Climbing natural beyond SingaporeWednesday, November 05, 2014
This post follows on from JW's (my hubby) previous entry on climbing. Interestingly, some friends had earlier commented that this top...
I thought about it. Sometimes, it is the flower which has an oddly-coloured petal among the others that also makes it interesting.
In any case, health and fitness is part and parcel of looking good and feeling great, which really isn't that far off from what my fashion and beauty posts aim to achieve, isn't it?
There’s something magical about Krabi. When my then team captain told me about a climbing paradise called Krabi, I thought she was just exaggerating. And boy, was I wrong!
Climbing for two weeks by the Andaman Sea on beautiful limestone crags amidst the rustic habitat of Tonsai as well as pitting myself physically and mentally against the natural features on different routes, the simple pleasures of life couldn’t be more stark. A trip which I intended to mark the end of my climbing years (prior to my all-important final year in university), turned out to be the beginning of my epiphany that climbing was not so much a competitive or athletic pursuit but a way of life...
Climbing in Krabi is economical as it is near Singapore, with quality food and accommodation at affordable prices. With an abundance of 6s, Krabi is worth the journey for climbers who can send 6c comfortably.
Two weeks in southern France, two weeks of self-discovery, two weeks of climbing lessons from Mother Nature. Prior to Ceuse, I paid scant attention to footwork coz I thrived on overhangs and powerful moves which were more acrobatic and offered greater thrill. But at its Berlin crag, I was completely humbled and mind blown as I was challenged to hone myself in a dimension of climbing unfamiliar to me. The handholds and footholds were so sketchy, I experienced feet cramps! Well, it probably made me a more wholesome climber than I was before.
The cool climate, limestone features and scenic countryside of Ceuse were an absolute pleasure to behold, not forgetting to also mention the croissants and pizzas which tasted heavenly. The only downside was the daily 45-min trek (which I grew to love) and painfully icy sensation on cold days (which I never accustomed to). Cost isn’t much of an issue except for the air ticket. I spent less than S$500 for two weeks of camping and climbing in Ceuse. The classic routes are generally 7s and higher, so be prepared to train and level up for Ceuse.
Being true to my tick-list for crags, I actually made a two-week trip to Rodellar with my non-climber wife (i.e. Regina).
Located in an obscure part of Spain, little did I expect both of us to enjoy it so much! Here we were, not knowing what to expect – which really is the beauty of such trips. Here, the routes suited my style of climbing – massive overhangs, powerful moves and big holds. Coupled with the ease of access to routes, Rodellar was an ideal destination.
I also loved the sunny weather which was seldom threatened unlike other colder parts of Europe. It probably spilt over to the local culture which was jovial and so full of energy albeit the laidback lifestyle. The idyllic area of Rodellar was certainly worth the 5-hour drive from Barcelona. Decent food and accommodation were also easily found and reasonably priced – it only cost about 40 euros a day for our own stone hut (see top-left photo above!). While Rodellar doesn't boast scenery as picturesque or calming as Ceuse and Krabi, it is still extremely pleasant and offered interesting places to visit in the vicinity such as the UNESCO World Heritage town of Alquezar. It also has a wide range of quality routes from 6s to 8s, so there is no dearth of choices to climb.
Climbing is a very individual yet communal sport. The adrenaline and enjoyment from the challenge of your own physical and mental limits on the beautiful creations of nature somehow makes the entire experience very much a spiritual form of harmony between oneself and the world.
I also relish how climbing has brought me onto the less trodden paths which lead to amazing crags and breath-taking places. Perhaps someday, I will again laze by the pristine shores of Krabi to hear the waves gently lapping or lie on the rolling fields of Ceuse to watch shooting stars across the quiet evening sky.