Crazier Horse Buttress

Chiang Mai Day 4

The Arrival of Friends

The sun was out in all its glory that morning, prompting us to quickly grab our climbing gear and to head out to the Crazy Horse Buttress as soon as we could! We decided to head straight to the Furnace this time around, mainly because of the number of times that we had passed by the wall. The two routes that we decided to warm up on were located on the far left of the wall and had their anchors veering off to the right so we made it a point to watch our rope management with the tree as we lowered off. The first route was called 'The Easy Bake Oven', 5b+. Despite it being a very easy grade, the route was still fairly damp from the previous night's rain so it proved to be a little trickier than it otherwise would have been. The first pitch of 'Sideshow', 5c, the route just to the right, was a little longer and also more enjoyable. The upper section seemed to be fairly sustained but despite the sharp rock, there were good holds everywhere. We quickly made our way back to Jira Homestay right after as our friends, Ian and Geetha, were due to arrive.


Posted in: Climbing
August 5, 20182 years ago

Notice: Crazy Horse Temporarily Closed

The well-known Crazy Horse Buttress in Chiang Mai has been closed for the time being, and any climbing there whilst the closure is in effect will be in violation of the law. According to a recent announcement, the closure is due to ongoing investigations in regards to claims that rock climbing there has a detrimental effect on the environment. The closure has taken effect since the beginning of August 2018 and will remain in effect until further notice.

Ian and Geetha arrived at Jira's using the new shuttle service (first mentioned here) that only cost them (THB35 white van) each. The two of them apparently had some difficulty finding the van as a lot of people in Chiang Mai were still unaware of the new service. The journey ended up taking almost one hour and they were the only passengers in the entire van. We caught up for a while over lunch (yellow curry shared THB89/2; rice x3, THB30) before setting off for Crazy Horse once again, with Phet ("Diamond") the resident dog keeping us company.

There were quite a few people at the main face this time around, but the routes on the far left were unoccupied so we decided to pair up and jump on them for a quick warm up. Geetha started climbing 'Ding Dong' 5b, and Fiona decided to give 'Rope and Rock' 5a, a try. Half way up the wall, a gecko (Gekko sp.) dove down from somewhere way up above and skittered across the rock right across Geetha, maybe 20cm from her chest. We were all taken by surprise and were still laughing at Geetha's reaction when a metre-long green snake (Suborder: Serpentes) dropped down, but this time right on top of Geetha, before slithering away after the lizard. It was so utterly and completely unexpected that it took us quite awhile for us to even react as we just could not believe what we had seen. The sight of flying geckos and snakes was still very new to us!

Tessellated Orchard Spider

Tessellated Orchard Spider (Leucauge tessellata)

As we were recovering from the ridiculous spectacle that we had just witnessed, it suddenly began to rain. Most of the climbers had quickly bailed as the routes had become several grades more difficult within a few seconds. The rain had started very quickly but had also ended just as quickly, lasting perhaps less than 10 minutes. We waited for a while for the water to drain off the rock before heading back up to retrieve the gear that we had left behind.

Climbing at Crazy Horse Buttress

With the routes damp and the Archway occupied, we were forced to reconsider our options. We eventually decided to hike back up to the Rooftop, the wall we had climbed on the first day. The crag was surprisingly dry which to me was somewhat counter-intuitive considering that it was one of the highest and most exposed rockface. Geetha began to climb 'Hue Fah' (Ascending the Sky), 5b, and I decided to give 'Skyscraper', 6a+, a try. The route began with a climb up a huge, slanting slab of rock that was very run-out (bolts were far apart from each other) till at least one third of the way up. The rock was not completely dry so I had to take my time and be extra vigilant. After the slabby section ended, a section with huge narrow slices of rock begun. This section would dip into the rock and then veer right back out into a very exposed overhang. Lots of smaller loose rocks rested on ledges when the route dipped in, so I had to warn the others below of a possible rock fall and had to take extreme care not to knock anything off the ledges. After that fantastic route, which ended up becoming my favourite, I jumped back on 'Hue Fah' and anchored myself in to take shots of the others as they climbed up from below.

View from the Rooftop

The magnificent view from the Rooftop!

