A Trip Too Small: Fiji, New Zealand, and Some More



  • ian408ian408 Administrators Posts: 21,869 moderator
    edited May 24, 2015
    Love the picture of Tracy at the controls of that organ! And the Portal. Great pictures.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Administrators Posts: 14,153 moderator
    edited May 25, 2015
    Prezwoodz wrote: »
    Prezwoodz wrote: »
    They had a pretty nifty room called The Portal.

    I love your stories, and love that you and coldclimb are posting in the same thread so we can see your journey from both of you.

    Of the recent photos these 2 jumped out at me, wonderful!

    --- Denise
  • coldclimbcoldclimb Registered Users Posts: 1,169 Major grins
    edited May 27, 2015
    I'm just gonna beat Kelsey to the punch here, cause I know he has some awesome stuff coming that's going to make what I've got pale in comparison! rolleyes1.gif

    We separated from Kelsey and met up with some friends of friends of ours in Christchurch, becoming direct friends ourselves and spending a full day together before Tracy and I headed to the airport to fly back to the states. As we sat waiting to board our first flight from Christchurch to Auckland, we received an e-mail from Orbitz saying there was something terribly wrong with our reservation and we needed to contact them immediately. No details. Rather cryptic, but after trying for a few minutes to figure out the international calling and having no luck, we shrugged our shoulders and boarded our plane. Nothing we could do about it at this point!

    Arriving in Auckland, we headed to Fiji Airways to check in for our flight to Los Angeles. The sign over the check-in counter stated that the flight at 11:30am had been postponed to 7:30pm. When we arrived at the ticket counter, a very exhausted and tired lady greeted us and explained that we could take a voucher for meals and come back tonight for the late flight. As we were on the tail end of the check-in time for the original flight, this poor lady had to have been dealing with irate customers all morning, and she looked beat! We explained that we'd be missing our connection flight in L.A. if we had to delay this long, and she kindly offered a more direct flight with Air New Zealand, instead of the later flight which included a layover in Fiji. While arrangements were made we consoled her for her horrible morning and filled out a comment card in her favor, and she explained that a catering truck had run into our airplane, causing over a million dollars loss for the airline due to the rescheduling of all of the passengers' travel plans! eek7.gif

    In the end, we wound up with a direct flight to L.A. and arrived in the morning thoroughly jet-lagged about seven hours before our original flight would have gotten there, and with a full day to spend in L.A. before our connecting flight to Las Vegas! Sometimes bad things turn out to be blessings in the end.

    Some quick facebooking in Auckland warned an L.A. connection that we were coming, and we met up with a good friend of ours who happened to have no work for the day, and after eating breakfast we headed out to the rocks. We met Jeff because of Smugmug, running into him while climbing Castleton Tower just after the 2008 Smugmug Shootout as chronicled here, and have kept in touch ever since. Some people hate modern social networking, but I think those people are crazy! rolleyes1.gif

    Here's Jeff putting up the rope on a 5.9 so us jet-lagged travelers can climb it.

    Now we're sitting out a couple days in Las Vegas visiting Tracy's parents, while Kelsey is doing whatever adventurers do in Thailand. I'm sure he'll be posting more awesome stuff soon, but it'll probably be a few days before you see much more from me! :D
    John Borland
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited June 1, 2015
    Thanks John for keeping the post warm! I've been here in Thailand and exploring some places old and new. Now on to the post!

    This first set of pictures is going to be of the Grand Palace in Bangkok. I always get the idea that I'm going to take some street shots in BKK but then when I get there I just want to get out as soon as possible.

    So I'll start with the best one. This is my second attempt at a little world shot. The Grand Palace in Bangkok.


    Now off to a bunch of of shots of the temple. For those of you who find these specific types of shots exciting this could be quite interesting to you. For those who don’t…well thats the beauty of the fast scroll. So here we go. The Grand Palace is something I had visited years before and hasn’t changed much except for the copious amounts of people. It was pretty quiet all those years ago but was jam packed with thousands of tourists.


    Everything is so intricately ornate.




    The trick is trying to aim your camera somewhere that you can get a shot unlike the one you’d just taken a second ago. And to see something new in the shadows.


    Oh and now to introduce my company for the next leg of the journey! Most of you that saw the last trip will know that I was traveling with John and Tracy Borland. The second leg of the trip I am starting with Rena and Shasta!


    Don’t mess with the monkey king.



    Excellent architecture.



    Rena checking to see if she’s got anything good.


    Trying to find interesting ways to use that Samyang lens from NZ.


    Missed this girl!


    We finished walking around the Grand Palace and decided to try and make our way to the train through Chinatown. Rena and Shasta had never been in a tuktuk so off we went!



    We spent the last day there getting street food and eating anything we could get our hands on. Will we get sick from it? Well, we haven’t yet and thats saying something. We had planned on two days in Bangkok, only because they had never been there and wanted to look around but I’d convinced them that one was enough and we left a day early toward Krabi. We stayed there for a day as we rode around on motorbikes and ate more food. The next stop was where I really wanted to be. I hadn’t been to Tonsai or Railay in years and was anxious to see how much it had changed. On arriving I could definitely tell there were some changes. Mainly, that East Railay is actually a big resort spot now instead of the shady side compared to the west. Is that a good thing? Not really, but they do have a pier and I’m sure they enjoy that. The first sunset told me one thing for sure. That it was still paradise, even if its more crowded.


    We met up with some friends our first night that had been traveling as well. They are also originally from Alaska and it was cool to have the group to travel with. We spent our first day in the sweltering heat trying to climb on the 1-2-3 Wall and Muay Thai wall before the crowds showed up.

    Chris and Emma




    After a bunch of people showed up and decided to start chain smoking at the base of a crag, which it doesn’t really matter who you are it makes you an inconsiderate person, we moved off to the Muay Thai wall.

    Shasta was excited to make it to the top of this 6a.


    The awesome features of these walls are what lend to such interesting routes.


    We climbed until about noon at which point our bodies could take no more and we escaped to fruit shakes and air conditioned room. After about a mandatory 45 minute cool down session we headed back out to do some kayaking. We walked to Tonsai because it was cheaper but travelers have really started to make the Thai’s paranoid. Everyone here wants a passport as a deposit because they keep losing their boats and motorcycles somehow. Its weird. The lady we rented boats from told us about her stash of ID’s from people that never came back but would drop their boats off at West Railay and just let their drivers license be kept.

    After some bargaining on what we felt okay leaving we headed off to the bay.


    Active folks everywhere.


    John had told us about a fun little tunnel next to West Railay and we found it really enjoyable. Enough that I turned us around to go through again.



    Chris paddling back to beat the sunset.


    Tons. Where else can you belay from the bar and rappel back to your beer?




