Rock climbing in Ko Phi Phi   (04/03/04)

Last updated 04/14/04                                                                                                                               

I have already taken the trouble to explain the technicalities of rock climbing here -- to be honest, I simply wrote down the precious little I know about this activity after one recent attempt on Ko Phi Phi. If I were pressed to put my recollections of that day in as few words as possible, it would have to be "FUN BUT STRENUOUS". Climbing a vertical surface after the likes of Spiderman, but without the aid of his magical sticky substance on your toes and fingertips, can leave you utterly exhausted after just a few hours, yet feeling like a winner. Climb on!


Our guide Igg is climbing first to secure the safety rope at the top of climbing area                Our companion Derek, the climber: "Climbing!" -- Daria, the belayer: "Climb on!"                Derek is the first of us to attempt a climb                Puneet is tying the safety knot on his rope

 Above: prep work. First our guide Igg climbs up about 15 meters and attaches a hook there, at the top of our beginner's climbing area. Igg goes up without much in terms of safety measures (the daily risk of climbing instructor's job, I suppose), but descends with the rope already in place, so Puneet can help him rapel down. Derek (sorry if the name is misspelled) is the first in our group of three to attempt a climb, while Daria belays him, for the first time ever holding someone else's life in her hands. Later, Puneet learns how to tie the safety knot on his rope and prepares to ascend. Below: Puneet's first climb.

  Climbing!                This must be 10-12 meters above the ground level                This isn't falling, but rapelling -- a controlled descent                Rapelling, almost back to firm ground

Below: it's Daria's turn now: climbing, then rapelling.

  Born to be a fly? Hardly...                This really is as high up as it looks                Rapelling: it's just like walking, only vertically                Down came the spider...

What you see above was not the end of the story, we went for a couple more climbs in different areas of the cliff, as assorted pictures below confirm. I (Daria) managed to get to the top of the climb twice, out of three attempts, and I'd love to contribute the success to my skill or at least determination, but pure luck has more of a true ring to it. There's a magnificent view of Tonsai Bay from up there!

  Puneet working his way up on the second climb                The little white dot near heaven is Puneet                Incredulous Daria: "Did I really get to the top?"                Enjoying the view from up above