Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ao Nang, Ao Nang!!!


The end of January already... 3 weeks in and loving it :-)
The last 2 afternoons have been spent climbing at Cat Wall. The first afternoon I had a cracker of a session. Onsighted a 6b, then onsighted a 6c, then flashed a fantastic 7b called 'April Fools'. Was probably a touch soft for the grade but I will take it as a 'holiday tick' haha. Then I flashed a 7a but went to the wrong anchors so I went back yesterday and did it to the correct anchors.
Such a great crag with all the routes being 25 metre endurance fests, just my cup of tea!I have just moved bungalows today, still in Dream Valley (or as we say - "Living the Dream").
Welsh Dave, Lucie the crazy Czech and I are off to Ao Nang for a touch of city madness and cheap internet for something different today as we are having a rest day.
Around the end of next week a massive crew of us is off for the full moon party in Koh Phangan (sp?) then bouldering in Koh Tao for a week before coming back to Tonsai. Should be a blast!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Climbing, diving, drinking, chilling...


Happy Australia Day!
I'm all over my illness and welsh Ryan and I got out for a killer day at the crag today. We had a reasonably early breakfast then headed over to Thaiwand Wall at West Railay. What a blast! Bosched up a nice little 6a+ to warm up then did the mega classic, 35 metre long 'Equatorial' 6c on my 2nd shot. A never ending arete that my 70 metre rope only just gets you off by rope stretch alone that finishes in a cave with the most amazing view ever! Then we went through the massive cave system that runs through the entire wall to pop out at Phra Nang beach. We lazed on the beach watching tourist girls in bikini's, playing 'my wife' (great game, explanation pending haha) listening to tunes for a while then headed back to Escher World where I onsighted a great 25m route called 'The Best Route In Minnesotta' 6c, one of the best routes I have ever done, a fantastic, crazy arete on a crazy feature inside the entrance of a massive cave... amazing!
We headed back through the massive caves then abseiled out of them (with a group of 19 cute little 19yr old Canadian girls... fantastic sport haha) before walking home to Tonsai with a sunset swim at Railay beach on the way... perfect. With a few beers with the crew to round out the day it was a great way to celebrate Australia Day!


Fun in the sun... love it! I have been here for 3 weeks now and it feels like 3 days. Having the greatest time. Fantastic company, beatiful scenery, tropical beaches, great climbing, pretty girls, cheap beer... what more can you ask for???
No more illness for any of the crew any more so it's game on, time to get involved. Tuesday ended up being a lazy rest day followed by a fun evening (drinking straight Sangsum from the bottle and slacklining is always a winner haha). Yesterday we got down to the beach at a reasonable time and warmed up with a lap on 'Stalagasaurus' then headed to the shady part of Dum's Kitchen to do a bouldery little 6c called 'Jumping For Jugs' which was well friggin hard for the grade but I did it 2nd shot so I was happy with that.
Then I had to call it a day early to go see Jack & Steff off home to Sydney and Seong Jae off home to Korea... was sad to see them all leave, they have been great fun to have around these last few weeks.
At 2pm after seeing the guys off, myself, Kentucky Ryan and Welsh Ryan went out for a sunset snorkelling trip. Fuckin brilliant! We headed out on a cool big boat out past Koh Poda and Koh Chicken and did 3 different dives on different parts of the reefs out there. The 2nd dive was fantastic.. schools of Barracuda every where (scary big toothed buggers!), brilliant coral, amazing fish at every turn... just sensational. Then we went in to a secluded beach on the reef and watch the best sunset I have ever seen and had a bang up dinner on the beach at night. It was then back onto the big boat and back to a spot for one more dive, a night swim. We all climbed to the top deck, they turned off all the lights and we jumped from the top (5 metre) balcony of the ship into the dark and eery water. But it is FULL of bio-luminescent plankton! You more in the water and the plankton lights up around you like fireflies in the water... so cool. We banged on some goggles and swam around underwater in the dark and it is like swimming through a moving galaxy of stars underwater... simply amazing! All in all one of the best days ever.
Today Welsh Dave and I are chillin and having coffee at Pyramid Bar then we are off to Cat Wall for the afternoon to get some milage in on the rock. Keen as.