    Climbing mecca for a reason.


    Some steep routes to be had.



    Strong locals.


    West Railay, busier but not yet ruined.


    Making our way back across the rocks from Tonsai.


    Classic Thailand.



    Trusty…sometimes…longtail boats.


    We ate on the beach and watched the boats go and pick up new people. The climbing wasn’t to hot (barely) and we’d survived the heat another day. Gotta love Thailand.
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited June 1, 2015
    Thanks for the replies guys! I hope to keep it interesting!

    In that note, how about some deep water soloing? Oh yeah. Thats what I wanted to do here for sure. The last two times I was in Thailand I didn't get out and do any deep water soloing, which sort of seems like a crime.

    We chartered a boat from Hard Rock climbing and headed out the next morning.


    Apparently todays menu consisted of two areas at Ko Poda. Us and about 30 other people all showed up at the same time. We figured we could try asking for a different place but it looked pretty awesome so we hopped in.


    Shasta making the leap.


    This was definitely the fun section. You climbed up the ladder and over the stalagtite and then traversed left to the large hanging one. Then spanned across to it and up. I didn't get any pictures but did make the climb and jump. It was amazing.


    This guy made it about 4ft higher then bailed.


    We had met a few other cool climbers from Tucson, Arizona and they decided to join us on the DWS boat. Here is Matt taking the jump.


    Shasta on the traverse. This was a pretty fun traverse with probably one or two 5.10 moves on it.


    Shasta and Leesa (sorry if I spelled it wrong!).


    Chris was dropped off for some steep and sharp overhanging climbing. They forgot to tell him it was super shallow and he got a bit scrapped up on the bottom.


    Leesa on the traverse.


    After an awesome day of getting abused by the water, I'd taken two jumps at over 65ft, we headed back to hard land.


    The group! Emma, Chris, Leesa, Matt and Shasta.


    Here is my latest attempt at a little world shot! Thaiwand Wall.

  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited June 2, 2015
    Thanks for the comments everyone! As requested, here's more!

    The next day would be our last on Railay and despite the sadness of having to leave such a beautiful area we were able to fight through it and go on a hike to the princess lagoon. This lagoon is often overlooked by many travelers as its not heavily advertised. Most don’t even seem to know that its there. We hiked the muddy path and climbed down to the lagoon where we found only the silence of the beautiful walls of limestone…and the loudness of American travelers. So for from all my travels the loudness goes like this > Chinese, Japanese, Americans, French. They are interchangeable depending on the place. Still, we managed some great swimming in the saltwater lagoon.


    Shasta and Rena enjoying the cooler waters.


    The hike back out was interesting. Shasta and I didn’t find it to be any issue and in fact had fun on the sections where climbing was mandatory. Rena is not a climber and found it a bit scarier but overall she cruised it!


    Heading up to the tunnel.


    Waiting for Shasta.


    One of the steeper sections where Rena had to do some climbing, I’m not sure she realizes she just climbed 5.5 or 5.6.



    Shasta following. I really liked the shadows inside the walls.



    Want to get to the lagoon? Go that way.


    Rena happy that the steep climbing is over.


    There is also a viewpoint that we stopped at. A bunch of years ago (2006) I stopped at the same place and took a picture.





    Lots of construction going in, but its still pretty beautiful and I still love the place.


    On our hike back we ran into the local ruffians. While the shop owners aren’t to happy about them we were excited to get some shots. Some of these are beyond the measurable cute level.


    Like this one.


    Oh common…


    And now….a flood of monkey pictures.





    Do you think he’s to close for a picture?




    But don’t let them bite.





    I know, I know…to many monkey pictures. Well, here’s one more.


    Well that’s it for now! Off to edit some more.
  • coldclimbcoldclimb Registered Users Posts: 1,169 Major grins
    edited June 4, 2015
    Heh... I hit bottom jumping from the ledge out above and right of where your shot of Chris is, last year. The boatman said maybe I didn't flare enough.
    John Borland
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited June 5, 2015
    Actually Chris hit bottom there too, scraped up his leg. It's not very deep in there.
  • coldclimbcoldclimb Registered Users Posts: 1,169 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2015
    Well, after spending a couple days recovering from jet lag in Las Vegas, the next stage of our journey began, and it's been much more brutal than the travel up until this point! Getting up at 05:00, we headed to the airport to pick up our new companions, Noah and Ezra, and after a breakfast with Tracy's parents, we hit the road for the long drive to Yosemite.

    Along the way we stopped off briefly at Mono Lake to check out the tufas, which was pretty cool. Interesting to see the impact that humans have had on this lake, but evidently it's on the comeback due to legislation establishing a goal water level and reducing use of the tributaries.

    Our first stop in Yosemite National Park was in Tuolumne Meadows, where we established a wilderness permit for the next night, and then hit the rocks at Puppy Dome to pull down on some of the fine Yosemite granite. Here's Tracy halfway up "Battle of the Bulge", a 5.8.

    And here's Noah fighting the namesake bulge, a short crux demanding a high step, but offering some face holds in addition to the flaring crack.

    The next morning we crawled from our tents super early and prepared for an epic day, although we didn't realize how epic it would be. We headed to the Cathedral Lakes trailhead without incident and hiked some 3.5 miles out to lower Cathedral Lake to set up camp, and then after a quick lunch at about 11:00, we set out for our goal of climbing Cathedral Peak. Our plan was to head up the Southeast Buttress, a wide chunk of rock with a number of route options that sees a lot of traffic. There were several parties starting the climb when we finally reached the base, so we split into two parties and chose some features that looked climbable, and started off.

    Tracy and I picked a couple rounded flake features that seemed to go a few hundred feet and intersect some features up high. The first pitch was fairly lame, with rounded lieback moves on grainy chossy stone, and an uncomfortable belay. The second pitch had slightly better climbing, moving across face features on a series of steeply angled rounded ledges, but with nowhere to place protection for the second half of the pitch. Giving up on this route at this point, I traversed left and met up with another party who was having a great time on their route, and we waited for them to get ahead of us so we could follow. The third pitch was nicer, and led us to a comfortable belay stance. Here's Tracy nearing the third pitch belay.

    At this ledge, Noah and Ezra meandered over from the route they had chosen and met up with us for a few minutes. They were having a great time too. Tracy and I got the impression we may have chosen the worse of the options for the first few pitches. rolleyes1.gif

    Diverging again, Noah headed up and left as we trended slightly right, and we accomplished a very quality fourth pitch for both parties. This is what climbing is about! Here's Noah on the lead.

