Wee’s Present Wall
When you’re disassembling your entire life in a matter of weeks it is inevitable that a few things will fall by the wayside. Given that we had a wedding to plan in addition to selling everything we own and planning our trip we just didn’t have enough time to climb in the last few months. Having arrived in Ton Sai it’s a shame that this is the case because we would have more climbing areas at our disposal if we were in top shape. There are still many areas we can climb, but finding walls with more than one or two routes in our range is a little more difficult. Walls with a good distribution of easy to moderate climbs are packed with climbing schools and have long wait times. If we don’t want to wait we will have to get comfortable on difficult climbs fast. Luckily with nothing but time on our hands and routes to climb that shouldn’t be too difficult.
We have had four climbing days so far. We have spent two of those days at Wee’s Present Wall. This wall proved to be an excellent place for us to start. It is in the shade all day, easy to get to, and had about 5 routes in our range. When we climb in the gym we are proficient at climbing up to 5.11a/b (6b+ Thai/French Scale), but outside we usually topped out around 5.10b. The Thai/French scale has more variation in difficulty with fewer numbers. For example 5+ to 6a+ covers everything from 5.10a to 5.10c. When you hit the 6b’s your already into the 5.10d to 5.11a range. The problem for us with this is that we hop on something that says it’s equivalent to about a 5.10b and then find out it’s actually harder than that. Either way we’ll get better the harder we climb and that’s what we intend to do.
At Wee’s Present Wall we found 5 routes we wanted to do. The hardest being 6a+ called “Hello Christine”. We warmed up on a 5 called “Way to Top”. Both of us led this route pretty easily and moved onto the 6a’s. There was a new route only a few weeks old. We got on this route thinking it was a 6a and only later found out it was not in the guide book. I think I would probably rate it about a 5 to 6a it was pretty easy and had lots of good holds for hands and feet. As you work your way up in the ratings available hand and foot holds become smaller or disappear altogether.
We got on the next 6a called “A Man Can Tell 1000 Lies” which was a awesome chimney between two tufas (rock features that are commonly found in caves) It was a really awesome climb that required a lot of stemming. The features were incredible, consisting of many slopers for the hands but there was plenty of friction for your feet to instill confidence with your hand placement. The next day we heard that some climbers saw a poisonous centipede squirm into a hole on the climb. Glad we missed him!
There was a big group on “I don’t know” another 6a, so we decided it was time to take a break for lunch. “I don’t know” follows a bulging corner with generally sharp rock. You can see a climber in red shorts at the anchor in the picture below. It should have been an easy climb for us, but since it was late in the day and we were still recovering from food coma neither of us felt confident when we got down. We decided to quit while we were ahead and went back to the beach to read and wait for the tide to go out so we could walk around the point.
We finally got on “Hello Christine” a few days later and it proved to be a phenomenal climb. There were a couple crux moves but both were well protected. The first was after the first bolt, it consisted of a big reach and then a place where you had to match your feet to your hands. The second crux came after the second to last bolt. There was a sharp flake on the left but as soon as you got your hands on it all of your available foot holds were really slick limestone. There were a couple of moves to the next bolt then it was smooth sailing to the anchor. We thought it was a solid 5.10a. At that point we had succeeded in exhausting the climbs we were comfortable on at Wee’s Present Wall and decided to move on.
We got beta on the 6b+ from some climbers but from what we gathered it was still out of our league. We will probably make it back there in a week or so. Briana will probably be ready to tackle “Hello Christine” on lead and I’ll try the 6b+.