Alain high up on Thaiwand Wall with Railay West in the background

Kentucky Ryan chucking a backflip of the dive boat

Me and Ryan enjoying the reef

One of the billions of fish we saw

Sunset from our private dinner beach... stunning!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

And even more from Tonsai...


So I ended up having 2 rest days then yesterday went climbing in the morning and felt shite so only climbed in the arvo. I had a shot on 'Cross Eyed' again and fell at the tech crux below halfway then made my way to the top... sure I can do it before I leave, just have to keep getting fitter. After that I flashed a nice 6c at Wild Kingdom Wall and relaxed for the evening and had an early night. I have had to impose a 'no leaving Dream Valley after dinner' rule on nights when I plan to climb the next morning to avoid my rubber arm being twisted into going out for beers and ending up out late at the bars haha. Its just to easy to party all the time, but there is climbing to do!
Today I went and sent a cool 6c+ called 'The Lion King' at Dum's Kitchen after having fallen from the last move to the chains last time I was on it. Tomorrow morning I have to go back to he beach and send 'Babes In Thailand' then hopefully off to check out the amazing looking Thaiwand Wall.
It has been a bit hot the last few days with temperatures in the mid 30's each day so we have been spending the lazy hot part of the middle of the day lazing at the Pyramid Bar just near our bungalows. The local Thai's that run it are so fun, chilling with us, playing the guitar (they love Metallica songs being played for them haha). The Thai's have the most wicked sense of humour, always smiling and laughing and always cracking jokes with us at our expense... all the Thai's I know now at the crags and at all my favourite bars and restaraunts are great fun... The Thai's are fantastic people, they really make this place special :-)


The Tonsai Flu.
A terrible affliction that renders the hapless victim unable to leave the proximity of a toilet for the best part of a full day. I foolishly thought my iron stomach would keep me free of the sickness but guess what? Yesterday was spent driving the porcelain bus interspersed with lengthy periods of shitting myself. Bloody horrible. Most of our crew have all caught it at the same time so we are all relaxing today doing nought but sitting in the shade and wasting time nursing our aching bodies and tender stomachs... ghey.
So no climbing has happened for a few days but I might climb something easy this arvo if I feel up for it, but probably not... might just save it for tomorrow...
Other than that things are great here, having a ball!

Another Tonsai sunset

The Crackatinnie Tribe gets to Tonsai (just for you Boundy!)

Like it steep? Me lowering off a 35m, 20 degree overhanging route

Tonsai, from Cat Wall

All the bungalows are amoungst this grove of coconut palms

The damn monkey that stole my wter bottle haha

The Welsh flag flying proudly outside welsh Dave and Ryan's bungalow

Chris spending a lazy day at the Pyramid Bar

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And more...


I spoke too soon. Yesterday was meant to be a day of climbing but I woke up after a bit of a night out the night before with a fever and feeling soooo tired still... I had breakfast at about 9.30am and went back to bed and slept fitfully with a sweating fever all day till about 5.30pm only waking to drink water. No throwing up or shitting rings around myself though... When I got up in the evening I felt wasted but after a bite to eat with Dave and Stan I felt back to normal so we watched a movie in my bungalow then I headed out for a few beers.
I woke up this morning feeling much better so Dave, Stan and I headed out to climb While the rest of our crew headed off to the Ao Nang hot springs. We did a nice 6b+ at Tyrolean Wall then I flashed a great steep 6c+ route called 'Stalagasaurus' on the Tonsai Steep Wall. Was great to flash it as I had been saving it for a flash shot so I was well chuffed! Then I went to try a cool looking 7a at Dum's Kitchen but got shot down on the steep roof start, but I was close so I'll head back to try it again soon.
It's so nice here now that I have settled right in, hanging outand climbing with a great extended crew of people we have going on from all over the world (Seong Jae from Korea, Dave from Manchester, Stan from Norway, Ryan, Sam and Sean the Yanks, Jan, Liz, Lizzie and Ben from London, Jack and Steff the other Aussies and so many others), playing pool and blazing up with the locals, hanging out every night at the Sawadee Bar drinking Chang and slacklining (My slacklining is getting heaps better too! I can do sit starts, jump onto it, walk, turn, walk backwards, juggle on it and nearly walk sideways haha, loving it!).