    We reached the summit, a series of towering monoliths of granite on a ridgeline, as the sun was lowering into the horizon. Recognizing the need to get off the peak before darkness made things much more precarious, I unfortunately didn't pause the few minutes it would take to get the pictures I wanted, but here's Tracy pulling up unto the top. From the block she is on here, there is a short hop across a tall gap to gain the summit block itself, where the views are pretty incredible.

    We quickly dropped off the summit as the sun went below the far mountains, and began our descent. A party our size and with our limited climbing levels takes a long time to climb and descend, so this is where things began to get a little sketchy. Dismissing the regular descent route because it dropped down the wrong side of the mountain and would therefore cause us another hour of travel by headlamp, we headed down the steep slabs that make up the side of the peak which faced our camp. A few rappels into blackness brought us from tree to tree, where slings and rappel rings offered indicators that at least we weren't the first ones to go this way. At one point leading the way I lowered off an overhanging roof with a waterfall of snowmelt cascading alongside. Eventually we made it to treeline, after only kicking off one large recliner-sized boulder that shot off sparks as it rumbled away down the slabs, and packing up the ropes and gear we made the weary slog back to camp. We plopped down at the tent at midnight, thirteen hours since lunch and thoroughly exhausted. We boiled some water, wolfed down some food, and crashed out.
    John Borland
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2015
    Well while John is in a place where snow apparently still exists, I am in Thailand. Where a snowfall would probably kill half the inhabitants from hypotherma or shock. For our last day in Krabi we thought it would be great to go to the Tiger Cave Temple. The highlight of the temple is the hike up the super steep stairs, 1277 in all. We rode our motorbikes to the temple and somehow found the way. We had to hurry though because the light was already fading.


    The stairs were not easy to rush up.



    But in decent time and sweltering heat we made it to the summit.




    Under construction.


    Rena barefoot amongst the buddhas.



    Well the sun started to go down and that was our cue to run down and try to find our way back to Ao Nang in the dark on our motorbikes.


    Oh ya, these again.


    Breaks were needed.


    After the temple we got ready for our trip to Koh Tao. I’d never been there before and it would be my first real area in Thailand I’d never been. While it is great to see so many things again I was excited about getting to experience something new. The next post is about that and included beautiful waters, diving, and some awesome rock climbing!
  • coldclimbcoldclimb Registered Users Posts: 1,169 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2015
    The next day we woke up still exhausted. We gradually gained some momentum and packed up camp and made it back out the three and a half miles to the road, and then we headed down to the main Yosemite Valley to find some cheap camping and hit some famous climbs. Tracy and I elected to take a rest day to try to recover, and Noah and Ezra grabbed the crashpad and wandered off for a few hours of bouldering. We killed the day getting to know the area better, and then got up the next day to knock off some life goals for all of us, the first of which was climbing a route on El Capitan.

    El Cap is sort of the crowning goal of climbing for most climbers. I'm pretty sure everybody who hasn't climbed it dreams of climbing it, and those who have would like to again. It's on the list for Tracy and I for sure. Today though we were just in for some cragging, so we hauled our gear to the base and hiked along the trail looking for an easy climb or two. Instead, we rounded a corner and came across a beautiful crack system rising some 150 feet from the base of the wall in perfectly textured granite, and we knew we had to climb it. The guidebook gave it a 5.10 rating, so we threw down the gear and I made the lead (a beautiful experience) and set up a toprope, and then started taking pictures.

    Here's Noah working his way into the wider sections on "Moby Dick", 5.10.

    These next few are just more of the same climb, since I sat at the anchors and snapped off a couple hundred pics, and several turned out worth sharing. :D

    Ezra on the same.


    For the top half of this climb, the crack widens a touch. My hands are large enough to turn sideways and fist jam, as Noah is doing in photo 92 above, but these guys being a bit younger, their fists just weren't big enough to wedge in, so they had to work our some ways to get stuck in the crack and keep from coming out. There's a number of techniques for wide cracks, and here's Ezra working out the details of one of them: hand stacking.

    We finished this climb off thoroughly happy, and then ran into the deadline for getting a campsite in the Valley for the day, so we left the Captain behind and headed off for those real world responsibilities. After establishing a campsite though, the boys and I headed out to walk up "The Grack, Center", a 5.6 crack that is supposed to be enormously popular because of its high quality. With three pitches ahead of the three of us, we each led one and headed up. Here's Noah belaying Ezra up the first pitch.

    Ezra took the second lead, heading up a beautiful splitter crack on low angle granite, with the enormous prow of Glacier Point looming overhead.

    We topped out, once again, as the sun went down, but this time it was on purpose. We leisurely rappelled to the base and headed back to camp, arriving just as the last light slipped away from the day.

    The next day, with Tracy and I still feeling the exhausting effects of our day-2 epic, we dropped the twins off at "Nutcracker", a mega classic 5.7, where they stood in line, climbed the route, and met up with us in the evening, at which point we drove up to Glacier Point to check it out, none of us having ever been there before. The view is pretty awesome.

    While living it up at the top of the mountain, we came across a number of great boulder problems to test ourselves with, and although we left the shoes in the car we actually had a pretty awesome time scrambling around on the simpler stuff. Here's Ezra pulling through a roof crack.

    And Noah, with a graceless sloper topout. Typically these sorts of flopping topouts are referred to as "The Beached Whale," but in this case getting into this position entailed a dynamic jump, so we jokingly considered it "The Breached Whale."

    Ending another fine day in Yosemite, we headed back to the high country and camped, waking up the next morning to head over to Stately Pleasure Dome, where we leisurely wandered our way up the four pitches of "Western Country", a 5.7. Here's Tracy following up the second pitch, with Tanaya Lake below, and almost the shortest approach from the road that you can make for a climb.
    John Borland
  • coldclimbcoldclimb Registered Users Posts: 1,169 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2015
    Leaving behind a place we all have always wanted to be since we became climbers, we moved on to a place we all have always wanted to be since we became climbers. It's a rough life, but we rolled into Bishop, CA, with daylight to spare, and after a brief stop at a gear shop (where by the way Kelsey they had two copies of your book) we headed out to the Buttermilk boulders. The Buttermilks are a world famous bouldering destination, for reasons so obvious they're almost painful, and we have all drooled over photos of this area for a long time. We rolled up with a maxed out level of stoke, and bee-lined it to the most prominent features of the boulder field: The Peabody Boulders.

    Grandpa Peabody is an intimidating boulder rising over the landscape some fifty or so feet tall. While there are problems all around the thing that turn the corners and gain the summit, all of the ones on this rock were a bit out of our league, so we stuck with the "Cave Problem", a V4. Here's Noah on the first moves.

    Ezra reaches for the final hold, using a short-man drop-knee I initially bypassed in favor of the long-man dyno, but then went back and worked my way through as well. This was a beautiful problem, and a great introduction to the area.

