees are bruised and scratched, my hands look like I’ve had a fight with a tiger, and it really hurts to walk…a sign of a good outdoor climbing trip! Or rather, a sign that I have experienced a number of moments of desperation, and fell quite a few metres to smash my body into some rock. 

The first days of May mean only one thing to a climber – the start of the outdoor season. So we forget indoor gyms, where we climb on colour-coded plastic in the winter, and migrate to real rock.

On the first bank holiday in May I went to Portland for some sport climbing – a rare luxury in England, where most climbing is trad. Despite a shoddy weather forecast for the bank holiday weekend, we managed to get in two days of good climbing in the (occasional) sunshine. Well, mostly in the sunshine, actually!

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