Rock climbing, rock falling

Vang Vieng Travel Blog

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So we spent the last few days learning, or at least pretending to learn how to climb up vertical rocks! As I've discovered the unpleasant way, rock climbing is NOT for me. On Wednesday we started, met our climbing instructor Hoy (?) and all our climbing gear which includes a very attractive harness; the world's most uncomfortable shoes that curl your toes because apparently it's good for grip; a helmet, so save you from dropping rocks; and loads of quick-draws (those weird buckle type things that the rope goes through and apparently saves your life if you fall). We crossed the river on an extremely wobbily boat and went to some rock alleyway where it had just vertical rocks either side. Monkey man climbing instructor just scaled up the rock in the time it took me to blink and clipped the rope into the top bolt thingy (yes, I'm finding it hard to pick up the technical details!) and showed us all the safety stuff, and told us to treasure his precious rope- we have to keep it on a sheet so rock's and dirt don't get inbetween and go "rub rub rub, and eventually SNAP when you at the top". Okay. Definitely no rocks getting into this rope!

We started of doing top-rope which means the rope is clipped in from above so if we fall, we won't drop at all- provided the person 'belaying' us keeps the rope at 'tension' and 'locks' it. It was quite alright at first. Monkey man showed us techniques and stuff and we did 5 climbs. Sometimes Livia and I would try to cheat by whoever was belaying would pull the rope hard so they could kind of lift us up... didn't quite work out though. One climb was really hard and Livia had a bit of a tantrum as we had to do this weird 'frog' position to do it. Monkey man said that if I could do it and she didn't, she'd have to buy me dinner, so free food on the table I somehow managed to get up there, half crying all the time.

On Thursday we were leading which means the clippy things are BELOW you, so if you fall, you'll fall as far as your last clippy in place and a bit more! Yikes! Luckily we were just doing the climbs from yesterday so new were all the good hand holds were and stuff so it wasn't too bad. Body started aching though and on Friday my body totally gave up on me. As we were about to leave the hotel I rushed to the bathroom and puked up half on the floor, half in the toilet, half on the toilet seat, half on my foot, half on my clothes and the other fraction everywhere else. I realise, Asia has this wet room bathroom thing going on for a reason, they know their lack of hygiene results in this sort of thing all the time, so being a wet room it's just easy to wash the whole disaster of a mess down plug hole. So Friday was a rest and recovery day. I wasn't really that keen on going back today but Livia basically forced me as we'd already paid etc... so I went back and tried only a few climbs. She was determined to be awesome and did this crazy climb that was like in a corner of two rock faces... it's hard to explain. Anyway they all made me do one hard climb and I knew my body was weak and I got to this really hard bit and I was like "arghhh I'm slipping" And Monkey Man was like "put your foot down" Me: "which foot?" Him: "ANY FOOT" Me: "Arghhhhhhhhhhhh...." crash bang whallop. Fell down the damn cliff face about 2 metres! Omg. Only grazed my leg a little bit luckily and at least I was down now. And finished my rock climbing career. The "which foot any foot arghhh" scenario provides much entertain for us now anyway :)

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Vang Vieng
photo by: razorriome