CMRCA Climbing Blog

 

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Welcome to the Family

When we began in December of 2002, we were just 4 people passionate about climbing. Since then our full time staff has grown to more than 30 people with a passion for adventure, new experiences and intercultural connection.  This fall we have been lucky to welcome five new members of our family.  Meet – Harry, Alan, Aey, Alex, and Meghan!

We asked them – what has been like to become a part of the CMRCA Family? What has been your best adventure experience so far with CMRCA? What are you looking forward to the most in 2016?

Harry Vowell, Operations Director

harryI’ve only been here for 3 months but it feels like a decade. CMRCA truly has a family-like relationship. Understanding other people’s perceptions and working to develop productive individual and team relationships is a dynamic that is highly valued. I look forward to growing and developing as a part of the CMRCA family and to the many adventures that await us all.

Taking part in my first marathon at this year’s Chiang Mai Marathon, was both a physically and mentally challenging activity that helped push my boundaries. Bo (CMRCA Climbing Guide) helped me keep pace throughout the first quarter of the course and increased his pace through the remaining distance. I fell back a little, but it was always refreshing to see him at the U-Turn points, boosting my energy to try to catch up with him, but he was the stronger runner. Even though it took a bit of a toll on my joints towards the end of the run, but to run to the finish line and see everyone at CMRCA cheering, laughing and smiling as I approached was truly a great moment. I have now signed up for my next marathon in February 2016 and Bo is looking to complete at least 3 more in 2016. Live Adventure!

I look forward to facing new challenges and conquering existing ones in both my professional and personal walks of life. I hope to succeed with the support of my friends and family here at CMRCA. A more specific example is that I hope to become an active climber. This will require discipline and dedication from my side, but with the help and support of both the professional and friendly climbing guides at CMRCA, I’m stoked at what 2016 holds for me.

Alan Avedovech, Adventure Program Manager

Alan PhotoI feel so lucky to be a part of the CMRCA family!  Moving to Thailand from another part of the world was a huge and slightly frightening decision but thanks to the support from CMRCA I have transitioned fairly smoothly. They made it so easy for me by organizing things to set me up for success. A one month home stay that turned into two months and a lifelong friendship, Thai language classes, and welcoming and supportive arms. All these things helped me understand this new place I call home and I am eternally grateful to CMRCA for welcoming me to their family!

CMRCA is one of the most dynamic places I have ever worked… organized chaos I like to think. If we aren’t working hard we are playing hard as a family!  My favorite adventure memory to date with this family is the staff retreat where we all got to go kayaking through the jungle. Some of the staff had never even swam before and here they were going whitewater kayaking – I can’t forget to mention the after party!  We all survived and had a great time out on the water. Some people conquered fears and some were able to give support to those who needed. Not only was this a fun adventure but it was an amazing way for us all to connect with each other and to prepare ourselves for the upcoming busy season.

I’m looking forward to having one season under my belt and completely understanding how I can help support my team!  I’m looking forward to becoming more rooted within the CMRCA family and to help with the success of the business. We are growing so fast and I just can’t wait to see what this next year brings. Where will our guides go and climb? What trainings will we do? It is all still so new to me and I’m so excited for all of the adventures we will have together!  Watch out 2016!

Aey, Marketing & Events Coordinator

CMRCA fAey Photoamily is very interesting and I have been learning all the time. All product and service are very challenging, I wish to develop myself and grow up with this family. The best adventure experience so far is the cultural diversity and to work with many people from different countries. I am looking forward to exploring new things, to learn more about new people, get more healthy and enjoy more time with my family in 2016

Alex, Program Coordinator

Alex - PhotoI am passionate about doing adventure activities like biking, white water rafting, ziplining, and climbing. I made decision to become a part of CMRCA family to fill up on these experiences. My best adventure experience with CMRCA for now is to grow up with CMRCA family. As I am new here and have no idea much about this and will tell you later for sure. In 2016, I am looking forward to exploring new places that I haven’t been – travel is the best answer for me that I am looking for this year.

Meghan O’Hern, Princeton in Asia Fellow

Meghan - PhotoThe CMRCA family has been incredibly hospitable and welcoming! Everyone is supportive and great to collaborate with. The best adventure experience so far was the jungle kayaking at the staff retreat. Chiang Dao was beautiful and it was really fun. I am looking forward to learning more about a joining more student programs in 2016.