Damn hangovers. So glad today is a rest day because its 2 in the arvo and I just got up after a very long night of shenanigans and my head feels like it is stuffed with cotton wool.
Yesterday was an awesome day. In the morning I flashed a 6b+ then flashed a 7a so I was really happy with that! In the afternoon I went to Melting Wall with Dave and tried a 7b route called 'Cross Eyed' and oh my god it is the best pitch ever! 30 something metres long and massively overhanging all the way with amazing movement on perfect grey limestone pockets and edges with some bold runouts and a perfect setting high up looking over the beach. I will be working on it for while I think. I did all the moves without much fuss but it is such an endurance fest that it will take a little while to build up the fitness to do it but I am soooo psyched to do it! This afternoon I am going to swim to Railay and back then have an early night... gotta have a quiet night so I can go try it again tomorrow!!!
A couple of mates and I have made a little plan for the next full moon in early February... Dave, Ryan and I are going to go to catch the overnight train over to the Gulf of Thailand and go to Koh Pan Yang (sp?) for the massive full moon party there (15000 people on the beach, sounds wicked!) then go bouldering in Koh Tao for a week before coming back over here again. Should be a riot as the boys are a great laugh and keen for some shenanigans... keen as!

Friday, January 16, 2009

More Thailand...


The last few days have been amazing! The 14th saw us head out Deep Water Soloing with Wee's Climbing School. It was such a fantastic day, 12 of us plus 2 Thai guides headed out to Koh Poda in a big longtail with a kayak. The first area we got to I was first into the kayak and headed straight up a 15m high 6b... I onsighted it then looked down to jump and nearly shit myself haha... 15m is a well long way to jump! The Thai guide in the kayak was laughing and yelling 'jump! jump!' so off I went... scary, but so fun! We spent a few hours climbing most of the routes at the area then went to a secluded little bay to have lunch and vboulder on some great problems in shallow water just off the beach. I did a fun little v5 and nearly finished another that was about v7... might have to kayak back there to finish it.
Then we went and spent a few hours at another big roof and wall on Koh Poda doing some great fun routes over the deep water again. A young swiss girl topped out this crazy high 6b+ that everyone else chickened out on... and with reason.. it's 23 metres high! She climbed it then sacked up and jumped straight away.. soooo bloody high, so impressive!!!
Yesterday was a rest day that included nothing but laying on the beach, swimming, slacklining and drinking Chang (the local beer). After a lazy day I hung out in the Sawadee bar slacklining, drinking more Chang and blazing up with the bar staff, then off to a friends room for a movie then off to bed.
Now that I have been here nearly a week I am really getting into the swing of things. When to go to what crags to avoid the sun, where the best food is (wow the food is all soooo good!), where the best massages are, what bars are the best to chill in, etc, etc... so relaxing and so fun. And I haven't felt even a little bit sick yet (touch wood!). Friendly people everywhere from all over the world, climbers, backpackers, friendly locals all mixed into a vibrant little community stuck in one of the most beautiful places ever with amazing climbing and a sunset over the ocean that I just can't see enough... I have watched the sun set every day and probably will till I leave... so beautiful.
Today I had a kinda late start, had breakfast about 9am then off to 'Tyrolean Wall'. Warmed up with onsighting a 6c+ then tried a 7c+ and got my ass handed to me haha... did most of it but it was well hard!
This afternoon we will climb somewhere else, but for now its off to the beach to swim and relax!