Climbing at Crazy Horse Buttress

Ian climbing 'Hue Fah' (Ascending the Sky), 5b

The sun began to set and we hiked back to Jira's in the light of our headlamps, very eager to dig in to our dinner (Basil dish shared THB89/4; Morning glory vegetables shared THB59/4; rice x3, THB30).

Next: Crazier Horse Buttress (Part 2)

Chiang Mai Day 5

The Final Day of Climbing

The weather just simply refused to improve. It ended up drizzling once again, completely dashing all our plans for an early start. Ian and Geetha decided to utilise the free motorbike that Jira offered and to head out to explore the Ban Sahakon (บ้านสหกรณ์) market instead. By the time they came back, I was pretty ravenous and was delighted to see that they had ended up buying huge chicken sticks and glutinous rice for our brunch (THB20).

We set off for Crazy Horse as soon as the drizzle let up and were glad to see that Phet had also decided to tag along and keep us company.

Phet, the resident dog of the Crazy Horse Buttress

Phet ("Diamond"), the resident dog

The Furnace turned out to still be wet but we decided to give it a shot anyway. As Ian and Geetha jumped on 'The Easy Bake Oven', 5b+, I decided to warm-up on one of the many 6a+ routes that were there:'Backburner'. I was initially surprised by how dry this route seemed to be but quickly had my hopes of an onsight dashed, as I found soon after that a critical hold at the base of the tree was completely filled with water. I had yet to clip in to the first bolt so decided that instead of risking a slip without any protection whatsoever, I would just try another route. Fiona and I gathered up our gear carefully, trying our best to not disturb a huge Pink Gypsy Moth (Lymantria mathura) that had chosen to deposit her eggs just nearby, and moved over to the far right of the wall instead. This time, I climbed 'Love Me Love My Route' 6a+, instead, a route that had deep juggy holds everywhere and began just above a boulder on the far right. There was a section with a step-up in a depression in the rockface that my knee ended up getting jammed in as I extended my leg. Ian on the other hand, who is shorter than me, completely breezed through that section with exactly the same move; a good example of how different body types and sizes affect the difficulty of the routes. Once we were done, we began to make our way down towards the Junkyard and then on to the Hanging Gardens.

Climbing at Crazy Horse Buttress

Ian climbing 'The Easy Bake Oven', 5b+

The Hanging Gardens were completely surrounded by long tendril-like vines that were hanging from the rocks high up above. Mosquitoes were ubiquitous and buzzed around us relentlessly despite all the layers of bug repellent that we had applied. The rock was very damp but the grades were very easy so we just decided to try and smash them out. I jumped on the route on the far right, 'Rock Climbing 102' 5c after Fiona gave it a shot. The bottom of the route was pretty wet as it passed through a channel that the rainwater flowed through. The middle of the route also proved a little tricky with the wet rock but the upper half turned out to just be a quick scramble to the anchor above. I jumped on 'Flapper' 5c, right after, a route that had big footholds that allowed me to easily get past the sections that were the most wet, but once past, I faltered a little on the slippery rock as there was a hold that remained elusively out of my line of sight. Ian who was right above me on the route on the right mercifully ended up pointing out the location of the hold.

Climbing at Crazy Horse Buttress

Ian climbing 'Rock Climbing 101' 5b

We walked down past Tamarind Village after that and back out to the road, where we swung right to head back to the Crazy Horse carpark. We made our way back in to the trail and then up to the lower entrance of the Anxiety State Crisis cave. The routes here were all wet but we were not left with much choice, so we geared up and got ready to climb. Ian and Geetha jumped on 'Short Tail' 5a, whilst I began to climb 'Horses Heart' 5c. The route was terribly slippery and I hung on precariously trying not to slip off even the really good, juggy holds.

The light from our last day at Crazy Horse started to fade as the sun began to set, so we made our way up to the upper entrance of the cave to take in the magnificent views from the top once again. We spotted the minuscule anchors of the routes off in the distance, well below us, and were left reeling at the sheer size of the cave chamber. I made a little vow to myself then and there that I would return one day and brave those scary-looking multipitches, before making our way back to Jira's for dinner (Chicken curry shared THB89/4; Yellow curry shared THB89/4; Mixed vegetables shared THB79/4; rice x3, THB30)

Day 4 & 5 Expenditure

Next: Chiang Mai Day 6 – Doi Suthep