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Rock Climbing the Gecko wall

Luang Prabang

I had been pondering over whether to go rock climbing for a couple of days whilst we were in Luang Prabang but I was so glad I did it because it was so much fun. I had done a little bit of indoor climbing with friends a while ago but had never done it outside so I was excited at the prospect. At one point it wasn't going to be possible simply due to the cost because there needed to be more people in the group. Fortunately having checked back a couple of times with Jewel Travel there were two other people on the day trip so I snapped it up and would be tackling the Gecko wall.

When I got to the office in the morning there was a little wait for the other two and I was beginning to think they would be a no show but thankfully they did turn up and we got kitted up with shoes, ropes, harnesses, belays, carabiners and lunch and made our way to the riverbank to catch the boat down river to the climbing site.

The boat ride was about 20mins and I got a chance to find out about the two girls who were joining me to do the climb. Anya and Claudia were very nice and I was able to give them some tips about Vietnam as they were making their way there from Luang Prabang.

When we got to shore it was a short trek up a hillside before we made it to the first climb. The guide began explaining how to tie the ropes to your harness by starting a figure of 8 knot then you pass the end of the rope through the harness and re-tying the rope around the figure of 8 knot so that it is mimicked twice creating two lines of rope that should come in twos as you count each cross over. I didn't take a picture of it at the time but here is what it looked like.

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We then were shown how you belay another climber by using the belay device that passes the rope that is at the other end of the climber through it and you pull or let the rope loose depending on what the climber requires. The main lesson to learn from this was that it was essential that you never let go of this rope when pulling it taught because it would be the only way of saving the climber should they fall! Only when they abseil down would you be able to guide the rope with your hands loosely so that their abseil was a smooth ride.

After that lesson it was the job of the guides to set up the safety line for us and he showed his climbing skills attaching rope to the hooks that had been set up on the rock face, he was up there in a flash.

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The first climb was 5a grade according to the French system which was about 8metres high and I took to it pretty well getting up in a short space of time. The abseiling down from it was great fun.

We then tackled the next climb which was a 5b and 12 metres high and had this really tricky pass that required alot of strength to pull yourself up which I was dead chuffed with when I made it up to the top.

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We alternated amongst us three until we all made it spurring each other on but unfortunately Anya was finding it tough so wasn't able to continue before we stopped for lunch, which included the standard sticky rice, fish, chilli mix and river weed all of which was very tasty and I ate a little too much and found the next climb a little uncomfortable.

The last climb was a -6a climb which was 25 metres high. The first part of it was the hardest part as you had to get over a ledge before you came to a rock face with loads of small holes which was good for climbing but they were also really spikey so you had to grit your teeth a bit. I couldn't take my phone up to get a picture to show you but was I rewarded with a fantastic view of the mountain range that circles Luang Prabang.

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After finishing that climb I was on cloud 9 and knew that I had to take this up when I get back home, I also knew that the rest of my travels would offer some good places to climb so you will be sure to hear about it if I do .

The boat ride back was a little longer as we went up stream dodging one or two rocks that were perturbing due to the lower level of the river but was a smooth ride and as soon we docked and made our way back to the office it wasn't long before Sarah met up with me and we spent that evening finding about each others day.

I was thankful to get an early night to rest.

Stay tuned for more tales

Dan

Posted by doyledan 02:21 Archived in Laos

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