Please enjoy this blog entry from two of our senior staff on their winter travels. One of the benefits of being on staff is the chance to travel in the less-busy months. Austin Bunn and Robyn Martin have seized this opportunity with gusto and have been venturing through Thailand, Vietnam and other parts of Southeast Asia since November. The following entry is dated 2/22-25/16.
We have been here at Nam Pha Pa Yai for four days now and have climbed everyday. Nam PhaPa Yai translates to “river camp big forest”. In total, we have climbed 28 pitches and 24 different routes. We have climbed at three of the four crags here with two of them being by the Pasak river and the other one in a bamboo forest near the camp.
Each morning, our day starts off with lots of stretching and chilling out before breakfast is severed at 8am. Once done with breakfast, we head off to the crags. This means grabbing our climbing gear and a zip line pulley before heading down to the rivers edge. Once there, we climb into a wooden platform attached to a tree high above the river and attach ourselves to a cable that stretches from one bank to the other. ZOOOMMM!!! Off you go, zipping across the beautiful Pasak river to the other side where a wall of beautiful limestone awaits you.
By noon or shortly after, we head back to the other side for lunch. This again means another zip line experience across the river. I enjoy having to go back and forth for climbing and camp visits as I really enjoy zip lining. Robyn, who before this place really did not care for zip lining at all, has found a way to somewhat enjoy it. As you approach the take off areas for your zip you always pass this sign that says “Do Not use the Zip Line for FUN!” I cant help but laugh at this, as each time is always fun. Sometimes, I even find myself forgetting things or needing to use the toilet just so I can zip line one extra time during the day.
After lunch, we usually take a long break to let the hot part of the day pass. During this time, we play board games, read, chat, or play with the camp dogs.There is a puppy here that both Robyn and I love and kinda want to take with us for the rest of our travels. In the afternoon, we manage to get in a few more climbs before either the heat gets to us or the sun starts to make its way over the edge of the cliffs.
Night time is my favorite here. It starts with a nice cool shower after hanging up the sweaty gear by our tent. This is usually followed by some down time to either read, play cards, internet, or chat with the only other camper here besides us. Gerald is an older fellow from Germany. He has been biking his way through Southeast Asia as well as climbing. Being such a strong climber, we enjoy having him join us each day because if we can not put up a route, he usually is willing and able.
Night time also means dinner which is my favorite here. Joy’s (camp host) mother cooks dinner every night which always consist of rice and usually some type of curry. Man is it sooo good! Not only is it unbelievably good, it is buffet style, all you can eat! Being only three of us, means we can eat until we simply can not fit anymore into our bodies. This truly is a climbers’ dream. Being on the rock all day you burn an amazing amount of calories.
Tomorrow is our last full day here before heading off to Chiang Mai. We leave around 8pm to the near by town and catch an eight hour long night bus. This means we have one more day to enjoy here climbing and eating wonderful food. Robyn and I are planning on getting on the only multi-pitch here which takes you to the top of the cliff overlooking the river valley.
We are both looking forward to some “tourist” time in Chiang Mai and Pai, as our bodies are both in need of some rest from climbing. Im sure there will be stories to be told so keep checking in!