Krabi Rock Climbing
Take one look at the landscape around here, and one thing might come to mind immediately – rock climbing. Because of the amazing cliffs, rock climbing in Krabi is some of the best in the world.
Known as karsts, the towering cliffs of Krabi are formed from an ancient bed of coral. Though they might seem to be the result of wind and water erosion, the process is actually chemical. Millions of years of acidic rainwater seeping through cracks in the bedrock has sculpted these amazing limestone formations, and the process is ongoing. Alongside creation of the karsts themselves, rainwater has formed caves, stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones and other amazing geological wonders. Because of these unique features, rock climbing in Krabi is more than just a thrilling and technical sport.
A Thrilling Adult Playground
Rock climbing in Krabi has been in the spotlight for around 25 years. Of course, local people have lived in harmony with the cliffs for as long as anyone can remember. These days, the Krabi rock climbing industry has transformed the cliff side into a thrilling adult playground. Crags, or rock faces, each can contain dozens of climbing routes. With over 12 popular crags on Railay Beach alone and many more in other areas, Krabi rock climbing boasts hundreds of routes.
What’s more, the tropical location gives Krabi rock climbing some of the best views on Earth. Ascend even a little bit and you’ll have a panoramic view of the big, blue sea and its many islands. Photos try, but can’t do it justice. The scene is simply breathtaking.
Get in on the Action
Today, almost anyone who wants to give rock climbing in Krabi a try can do it. Considered the world’s number one tropical climbing destination, who wouldn’t want to learn here? Dozens of climbing schools have set up shop here, offering a safe and friendly environment for beginners. Anyone who’s in reasonable shape can give this adrenaline-raising sport a try. Local companies (listed below) ensure that everyone who climbs in Krabi does so in safety and fun. Seasoned pros can rest assured that all gear is available here, and guides can always be found to take you somewhere amazing. A group trip for beginners can cost around 1800 THB. A private trip is rewarding, but will cost more.
With rainwater turning the limestone into such varying shapes, Krabi rock climbers can expect many different kinds of rock. If you’re new to climbing, read on to learn a bit more about techniques. What can you expect out of rock climbing in Krabi?
Styles of Rock Climbing in Krabi:
Bouldering in Krabi
Bouldering is a type of climbing that is performed on small rock formations without the use of ropes. Though it can be done without any equipment at all, climbers usually use specialized shoes as well as hand chalk. It’s a popular introduction to climbing, as routes are generally less than six meters tall. A bouldering route is known as a problem. Many bouldering problems expect climbers to traverse horizontally.
The sport originated as a way for mountaineers to practice specific techniques while at a safe distance from the ground. Today, bouldering is one of the most popular kinds of rock climbing. Some of the best bouldering problems in Krabi can be found at Phra Nang Beach
Top Rope Climbing in Krabi
Top rope climbing is a style of sport climbing in which the climber is securely attached to a rope. The rope passes up through an anchor system at the top of the climb, and down to a belayer at the foot of the climb. The belayer takes in slack rope throughout the climb. If at any point the climber were to lose their grip, the belayer’s hold on the rope would prevent the climber from falling more than a short distance.
Top roping is sometimes done on routes where lead climbing is not possible. An example of this would be where placing anchors into the rock face is unsafe. Often, the top rope anchor can be reached by another means, such as hiking. Here in Krabi, top rope climbing is often done once your guide has lead climbed the route, and secured the rope at the top for you.
Lead Climbing in Krabi
In lead climbing, a climber ascends the rock face without the assistance of a top rope. With a length of rope attached to herself, the climber will attach carabiners to bolts on the rock face to protect them in the event of a fall. Lead rope climbing is not possible without a belayer. The belayer maintains the slack in the rope as the climber ascends, using his bodyweight.
It is possible to mark new routes as a lead climber, though this is for the pros! Local climbers have marked new routes recently, at Ao Nang’s North Wall.
