CMRCA began as a small guiding service 16 years ago. We were a small team driven by a passion for climbing and a desire to use climbing and outdoor adventure as a way to encourage others to play outside and care for the environment.
As we look back on 16 years it’s hard to believe how far we have come and how much climbing and adventure pursuits have grown in SE Asia. We have never forgotten our roots, always in pursuit of adventure. For us we adventure every time we push ourselves into the unknown, whether it be climbing an unclimbed buttress, pushing passage in virgin cave passage, or even venturing into a local market to try unknown foods, speak new languages or generally put ourselves in unfamiliar territory. The lessons of climbing and authentic outdoor experience help guide us in how we run our business and build community. Though we began with climbing, caving, rescue, trekking, international certification programs and leadership training and development are now major parts of our experience.
Throughout all of our years of adventure, rarely have we experienced a true adventure without unexpected obstacles or considerable challenge. In fact it is these challenges and obstacles that make the adventure such a meaningful experience. So while the temporary closure at Crazy Horse Buttress is a difficult challenge for our business and our community we know it will reopen soon and we see it as an opportunity to grow and learn just as we do with every mountain we climb, cave we explore and adventure we create. Sometimes those lessons take time to reveal themselves and it is that knowledge that drives us to put passion and effort into reopening climbing at Crazy Horse Buttress and other areas in Northern Thailand.
Despite the challenges at Crazy Horse, when we step back and look at the year, there is much to celebrate: We launched a new website. We funded the expansion of more than 100 new routes at Crazy Horse Buttress and hosted a bolting clinic to educate climbers on what it takes to bolt a route.
We collaborated with Mae Thongbai of Mae Jo Bandin to host a sustainable building workshop which resulted in the construction of a new bathroom at Crazy Horse made of mud bricks, made by climbers and community members.
We hosted the Thailand premiere of The Dawn Wall and brought the film to the big screen with the first ever showing of a climbing film in a movie theater in Thailand. The event was such a success that we will host Reel Rock 13 on the big screen to continue our effort to expose more people to a life of adventure (https://www.thailandclimbing.com/courses/reelrock13).
After more than two years of effort and collaboration with local communities and government officials in Lampang, CMRCA has been successful in beginning the development of a new climbing area in Lampang.
The Lampang climbing destination represents an exciting opportunity to work with the government and create a new, sustainable and repeatable model of economic development for adventure travel in rural communities throughout Thailand and SE Asia.
Perhaps most exciting was CMRCA’s participation in the Tham Luang Cave Rescue in Mae Sai. CMRCA’s experience in climbing, caving, rescue training and equipment distribution converged during the rescue allowing us to play a major role in the effort. CMRCA adjusted our course schedule to make staff available for the rescue effort and Progression Equipment provided equipment for the rescue.
Founder, Josh Morris acted as the chief international coordinator liaising between international cave rescue teams, the Thai Army and the Royal Thai Government. Noppadon Uppakham (Taw), lead caving and rescue instructor was one of the first rescuers in the cave on the 24th of June and stayed onsite until all of the boys were safely out of the cave. Mario Wild, Technical Manager and Surachet Kongsingh (Add), climbing and first aid instructor joined the effort on July 01.
During the days of the actual rescue 06 July to 11 July, Josh continued his role coordinating in the headquarters while Taw, Mario and Add worked with Vern Unsworth and CMRCA friends and partners Toto, Thep and Jojo in Chamber 02 installing and operating rope rescue systems that were used to move the boys through the cave between the end of the dive and the entrance.
It was a humbling and emotional experience for all of us that resulted in royal recognition. A detailed account of our role in the cave rescue can be found in the recent book by Matt Gutman, chief national correspondent of ABC (click here to access the book: https://www.thailandclimbing.com/blog/new-book-on-thai-cave-rescue)
The past 16 years of facilitating adventure experiences, providing rescue training, leading caving expeditions, developing new areas and building community have given us the skills and confidence needed to make an impact and are motivation to continue pushing into the unknown. Just as the success of the cave rescue in Chiang Rai shows us that anything is possible, we know that we have the community, skills and knowledge to overcome any obstacle we face. We thank you for your unending support and commitment throughout the years. We look forward to continuing the adventure with you into the new year and for many years to come.
From all of us at CMRCA and Progression Equipment, we wish you a happy and healthy new year filled with meaning and adventure.
Happy New Year
Josh and Kat Morris
CMRCA circa 2004
CMRCA Prepping Gear For The Rescue
CMRCA operating rope rescue systems during the rescue
The CMRCA team poses with the British Cave Rescue Council