Dear CMRCA Community,
On 31 July of this year, I stood on the summit of the Grand Teton in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was one of the most beautiful days of the year with crystal clear weather and a bright blue sky that seemed to go on forever. I was standing on top of the summit with four other CMRCA family members. My lovely wife Kat, Guide / Facilitator Surachet (Add) Kongsingh, former staff member Somjai (Pui) Miller and friend and CMRCA jack-of-all-trades, Brendan (Ben) Carroll. Not only that but we happened to bump into the Founder of Black Diamond Equipment, Peter Metcalf and another climber who recognized us and shouted,
“hey! I bought these climbing shoes from you in Chiang Mai! I climbed at Crazy Horse this winter and it was awesome!”
Ben and I had just climbed ahead of what was probably the first all Thai ascent of the Upper Exum Ridge of the Grand Teton, one of America’s classic routes. Add had just finished a 3 month internship in the US that included a WEMT certification with WMA and a guiding internship in Boulder, Colorado with the Colorado Mountain School. Now he was putting his guiding techniques to use guiding Kat and Pui up the route.
I took a moment to think about the experience. In 2004, we decided that we wanted to create a program that would help lift the standard of climbing in Asia by exposing our guides to climbing outside of their home crag. Though it took 9 years to get the program off the ground, Add was now the third participant in the program and had helped the program grow to new heights. For me, this was the perfect way to sum up our progression as an organization and our our efforts to inspire an outdoor lifestyle that motivates people to live more sustainably.
The dictionary defines the word Progression as, “a steady movement to a more advanced state or place.” Standing on top of the Tetons laid the foundation for the metaphor of progression within our own organization.
It’s been an exciting year and we have accomplished a lot. We began last year with an initiative to Bolt Heart Wall and with your support have been able to add 16 new lines to Heart Wall. In February we opened a warehouse to meet the growing needs of outdoor gear in Thailand. In April, we went back to Pha Daeng Cave in Northern Thailand and finished rigging to the end of the cave while also aiding up a blank wall at the end of the cave. It was a great opportunity to revisit a cave that has been in our minds for a long time and continue to explore and look for new possibilities of an exit in the enormous system. We took a team of guides to the US to spend some time climbing on the beautiful sandstone towers of Moab and get certified to provide climbing wall instructor certifications in Asia. We upgraded our staff to WFR certification while also offering a WFA course to the public to help create a better trained adventure community.
We were able to send Add to the USA and also Thai National Team Athlete Puntarika Tunyavanich (Nong Mean) to compete at the famous Psicocomp in Salt Lake City, Utah. In October we hosted professional climbing coach Obe Carrion in Bangkok and Chiang Mai to share his experience with the climbing community and help inspire the climbing community. Last month we finished an advanced guide training with IFMGA guide Joseph Thompson as part of our exchange with the Colorado Mountain School. We have had trainings with team building gurus Tim Walther and Jim Cain, and we have welcomed a number of new people to our family to help us continue to deliver adventure programs and equipment to our community and partners.
2016 is looking even better and there are some exciting things coming your way including an iPhone app for Climbing in Northern Thailand, new crag development, the Reel Rock Tour, continuing the launch of Progression Leadership, hosting over 800 students on our student programs, and other projects in our organization that we think you will be psyched to hear about. None of this could be done without the commitment and dedication of our team and your incredible support.
As you look ahead to 2016, we wish you a happy and healthy new year. We hope it’s a year in which you can stand on top of mountains and look back at where you have come from and all the hard work and effort it took to get there. Thank you for being part of our journey and we look forward to the adventure ahead with you.
CMRCA Crew with Peter Metcalf (Founder, Black Diamond Equipment) on the Grand Teton, Jackson Hole, WY.
Add, Pui, Kat on the Grand Teton, Jackson Hole, WY.
Pha Daeng Caving Expedition 2015 in Northern Thailand.
Gee rappelling into Pha Daeng Cave in Northern Thailand.
Taw, Josh, Mario, Add and Alan on climbing trip in Moab, Utah.
Can’t get enough desert towers! Moab, Utah
Puntarika Tunyavanich (Nong Mean) competing at the Psicocomp in Salt Lake City, UT.
North Face Athlete, Emily Harrington, and Puntarika Tunyavanich (Nong Mean) competing at the Psicocomp in Salt Lake City, UT.
Former pro climber and Mad Rock Designer, Obe Carrion, setting routes with CMRCA guide team in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The force is strong! CMRCA family movie night to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.