After a taxi, plane, bus and boat, we arrived in Ton Sai bay, near Krabi in the south of Thailand. Ton Sai could be aptly described as a climbers paradise, with huge orange cliffs dripping with stalactites, rising straight from sandy beaches. The first climbers arrived in Ton Sai in the early nineties, and since then there has been a lot of development. The bay has gone from having a handful of bamboo huts and restaurant shacks, to a large number of bungalows and resorts today. Consequently Ton Sai hosts a diverse crowd of early morning, muesli eating climbers and late night, beer drinking holiday makers – of course with most falling somewhere between the two extremes.
A couple of our climbing friends from home had been staying on Ton Sai for the past month, and by chance our first day overlapped with their last day. It was great to see some familiar faces and to get the crucial info on which climbs to try, and of course the best places to eat!
After 5 months of almost no climbing, and far too much delicious Asian food, we were apprehensive about getting back on the rock. Things got off to an auspicious start, with both of us failing on routes we would usually warm up on. In our first couple of sessions we were exhausted after just one or two routes, but before long things improved and we began to gain fitness and move back up through the grades.
We’ve now been here for two weeks; I feel like I have regained decent onsighting form (climbing a route first go without falling off), but haven’t managed to redpoint (practising a route and then climbing it in one go) any difficult routes yet. Charlotte has made massive progress with the mental side of her climbing, and is leading (and falling!) more confidently than ever before. Regardless of our successes and failures, it is just a real pleasure to climb here.
So far we have really enjoyed being in Ton Sai; in particular it has been great to be based in one place for a while, rather than constantly moving on. We are relishing being able to exercise hard every day, something we have missed a lot! Equally, relaxing on the beach on rest days has been very pleasant…
Tomorrow we are taking a 5 day trip to a remote island called Koh Lao Liang, which supposedly has some brilliant climbing, before returning to Ton Sai for a final week in which we hope to tick off some projects.