Monday, November 17, 2014

Climbing in Koh Yao Noi, The season has officially started...

6 months have already passed since the realization of Tripping in Chong Plee and after such a long break spent mostly surfing in Kata beach and Nai Harn beach now my hands are itching again for a new project.

During the last weekend I went out Climbing in Koh Yao Noi with my friend Max but since this was his very first time on rock the plan was to keep it as the Thais say Sabai Sabai…

The first day we went to The Big Tree were we set up a few routes and later we moved to the HD Wall to climb some classic climbs. After we came at our bungalow I realized how easily I climbed those lines so in the night I started thinking about a route I had always seen, but never tried before…White Rice!

White Rice is a 7b located at the extreme right of the Dump Wall, right behind the corner of The Bea Wall. The route was bolted by Mark Miner in 2009 and I believe that since then not many climbers have repeated it…that’s why it inspires me, it looks untouched and only a few chalk-marks are visible.

The route it’s about 25m long. It starts with an easy overhang but in between the second and the third bolt there is already the crux which consist in taking with the left hand a distant sloppy 2 fingers hole while blocking with the right hang a good under-clean, twist entirely the body stay in balance, release the good hold and reach another distant 3 finger under-clean pocket with the right hand. Once this is taken, you need to quickly up your feet on some really sloppy footholds and grab with the right hand a relatively good border.

Once the move it’s complete, you can eventually clip the 3rd quick-draw. Scaring…

After this part there are around 5 meters of a quite easy session in a pumpy overhang. From here there is a full rest and after that there is a second hard session that goes from a balancing move on sloppy feet to a powerful pull and hill-hook to a good hole, from here you can clip, manage to get some energy back and prepare for the last s movement on a very vertical wall with sloppy holes up to the anchor, around 6 meters from here. This session is not even that hard, but coming from a consistent overhang with pumped harms, and balancing up to a vertical wall having not really good holds doesn’t make the entire thing so easy…

On day two I managed to find all the sequence, but I haven’t done any real attempt yet. Unfortunately this crag stays on shade only until 12h00 therefore time is limited…anyhow I will try my best on my next visit.

The climbing season has officially started…!

amazing off-road drive through the rubber plantations

Max and a Giant plant admiring the Bea Wall

White Rice, 7b - Dump Wall Koh Yao Noi

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Climbing in Phuket - A New Climbing Wall in Nai Harn

I am glad to inform you that after a long weekend of hard work we finally moved the climbing wall from Kata and relocated in Nai Harn. 

The original wall has been successfully enlarged adding one more module. Right now it is 2,40 meters high, 3,60 meters long and it features more than 100 holds of different shape and size. 

A big thanks goes Gianfranco, Paolo, Stacy and Waan for the efforts of moving the wall from Kata to Nai Harn, and to Max and Alessandro for the great help given to cut the wood, screw the nuts, hammer the nails and complete the rest of the hard job...Infinite Thanks to ALL of YOU!!!

The wall is now located in Baan Trisuk, Soi Samakki 2 Nai Harn. 


From Chalong: drive toward Rawai and after the gasoline station turn right at the traffic light. Drive straight on Sai Yuan until on the right hand side you spot Soi Samakki 2 (in front of a 7Eleven). Keep on going until you see the Somakee Village on the left, slow down, keep on going 200m and on your right side you will find Baan Trisuk access.

From Kata: after passing the elephant camps and and 50 meters after the Phuket Residence, turn on the left on Soi Samakki 2. Pass the the Lion Muay Thai and keep on going around 300 meters until you spot a Purple House on the right hand-side. Slow down, keep on going 10 more meters and on the left you will find Baan Trisuk access.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Climbing in Ao Nang - Back to Spirit Mountain...

During the very last weekend I came back to Spirit Mountain in Chong Plee after a long pause that kept away from this beautiful crag from more than one year.

The very last time I went there, my climbing partner Supranee May was just a novice and she didn’t even manage to reach the anchor of Ego Free Zone 6a+ top ropping the route.

After one year of extensive climbing all around Railay, Tonsai and Koh Yao Noi we eventually decided to come back to this spot both to celebrate one year of climbing together, and both to test our improvements.

The result was brilliant and unexpected!