    Stepping over from Grandpa Peabody, we moved to Grandma Peabody, a (slightly) smaller boulder with a number of problems on it that were within our grasp. The nicest of these appeared to be "Essential Peabody", a V0, so one by one we reverently made our way to the top, where the sense of accomplishment for achieving this lifelong goal is slightly tempered by the fact that once you get up there, you have to get back down! Here's Ezra, well above the technical crux, but deep in the middle of the mental one.

    The descent didn't prove too difficult, downclimbing the problem to a point where a hang-and-drop was comfortable. Here's Noah chalking up on his way down.

    Having appeased our greatest bouldering desires, we stepped uphill to spend the rest of our daylight on more of these famous boulders. Here's Noah on "The Hunk" V2.

    And Ezra on the same:

    With our tips and muscles pretty worked and daylight dimming fast, we called it quits and headed for camp near Bishop, super happy with another climbing goal ticked off the list! And the best part was we were getting up early to catch some more time on the rocks before it got too hot! :D
    John Borland
  • coldclimbcoldclimb Registered Users Posts: 1,169 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2015
    Rising early again, which is getting to be an oddly common habit for a vacation, we headed back to the same area and eagerly latched our painfully lacerated fingertips back onto the sharp crystals of granite. We started with a problem we spotted the day before, "Green Wall Essential" V2. Here's Ezra working out the moves. Again, we're struck with the awesomeness of this place, and how well-suited it is for bouldering.

    Noah tries out the starting holds on the same problem, while his shadow examines the wall as well.

    Switching boulders again, we worked the V2 scoop of "Monkey Dihedral". Noah got it first, moving through some delicate balancey steps and into easier ground up high before rolling over the edge into the topout.

    The "Saigon Boulder" was packed with great problems within our abilities, including a couple of V0 highballs we carefully worked our way up. Here's Ezra on one of those, crimping the super textured patina all the way to the top.

    Here's Noah pulling through the low crux of another V0.

    One of the main rules in bouldering is that you're not supposed to go up a boulder before assessing how to get down, because on rocks this size that can sometimes be more difficult than going up! rolleyes1.gif That's not really the case on this one, although the downclimb Ezra is working on the right isn't something to rush through.

    Just another beautiful problem in a beautiful place, this time an unnamed V0 on the "Soul Slinger" boulders.

    We wrapped up our bouldering in Bishop with tips screaming from the beating they'd taken, and spent our last few minutes working "Robinson's Rubber Tester", a V0 with no holds at all to speak of, but an angle that made it just possible, if you were careful and a little lucky. Here's Noah losing his balance on the super delicate feet. We all felt this was several grades harder than its rating, and it's possible that's due to the heat softening our shoes, rather than our own inadequacies! rolleyes1.gif
    John Borland
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited June 7, 2015
    Alrighty, on to some climbing and awesome diving in Koh Tao.

    First off this island is a snorkeling and diving paradise. In fact one of the guides on the island once snorkeled around the entire thing taking 14 hours. For us though we were really there for the diving. The diving is amazing, probably some of the best that I have done. The amount of sea life is incredible, especially considering the fact that the dive site was really close to a resort and a very well trafficked area.



    The water clarity was absolutely incredible in this area.



    After our dives we were allowed to jump from the top of the boat. I never really pass up a chance to jump off of something. Shasta shows her excitement mid jump.


    We’d talked our friend Rena into doing a try dive and she became completely hooked.





    There are some really beautiful places to stay in Koh Tao.


    Rena contemplating the dive.

    After a long day of diving we ate at our favorite little restaurant called Local Thai Food just in front of the Koh Tao Bouldering Wall (more on this soon.)

    The next day we had planned climbing and some snorkeling.
    This is Shark Bay where you can see black tip reef sharks just snorkeling! Well, its not guaranteed as we found out but apparently it is common.


    Although it was just after the massive full noon party on another island and tons of people had showed up, you could still easily find a quiet beach.


    Crystal clear water.


    We did some diving as well and our friend did her first dive.

  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited June 7, 2015
    Now its time to get on to the fun! While we were eating at our local favorite food place I saw an advertisement for Koh Tao Bouldering Wall. I was pretty surprised to find that this little place had a bouldering gym. I wasn’t surprised to hear that it had climbing because the island is covered in granite boulders. After talking for a bit with Dan and Dave from the shop we decided to head out climbing at Climbers Cove. It requires a taxi at about $1000 baht, due to the fact that its down a super steep and dangerous hill. I’m hoping to be able to help them put a book together as the climbing potential on the island is significantly higher then I would have expected. They’ve got a bunch of bolted climbs up as well and I think it should be added to anyones Thailand climbing circuit. Its a really unique area and they’ve got some deep water soling on granite!

    The area we went has some shorter climbs and is right on the sea. It’s great because its out of the sun in the afternoon. In another awesome twist, by sheer coincidence Matt and Leah who we’d met on Railay and hadn’t spoken to since, ended up booking a little trip with the same guys at the exact same time! It was quite a welcome surprise as we really enjoyed climbing with them. If only Chris and Emma had shown up too! The crew would have been back together.

    Here’s Matt on the hardest climb in the area.


    What starts out pretty easy turns hard right at this point.



    They had hung a tarp and hammock to develop the routes. I was calling it Bikini Rock.


    Shasta took the lead on this fun 5.9 while Dave looks on. David is the owner of Onsight Climbing. He’s an awesome guide if you need someone to show you around or to help get a taxi for any of the areas. He’s super knowledgable and really excited about the climbing scene in the area. Him and Dan have been putting up lots of great routes on the island.


    Awesome features. The cracks opened up to quite a few trad lines.



    After Shasta led the 5.9 it was Lezah’s turn to give it a go. Dave and Matt watching.


    While there are lots of great holds they can be a little harder to find as Lezah was discovering.


    Catching a little air.


    Then finishing it off.




    The recent rains had loosened up the anchor a bit and so we backed it up until they could replace it. I’ll admit to giving Dave a skeptical look as he pounded this guy into the crack. I had to retract my look as it held the rest of the day.


    At the end of the day we headed back and hung out at the bouldering gym for a few hours chatting.

  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited June 8, 2015
    Well its been awesome the last few weeks but its time to leave Thailand behind and head off to somewhere I’ve never been. So here’s my last images from Thailand! I hope you’ve enjoyed them.

    We had just half a day left as Rena was heading back to Bangkok and she didn’t want to try and take the bus on her own. I don’t blame her as they can be a pain for sure. So we spent our last day trying to get a shot I’d wanted to get since we arrive. A picture I’d seen in a magazine had this amazing color beaches connected with a thin piece of sand.


    A precarious walkway through giant boulders led to the viewpoint trail. These boulders have a j-tree quality to them.


