Noppadon Uppakham (Taw) is the dedicated head instructor of Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures Co., Ltd. After serving in the military, Taw joined the CMRCA team as an Assistant Instructor in 2003. Over the next two years, Taw gained the skills necessary to teach lead climbing courses for CMRCA. He also became a staff belayer and route setter for the 2006 Asian Indoor Games. After a 10th-place finish at the Bangkok Bouldering Competition in 2006, Taw stopped focusing on competitive climbing, and dedicated himself instead to learning about quality instruction, cave passage, and crag development. In 2007, Taw became CMRCA’s Head Instructor. Since then, he has been instrumental to the development of Crazy Horse and the standardization of CMRCA’s instruction and staff training.
In the five years since Taw began instructing, he has led thousands of students on rock climbing, caving and rappelling programs in Northern Thailand. His quiet demeanor commands respect while igniting students’ curiosity. Taw is an incredible motivator and his attention to safety and detail is infectious. His instruction style infuses students with a deep respect for the activity and a strong awareness of safe methods of participation.
Taw is an experienced caving guide and exploratory caver, and has helped to push new cave passage below Crazy Horse Buttress. In addition, Taw has studied bolting with Paul Collis, Josh Morris, and Francis Hayden, and has added ten new routes at Crazy Horse in the past year. As part of the bolting process, Taw gained a familiarity with Traditional climbing and anchor building.
Taw’s experience in the military gave him an appreciation of protocols and procedure, and as Head Instructor, Taw has put that to use, developing climbing course outlines, staff training manuals, equipment lists, and safety protocols to standardize CMRCA’s guiding and staff training programs. As Head Instructor, Taw is ultimately responsible for training, testing, and developing the rest of CMRCA’s instructor staff.
Taw is certified in Wilderness First Aid and Safety and in CPR by the Thailand Ministry of Health. Taw is an internationally recognized belayer as certified by the ISCF (International Sport Climbing Federation).