On the first day Supranee easily sent Ego Free Zone, on the second day she managed to flash an amazing 6b called Devil’s back bone and not satisfied enough she sent her first 6b On Sight Exfoliation. Eventually on the third morning she even managed to try on lead her first 6c Pil Box discovering a new dimension and pushing her limit forward. Impressive!

On my side, when we arrived at the crag I was immediately flashed by the white color of a beautiful steep vertical short wall on which there is an intimidating route called Tripping, 7b+.

It was love at first sight. Coming down from a 6b I stopped to touch the holds…it looked simply impossible. I tried to figure out a possible sequence but it looked brutal hard and I was about to give up.

The route is divided in three parts, a delicate start with a positive angle, a steep vertical white wall with just 7 hard movements, and a final part on a classic tufa composition. The beginning and the end of the route are around 6b/6b+ while the central part is the real beast.

When I started figuring out the movements another local climber discouraged me suggesting not losing time trying the route because conditions were not good. It was indeed very humid and those little holds looked impossible to take, however I was already committed and I pushed forward.

On day two, after having spotted all the movements and finally having completed the brutal sequence on top rope I decided it was time to add an important date on my climbing records.

After a sleepless night were I was virtually climbing the route the whole night, I came back to the crag and after having set up all the quick draws and accurately clean up all the most important holds I managed to easily send the route.

Tripping is the hardest route I have ever sent, all my gratitude goes to Supranee for her belay and for the motivation she constantly injects me!

What’s next?

Tripping 7b+ - Spirit Mountain, Chong Plee, Ao Nang
Supranee May - after sending Don't tell my mum 6b in KYN

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Climbing in UAE – A daily trip to Hatta…

Recently I went to Dubai to visit my brother who is currently living there and obviously I could not miss the chance to dedicate at least one of my days to a full day of Rock Climbing.

Even though the Emirates might be popular for the amazing Dubai’s skyline and the visionary developments of its costline, it was amazing to discover that within just 1h driving from the city, and immerse in the desert, stands an amazing crag with loads of very nice and diverse routes called Hatta.

Hatta is small destination in the UAE but the Hatta Crag is actually located in Oman a few kilometers after an easy-going border check-point.

Thanks to Facebook group Real UAE rock Climbers I managed to get in contact with some very friendly local climbers, Dana and Ludmil with whom we had a brilliant day of climbing and offered us to drive us up to the crag.

Since I had limited time unfortunately I could not stay longer than I did, however I count to come back again to discover new areas such as RAK, or Wonderwall, Wadi Bih Dibba...they look amazing!

The climbing community in UAE and Oman is growing fast as well as the developments of new climbing areas. A new Climbing Guide Book has been recently released and it can be purchased in the major climbing shops of Dubai as well as online.

If you are planning a climbing trip out of the ordinary classic list, well, I do believe that this side of the world can offer an enchanting mix of amazing rock and unusual landscapes….Have a good desert climbing!

Hiking up
Studying the line

Riccardo on Boy Wonder 6c+

Dana, Ludmil, Ric, Matteo

More pictures are available on my Facebook Page

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Phuket Climbing: Falling Rocks at The Bee Wall in Koh Yao Noi

I would like to inform you that yesterday morning a big piece of rock fell down from the 6a at Bee Wall in Koh Yao Noi and almost transformed our climbing day in a tragedy.

When I was climbing the route I noticed that a big piece of rock was moving a little, I knock it, and as the sound was not very friendly I stopped and I tried to remove it.

Since it was actually impossible to do it I gave up thinking that it might be stable enough or at least it would be better to use a tool such a hammer to remove it.

Few minutes later, when I was belaying my friend Geko who was top-ropping the route, as soon as he stepped on that piece of rock it suddenly fell off to the ground.

Luckily, I was constantly looking up following the climbing progression and I immediately noticed the rock coming down. In a blink of an eye the rock smashed on the floor, I managed to step back right in time but the rock hit my left leg causing me a little wound.

My leg started bleeding, my blood froze and after a few seconds I realized what could have happen if I was not paying constant attention to my climbing partner.

I have been climbing for around 10 years and this is not the first time that such episode happens.  Rock Climbing is a dangerous activity that deserves the maximum attention from all the persons around the crag, climbers and non-climbers. 

We all know it very well but we often forget it, or at least we underestimate the consequences of our negligence.

Yesterday we were very lucky however I would like again to remind you to always take this activity with the right dose of attention.

Have a good climb!


On Red circle the piece of rock few minutes before the accident

The Rock