    And the viewpoint was amazing.


    A look back toward Koh Tao.


    Shasta braving the scorching heat for a little yoga.


    There were a lot of snorkelers.


    Rena taking in the view.




    There were also some fun boulders at the summit. Shasta shot this picture.


    We caught the ferry at 2:30 through Songserm. I’d been told by the tour guide that it was a crap boat and that peoples things go missing all the time. I figured I would just keep an eye on my bag but I didn’t expect this kind of piling on the back of the boat. I’m not surprised that things go missing.


    We arrived in Chumphon and had a few hours to kill before our bus came. Now I know I’ve been posting tons of pictures of paradise in blue but I’ve got to post this one too. Tourism has its cost and everyone drinks bottled water. These bottles and the the plastic bags, which everyone here seems to be addicted too, are ended up in the water. Those things then end up mixed with the pollutants of soap and fuel. Then they end up on the bay. This was the dock. The beaches would look like this too if they didn’t get cleaned all the time. If you are a traveller please do your part to alleviate this strain. Say no bags, no straws, and tap water if its ok to drink. Why do we drink bottled water in Alaska? Looking at the damage done, it seems ridiculous.


    Despite my best efforts we ended up back in Bangkok (Mark, I think we’ll be back this way too so I may be dropping you a line in the future as I’m not sure what else to do here). Shasta had looked up the top things to do on Trip Advisor and apparently the reclining buddha was one of the top 25. So we packed up our things and headed out.


    That is a very large buddha. Here’s a bunch of pictures of it.






    This is from words etched into glass.




    Whew, and I think thats it for Thailand. Tomorrow, Siem Reap, Cambodia!
  • coldclimbcoldclimb Registered Users Posts: 1,169 Major grins
    edited June 9, 2015
    Well, we were all a bit sad to leave Bishop behind. It's a great place and I'll definitely have to go back sometime and spend a proper amount of time there. Time is a limited thing for us though, so we hit the road and made it to Las Vegas to wrap up our trip, and the next morning we headed out early before the rocks got hot and ran some ropes up a couple nice lines at Calico Basin, just over the hill from Red Rocks State Park. Here's Ezra on "Ace Of Hearts", 5.10d.

    The heat in Las Vegas is a harsh mistress, so we took a bit of a siesta and ran a few errands like washing Tracy's mom's car that she loaned us, and later in the evening we headed back out for some sundown climbing on "Physical Graffiti", a 5.6 two pitch crack system with stellar moves in a peaceful setting. Sitting at the top waiting for the others, I had a view of the Las Vegas city lights twinkling in the distance, and backdropped by a silent thunderstorm beyond the far mountains. If you've gotta be in Vegas, this is probably the way to do it. All that was too far off to fill a frame though, so here's Noah at the belay while Ezra follows up the climb by headlamp.

    Since the climb we were on has no bolted top anchor we borrowed an anchor for a different climb nearby, so when the time came to head down we weren't certain we could make it to the anchors on the first pitch of Physical Graffiti in one rappel. I led the way into the blackness, keeping my two rope ends in tight coils hanging from my harness to avoid the possibility of snagging them in the dark, and found the anchor ledge below with only about eight feet of rope to spare. Standing quietly by myself in the dark, I soaked up the peacefulness of the night and listened to the quiet squeaks of the bats chasing insects just off my ledge. Then suddenly from above came the always-dreaded yell, "ROOOOCK!"

    There are several schools of thought when something is hurtling down from above. One school preaches that you never look up when someone yells the token signal for falling objects, because when you do, chances are the thing flying at you will nail you right in the face. The other school, and the one I generally adhere to, is that if you look up and are able to spot the danger quickly enough, you will have a small chance of dodging the falling item actively instead of simply standing still and relying entirely on luck to avoid being struck. In this case it didn't matter; my quick glance skyward reminded me that there was nothing visible up there but blackness, so I took the next-best course of action and covered my head in my arms and hugged the face of the cliff, as in the next instant the thing whizzed by me making a ripping sound as it tore through the air. Another instant and the silence resumed its dominion, thankfully remaining until Noah's headlamp danced gently down the wall and arrived at the belay ledge.

    "Did you see my phone?" Noah asked. rolleyes1.gif

    Sure enough, the falling object making such a horrifying noise had been his iphone. We pondered its fate as we stood in the dark while Tracy and Ezra dropped in from above, and then we tossed the ropes for the last rappel and reached the ground. A moment or two of searching found the phone, more or less intact and resting in a low spot in the sandstone. A cursory examination showed some chipped plastic around the camera, and taking it out of its case showed that it now has a rather pronounced bend to it, but there's no major screen cracking, and after plugging it in, charging it back up, and experimenting with things, it appears to phone is still fully functional, even the camera. headscratch.gif It took a ninety meter drop onto solid rock, and came away still working thanks to its Otterboxx case!

    The next day, foregoing sleep yet again, we hit the rocks one final time for a bit of bouldering before we had to catch our flight home. Here's another boulder we've all had our eyes on for a long time. The problem pictured here is called "Plumber's Crack" and goes at either V0 or V2 depending on which side of the rock you start it on.

    The feature is really pretty cool, splitting a giant boulder cleanly in two pieces, and the climbing is actually a little challenging too, mostly due to how long this problem is and therefore how long you have to maintain constant body tension against the sandstone sides of the crack.

    Having done the thing we'd always wanted to do, we filled out an hour or so of increasingly hot morning running around the rest of the area's boulders and pulling down on things we felt we could do.

    And with that, as the heat melted our energies and we approached our time to be at the airport, we ended this adventure. Arriving at home, where I've been now for a few days, we face the usual post-trip depression: a sort of calm after the storm, and a wondering about what it might take to make these trips last forever. I stare out my window at the yard that I now own, freshly mowed for the first time this summer, and I think that the very next thing on my list after catching up on the life that's passed by while I was away is going to have to be sitting down and resolving the answer to the big question we're often asked: Where are we going next?

    Kelsey, this thread is yours now. :D

    John Borland
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2015
    Thanks John! Guess I'll keep it alive for another month or so!

    Alrighty, since I am currently in Siem Reap outside of Angkor Wat I know I am going to inundate this thread with tons of temple photos. That can get a bit tedious for anyone willing to scan through them so hopefully breaking them up into a few different posts will help. Maybe, maybe not. Oh well, here goes.