3D Climbing in Krabi
Once you’ve learned the techniques, what kind of rock can you expect in Krabi? Well, the limestone cliffs certainly don’t disappoint. Rock climbing in Krabi can contain a combination of different terrains, and not all of them are up a flat wall. Climb up as far as you can, thinking that you’ve reached the top. But turn around, and behind you is a giant stalactite! Mount that, and you might be faced with a flowstone, requiring a different type of grip. Keep adventuring, and you just might find yourself in a cave.
Cave Climbing in Krabi
Just as the name implies, cave climbing takes the adventure to the next level with darkness, enclosed spaces and mystery. Considered an advanced style of climbing, you won’t be doing much cave climbing on your introductory lesson. But for those of you who came for the rock, cave climbing in Krabi is spectacular. You’ll find a popular spot at the top of Phra Nang Beach Wall, where you can traverse through a cave to reach Thaiwand Wall.
Kraigs of Krabi
While this list highlights some of the superstars, it is by no means exhaustive! There are hundreds of crags in Krabi – some more well known than others.
123 Wall is one of the most popular crags in Krabi, located at Railay East. It is frequented by local climbing schools, and therefore can get busy in the mornings and afternoons. Because the crag also offers more challenging routes, experienced climbers enjoy it as well. With 25 routes, there are a lot of choices. 123 Wall is famous for its ease of access and stunning sea views.
Diamond Cave Wall
Recommended for beginner and intermediate climbers, Diamond Cave Wall has the added bonus of being in shade through most of the day. Located next to Phutawan Resort and the Highland Coffee Shop, the crag is named after the nearby Diamond Cave, a fascinating feature of the cliffs. The wall boasts 15 routes and is popular with climbing schools.
Phra Nang Beach
Even though it’s recommended for intermediate to advanced climbers, Phra Nang Beach is still a favorite of Krabi rock climbing schools. There are 14 routes here, varying in difficulty. An impressive rock overhang keeps the area dry even during rain. One of the best parts of this crag is the stunning views. Overlooking the beach of Rayavadee Resort, Phra Nang Wall also has access to the Princess Cave, one of Krabi’s most interesting attractions.
Ao Nang North Wall
One of the lesser known crags, North Wall is away from the bustling Railay Beach climbing scene. With many routes on this wall being less than one year old, climbers can enjoy fresh, unpolished rock. Because Railay’s routes have been going strong for around 25 years, some of the holds have been smoothed, making them harder to grip. Fresh rock on the newer routes are much more pleasant to climb, although this isn’t a crag for beginners.
Tonsai Roof Wall
Tonsai Bay is known the world over for its famous, overhanging rock “roof”. Because if its features, climbing can often remain dry and protected, even in the rain. This area is a favorite of advanced climbers. In fact, climbers come from all over the world just to conquer this renowned wall. With over 30 routes available on the advanced spectrum, this is an outstanding crag. It has the added bonus of being in the shade all morning.
The famous views over Phra Nang Bay make Thaiwand Wall one of the most revered in the area. Recommended for intermediate and advance climbers, this crag offers a variety of routes, including overhangs. A footpath at the far end of Railay West will get you here; the same path also leads to Wee’s Present and Candlestick crags.
Located in a neighboring village just North of Ao Nang, Chong Pli Wall is located in the private haven of a bungalow resort. Open to the public, climbers can choose to stay in the simple accommodation and experience some of the magical mystery of this place. Routes here are fairly new, meaning unpolished rock. It can also be fairly quiet, and is a favorite of the local community.
Rock Climbing Schools of Krabi
1. Real Rocks Climbing
Website : www.realrocksclimbing.com
Phone : +66 80 718 1351
2. Krabi Rock Climbing
Website : www.krabirockclimbing.com/
Phone : +66 95 028 3143 or +66 90 872 3319
3. Railay Rock Climbing Shop
Website : www.railayrockclimbingshop.com
Phone : +66 81 797 2517
4. King Climber
Phone : 075 662 096