In September of 2016, CMRCA began working closely with local and provincial government officials, the Thai Army and local villagers in Lampang to look at the possibility of developing a new climbing area that would promote economic development to a little known community. Nearly three years later, a stunning piece of limestone has the beginnings of becoming a world class rock climbing destination.
The crag stands more than 120 meters tall, towering over a stunning Karst landscape filled with caves and featured limestone. CMRCA has developed 32 routes so far with plans to have 50 routes by the end of July. Climbing in Lampang offers a true sense of adventure and an incredible opportunity to contribute to a new project that will bring new economy to a little known community. Meals are provided by local restaurants. Trail work and maintenance of the area is provided by local labor. Overnight trips are available in local homestays. We currently have a team of bolters working hard to continue to develop more routes. A semi-regular bus service to the climbing area is currently offered (click here to check it out) as well as climbing courses (click here to see our offerings) and rock climbing adventure experiences (click here to see more about those)*.
The project is part of a new model to use outdoor recreation and the development of natural resources as a model for sustainable development and bringing economic stimulus to underserved communities. Based on our experience in the Mae On valley, we know that climbers on average spend twice as much time in the climbing area as the typical tourist does in Chiang Mai. Climbers also spend significantly in communities where climbing is, bringing direct benefit to restaurants, campsites, home stays, taxis etc. Additionally the development of the resource for climbing creates opportunities for youth to learn to become climbing guides, opens the door for rescue organizations, and new services for climbers such as restaurants, guesthouses and more.
This pilot project is meant to help prove the concept to local and provincial governments that development of resources for climbing and other forms of outdoor recreation will create new jobs, new educational opportunities, stem the flow of youth away from local villages and provide a robust protection of the environment for long term sustainability. Though there are only a few routes right now, there is potential for more than 1000 single and multi pitch routes**.
While we are saddened by the delays in reopening Crazy Horse Buttress, we are also inspired by the potential of climbing and outdoor recreation in all of Thailand especially the north. CMRCA’s vision is to work closely with national, provincial and local levels of government to create a long term resource development plan for rock climbing in rural communities. We see potential for more than 5000 routes in Northern Thailand at more than 10 climbing areas in the not too distant future. Join us for an adventure and sample the goods at the newest area in Thailand.
*Contact us here for more information about the service and to see the schedule of the next trip. To help fund the development, contributions can be made to the Lampang Bolting Fund that includes naming routes and even getting the First Ascent. We also teach bolting courses if anyone is interested in learning to bolt while putting up a new route at this stunning climbing area.
**As the climbing area is in a military special forces camp, access is currently limited and must be requested in advance through CMRCA. This may change over time but is necessary at the moment to prove the concept to officials in the government and the army.