Steff on 'The Groove Tube'

Koh Poda Deep Water Soloing

Jack at Koh Poda

The crew on the boat at Koh Poda

Francesca jumping off a 23 matre DWS routes... so scary!!!

Me jumping of after doing a nice 6a at Koh Poda

The longtails at the beach we stopped for lunch at

Our secluded little beach for a lunch and bouldering stop

One of our Thai guides for the DWS trip

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Hi all!

I am sort of going to try and keep a diary of my travels on my laptop and post it in here as I go.
I might keep it up or I might get lazy and let it slip, but we will see... so here goes!


Sawat Dii!

Well after months of saving money and planning I am finally here relaxing at Tonsai Beach in Thailand!
The first few days so far of my trip have been an absolute blast. I stayed in Sydney with Chris and Teegan for a few days just hanging out with them and Matty J in Teegans sisters apartment in Randwick. I got up at 4.30am on the 9th and got a taxi to the airport at 5.30am, checked in and had breakfast with my mum then it was on the plane and out of Sydney to Bangkok at 9am.
The 9 hour flight was pretty good, watched movies, drank scotch and chatted with some nice Thai girls that were sitting with me. When I landed in Bangkok I was feeling a little grimey but couldn't get changed out of my sweaty clothes as all my luggage was being transfered to my flight to Krabi. I then had to spend nearly 5 hours hanging around Bangkok airport waiting for my flight... ghey... I felt dirty, and got bored as hell riding the travelator's around the terminal to pass the time, but soon enough I was boarding my flight to Krabi and turned around to see Seong Jae boarding the same flight, which was awesome as I didn't know where we would be meeting up.
We flew to Krabi, taxied to Ao Nang pier and caught a longtail boat at 10pm in the dark to Tonsai. After 22 hours on the road I had arrived!
We went to Andamans Bungalows and got a tiny shitbox of a room for the night, then went to the famous Freedom Bar for a beer then it was sleep time.
The next day we went and found a good bungalow at Dream Valley for us (and only 400 baht each including buffet breakfats every day.. score!) then headed of to have our first taste of the climbing.
Walking down to the beach for the first time in daylight gave me my first proper view of the place... amazing... beautiful black, white and orange streaked limestone cliffs strewn with jungle towering over perfect sandy beaches and an azure blue sea dotted with islands and boats... such a great sight.
We went to Dum's Kitchen and jumped on the 3 star 'King Lion' 6c+. Seong Jae sent it 2nd shot and I fell from the very last hold twice taking a massive 8 metre whipper both times haha... gotta go back and finish it soon.
In the afternoon I moved our stuff into our new bungalow and relaxed. Shortly after I bumped into our next door neighbours Jack and Steff who happened to be from Sydney so we all went to Freedom Bar For drinks and to watch the sunset over the ocean for the first time. The sunsets here are the best I have ever seen... it was amazing seeing it for the first time. At the bar I met two nice people Kris and Clara who both were out to party for their last night at Tonsai and seeing as it was a full moon and there was massive full moon parties on (what a stoke of luck, full moon party on my first night here... booyah!) we decided a big night was in order to celebrate my first night and their last in style!
We hung out mainly at Mambo Bar drinking cocktails then a completely obnoxious amount of buckets (Thai Whiskey, lime, soda and red bull in a big bucket haha... so nice and sooooo deadly!). Then some girl who was having her 21st bday came round with 'very' happy birthday cake for everyone that the bar staff had made for her, I asked why it was 'very' happy birthday cake... silly really... fairly obvious... chocolate hash cake, so good, and we got so wasted haha. Needless to say I stumbled the long way home, half lost, completely wasted at 4am... such a fun way to kick off the trip :-)
I slept in past breakfast, went and lay around Freedom Bar watching people climb, had a swim and watched the monkeys playing on the cliffs above the beach then went for a great hour long massage then relaxed the afternoon away. Tomorrow is all about the climbing now that I have partied and relaxed for a bit!


