When we set out for our trip to South East Asia, we though we would spend most of our time climbing in Southern Thailand, and another large chunk in Vietnam. We were also planning to check out the climbing in Northern Thailand, maybe for a week or so, and Laos and Cambodia were reserved for a short tourist trip. How wrong we were…
No advice can really prepare you for rock climbing in a tropical country when you’re used to the mild European climate, but I wish I’d done a little more research about what it’s like to climb in Thailand.
We’ve been climbing at Crazy Horse for six days now (with a two-day break when we went back to Chiang Mai for the weekend).
To be honest, it’s been a whole lot better than I expected. The rock is beautiful and not too polished, the routes are interesting and incredibly well-bolted. The grades are maybe a little soft, but the heat and humidity makes everything seem so much harder.
I tie into one end of our purple 60 metre rope, check my harness, put on my climbing shoes and walk up to the limestone wall towering 20 metres above me. I touch real rock for the first time in months, searching with my fingers for the best handhold, inspecting the rock for footholds below. And then the familiar fear comes.
For Easter this year, my climbing partner Valentina and I went to climb in Italy, in a region called Marche. Not very well known to climbers outside Italy, and not even frequented by the locals that much by the looks of it, this area has a huge selection of sport climbing crags and a wide range of routes of various levels of difficulty. We spent the first two days at a crag called Rosara, close to a town called Ascoli Piceno, which offers more than a 100 routes, ranging from an easy 4a to 8a. But as expected, my return to the outdoor climbing season wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked it to be…
When I first moved to London, all the way back in 2011, I did what everyone else around me was doing. I put the hours into my career, I went out drinking with friends, I got a gym membership. Three years and a failed relationship later, I knew something had to change.
This city can suck you into its relentless rhythm and make you give up your hobbies and passions in favour of a gruelling daily commute, boozy corporate events, and aimless weekends trying to sleep off the hangover and exhaustion.
At first, it is exhilarating. Then it becomes draining. And then everything starts to fall apart and you just want out.
This is how I got into climbing.
So you are bored out of your mind of your usual gym routine. Every time you step on a treadmill you feel like a hamster running around in a wheel. The classes are more fun, but you keep missing them because of work/ plans with friends/ laziness.
You are not motivated, so you aren’t getting strong, like you planned to when you made your New Year’s resolutions, and it is just so frustrating!
Sound familiar? Then it is time to try rock climbing!