 

 

Our Prices are Climbing… Here’s Why!

Attention climbers, cavers and adventure enthusiasts! CMRCA is committed to providing the best adventure services in Asia and maintaining a commitment to sustainable practices in the development of Crazy Horse Buttress. In order to continue to provide quality services of an international standard, we will be increasing our prices at the end of 2015. We maintain the same commitment to community and a passion for adventure as we work together to continue developing climbing in Northern Thailand. We thank you for your continued support and partnership in building climbing in Thailand.

Please note: The Thai Authority of Tourism requires that CMRCA provide insurance for all users of our services. Therefore we will be increasing the price of climber transportation to fulfill the Thailand Authority of Tourism legal requirement. Beginning 01 December 2015, every time you use our climber transportation service, you will be covered for THB 500,000 in medical expenses and THB 3,000,000 for severe injuries and loss of life. This coverage applies to transportation to and from the climbing area as well as while you are climbing. The insurance lasts for 24 hours from the time you leave the office. We understand that this may be a slight inconvenience. We apreciate your willingess to support us and hope that the added benefit of insurance coverage will help you in your adventures.

We look forward to an incredible year of adventure with you . Thank you for your support and as always, Climb ON!

Khon Kaen Bouldering Festival 2016

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Join us for an unforgettable two day bouldering festival event in Khon Kaen presented by Black Diamond Thailand. This year’s event includes an action packed two days of climbing on fresh new bouldering terrain in the capital of Isaan.  Choose to participate as either a competitor or a spectator and gain access tot the full event, discount gear, prize raffles, free Saturday night dinner, free camping, event festivities and incredible climbing and
bouldering.

EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION FEES (BEFORE DEC. 5, 2015)
competitors: 995THB
spectators: 450THB

REGULAR ADMISSION FEES (AFTER DEC. 5, 2015)
competitors: 1250THB
spectators: 550THB

Register Here!
This year’s event includes a bouldering competition on the scintillating sandstone of Nam Phong National Park. Choose form more than 100 problems including up to 25 top-rope problems to ensure you have the best exposure to this incredible climbing venue. Additional competitions will be held throughout the event including the Pull-Up Competition and more. Free prize give aways complement a fun and festive atmosphere in the climber camping zone along with access to the discount equipment tents.

What’s Included?
This year’s event is action packed to ensure you get your fill of bouldering and the Thailand climbing scene. Your entry fee gets you the following:

Competitors’ Fees Include:
Welcome & Registration packet filled with discount coupons, free samples and more.
Competition topo & guide to the boulders.
Unlimited access to the bouldering area on 16 and 17 January.
Two days’ Accident & Medical insurance to cover you while climbing,
Two nights’ free camping.
Access to the Khon Kaen Boulder Fest Equipment Village where you will receive huge discounts on the best brands.
Free event t-shirt.
Event dinner on Saturday, 16 January 2016
Free-entry into the Khon Kaen Boulder Fest Gear Raffle
Free access to climbing clinics
Free access to evening competitions including the Pull-Up Competition, Milk Crate Stacking Competition and more.

Spectators’ Fees Include:
Two days’ Accident & Medical insurance to cover you while climbing,
Two nights’ free camping.
Access to the Khon Kaen Boulder Fest Equipment Village where you will receive huge discounts on the best brands.
Event dinner on Saturday, 16 January 2016
Free access to evening competitions including the Pull-Up Competition, Milk Crate Stacking Competition and more.

Entrance to Nam Phong National Park is NOT included in the registration fees. Both competitors and spectators will be charged an access fee to the Nam Phong National Park by the National Park Service. Fees for the National Park are as follows:

Thai Nationals
20 THB

Foreign Nationals
100 THB

Participants are expected to bring their own sleeping bags, tents and other sleeping equipment. The national park will have equipment for rent for those who do not have a tent or sleeping bag.