    Just a little moment of sadness:
    The hustling bustling town of Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor Wat. It is located just a few kilometers from the temple. Those photos of clear skies and views of the temple are fading fast as the pollution of another Southeast Asian city. While they are growing quickly and expanding at surprising rates it is easy to see where they are paying for it. The water is quickly polluted, yesterday we saw a stream that was black, fully black with garbage floating in it that looked like it could be floating in space. It was amazing and a bit heartbreaking. Its important to note that its not just the Cambodians who are filling their lakes and streams with garbage. We the traveller as much, if not more to blame. We want to see everything and don’t have time to get used to drinking their water. Then in a bid to expand it gets polluted so fast they can’t drink it either. So everyone needs bottles, bottles of water all day long. They don’t recycle, its not part of the expansion plan. There is really know where for it all to go. I love to travel but in Southeast Asia I feel like my enjoyment comes at the pain of the land. Its all expanding to quickly with to many people.

    Ok back to the photos.

    We checked in at Rosy’s Guest Hostel and talked with Smiley, the owner, on where to go next. He suggested we do a tour that isn’t really on the map. We figured that we would spend a few days at the temples anyway so being off the beaten path sounded like a fun idea. The first stop was a temple with 630 stairs. We had flashbacks of the Tiger Cave Temple.


    But this time the top was different.


    Being away from the main complex these temples haven’t seen the same level of restoration.


    We made the hike back down, ate a delicious $1 coconut and then made the drive to a small temple.


    Temple construction.


    The smaller temple was nice but we knew that wasn’t the main goal so I didn’t take many photos. The next stop along the trip was at Angkor Thom. While Angkor Wat is the most famous, Angkor Thom is larger in general size as the wall is huge. On a side note, if someone suggests a walk along the outer wall I’d suggest skipping it. While it was nice and quiet, it was pretty boring as there weren’t any temple features except one small one.

    The North Gate




    The entrance to Angkor Thom has dancers that are meant to be sultry.


    Walking through the temple gives you an idea of what it must have been like living those days. Cramped.


    The many faces of the temple are said to be a mix between the king of the time and buddha.




    Some monks.


    This monk posed for me. I’m not exactly sure how monks work over here but they are nothing like what I thought or had heard. Here is a list of things we saw monks doing:
    1. Talking on Cellphones (you can see it in this monks hand)
    2. Buying Things
    3. Smoking cigarettes
    4. Peeing on the side of Bayon Temple (Seriously) when a bathroom was nearby.
    5. One walked by me and looking at the temple said “Oh My God.”
    6. Taking pictures with iPhones, iPads, cameras
    7. I watched a monk sneak a phone out of his pocket in front of the emerald buddha and secretively, because it is illegal to take a picture inside, snap a photo of the emerald buddha.

    This list goes on too! They pretty much do what everyone else does here. I have to recreate my idea of a monk at this point.






    Big temples!


    With small features.




    Maybe she’s secretively Cambodian?



    Bayon temple.


    Whew, thats it for temples! Except that I haven’t been to Angkor Wat and hope to go tomorrow so there will probably be another big drop of photos soon and of course lots of those will be temples. So hopefully you guys can take another temple barrage. Thanks again for looking!
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited June 14, 2015
    Well I’m back again and once again I’m writing this late in the night so I apologize if there’s missing words or incomplete sentences.

    After our trip to Angkor Thom we still had the main objective in mind. In fact we had a few things we wanted to see. They went as follows: Angkor Wat, a tree somewhere with a face behind it, and the trees growing over the temples. We didn’t know where the face or the temple trees were but we figured we’d find them somewhere. We woke up at 4:30 am for the sunrise at Angkor Wat. I wasn’t convinced it would be worth it but I figured what the heck.


    There were boatloads of other tourists so we found ourselves a spot on the lawn and started shooting.




    Then it started to get excessive.


    All in all I must have taken about 200 photos in the span of about 20 minutes. Not bad considering I didn’t think it would be worth it at all.


    There were even small bits of wildlife around.


    And wonderful company.


    After the onslaught of picture taking outside, which I came out with 15 edited photos, we headed in to the temple.


    The worlds largest religious monument does not disappoint.


    Here are the steep stairs heading into the upper area, which you can’t visit if you are wearing a tank top.


    Small people in the outer garden.



    Surprisingly it wasn’t hard to find ourselves alone.


    After spending about 2 hours at the temple it was time to head on to somewhere else. I’d like to take a minute to share a bit of knowledge on visiting the temples. If you don’t mind the heat and biking, then renting a bike is probably a great way to do it. If you want something easy and reliable, then get a tuktuk to tour you around. Now, tuktuks are not always reliable and neither are their owners but you can get a good one if you go through the right channels. We are staying at a place called Rosy’s Guesthouse in Siem Reap where the owner is British. They have tuktuk drivers they keep an eye on to help you get a good one. Ours was named Sotare and he makes money to put himself through college. He was an awesome guy and super helpful the whole time. If you get a chance, ask for him. He’ll take great care of you and always be there with a smile.


    We hopped into the Tuktuk and followed some elephants into one of the gates for Angkor Thom.


    More temples.


    Temple inhabitants.



    We spent the next few hours walking around temples and braving a specific kind of humid heat. It penetrates and pulls the water from your body. Finally we made our way to Ta Prohm Temple. Many will recognize it as the temple from the movie Tomb Raider.


    The beauty of this temple is that it actually hasn’t been fully restored yet.



    These trees show the power of nature.


    While walking through a small hallway I turned and said “there it is.” And we’d seen #2 on our list of things to see that day.



    Turn another corner and there’s item #3!



    We snapped a bunch of photos in-between swaths of uncaring chinese tourists and made our way back to the tuktuk. It was midday and time for a siesta in our air conditioned room.


    Thats it for the temples for now. We have one more day here and then we’re headed south toward Vietnam. We won’t be there for another 4 days though so there will probably be more Cambodia pictures soon. A change of scenery though will put us into the coastline!
  • ian408ian408 Administrators Posts: 21,869 moderator
    edited June 14, 2015
    John, I feel like you did the milks justice. Yosemite too. Kelsey, loving Thailand! Thank you both so much for sharing.

    The apron below Glacier Point remains snow free during most winters and although there wasn't much snow this year, you can ski out to Glacier Point in winter. I've done it a couple of times-yet to camp but I want to-you can pitch a tent almost anywhere in winter (permits required) (Dewey Point is another great destination). Anyway, did you see the rock fall at the base? It's pretty incredible to see it up close-you aren't supposed to climb around in it mwink.gif Some of that came down as far as Happy Isle-it was pretty massive.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited June 17, 2015
    Todays is a small one but I'm on the move so theres not a lot of photos. We decided to leave Siem Reap and did one last run to the rock gym for some working out.


