Moderate and Technical Climbing at The Keep
The Keep is a clear favorite among mid-level climbers at Ton Sai. The wall has some outstanding climbing for 6b to 6c climbers with opportunities to top rope some 7a’s. The climbing here is not the typical juggy overhanging Ton Sai climbing we have become accustomed to. Most routes are technical face climbs offering moves typically not available on the lower graded Ton Sai routes.
We have been to The Keep a few times and have gotten on nearly everything in our range. We started with “Monkeys Bum” (6b). It is a well protected climb with varied moves. There was some stemming up the tufas with a pumpy crux for a finish.
“Babo Does Thailand” (6c). This was my first 6c lead so I am somewhat emotionally attached. This climb has a great variation of holds with some slopers and balancing face climbing and then jugs to the anchors. Keep an eye out for the under-cling at the 11th bolt. I give this route a big smiley face even though it doesn’t get it in the guide book.
“Nutcracker” (6c). Nutcracker is a classic Keep climb and a lot of folks’ favorite on the wall. It offers great technical moves. Traverse left at the big bulge and the work your way back right to clip. The crux is before the last bolt. My second 6c lead!
“Genghis Bond” (6b) at 32 meters you can barely get back to the ground on a 60m rope and rope stretch. This climb is superb! Requires 17 draws, but we managed to negotiate this climb with 14 by reclaiming lower draws while climbing. It is a real mental climb, everything you need is there it just requires you be a little creative. It’s pretty hard to communicate once the climber gets over the first bulge, as distance is compounded by passing long tails. This is another climb you should not go home without. This is a fun 5.10b/c climb.
“Tongue Thaid” (7a+), you can reach the anchors of this route from “Genghis Bond” which is what we did. It took a little work but was worth it in the end. The best part comes at the top when you get to pull on some finger pockets up to the anchors. Despite the conversion suggesting this is a 5.12a climb we all agreed that it was a solid 5.11b. None of us have ever sent a 12a in the gym let alone outside, so it seemed reasonable that it is easier than rated. Even if you can lead it I recommend top roping because the first bolt is very loose. Hopefully it gets rebolted in the future.
On a good day The Keep gets a cool breeze. With afternoon shade it is a good destination and a lot of neighboring areas like Kochel Rock have morning shade. The approach is a little intimidating. You scramble up a canyon and then have to down-climb about 20 feet of what I would call a 5.5. There is a hanging rope ladder and you can safety in if you are feeling sketched out. On the way down we tied our packs to the rope and lowered them down to make our descent easier.