CMCRA recently had the pleasure of working with two fantastic organisations – ISDSI (The International Sustainable Development Studies Institute) and Pacific Discovery. Both Groups had the opportunity to climb and rappel at Crazy Horse, take part in fun team building exercises and learn a bit of ecology about the lime stone buttress Crazy Horse.
Friday, January 24
For many of the ISDSI Nak Suk Sa (college students) this was their first experience rock climbing, not to mention belaying. It takes a respectable amount of trust to set foot on the rock for the first time when your fellow student belayer has their hands on the rope for the first time as well. But not to worry, with a bit of guidance and instruction from the CMRCA guides the ISDSI students were pro belayers and enthusiastic climbers in no time. ISDSI spent the morning working the routes in the Crazy Horse Area, then after lunch headed for the Tyrolean Traverse — a 20-meter long journey across a rope bridge in midair! Then they switched over to the 35-meter rappel down to the cave floor. By four o’clock everyone had achieved their goal and some had exceeded it: “have fun” “take lots of pictures” “Conquer fears” “Push my boundaries”. Every semester the ISDSI students blow us away with their enthusiasm and this group was no exception! Thanks ISDSI for another solid program!
Saturday – Sunday, January 25-26
Fourteen hours later the CMRCA guide team was back at the crag setting up for the arrival of another group of young adults. As the sun was just beginning to warm the rock, students from Pacific Discovery arrived at the crag. After introductions and energisers everyone got geared up for a day of climbing and rappelling. The students learned how to properly tie the figure eight knot and some climbing lingo as well. For the morning activities one group set out for the 40 M rappel from the gate keeper into a cave and the others went to try their hands (and feet) at rock climbing. Then the groups reconvened in the bamboo lunch huts to swap stories and enjoy a meal of fried rice. For the afternoon the groups switched locations and continued their adventures. Around four o’clock everyone returned to the camp site for dinner and some free time.
At 7:30pm Pi Add facilitated an introductory Thai language lesson where students learned how to great each other and introduce themselves. Everyone had a good laugh as they helped each other around the unfamiliar words. Then everyone gathered around the beautiful bed of coals Pi Taw had prepared and roasted Thai marshmallows – toasted sticky rice dipped in coconut milk and salt. Happy conversations filled the air as the climbing guides and students alike mingled about the fire coaching one another on the best technique for toasting their sticky rice. To bring the day to a close students lit Thai paper lanterns and sent them off into the clear night sky before turning into their tents for a well-deserved rest.
Sunday morning was another early one. Breakfast at 7:00am then lunch packing and gear preparing. Before taking off for Crazy Horse students participated in two team building challenges: friends in handcuffs and helium stick. This time upon arriving at Crazy Horse the students prepared for something a little different than yesterday – caving! For the entire day students explored the caves inside crazy horse with the CMRCA guides. They learned about the different features and ecosystems inside the caves and even got to get a little muddy! Half way through the caving expedition everyone stood in silence with their headlamps turned off, marvelling at the darkness and listening to the sounds of the bats. The two groups reunited for lunch inside one of the larger rooms before continuing on their respective journeys through the dark. In the afternoon on their way out of the lower caves students braved the gigantic Anxiety State Crisis Cave. There they traveled across the Tyrollean Traverse and down the big rappel.
In addition to visiting the caves inside Crazy horse students took a trip to Muang On cave, about a 5 minute drive down the road. This cave is much more developed and complete with stair cases and huge Buddha statues. Then it was back to base camp where Pacific Discovery packed up camp and said good bye to CMRCA. Thanks Pacific Discovery for all the laughs, smiles, great climbing and enthusiastic participation all weekend long! Come back and see us soon!
For more photos, check out our facebook page!