A Travellerspoint blog

June 2015

We're Railey Rock Climbing

rain 26 °C

Dark clouds obscured the sky and soon droplets fell down as well. None of this was reassuring to two people who had booked a rock climbing session in Railay today. The staff at the guesthouse assured us that it would go, rain or shine. The company picked us up in a songtao and drove to a very desolate pier. Compared to yesterday, we seemed to be on the opposite side of Railay. The rain gained momentum as it attacked our skin and clothes, damping our optimistic thoughts that the rocks could stay dry. The operators weren't bothered, a good sign surely.

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The tide was quite low this morning so 'docking' required quite a bit of walking through murky water to reach the beach. They brought us to King
Climbers straight away to get fitted with gear and sign our waivers. We were impressed with our climbing shoes and chalk bags too.

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Next, we walked back to Railay East where our target rocks lay. At the far end were karst towers just before a small stretch of beach. To our good fortune, the rocks were hardly even wet at all since they were so sheltered. Another group had already started climbing. I was a bit envious of their small group size. They managed the first wall with only a few difficulties.

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We learned our first skill, tying the figure eight knot that would keep our harnesses attached to the rope. It required two twists then slide the rope through. Next the rope came close to the harness, through the two loops and the rope end followed the original eight's path. If the rope was still too long it got tied in a simple knot.

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A few people raced up the first wall the guides set up and once the second was up and running, they invited me to start climbing it. It was pretty easy to get a good grip on the rocks. The footholds were great as well. I scaled it pretty quickly until I looked down and realized how high I was. I began to panic a bit so my grips got worse and shaky. Reaching the next point was tricky, but I pushed myself to do it with sweaty palms. I touched the silver ring at the top and gestured I was ready to come down. Even after I was on the ground and untying my figure eight knot, my hands were still shaking.

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Ryan tried the first wall, which was a bit higher. He raced up pretty easily and only slowed at one section where he had to wedge himself a bit to get the leverage to go further.

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When I tried the same wall, it took much longer since I couldn't reach all of the holds. I forged my own path in the beginning and had plenty of rest spots where I could chalk up my sweaty palms. I made it in the end but my forearms felt like lead for half an hour afterward.

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Ryan tried out the third wall. The bottom had a tricky section where you had to stick in your feet, pull with your arms and stretch to make it past the protruding rock. Ryan made it to the top easy enough after that.

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When I'd rested enough to give it a go, I got stuck further up since my feet wouldn't plant well enough for me to reach the next rock. Short people problems. When I finally did make it after many tries and needed a rest, the belayer dropped me back to that initial tricky position. A few more failed attempts and I called it a day.

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After the climb, we had the option to boat back right away or stay until 5:30. We decided not to let the rain clouds decide for us and stayed. Need be, we'd wait it out in a cafe. Ryan and I walked over to Princess Cave to go exploring. It was one of my favourite parts of the area. People stuck near the beach and few waded over to the cave so we had it all to ourselves. We climbed up the sandy rocks and sneaked through crevices until we made it to the other side where the waves rushed and back out. There was a small cove with limestone rock formations sheltering it from oncoming boats.

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When more people found the spot, we ventured up to a higher cave with a nice viewpoint of the limestone walls blue waters. The climb back left us a bit muddy and bruised, but it was worth it for the nice views of the beach. We swam a bit afterward until hunger called.

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Wandering around the island, we found a little restaurant with reasonable prices and vegetarian food. Ryan had some of his favourite Pad Thai in all of Thailand and I had some green curry.

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It was too muddy to climb to the viewpoint/lagoon so we just relaxed on the beach until it was time to take the ferry. Opposite the cave we actually found a neat swimming area and a pretty cool island.

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The Chinese family we had climbed with this morning was still there too and the man asked us if we'd attempted even more climbing. Not so much. Our bodies were content with just the morning. Back at Ao Nang, I had an relaxing massage with lots of much needed stretching. Then Ryan and I went for supper nearby.

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Posted by Sarah.M 04:08 Archived in Thailand Tagged rain cave rock climb limestone railay princess beginner Comments (0)

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