PRESENTING SPONSOR: Black Diamond Thailand

OFFICIAL SPONSORS: Poda Store, Friction Labs, Klean Kanteen Thailand, Sterling Rope Thailand, and Mad Rock Thailand

AMGA SPI

We are excited to host another round of American Mountain Guides Association

(AMGA) Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) courses next month. If you are not familiar

with the AMGA…

 

“The AMGA’s founders were hardcore climbers and skiers

who understood the outdoor culture thoroughly. They

realized the soul of these sports didn’t have to be

compromised by organization. Organization could instead

serve to bring the community together in a revolutionary

way. It could provide mountain guides with resources,

services, and credentials to boost their careers, but also

with connections to each other and to the larger community

of guides and clients across the country and around the

globe. These are the ways we lead and promote the guiding

community.”

 

The AMGA has developed a standard of practice amongst climbing guides in

America. Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures (CMRCA) has recognized the

importance of standard practices and we feel they reflect closely to our

company’s core values. We feel standards will help unify Thailand’s guiding

community and spread a value of professionalism and quality in guiding

programs throughout the country.

Blog Post

We currently have 7 SPI certified guides working at CMRCA and this month we

hope to raise that number to 10. Not only are we certifying our own guides, but

we are offering the course to general public as well. This means local Thais are

now getting certified and using the AMGA standard here in Thailand. We have

people signed up from all over the country and we are excited to spread this

standard nationwide.

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If you are interested in participating in one of these courses please check out this

link (http://www.thailandclimbing.com/spi/) to access more information about

the program.

 

Off the Beaten Path

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This week was our annual CMRCA staff retreat! On Wednesday we packed our bags and headed out to explore Chiang Dao. We had an outstanding two days setting goals for 2016 and coming together as a family.
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Ninety five kilometers north of Chiang Mai, sits a small green creek that twists itself through undisturbed woods and quiet farmland. We arrived here, anxious, excited, and unaware of the challenges that lay before us. While some of us were avid kayakers, others had never stepped foot in water.  Nevertheless, everyone put on their lifejackets and headed downstream. For the next few hours we were floating (and capsizing) on the mighty Mae Taeng river.
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The next day was filled with games and activities that forced us to work together. This gave us an opportunity to grow as individuals and as a family.
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While the retreat was fun and relaxing, it definitely pushed us out of our comfort zones. Overall, we had an incredible time laughing, learning, and preparing for the year ahead.

Bombing in Bangkok

On Monday, 17 August, a bomb exploded in central Bangkok. It was a senseless act of violence and Thai authorities continue to search for those responsible for this attack. All of us at CMRCA send our deepest condolences to the families of those that were killed and continue to recover in Bangkok hospitals.

The attack appears to be an isolated incident and there have not been any attacks outside of Bangkok and in our region. We are committed to the health and safety of our customers and community. We will keep our local and global network up to date in the coming days.

CMRCA guiding, store, and programming services remain open for regular business hours. We are gearing up for a busy high season and hope to see you at the shop, crag or out on your next adventure soon.

Co-Founder Josh Morris Gets a Mention in Chiang Mai CityLife

Earlier this month, CMRCA co-founder Josh Morris took CityLife on a tour of Crazy Horse Buttress. Part history, part geology, and part adventure have a read to learn a bit about the beginning of Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures and the development of rock climbing at Crazy Horse.

You can find the full article online here.

18.4.15 – Community Crank 2015!

Learning, Skiing, Ice Climbing, Scrapping Ice off Windshields: Phi’s trip to the U.S.

Earlier in March, I had the opportunity to travel to the U.S. to for the NCCPS conference in Boulder, Colorado. It was definitely like a dream come true. The conference combined two things that I am passionate about, which are experiential education and meeting new people. I feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity. To me, this experience is all about progression both personally and professionally.

When an opportunity like this one comes knocking at your door, it’s important to answer it with open arms and grab it. That’s my philosophy on progression.

Phi at Arches National Park
Phi at Arches National Park

Although this was a business trip, it is hard to see it as work but rather an adventure and life experience. I got to meet so many wonderful people and make new friends who share the common interest in experiential education. I felt the energy that all of these people brought to the conference, and I could feel their passion and eagerness to go out in the field and change people’s lives. It is hard to truly communicate how this trip has made me feel but absolute joy and optimism for the future.

