2011 is over and we welcome 2012 with more adventures and plans ahead!
First i would like to wish everyone a great 2012 ahead!
I just finished a amazing trip to Taiwan with 5 participants, Andy Tan from Onsight Climbing Gym, Hilwan from 2015 Everest team, Vincent James from NUS Dino, Tita from Malaysia and Joao from Portugal. People from all over the world with different experiences! Thats what we need to end 2011 and welcome 2012!
Thats the crew having a bowl of warm noodles near the home stay. Weather for 2011 is not a merciful as 2010, it was one of the wettest years in the last 5 and we could experience that 1st hand. However the rain didn’t dampen our spirits and we climbed a total of 5/6 days during our stay in Long Dong. Not too bad since the rain stops usually in the afternoon, so we get to sleep in late, enjoy a few cups of coffee (courtesy of Anlin) and do some theory indoors before heading out.
When climbing in Long Dong, you can expect comfortable home stays, good food, great views of the sea, great friction on sandstone sea cliffs and tons of adventure when getting to the crags.
The approach in Long Dong is kinda different from how we flip flop our way in Krabi nor is it the 5 hour Yosemite walk style. Rock hopping requires some balance and good footwork and after 2 days of this 10 minutes workout it will surely give you a perky ass. Thats the crew on their way to School Gate on the first day of climbing.
School Gate is a slabby piece of rock sitting just 10 minutes into the approach and do not be fool by this 25m rock as there are more than 30-40 routes on this rock with hard sports of up to 12c and trad climb of up to 10a.
The participants gets some action on the slabby face to gain confidence on trad gear placements. The climbing is newbie friendly and doesn’t have Yosemite-split-you-out cracks, so most of the time u are leaning in to place gears or bridging across 2 faces. Perfect in my opinion to learn trad climbing.
With such a perfect place for learning, the crew was lead climbing with their trad gears in no time. Here’s Hilwan on his first trad lead crushing the route and placing a cam.
Heres Tita doing her first trad lead under my supervision. Everyone were learning fast and very careful with their new found skills, I was glad everyone got to lead at least a full route of 5.4- 5.7. During the rainy weather, we blasted off to Second Cave where there are shorter trad routes of various difficulty from 10a -5.7. Second Cave is a 40mins walk from the trail head crossing tons of beautiful features and braving traverses with waves blasting right below your feet.
Once everyone has dialed in their trad climbing skills its time to visit other climbing areas to pit their skills against the cracks of Long Dong. In Second Cave, Grotto 10a and Box of rain 5.9 gave the participants a run for their skills as they climb finger cracks to wide cracks for the first time. Its a eye opener for most of them since jamming is a new skill and I had a moment to show off some skills of mine. They also led Get a Flow 5.7 in the cave, a easy lie back crack with good feet.
Its always good to experience something new like wide cracks or off widths so that we take our mind off grades and concentrate on stuff that’s naturally hard or scares us. I always like to see the faces of participants when they climb things like this for the first time, just the same when Ginno climb Via Del Drago 10b with me last year.
After many days of hard work and climbing, some had to go and some stayed on. Vincent and Hilwan had to leave to catch a flight while we rest our sore bodies so we took a train to Jiao Xi for the hot spring baths. The night ended with a wild party at the roof top with fireworks and beer with Matt and gang. Long Dong was a party zone on NYE!
Overall Long Dong experience is great, there are tons of cracks of various difficulty and sizes where you can learn jamming and trad climbing. Sometimes the difficulty doesn’t lie in the climbing but to protect the climb, but climbers are sometimes so blinded by grades and performance that they forgets the real fun and deal is out there.
Moving forward, I will be running Taiwan Trad Trip in the Summer-Autumn in 2012 and also look out for new locations for my trad course in 2012! There will also soon be Slack Line workshops in Onsight Climbing Gym! Such an exciting year! We can only hope for more to come! Cheers!