Travelling from Vietnam to Lao felt like a time travel… The road suddenly changed from asphalt to macadam and the bus drive made me feel like I’m a potato bag moving in all directions. I got even a climate shock, because the temperature raised from something over 20 to over 30 degrees, which made the drive even less pleasant. Since I didn’t understand Vietnamiese, I didn’t notice such a difference in language, but I had more diffulties to order vegetarian dish in the restaurants, because it seemed like the word vegeterian is just not a part of their vocabulary.
The main purpose of my trip was a climbing spot near Thakhek. Finding the camp was quite easy with the great app MAPS.ME, that works without WiFi. I need to mention, that some apps like this one really made my trip easier. It shows all the roads and paths, so even if you need to get to somewhere in nowhere, it will get you there 🙂. I booked a tent (60.000kip or $7.5 per night with bedding, there are also bungalows and doorms) one month in advance and it was already almost fully booked, so if you want a shelter, then you need to make a reservation before coming.
The camp Green Climbers Home is really nice and well organised regarding the meals and all the crags are foot distance away, so no car is needed. I heard so much nice things about Thakhek from other climbers while meeting them in Europe, so I decided to check it out for myself. And… I was shocked, when I saw the good damn overhangs in almost every route, which is definitely not my style! I thought “shit I am dumm, travelling so far just because of climbing without checking on the web what kind of climbing there was…” But this is like the story of my life, so I needed to see why I landed exactly there.
People in the camp were amazing, I first climbed with Peter (British) and Marko (Estonian-American) and they introduced me some lines that are good for getting used to the walls. The stone is sharp and it is well bolted, but I must say it was a mental process for me, since I don’t like overhangs, because they just scare me. So after three days I still wasn’t finding my climbing mojo, so I started to think “super, I flew so far and it cost me quite some money to get here and now I am trapped here for 10 more days and I am not motivated to climb at all…”
It was a mental struggle… I climbed routes that were in my comorf zone, so somehow it became boring, but I didn’t dare to push… Until Gabi (Polish woman) came. She was coming back from an injury, so I needed to put all quickdraws and climb as first. Because I knew that everything depends on me and that I need to finish the route on my own, it became a challenge. Slowly I was getting more confident to go for harder routes, so I started to look for 6c. And I found it… and it will be in PART II, so stay tuned in few days 🙂 .