[Day 42-46] Bye friends, hello first 7b!

The last few days have mostly been a climbing and food-filled feast, with the odd rest day thrown in.

Day 42, April 11th, was one of those rest days. In the afternoon, we had the first huge monsoon downpour, which brought a very welcome drop in temperature and a less welcome swarm of insects. The rain also made a ton of frogs pop up out of nowhere, which was pretty cool.

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Pretty frog nr 1.

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Pretty frog nr 2.

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Pretty frog nr 3.

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This huge (30cm) centipede decided to join the stampede of frogs.

It was the last evening with Sonja & Romain, who were leaving for Krabi the next day. We went out of our way to really stuff ourselves with food and produced some glorious food babies :). The next day, I had a late brunch with them and we said goodbye after an awesome week of climbing together.

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Romain clearly has no clue what’s going on.

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This picture does not do our enormous food babies justice.


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Simul-slacklining: high five in the middle.

In the evening I met Marie, a French girl who had cut up her big toe real bad. Dr. Tony and the huge first aid kit to the rescue :p! One of her friends, Boris, belayed me while I worked Andaman Café, the 7b route, some more.

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Since there’s no good pictures of me working Andaman Café, here’s one of Romain giving it a try.

The 13th, I went climbing with Paul, a German friend of Marie. We did some nice routes as warm-up: Beauty and the Beast (6c, again), Stalagosaurus (6c+), and Babes in Thailand (7a). Then it was time for more work in Andaman Café.

That afternoon we went to check out Gibbon’s Roof, a huge cave with a really big horizontal roof (surprise!). After warming up in a super nice, heel hook paradise 7a, we started working in a 7a+, but nightfall had awoken the mosquitoes, so we called it a day.

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Gibbon’s Roof, your little Tony for scale.

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Paul in a no-hands rest in a 7a in Gibbon’s Roof.

Since the 15th was to be my last day on Tonsai, the deadline to climb Andaman Café was nearing. So the 14th Paul and me did some warm-ups and then worked it some more. I finally figured out the crux part, it definitely felt within reach now. We headed back in the evening and I managed to top it on the 2nd go that evening! Only one problem: I had grabbed the anchor before making the final clip, so technically my climb didn’t count…

Determined to climb Andaman Café again, this time by the book, I headed back there with Paul the morning of April 15th. I did a very short warmup on a nearby hang board and then decided to just go for it. By now, I could visualize every single move of the route perfectly. That certainly seemed to help, because on my first attempt of the day I managed to top Andaman Café, my first 7b. Yeehaa :)!

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After climbing Andaman Café, my first 7b. Yeehaa!

That also means I’ve successfully completed one of my two bets with the LUAK (Leuven’s student climbing club). The 2nd bet is to climb either El Cap or Half Dome, so that’ll have to wait for a while.

In the afternoon, we went back to Gibbon’s Roof, but the mosquitoes were out in full force, so we scampered off after Paul had managed to reach the end of the 7a+ that we had been trying earlier.

And that’s it for my climbing adventures in Thailand! For anyone still unsure whether to come here for climbing: definitely do it! The routes are fantastic, there’s something for everyone, most routes are well protected (just skip those that don’t have titanium bolts, mentioned in the guidebooks and easy to spot by eye), and you can always find a few crags in the shade. The locals are all really friendly and the atmosphere is great! Most certainly a dream location to climb, as evidenced by the many people that have been staying here for months on end.

The next few days I’ll be back in Krabi to see a bit more of the surrounding nature and attractions, and to take care of some stuff before heading to Australia.

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A big (1m) monitor lizard taking a stroll down the road.

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