Another great thing about this trip was that I got to see how people in the U.S. live their lives and how their culture is different from Thai culture. The U.S. is such a diverse and dynamic place and I was so fascinated by all the different cultures and places I got to see. It reminds me about the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone and experience new things. On this trip, I also got to try ice climbing, skiing and scrapping ice off windshields. Two of the three things were incredibly fun.

This trip was certainly one of the best experiences and I will never forget it. I have learned and gained so much and cannot wait to apply new knowledge into my courses.
Open your mind. Do what you love. Put your passion into it. Get yourself outside to see the world. “It is a great day to be alive.”

NCCPS conference
NCCPS conference

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CMRCA Athlete, Puntarika Tunyavanich talks about her first 8a ascents!

This past week, Puntarika Tunyavanich (Mean), a Thailand National Team climber and CMRCA sponsored athlete, made her first ascents of 8a at Nam Pha Pa Yai camp in Saraburi. Not only was she able to break into the next grade, but she was able to send two 8a routes in one day! That’s some serious endurance and stamina!

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Mean finishing up on La Roca (8a) at Nam Pha Pa Yai. Photo By Ben Grasser.

 

We did a quick recap with her on this impressive achievements and here’s what she has to say about her ascents.

Can you talk about the routes?

“I managed to send two 8a routes! One is called Les Chemins de Kanmandou and that took me 4 tries and another is called La Roca and it took me three tries. They are both really hard!” The first route was about 37 meters so it was pretty long. My rope just barely made it to the ground and didn’t have to climb down a tree like some other routes. There are 8 really hard sections but I made through them using mostly knee bar. There were 1 – 2 meter of good rest. I was super pumped and breathing was so crucial on this route. The second route was a bit more bouldery. It was about 30 meter long. Because of the style and the small crimps at cruxes, I had to try really had to hold on with my fingers. The second route was definitely super hard and felt like I almost didn’t make it.

 

What made you decide to try your first 8a’s?

My trainer from Sweden, Harry Denanto, came to visit and he wanted to climb some 8a routes, so I decided that it was the time to try it as well.

 

Did you train in particular for these routes?

Yes, I did. Harry sent me some workout routines to follow and I spent two months training.

 

How confident were you about sending the routes?

Honestly, I wasn’t at all. I was lucky to have Harry who could give me really useful tips, advice and suggestion on where to rest and how to climb efficiently on these routes. With him there, I was able to gather enough confidence and courage to give these routes my best. I was happy to be able to climb them! I also did a little prayer asking for some lucks (hahaha).

 

Was the weather a challenge?

The weather was definitely not helping. It was so hot. I had to constantly chalk up because my hands sweat so much. I was sweating all over and that made everything more slippery and hard to grip. There was also no wind and I felt like I was going to faint.

 

So what’s next? More 8a’s or onto 8a+?

I definitely want to try to onsight or redpoint all 8a routes at Nam Pha Pa Yai before moving on to the next grade.

 

Mean is one of Thailand’s best climbers and has been traveling all over the world representing Thailand at various world-class competitions. She recently took first place in bouldering at the Asian University Climbing Competition, 6th place in lead at the Asian Championship and she also competed at the World Championship last year. Read more about her Mean and her competition successes here.

CMRCA would like to thank Ben Grasser and Nam Pha Pa Yai Camp for allowing us to use these photos for the blog!

Mean on La Roca (8a), Nam Pha Pa Yai Camp. Photo By Ben Grasser.
Mean on La Roca (8a), Nam Pha Pa Yai Camp. Photo By Ben Grasser.
Mean on La Roca (8a), Nam Pha Pa Yai Camp. Photo By Ben Grasser.
Mean on La Roca (8a), Nam Pha Pa Yai Camp. Photo By Ben Grasser.

 

Mean on La Roca (8a), Nam Pha Pa Yai Camp. Photo By Ben Grasser.
Mean on La Roca (8a), Nam Pha Pa Yai Camp. Photo By Ben Grasser.

 

Mean on La Roca (8a), Nam Pha Pa Yai Camp. Photo By Ben Grasser.
Mean on La Roca (8a), Nam Pha Pa Yai Camp. Photo By Ben Grasser.

 

After climbing Les Chemins de Kanmandou (8a), Nam Pha Pa Yai Camp. Photo By Ben Grasser.

 

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