Tonsai, Krabi has always been an interesting place for me. I’ve been to Krabi perhaps more than 15 times and still feel excited when I touch down in this place I call paradise.
In fact, this place bears a lot of memories for me, it was my first outdoor climbing experience back in 2005 with Derek Yuen and Rachel Hoon. On the same trip I met my wife Kelly and took this group photo even though we never talked to each other after years later. To make things better, I got back to Singapore after a 4 days climbing trip to Krabi and immediately decided to head back. Instead of planning for another holiday, I changed my riding trip destination to Krabi and had my riding buddy stay in Tonsai with me. All these within 5 hours of arriving in Singapore. Tonsai left me a deep impression of climbing sends, drunk birthday parties, Spanish chickas and also valuable time off from my time in the army.
The last time we were there was during Slackfest 2013 and it was minimum climbing and all about slacklining trip. This time however, was the complete opposite and pretty close to every other Krabi trip I had in the past, except for we are running SNCS Sports Level 3 which is a new syllabus on multi pitch climbing by Singapore Mountaineering Federation. It’s not a new thing for me =D and I have conducted a fair bit of multi pitch training outdoors. Having 2 super keen participants this trip made things even better. On top of that we have Joao who attended my first few trad courses in Long Dong coming for guided climbing during the same time.
So it all worked out well. Kelly and I arrived in Tonsai a few days early and warmed ourselves up on some climbs before the group comes. A few burns on projects like K1 and Gillesnolimit on the first few days but no sends. Kelly is trying to get her first F7c and I’m just trying to climb as many F7c during my off days as possible.
The group arrived, together with a depression coming from the north that brought a lot of rain to Tonsai. Joao and Bee Kuen arriving from Krabi Airport had a wild time on the long tail boat journey travelling from Ao nang to Tonsai beach, while Zhu Yan and I were drenched on Thaiwand wall. The following day, the crew went out to do single pitch climbing at The nest, warming up on some steep easy climbs. The steep walls in Tonsai keeps rain out making many spots great places to hide out during rainy afternoons.
On the second day, Bee Kuen and Zhu Yan head off to Monkey world with me to work on the skills required for multi pitch climbing. Some route finding, top belays, building of anchors and more. Within the first few hours, they found themselves lead climbing their first multi pitch, Curious George, F6b. The duo swap leads and they quickly found themselves getting pretty pumped from a simple short multi pitch.
The following day we decided to take on something bigger with a little bit more climbing. A mega classic of Tonsai is on the East pillar of Monkey world, The beauty and the beast. This time we roped up in a party of 3 to ensure that both of participants have equal practise on top belaying.
The team did well and climbed to the top of The beauty and the beast, without much problems. It was a great climb and we worked on different descend options to end the day off.
After 3 days of climbing, everyone was feeling a little tired and opted out of the 5 pitch classic I have installed for them. So instead we work on some anchor building and rescue techniques with a little climbing thrown in.
While the course has ended, Zhu Yan has arranged for an extra day at the end of the trip and so I climbed the famous multi pitch in Tonsai, Humanality. A long 5 pitch climb, with a brilliant crux pitch in the middle. Its one of those climbs that I still sweat in my palms when I think of it. Its never too hard at any point but the exposure and the never ending climbing keeps every climber on their toes. Zhu yan gets the second F6a+ pitch and he was pretty overwhelm by the exposure.
While the multi pitch crew’s program came to an end, Joao is busy sweating his way through the limestone jungle. Coming from Sweden, the heat and humidity is too much for him. Of course we had to introduce him to some pineapple fried rice and Thai massage since its his first time to Thailand. However he also climb loads with Kelly everyday and it seems like it was a great trip for everyone!
At the end of the trip, with some off days left, Kelly went on to send K1 on full lead and I sent both K1 and Gillesnolimit and whole bunch of other stuff. It was a great trip and I felt really happy to show our participants the way of climbers in Tonsai. I hope they enjoyed the trip and hopefully see more of you you out here for SNCS Sports level 3!