Headgames & Heartache

Having met Geoff, we agreed to get somewhere to stay that was a bit more comfortable. The shack I was holed up in, technically did the job. But when your midnight ablutions are filled with trepidation about falling through the floor, it’s time to find somewhere new.

We checked into a much nicer resort up the road for only 50b per night more. £1.25 well spent i think. From here we repacked our bags and headed for Railay.

As much as we wanted to climb in the mecca that is Ton Sai, all the grades are well above us. Most of them start at 6c and go all the way up as hard as there is. This is why I was hoping to find someone to climb with who is significantly better than us. We both climb about 6a and lead about 5’s. The only way, really, to push that grade higher is to climb with someone a few levels above you. Having a good time here isn’t dependant on climbing hard grades but it would open up a few more options for us.

We headed for a crag Geoff had spotted. It looked good, and while we struggled to find it in the guide book, we optimistically thought we could do the routes. The bubbly rock had loads of big hand holds, pockets and natural protection. That last bit made me nervous.

Natural protection is basically where there is a hole in the rock that you can thread some climbing cord through. This is then tied in a loop and you clip your rope to it. Fine. When its in good condition, it’s the best protection available on very bubbly rock. But one route here had some sketchy tat protecting it and I wasn’t comfortable. I’m sure it would have been fine but it got in my head and I bailed.

In the end we did 3 routes this afternoon. All very easy just to get into the game again. It was great moving on real rock again, i could feel the familiar moves coming back to me. It’s completely different to climbing indoors and I’ve missed it.

Back at the bungalow, Geoff gave me a book to read. It’s called,

Do The Birds Still Sing In Hell

It’s about a survivor of the concentration camps in the 2nd World War. Not something I would usually pick up, I find the whole history of it abhorrent. This book does not change that view. It’s very graphic and detailed about the systemic suffering. At times it’s hard to believe what I’m reading is not fiction but reality. When that realization hits, i have to stop reading for a bit. It’s horrific. But, this book is a bit different. It claims to be the greatest love story of WW2 and I’ve just got to why this is the case.

I’ve only got the days with Geoff to read it so not much time. But I’m hooked, it’s a compellingly, uncomfortable read that keeps me turning pages. I’m 1/3rd the way through right now, I’ll let you know more when I’ve finished.