Sunday, October 24, 2010

Searching for the Lost Climb.. (and bolts.. and anchors.. )

Two weekends ago, I was given a chance to participate in a climbing recce trip by EA-san to Ipoh. A few years back, Mammut and Camp5 were invited to set up a natural climbing area at the back of "The Lost World of Tambun", and ever since then, this area has been visited by many climbers from all around the world. Well, me, missing home and parents and all, decided to follow EA-san on this trip, and well, just to have fun too.

There were 4 of us on this trip, EA-san, AS, YK and me. We took the night bus from GoldenMile Tower (Konsortium) to Ipoh and arrived at Medan Gopeng at about 6am in the morning. I called Dad, who picked us up and brought us all home to freshen up first.


The guys unpacked some of their stuff and so, we're all set for Ipoh dim sum breakfast and the recce climb.

Sunway City in Tambun is quite a new housing/ business area although its been here the past few years. To get to the walls, one has to pay the entrance fees to the theme park (there is another way, though). We went there early in the morning to recce the area and arrived at the theme park at about 9am. As the park only opens at 11am (bummer..) we tried asking the staff if they can issue us the tickets earlier for us to enter. As usual, they dillied and dallied here and there, "trying" to look like they were busy. Oh well.. wait and wait. Luckily, not too long after that, one of the park's supervisor came out of his office. We asked for his help, and immediately he asked his staff to help us get in. Finally!! We can go CLIMB!

OK, so we all got tagged, coughed out the dough (RM41... PM me for more details ;) ;) ...) and followed the staff to the climbing walls. It was way at the back of the park, and was accessible through a locked gate. Lo and behold, the "Needle" was there. Hmm.. it wasn't as tall as I imagined it to be, buuut.. nevertheless.. it was tall. Alright, time to get prepared and set up the gears, but more importantly, get the mosquito coils burning. This area was infested with them.

Mosquito coils to the rescue~~

AS went to recce the routes with the simple topo maps that we had from the Internet. OK, let's start with something simple, a 5c named "Triathlon". AS lead the way up easily and got the rope set. This become out warm-up route.

The next route was "Nasi Kuning", a 6A route. This one was a bit tricky, as the bolts were a bit loose. AS tightened it on the way up, and well.. Sunway should pay us for maintenance. I went up the "Triathlon" first to warm up, then to try lead climbing, I went up again. First, with a top rope tied in, and finally, the moment of truth came, and I lead up without the top rope. It was super fun and scary at the same time!!! The exhilarating feeling of climbing, yet the scary feeling of falling without a safeguard. I loved it!!! After that, I gave "Nasi Kuning" a top rope try and I was super sweaty by the time I got down.

Up the 'Yellow Rice'

With the sun coming in, we decided to do the "Needle" next. The easiest route 5c (30m), aptly named "Taik Kera" was tucked in between the "Needle" and the wall behind. To get to the route, we had to climb up a rocky and slippery slope. Here comes the confusion, the bolts were hard to see. The first bolt was quite high for this route, and so we were quite doubtful of its grading. Nevertheless, AS and EA-san prepped to tackle this wall.

Using the tree as an anchor

The climb to the first bolt was... scary. The wall was hollow and we were not sure where the route leads to. AS continued up, one bolt at a time, till halfway through. He came down, and so it was ES-san's turn. EA-san was "raring" to go.. hmm.. sorta.. well, anyways, he tied in, got all the runners, and started up. (Btw, my first lead belaying too!!) .. and.. one by one (literally) he got all the runners in and reach the TOP!!! yay!!! We have conquered the "Taik Kera";) ;)!! I lowered EA-san down, and at the bottom, we had an interesting review of the route, esp at the top.

Just getting in the first bolt... so high!

YK up next, and EA-san will belay him. AS went recce-ing around and wanted to check out the other routes. There was a 4b (30m high??!!) called "Roots and Berries" next to the fence. It looked easy enough from below, but looks waaaay high to be a 4b.. hmm, the map says 20m.. was the map wrong. Nevermind, my time to try leading again. I tie in, got enough runners, and start out. The first bolt was high, and I was worried. Slowly, slowly, ok... managed to get the first one in. Here was where everything turned downhill. I managed to put the second one in, but as I was trying to get to the third one, I fell and scraped my shin over the ledge... ouch... skin out... bleeding.. I asked to be lowered. AS went to get the Medikit for me.. and I was still .. OUCH!!. ok ok.. tahan tahan. Lucky my MTB injuries from 2 weeks before (at the exact same spot) healed liao, if not the scrape would have been worse. OK... fixed myself up, but think that there will be no more leading for me this trip. Oh well... EA-san came by, and said that the 4b route was typo-ed on the map. It was switched with the 5c next to it. Damn....

Me on my second lead before the fall..

OK, so YK and EA-san continued to climb at the new routes, and AS and I went to clean up the "Needle" area. I gave "Taik Kera" a try, but wasn't able to go up high. AS went up once more and managed to reach the top. Time to clean up and rejoin the other guys.

AS lead the next climb on "Low Battery" and this one was easy except for one crux. After the guys tried a few more climbs on the last two routes, everyone was tired and beat. Time to call it a day and hit the hot springs. We all packed up, tried not to smell the rope (and me, of the 3 guys), and were all set to go. Before leaving, we recce-ed the area a bit better, found the 9a "Clockwork Orange" and met up with the supervisor again (not on purpose).

Recce-ing the area

AS with the 9a

Group shot with "the Needle" behind us (the supervisor in red)

YK and EA-san went for a dip in the Hot Spring. I didn't want to with my injury, and AS forgot to bring shorts. After that, a nice shower and we're all clean again!!

At the Hot Spring

Bro came and picked us up from Tambun. Mum and Dad were hungry, and well.. when one is new to Ipoh, there can only be one place to eat dinner -Lou Wong Nga Choy Kay and Hor Fun!! (and the guys didn't believe me at first that Taugeh is an entire dish itself!!!) ..

Converted Believers!!

We had a hearty dinner and ended the night with a drive around Ipoh and a stop at Old Town Kopitiam. Was dead by the time we reached home and went to zzz almost immediately.

The trip turned out to be all good fun. I had a chance at Lead Climbing and Belaying and I got to go home. It's time to keep practising and get better at it. My shin wound is almost healed now, and luckily no fracture. Now I miss home again... oh well... till the next trip home..

Climb on!!

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