Monday, December 18, 2006


We head up through the jungle along a decent foot path. We pass past locall villagers burning the brush to clear a spot. We have been told about this - they are searching for diamonds.

we continue on and pass an incredible shrine. It looks like something out of Indiana Jones.

We continue up and soon the trail becomes a bushwack, and we break out the machete.
We start taking turns hacking a path. We are full on - hacking through the Cambodian jungle, making a clearing to go climb a big grante slab that has never been climbed before.

There is some debate about the "proper" ways to clear a jungle trail with the machete. Josh tends to like a well done, clear trail. Ryan wants just enough to get by. I like watching their different approaches and analyzing them. That's what consultants do, right? Ha!

We continue on - and suddently Josh screams in pain. (Yes - this is starting to become a recurring theme.) He has been stung by a wasp. Ouch!

He stays focused and only complains about the sting once - which is quite impressive, really.

More hacking... we continue to gain altitude. About 500 feet overall to get near the base.

Finally we find a clearing and sit down on a rock with a good view of the slab.

It looks beautiful. We look closely and see movement toward the upper reaches of the slab.

"Do you see that?"
"Is that what I think it is?"
"Uhhh... Do you think it's a tribe of jungle monkeys?"
"Ummm.... Riiight..."

Indeed - a tribe of about 10 jungle monkeys toward the far left side of the slab. not directly the line we would likely climb - but very close.

"Do you think they are agressive?"

"If I was in Railay - I would turn around right now."


Just as we are looking up and talking about the perils of climbing with monkeys on the route - i turn to the side and a huge WHITE OWL flis out of a tree next to us. We had not seen it and it was quite the shock.

I shout out, "WHOA! Hey Now - That's Good Luck Everybody. Good Luck! Yes!"

"Really I can't remember if it is or not but i seem to remember something about Native Americans and owls meaning something significant. So -- why not make it work for us?

We watch the monkeys further as they disappear over the top of the summit slab.

The slab looks very clean. Not too steep at the bottom, but definitely steep at the top. We figure somewhere in the 800-900 foot range - and probably about 5 pitches. The only problem is that there are really no main features to climb (Such as cracks). With no cracks and all slab climbing - it means there could be long distances between where we can pace protection, and possibly very dangerous.

Run Out - is the climbing term for when you have to go a long distance between when you can place gear. and that is what we are looking at - long runouts, with potentially very agressive monkeys hanging out where the most difficult part of the climb is.


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