    We took the night bus over some relatively bumpy roads to a town called Sihanoukville, which I need to go on a rant on here for a minute. This town is a sort of pit that I don't think I can get out of fast enough. I'm writing this while I still have one more day here and we'll see if I don't get mugged or robbed before I go. We've had to pay bribes the first day driving around and talked with a group of people who were robbed. Someone came into their room while one of them was sleeping and stole all their stuff. We heard from two other people who'd been robbed as well. The police are in on it too, which is normal but still sucks. They have to lock up their motorbikes with extra cable near the beaches because they tend to get stolen. There are gangs of pickpocket thieves patrolling the beaches and beyond that its just not that great here. The waters ugly and the beaches, along with everywhere else, are full of garbage. So if you want to visit somewhere in Cambodia, go somewhere else. For those of you who live here or liked it here, sorry but your town needs help.

    Rant over. On to the pictures!

    We headed out to Phnom Penh to switch buses in the morning. Our long three hour wait gave us a first row seat to some Cambodian building tactics.


    Then we headed off to Sihanoukville where we got a room at a place called Reaksmey Mean Rith, the room itself is actually really nice and only $14. I'm pretty sure the guy in the room across from us is a russian gangster so I'm hoping that it will dissuade any thieves.


    We'd heard that the best climbing in Cambodia was down in this area but it was still a 2 hour drive away so we decided to go on a recon mission. Driving around in our little motorbike we found a beach with a few boulders on them. The climbing actually ended up being really enjoyable with lots of different problems to be had.



    Shasta on a really enjoyable V0.


    The hardest we climbed was probably in the V2-V3 range, especially considering we didn't have any crash pads.



    Thats it for now. We're going on some island tour tomorrow if the weather holds out and then hopefully when we come back we will have some gear to come back to.
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited June 21, 2015
    Ok so its time to finish off Cambodia and head to Vietnam! We took our island tour to Koh Rong on the Sunshine boat which seemed pretty nice. It had a good comfortable atmosphere and the first thing they did was stop for some really bad snorkelling. You could hardly see anything due to bad water quality and you had to float around the garbage. Jellyfish were snorkeling too and stung often. There were some run down looking places along the way.


    The island of Koh Rong itself is interesting. Apparently about 3 years ago there wasn't really anything on the island and now all the lands been pretty well purchased on the shore line. The beach is pretty and theres a little walk they take you on where you can walk right through environmentally important mangrove swamps.



    The ground was a bit squishy and our guide kept saying there were snakes and crocodiles so there were lots of worried girls. Except Shasta who smiles at fear.



    While that was interesting there really wasn't much to see. There are some birds but its a quiet island. So we walked back out to the beach which is pretty nice for dipping.



    After a few hours we headed back to the boat while a few afternoon clouds rolled in.




    We made it back to the dock with about 1/5 of the boat throwing up. The seas that had been glass the last few days were rocking the boat side to side and we nearly crushed the side as they attempted to dock. Then we pushed off at full speed and went into a harbor. It was a fun end to an enjoyable day. Finally, we're off to Vietnam!
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited June 24, 2015
    Looks like I'm finally able to get started on Vietnam! So here we go.

    We took the most uncomfortable night bus in the world from Sihanoukville back to Phenom Pehn and then across the border to Ho Chi Mihn city, also known as Saigon. These night buses are a test in patience and what you can endure sometimes. We chose a bus that had seats that were pre reclined most of the way toward laying down. What we got instead was a bed that was entirely flat. That would have been alright had it not been only about 4' 9" long. This was a bit of an issue to Shasta and I who had to share the sleeper bed and are 5' 10" each. Oh well, we've had small sleeping areas before so maybe it wouldn't be so bad. But whats this? This AC is directly above our bed giving us about 18" worth of headspace. Oh and its leaking all over the bed. Well crap. It was a frustrating and annoying night. But in the end we made it to Saigon where we'd decided to spend a few days to see a few museums and sights.

    Shasta had looked up the top 10 things to see in the city so we headed off to the first few. The first one we came across happened to be a post office. While I found it interesting and somewhat neat, I was surprised it could be a top 10 thing to see. Here it is.


    Across the street is another oddity. The Notre Dame Cathedral.



    We had one specific place in mind that we intended to see while we were in Saigon, the War Remnants Museum. My dad had fought in the Vietnam War and I'd never really had the courage to ask him much about it. One time Shasta did ask him about it and his response was, "you ask to many questions." There are a lot of things I think he wouldn't have minded us asking about but this didn't appear to be one of them.


    I didn't take many photos but I thought the museum was actually really good. It didn't glorify the war in any side. It seemed like a more matter of fact point of view and it didn't need propaganda one way or the other, its easy to see that atrocities happened on both sides. This really stuck out to me.


    The next day we headed out to the Cu Chi tunnels. The traffic in Ho Chi Mihn is mad, truly mad. Our guide told us there are 12 million people in the city and 7 million motorbikes.


    They dropped us first by the normal "buy something" tourist spot where disabled vietnamese were making art.


    Then it was off to the tunnels. First they made us watch a 20 minute film that they called a documentary. What it really was is just a propaganda video from the war. It talked about how people won awards called "American Killer" and just continued a narrative of hate toward the US. While I don't think its quite time to just let bygones be bygones I don't think this specific type of thing is a good step toward peace. Basically I didn't like the video, but is it just because I'm an American? Am I not able to look beyond that?

    This is one of the small entrances where the Vietnamese would crawl out and then jump back in. The entrances were made so that American soldiers wouldn't fit. Sure enough, I didn't and this one had been enlarged!


    Other entrances had been made larger however so that we could explore the tunnels depths.


    We crawled along for over 100 meters of tunnels.


    They really were ingenious.


    Bet the American soldiers wish one of these had been around at that time.


    Then we left right before the rains hit. The next day we flew to Hai Phong. We'd intended to bus or train but a 30 hour ride like the one we had before would probably kill our will to travel. So we took a painless trip on Jetstar and headed off toward Cat Ba Island. We took a taxi, then a boat and finally we were here. Those are almost all fishing boats, if you think they over fish their waters, they do for sure.


    At night they light up their shores.


    We were anxious to get out and do some rock climbing as we felt like we hadn't done much in a while and were feeling soft. So we hopped on a boat with Asia Outdoors and headed out to the islands. The first place we stopped was Moody Beach. We had about 4 hours to climb 6 routes so we went to work!

    A beautiful setting.


    We climbed quite an efficiently and finished all 6 before lunch. We were feeling partially bushed but had saved enough energy for supposably classic 4 pitch 5.10c on the SloPony Wall. We headed over after lunch and jumped into it.


    The first pitch climbs in a cave and has some interesting features.


    I wish we'd taken a picture of the second pitch. It is just classic. You have to traverse out of the cave on moves up to 5.10c and its just awesome exposure. From there we linked the next two pitches. Shasta ended up taking a fall at the traverse so it took us a while to work that out and it scared her quite a bit but she held it tough and we headed to the top.