Today saw me up at 6am with Steff and Jack for an early session at Dum's Kitchen. On the way we saw a squirrel looking animal for the first time :) We did a 6a, 6b and a 6c, all great little routes climbing up great pockets, tufa's and stalactites.They were super polished from the amount of traffic they see but still great routes non the less.
There are so many animals around here, which is cool, I am keen to get some great photo's of them all... monkeys, squirrels, amazing birds... plus all the local dogs and cats that come and play with you at the bars haha, and one little pet rabbit that lives at the climbing shop at Freedom Bar.
After our early morning climb we got back to Dream Valley for our breakfast... unlimited fresh fruit, crepes, pancakes, eggs, omlettes, bacon, toast and coffee... I will be making breakfast my main meal each day seeing as its free with our bungalow, might save me some cash by stuffing my gills after a morning climb every day :)
About midday we jumped in a longtail for the short boat ride to Railay West, such a pretty beach! We walked through to Railay East and climbed at 'One Two Three' crag. We climbed 5 great routes from grade 5 to 6b including possibly the best pitch of climbing I have ever done, a 6a+ called 'We Sad'... amazing huge hanging stalactites to start, past a massive chandelier that you stem off then up a great head wall of tufa's to the top... fantastic!
We walked back through Railay, got cash from the atm and walked the low tide route all the way back to Tonsai. Now its of to have a beer at Freedom Bar while watching the sunset then have dinner :)


Today was another early start, 6.30am we were off to the Dum's Kitchen to warm up then back to the Tonsai Overhang for a flash attempt at 'Babes In Thailand' 7a... I fell off the tufa at the top throwing for the jugs at the top... argh! Oh well, back to try it soon for sure.
Today we are going to chill the rest of the day and swim then go do some easy routes at 'Fire Wall' in the evening then an early night before going on a Deep Water Soloing trip with Wee's Climbing School tomorrow! Cant wait!!!

Beer at Randwick the day before leaving

Seong Jae waiting at Ao Nang pier for the longtail boat to Tonsai

Steff & Jack at Freedom Bar for sunset over the ocean

Dum's Kitchen

Our bungalow at Dream Valley Resort

Jack beside Freedom Bar and Tonsai Overhang at sunset

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Woo hoo!!!

So I am finally here kicking back on Tonsai... its awesome so far!

Will write more soon, just thought I would let y'all know where I'm at :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Leavin' on a jet plane...

I'm off!

I am about to head to the airport to head off on my trip... check back for posts on my shenanigans asap!!!

See ya soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009


So its nearly here! After many months of saving my pennies and planning this and that my trip is finally just around the corner!

Next friday I leave for a year or two on the road, living like a climbing bum out of my backpack a visiting amazing world class climbing destinations.
I fly to Thailand first for 3 months of sport climbing and deep water soloing at Tonsai and bouldering at Koh Tao, then on the 27th March I fly to Hanoi in Vietnam. From there the basic plan is 2 months deep water soloing and climbing around Ha Long Bay with some side trips to Laos to climb and to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. Then it's China for a few months of climbing at Yangshuo followed by a side trip back to Thailand then 3 months or so bouldering and climbing at Hampi & Badami in India and trekking and bouldering in Nepal.
That will take me through to the end of 2009 and from there I will decide what to do for 2010 but at this stage I am thinking Rocklands in South Africa followed by Europe... but we will see, it's a long way off yet!

So thats the basic plan and I wouldn't be more excited if I tried! Haha :-)
I will endeavour to post updates and photo's as regularly as possible so keep your eyes on this blog to see what I am up to! Also if anyone is goingto be in the same places at the same time be sure to hit me up to meet up for some climbing!

Well, I hope you have all had a great chistmas and new years break and that you are all safe and well.

Check back soon!

Duncan 'that bastard going on that awesome holiday' Brown