Krabi Day 05 & 06 - Kayaking & Thaiwand Wall
The incredibly heavy rain the night before had seemingly left behind a lethargic feel of sorts that seemed to permeate the air (or was it just me?). Around 02:00, a storm hit that was so violent that every time lightning flashed, the booming thunder that would immediately succeed it would cause the entire structure to reverberate and shudder. The drone of the rain smashing into the rafters and the howling wind outside would also have drowned out any attempt at a conversation.
After purchasing my two cans of Birdy coffee (THB20 each), we made our way over to Walking Street on West Railay beach but found to my dismay that the Railay diving center was still closed. We instead proceeded to inquire about the rates for island hopping at the long-tail boat counter on the beach. The rates that we were given were THB1700 for a long tail boat that would take the group to four different islands that lay nearby including Ko Poda and Chicken Island, both of which Jamie, Cass and I had been to before. We were also told that it would cost THB350 for a one way trip to Ko Phi Phi Don per person on a larger boat. They said that we wouldn't be able to rent a long-tail to go to Phi Phi Island as it was just too far.
I ended up eating four packets of fried chicken shavings with sticky rice (THB40 for all four) that was sold by a man with a rather large wheelbarrow packed with food and fruit that walked down the alleys in Railay East every morning. Bermet, Almaz, Chopa, Cass, Jamie, Michael and I then proceeded to met up at a restaurant called Mangrove that we had decided to try, which was located in the middle of the pathway that joined East and West Railay. I had sweet and sour chicken and more amber nectar (THB170) before heading down Walking Street on our way to Thaiwand wall.
The trek to Thaiwand Wall began at the South end of West Railay beach where a path opens up and immediately begins to ascend. The rocks here are fairly sharp but the trek is easy enough to be navigable with even slippers. The path ascends for about 40 metres but only covers a distance of around 200 metres or so and takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Trekking to Thaiwand
As soon as we arrived at the base of Thaiwand wall, Michael began to lead climb my nemesis, 'Monkey Love' almost straight away and ended up making it look pretty easy. This route is fairly easy for the most part until one gets to the crux which requires one to really commit. The crux is extremely exposed as one has to almost do a diagonal traverse on an overhang where a fall could cause potential injury. I managed to lead climb it two years ago but was not able to pass the crux last year as the frequency of my climbing had decreased by quite a bit at that point leaving my mental state in a bit of a disarray.
I ended up belaying Bermet who stopped a few quickdraws from the top and then Chopa right after who topped out. Chopa unclipped the last two quickdraws however in order to proceed to the anchor which meant that I would have to lead the route (or rather attempt to). As I climbed 'Monkey Love', 6b I found the first three-quarters of the route to be fairly straightforward although my history with this route had left me somewhat intimidated. All that was quickly brushed away closer to the top however as the views were absolutely stunning, making for perfect picture taking opportunities with my Nikon D7000 which I had brought up with me. Everything went well from there until I hit the crux and no matter how much I tried to convince myself, I just could not commit. I lowered myself down rather shamefully before Michael went on to finish off the task that I had failed to complete. I then went on to top-rope the route fairly easily.
Cass, Jamie and Chopa had climbed a route off to the top of the path (far left of Thaiwand wall) that was called 'Primal Scream', 6a+ but I didn't have an opportunity to climb it as there was not much daylight left. As Michael headed back down, Chopa, Bermet, Almaz and I equipped ourselves with two slings each attached to locking carabiners in order to make our way up the ladder for the traverse that lead to several routes on the far right of the wall. We weren't planning to climb any of them however and just stayed there for a while taking in the breathtaking views as the sun began to set. It was a bit too late to head through the cave that lead to Escher wall so we decided to do that on another day.
On the way back, we stopped by the Railay scuba diving shop once again and this time found that it was actually open. After explaining my conundrum, I was quoted a deplorable price of THB7000 which was ridiculous considering that the location was close enough to kayak to, and that I was already a PADI-certified Advanced Open Water Diver. Since the amount that I would have to spend for the retrieval was practically half the value of the device itself basically ruled it out as an option especially considering that a successful retrieval was not guaranteed. I gave in to my voracious appetite later on with 3 plates of rice with shared fried beef, tom yam and sweet and sour chicken that amounted to THB170 before calling it a night.