Saturday, November 14, 2009

Railay East highlights.

We've been on East Railay beach now for a few days, the first 3 days we got some nice short routes in. The last two, Dr. JoJo has kept me on strict R&R, as I've had two fevers reaching towards 102 F. Thankfully, I haven't had one today. It's great to be here with Jo, being sick and traveling by oneself would be hard... It's so tempting to get out on the karst pillars despite feeling quite low energy. But, I'm on the mend in a big way today, so, *hopefully* we will get out and climb again tomorrow.

The Karsts rising out of the Adaman Sea are absolutely amazing. They are all limestone, and quite textured. Unlike at home, the objective hazard has less to do with the quality of the rock, and more to do with the quality of protection. Standard stainless steel expansion bolts have a pretty short life in this humid/salt infused air. The scary thing is that they can look fine from the outside, but, inside they can just be a pile of rust. There is a solution, titanium glue in bolts and staples. According to the books and local guides, the only bolts you can trust are those that feature red hilti glue. If you show up with a supply of this stuff, you're treated like a god. Next time, I'll bring a bit of it. There are something like 800 routes on the phra nang peninsula. There are plenty in the 6 range, which encompasses 5.10 a - 5.11 b. If I'm climbing in the 5.11 range by the time we leave, I'll be psyched! JoJo is hoping to start leading again on some easy routes tomorrow, which I know she can handle physically, but it's her head that needs a bit of work yet........ She'll get it for sure.

The bungalow we stayed in for the first few nights, 750 Thai baht per night (about 25 USD), expensive by Thai standards, but, a great place with a Robinson Crusoe kind of feel. The north Daimond wall rises up in the background.

Jo working out the moves before her TR start on a 6a+ on the 1, 2, 3 wall. This is a great spot to get comfortable with the area's climbing, but, you've got to time it right as it's "guided" most of the day. This entails a bunch of Thai guides screaming at their newbie clients, "Right foot up, right foot up! Left hand out, left hand out more. Is left foot broken? Why you no move left foot?" Needless to say, we're not frequenting this crag too much now....

Two classic Thai longtail boats with a ferry in the background. The longtails are ingeniously simple, I'll do a post on them later. They've got the "re-use" part of the 3R's dialed here.

The locals talk a lot about "Freedom" here, and not in the dept. of homeland security kind of way. There's a lot of dreadlocks around the peninsula and reggae can be heard quite often. Of course, I'm not complaining, rather, we're loving it. Pictured here is one of the local beachfront bars, the, "Skunk Bar."

I'm hoping to get across Phra Nang beach tomorrow to climb in the Escher World before the sun starts roasting the place. That beach is incredible, and we'll be sure to grab some photos. Time for another Thai Gatoraid and maybe some time by the pool.... Much Love, Grant & Jo.


Grant Copenhaver said...

Great photos G and J! Kind of resembles..well, paradise. How is the Chang Beer? Maybe that is where the fever is coming from. Just kidding.

Too bad you have been sick, but remember that is one of the joys of travel... right?

How are the locals? Is there a lot of pestering and touting towards you?

All the best you guys. Looking forward to your next posting.


Tim said...

Thanks for sharing!! It looks amazing!! Grant you are quite the photographer!! Have an amazing trip!! :) Jenna

Jim said...

Hey Guys-

Good to hear you're on the mend, Grant! Even with your vivid photos it's a little hard for me to imagine what it must be like there. The icicles hanging in front of the windows here don't help.

Breathe deep!


Grant Helgeson said...

Eh there G,

I finally got to enjoy an elephant beer this evening, delicious, 6.4% and for the low low price of 40 baht per can.

Ahh being sick, yeah, it sucks, but, there's a lesson to be learned in everything eh? Any knarly sick days in your travles?

The locals are amazing, so friendly, good hearted and teaching us a bit of Thai each day. The peninusla is only accessed by boat and it's got a very rasta feel. There are more than enough tout's and nasty's in other places though!

New post coming my friend!

Grant Helgeson said...

Hey Jenna,

Thanks! I'm running around with a wee lil' camera, but, it does the trick. We're loving it, great place for a beach/active holiday!

Grant Helgeson said...

Eh Jimbo,

Yes my friend, this place really must be experienced. Perhaps a couples trip next year? It'd be easier to shoot climbing photos for sure....

Icecicles, eek! It cools down to about 88 F here just before dawn......

Just able to breeth deep once again, albeit a coughing fit aferwards. On the mend though for sure. Jojo is feeling a sore throat tonight, I hope her rock solid immune system perseveres!