    Awesome exposure from the hanging belay.


    A not so happy Shasta.



    We made it to the top and started our rappel. The rappel is a bit interesting because we were told to go to the top of the third pitch and rap to the anchor for another climb but the top of the third pitch was a bastard to get to. So we headed to the top of the second and then almost made it to the ground from there but still had to go to the top of the other climb. From there our ropes were full on in the water. Bummer, then it started to rain pretty hard. In swinging onto the boat, because the tide came up and the base was under water, I slammed into the side and made a rather awkward entry. But we made it right as the big rain came.


    The route goes up the right gash and finishes in the upper cave.


    Tiger Beach with more climbs on the left.


    The next day we weathered our first Typhoon / Hurricane! Today we're hoping to get back to the rock and take some picture adventures. So more soon!
  • coldclimbcoldclimb Registered Users Posts: 1,169 Major grins
    edited June 26, 2015
    Hehehe Tracy and I both laughed at your bus. We sent postcards out from that post office when we were there, and it was the first time we'd used stamps that you have to glue.
    John Borland
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited June 26, 2015
    Ok I'm going to make this one relatively short because I'm excited about the one after it, mainly because the shots are Amazing!

    We took the day off of climbing and headed to The Hospital Cave. There's a lot to see here so we're interspersing our climbing days with sightseeing.

    Cave features.


    The entrance to the cave has a scene setup of what it may have looked like. They covered them in plastic to preservce the scene and its a bit eerie.


    The entire inside was built through with cement. It is really impressive.


    And a bit Eerie. The walls are falling in on me!




    Around every corner, we thought we'd seen a ghost.


    One of the larger caverns.


    Local residents.



    Then we went for a moto ride across the island to the other side. Beautiful views!



    I thought I saw this stick blowing across the ground. Turns out it was walking.



    Now its off to edit the photos of our next climbing day. Unfortunately the internet here is super slow on the upload so this could take a while@!
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited July 1, 2015
    Ok this is going to be a pretty huge post but I think its going to be awesome. Mainly because there will be tons of climbing photos in it. After our day of visiting caves and exploring around the island we decided to get back on the boat and head to a climbing area called The Face. We went with the awesome people at Asia Outdoors who runs the trips here. This one wasn’t actually a trip but they invited us along on their day off. We hopped in a basket boat with our faithful driver Tubien (I am almost definitely spelling this wrong) and headed out. Its interesting passing the houses that sit on the water all along the bay.


    This area is incredible. This is the Ha Long and Lan Ha bay area. Tons of potential for anyone willing to put in some time.



    After a bit of a harrowing ride across the rather turbulent waters we finally made it to our destination. The amazing face that sits by itself. Its called The Face of course.


    Here comes a huge selection of photos that will probably be very similar.
    Here’s Liz on the first route a definite five star 5.12b, which is probably closer to 5.11c but still amazing.




    She was cruising the route but at one awkward section came off. Then she finished it to the top.


    Nick Benson was the next to hop on and was happy the shade was still on the wall.


    A lot of wall left and it just keeps leaning back.




    The view from the photo ledge.


    Next was Thom who took a few nice falls.


    Once the sun hit the wall the temperatures heated up fast but the climbing kept on. Here’s Shasta.


    Ross enjoying his last week in the bay.



    Okay so I know that a lot of these pictures are all the same angle and everything but come on! This place was fantastic.



    And if you are wondering about the right side of the wall there is a 5.12c on that side that is also pretty good, and just as good at spitting people off.


    Except for Liz who apparently doesn’t like to let go.



    Even she got a little air.


    The heat finally got to us and we headed back to the boat for a little deep water soloing. There are quite a few areas here and they are usually tide dependent as they don’t have ladders like Thailand.


    We climbed around for a bit and took some good falls but it was time to head back to shore. The crew was pretty exhausted from all the heat. From left to right - Ross, Shasta, Thom, Tubien, Benny, and Liz. Thanks guys!


    Alright, after all that I’m sure we can all use a break on photos of The Face. So the next day Shasta and I slept in since we were knackered. After finally crawling out of bed we headed to a cave that Thom had told us about. Inside we found quite a few things alive.





    Leopard Gecko, which I believe is the first I’ve ever seen in the wild!


    The cave also had some really neat features.





    The cave finally ended and we went back to our motorbike. On the way back to town I saw that the sun was going down and I’d been wanting to see if we could catch a sunset from the top of the hill behind town, so I took a sharp turn and headed up. There is much more then just a parking area on this hill as it has remnants from the previous wars. Heres a giant French canon.


    There were other living things on the short trail.


    Ants, why did it have to be ants.


    We got there a bit late and I shot only a few photos to try and show the beauty of the setting sun.


    Whew, I actually have more to post but I’ll take a short break and then more DWS photos. Thanks again everyone for checking it out! We’ve got one month left and I hope to show quite a few more places before we go.
  • coldclimbcoldclimb Registered Users Posts: 1,169 Major grins
    edited July 2, 2015
    Sweet sunset!
    John Borland
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited July 4, 2015

    I’m in Hanoi, Vietnam and its midnight. We’ve just finished watching the new Terminator movie at a 4dx theatre where the seats move and water sprays you. Interesting and fun as well. I figure I should post up a small bit before heading off to sleep.

    The next day we continue our run of climbing with a day of deep water soloing at Three Brothers Wall.


    There are lots of great variations on problems and plenty of fun lines on this wall.


    Shasta leaping from the top.


    For the second half of the afternoon we headed back to Hawaii 5-0 Wall and played around in the sun.



    Go as high as you want, but it gets steep quick!



    After burning ourselves out we headed back to Cat Ba island, passing the floating houses along the way.


    We then really got treated! We were lucky enough to see Cat Ba Langurs, one of the worlds most endangered primates.





    We finally crashed the boat into the dock for another awesome successful day out on the bay. I love this place.
  • ian408ian408 Administrators Posts: 21,869 moderator
    edited July 5, 2015
    It's a great sunset! Excellent trip too.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited July 5, 2015
    Time to finish up Vietnam.

    For our last full day and to get a bit of a rest we hiked through Cat Ba National park up to the top of a peak. It was hot. That kind of hot that sticks to you, drags you down, and then lays a wet hot blanket on top of you but we made it.


    Shasta feeling the heat.


    The beautiful park is relatively unspoiled.



    On the way down we ran into a reptile friend.


    Watchu lookin at?


    I’m outta here.



    But not until after my meal!


    You’re next buddy.


    Well thats it for me. A relatively tame ending to Vietnam. There will be a few more pictures but nothing crazy. I’m in Vientiane, Laos now and headed to the climbing. Will see how it goes!
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