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fear of falling, rusty bolts, and dying flip flops

Tonsai, Thailand


The climbing in Tonsai is perhaps what i expected- good but polished and a little overhyped. when you open up the guide book and flick through all the pages, it looks like there is so many good areas, however, you then start looking at the quality of the bolts and half the climbs you want to do are now unclimbable, or at your own risk. all the rock at Tonsai has some kind of gas within it that erodes around metal. this means that when the areas were first bolted with expansion bolts, it was within a couple of years that the bolts started falling out. they would look cosmetically fine on the outside, but inside the rock they may not be touching any rock anymore. so it is an ongoing project to replace all the bolts with glue-ins or titanium bolts as these seem not to react with the rock. it does add a certain scary factor to the climbing, although the guide book tells you when everything was bolted and with what materials.
polished, shiny holds are also a problem on easier routes, so we have been trying to go to areas further away from the easily accesible to find less climbed routes. as Pete put it- the quality of climbing is better in Chiang Mai but here you have the whole package- climbing, beach, sea, and relaxed cafes.
having said all that, i have had a couple of good climbing days. yesterday was very successful because i fell off! i was leading a 6b and half way up there were a couple of horrible slopers to move up to the next clip. i wasnt far above the last bolt, and when trying to find a better hold (that wasnt there) i lost balance and fell. Danny had given me some slack for a softer fall which meant i fell 3 or so metres. it was enough to think- why am i not stopping. the last time i had taken a fall like that was when i had hit the ground, so it scared me, but off course this time i did stop. i knew it was important to finish the climb after having a decent fall, because then the fall would be no big deal, rather than something to be afraid of. i was shaking when i came down!
i should have taken a good fall a long time ago, but hopefully this will help, and my leading confidence will keep improving.
today is a rest day and im struggling to find things to do. im useless at sitting on a beach sunbathing! we had a nice buffet breakfast this morning. it is a sad day though as not only are my flip flops on their last legs, soon to be going to a better place, but i just found a big crack in the sole of my sandals. i may soon be shoe less with only a few weeks of the trip to go.


permalink written by  Clairesj on December 11, 2009 from Tonsai, Thailand
from the travel blog: Clairesj's Travel Blog
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The Arc of Asia 2009-2010. Bring on the climbing!

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