Monkey World

Today five of us decided to climb “Curious George” – a two pitch climb with great views and serious exposure (the first pitch starts about 100 ft off the ground, accessed by a scramble/trail). The route tops out into a cave about 300′ up the side of a cliff. The cliff is called Monkey World due to the local inhabitants. Nitsan and Boi climbed this route a week ago, and had an interesting experience. They carabinered their bags to e safety lines at the base of the route, and when they rappelled down, the monkeys opened all their bags, unclipped all their extra gear, and began throwing their things off the cliff into the jungle below. They took Nitsan’s camera out of the case, threw the camera, threw the case containing her memory card, and ate their lunch. The joke around Tonsai was that if you climb here, you need three people at all times: one to climb, one to belay, and one person with sticks to fight off the monkeys. We left everything we didn’t need for the climb at the bungalows and wore our harnesses up to the cliff to avoid the same fate.

Climbing with five people on multipitch is never fun. Three of the five had also never climbed multipitch before as well. This made for a really long day on the wall. Emmi and Tanya (Finland) understood the concepts of the belay stations and I walked them through what to do, step by step. They went up first and waited for us at the top. Darlene lead the two pitches, followed by Bernardo, who was new to the concept, and I followed third. The reason it is so slow and tiring to climb with three on multipitch is because we used two ropes, with Bernardo attached to both in the middle. The belay station was crowded and we spent a lot of our time dealing with rope management issues (that is a lot of rope to deal with!). We ended up at the top, all five of us, inside the cave. From the top, we tied the two ropes together and rappelled to the ground. There was a pair coming up behind us, and unfortunately when we lowered our ropes down, one of the ropes passed behind the couple’s ropes. I went down first, and had to deal with unclipping and reclipping all of their draws for half of the rappel. Annoying, but only the first person on rappel had to worry about it.

The route lived up to its hype, and was one of my favorite climbs on Tonsai. We also did not experience any crazy monkeys the whole day. I was prepared at the bottom, however, while I was waiting for the others to rappel, with two sticks. I think the monkeys saw my crazy eyes and decided to stay away. Given all the mishaps on rappel, having five people, and teaching three new climbers how to multipitch climb, I’d say our six hour round trip was a success. But after five and a half hours hanging from belay stations, my back feels like we had a two pitch epic.

Pictures to follow, I have to get the pics from Darlene…


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