/ Thailand sports climbing
Thinking of going to Thailand in November sports climbing.
iv heard some of the areas are pretty polished and not so well bolted.
also pretty hard grades. We will be hoping to climb early late 5s and early 6s
anyone got some advice or tips on what it’s like and where best to go?
I'd recommend Chiang Mai for climbing. You can stay nearer the climbing or get transport from the climbing shop in Chiang Mai, plus full kit hire. They even provide lunch. We did plan to climb at Krabi but after speaking to climbers at Chiang Mai we changed our mind, very polished and not as accessible, plus Krabi is very touristy.
I heard that the main climbing area around Chiang Mai - Crazy horse buttress was closed towards the end of last year:
There are other areas that have been developed outside of Tonsai / Railay and Chiang Mai in Thailand.
I have been to Koh Yao Noi and Koh Lao Liang a few years ago but I cannot remember what the grade 5s and 6s were like. Although I thought the polish wasn't bad as in Tonsai / Railay, I cannot attest to what states the bolts might be like these days.
I have heard of developments elsewhere around Thailand and I'm sure there will be someone here on UKC with further knowledge about this.
Personally, I think if you don't mind extending your trip to Laos, climbing near Thakhek might be an idea:
I have a feeling coming winter might be the last season that these guys are still running the resort which is very well organised. The polish isn't really a problem and the grade 5s and 6s are well represented. Being inland means bolt corrosion should be less of an issue as well.
Can you say why you think it will be their last season?
I've not been to their operation but followed them since their inception and was really impressed by their resolve. Are they closing? Or turning it over to Lao staff?
Granite sport climbing and immense bouldering on Koh Tao.
Lopburi (north of Bangkok) has an incredible amount of climbs of all grades and even a 3 star, 6 pitch grade 5+ (although route finding and the abseil descent is a bit tricky).
But I'm guessing you want beach climbing in Tonsai/Railey. All the lower grade routes are polished due to the beginner session the locals run. But I found the grades a little softer than elsewhere. High first bolts though
I was out there in March / April 2018. Yes there is definitely some polish, especially on the easier routes, and I also thought the stuff we were on was relatively hard for the grade (climbing upto 7a).
We stayed at Tonsai first (Tonsai Bay Resort) which was laid back and generally populated by climbers. Places further back from the beach are cheaper but by UK standards its all cheap and the resort was pretty nice. Moved around to Railay after afew days (can walk or take a long boat) which was more tourist centred and busier. There are some great crags at both locations and suspect if you seek the ones out away from the beach polish becomes less of an issue. At those grades you should do 'Where Eagles Don't Dare' at Eagle crag. We took kayaks around to the beach. Superb!
Also did afew days on Koh Phi Phi. Climbing was pretty decent, although not extensive, but the island is super busy and over crowded.
My overall thought was there are probably better climbing areas around the world given the distance involved from the UK, but the landscape is stunning. Taking the long boat around to Tonsai for the first time I'd challenge anyone not to be blown away.
Have a good trip if you go. Don't drink fruit milkshakes with local ice!!
Oh yes and the comment about high first bolts is spot on - definite clip-stick territory at some crags. Bad place to get hurt!!
> Can you say why you think it will be their last season?
> I've not been to their operation but followed them since their inception and was really impressed by their resolve. Are they closing? Or turning it over to Lao staff?
I stayed at green climbers in the past so I am on their mailing list - the people who set it up and ran it are now thinking of handing it over to whoever is interested.
Not sure if they’ve changed their minds but if someone else does decide to step in, it will be interesting to see if they can organise things as well as the original group who obviously invested tonnes of effort into the place.
Crazy horse buttress is still closed, but it might be worth delaying your decision on where to go till the summer, as I think they are hopeful of a resolution to the situation. The climbing is really good and not polished at all.
The other venue in the area is Cat Ba island in Vietnam, which is ok but does not have a great deal at your grades.
The German owners of the Green climbers home have sold the business as a going concern, so should still be open next winter, but you can also stay in town and hire a moped for the 20 minute commute. It's well worth the visit if Crazy horse remains closed, unique and has lots to do at your grades.
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