Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thailand 2014 Part 1: Savoring the Local and Climbing Responsibly at Crazy Horse Buttress

At some point during 2013, I got it in my head that we had to take a trip to Southeast Asia, and soon. I need wintertime escapes from Colorado's chill and my itchy feet demand annual ventures beyond US borders. Mike tends to be quicker to join in these plans when rocks are involved, so I started poking around for epic climbing in the region. As it happens, Thailand's limestone crags boast bucket-list-status and the world-famous Railay/Tonsai area sat right at the top of Mike's dream adventures.

So we booked the trip and got to planning. It would be our first ever international climbing trip, so there was some trial and error for sure. (I'll talk about what we learned -- from packing to planning -- in another post.) But we mostly reveled in the thrills and exploration, so I'll start by sharing the climbing itself.

During our two weeks in Thailand, we probably spent six days scaling rocks. We did most of our cragging around Railay/Tonsai in the south but also snuck in a day up north at Crazy Horse Buttress. As I note above, Railay/Tonsai earns high marks for drawing devotees from across the globe, so that stop was a no-brainer. But we would have missed what ultimately became my favorite spot had I not reached out in Mountain Project's International Forum.

I've got an article about Crazy Horse slated to come out later this year with Silkwinds, the magazine for Singapore Air's regional carrier, SilkAir. So you'll have to wait until then for more detailed content, but for now, some photos!
Crazy Horse Buttress, Mae On, Thailand

Mike working his way up the tufa on Kee Dak.
He'll climb through the opening to gain the face.

Stacey after pulling the roof on Kee Dak.

A typically ornate doorway to one of Chiang Mai's many wats.
Mike enjoying the grounds of a Chiang Mai temple.

Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures

Stacey leading the first climb at Crazy Horse!

The fabulous belay ledges at Crazy Horse prevent erosion.

A lovingly and sustainably built trail.

Overall, though we built our first climbing trip abroad around Thailand's southern seaside cliffs, Crazy Horse and the north of the country stole our hearts. We'll be back here repeatedly!

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