roblog - Official Blog of Rob Hurvitz

30 May 2008 - 10:03:00 PM
How Rob Got His Bail Biner Back

Another climbing post! Had a good climbing day yesterday. We warmed up on a mostly polished but still interesting 5.8 on Muai Thai wall called Money Maker II. 1,2,3 wall was overrun with climbing students, so we headed on over to Low Tide. On the way there, we passed by a Canadian couple we'd met who were working on a route on Duncan's Boot wall. The boyfriend had the first two clips in, but wore himself getting to the third clip, which was pretty much the sequency crux. They offered to let us try to finish it on their (rented) rope and gear, so I gave it a shot. It was indeed sequency, but the holds were all there, and the footwork was just plain fun. Got the third clip, rested, then finished the route. Really quite a quality climb. It turned out to be rated a 10d, but the fancy footwork made it seem easier.

So yes, we arrived at Low Tide once again, and I started up my nemesis route. The tide was out, so I had no time pressure, which was nice. I also rested on a couple of the bolts on the way up, which was also nice. When I got to the part where I'd been stuck earlier I stuck my left hand in the somewhat sharp pocket, leaned reach, and this time was able to clip the bolt. Yay! I thought it would be easier from there on out, but I was wrong. It actually got a lot harder, and the rock was very sharp. Getting to the next bolt was a pain in the butt, and I hung, swore, and eventually hauled myself up a crucial foot by using the rope. Sure, it's not a clean lead, but I didn't have to leave that bail biner again.

Once we were down, I took a look at the guidebook again, and it described the route as going between two stalactites and having been rebolted on 2005, but the route I did went to the left and up a bolted flake. A route went up on the right from the same start and up between two stalactites, but was not bolted. So, maybe I did a different (harder) route, but maybe not. I really don't know.

On the way back, we did a 5.8 corner route on 1,2,3 that was pretty fun, and were able to talk our way into top-roping a 10c, which was very fun. It would've a stiff lead for me, so I don't feel bad at all about just doing the top-rope. Maybe next time I'll lead it...

Towards sunset time, we headed to Escher World wall and did three short 5.8 routes. They were fun, and the views over Phra Nang beach and the nearby islands were pretty darn spectacular. Ah, Railay.

Today is a rest day -- my hands are a bit sore from three days of climbing. Signed up for an afternoon and sunset snorkeling trip, so that should be good. I'm looking forward to being out on the water.

Looking down from the top of Focus on your Abdominal Breathing (6a [5.10a])
Focus on your Abdominal Breathing (6a [5.10a]) - Railay, Thailand

Looking out from the top of Focus on your Abdominal Breathing (6a [5.10a])
The view from Focus on your Abdominal Breathing (6a [5.10a]) - Railay, Thailand

Gratuitous sunset picture
Sunset - Railay, Thailand

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29 May 2008 - 7:20:22 AM
Warning: Contains Climbing Talk

Well, we've done two days of climbing now. Some of the climbs seem hard for their grades, others seem easy. Started out yesterday with easy stuff to get a feel for the place -- bunch of 5.8s at Diamond Cave wall. Today we tried to start at 1,2,3 wall, but it was overrun with climbing classes. Moved on to Jungle Gym and did another 5.8 (fun lieback, kinda tricky) and an awesome 10a which didn't seem too hard. Emboldened by that 10a, I tried another at Low Tide wall, but the tide was coming in, and this 10a was much harder than the first one -- the move from the overhanging flake back onto the face proper was a bit much for me with the time constraints, and so I left my first ever bail biner on a route. Harumph! After lunch, we tried 1,2,3 again and eventually got on some routes. Stuck with the easy stuff -- several 5.9s. Some of the rock was pretty well polished, but the routes were still quite good.

Tomorrow we're going to get up early and do a couple warmups at 1,2,3 before the crowds descend, then I'm going to try and get my bail biner back. I also want to spend time trying a classic 10b route. Hopefully I won't have to use another bail biner...

Sorry, no picture this post. I left my camera back in the room. Not many climbing pictures, though -- we've been a little too busy with the climbing and the belaying. Maybe tomorrow.

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27 May 2008 - 7:03:03 AM

Made it to Thailand! Got a room at some place in Railay East, but might move to Tonsai Beach tomorrow. It all depends. Railay East has better access to most of the easy routes, but the largest concentration of climbing is around Tonsai. The Krabi and Railay area is just plain amazingly gorgeous, though. Check out the view of the Thaiwand from Tonsai:

Climbing in Paradise
Railay, Thailand
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26 May 2008 - 2:29:30 AM
Pimp My River Boat

I spoke too soon in my last post. The stomach issue is still an issue, but at least it's becoming infrequent. I even managed to make it through an eight hour boat ride back to Siem Reap today with all my dignity intact. Tomorrow morning we head off to Thailand for the rock climbing portion of the trip. Hopefully it won't be raining too much. Now that I think about it, though, maybe the stomach problem is a blessing in disguise -- a little less weight makes for better climbing.

Anyway, the boat trip was scenic but long, and along the way I spotted the below river boat, which gave me the idea for a new show: Pimp my River Boat. The two fine ladies have got a good start with the beach umbrella, but they can easily kick it up a notch with some chrome on the hull, a couple of water wheel spinners, maybe a nicely lit up long tail prop hooked to a V8 for some extra muscle. That would be pretty stylin, ai?

Here's a shout-out to all those crazy cats who think that I'm the co-creator of Pimp my Ride. I love you guys! And here's a handy tip: when searching for "Rick Hurvitz" ignore the results for "Rob Hurvitz." Boom!

Soon to be featured on Pimp my River Boat!
Life on the river: Siem Reap, Cambodia
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24 May 2008 - 5:46:42 AM
Stomach Issues

Well, I'm now experiencing my first GI problems of the trip. Not sure what caused them, but it certainly made for a much more suspenseful motorbike tour today. It was five hours on the back of a moto and visits to a new temple and the nearby Khmer Rouge killing cave, a pre-Angkor Wat temple, and a ride on a bamboo train. The bouncy ride didn't seem to help my problems, but now I feel like my system is starting to settle down.

Battambang is a nice enough town, but it closes up pretty early, unlike Siem Reap which is full of tourist-oriented restaurants and bars. Still, it's a relaxing place, and tomorrow I'm going to take it easy. So far it's been go, go, go.

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22 May 2008 - 4:01:04 AM
Angkors Away

I think I might be officially all templed out. Fifteen or so temples in three days is a bit tiring, but they're all quite remarkable. I thought about posting a picture of some obscure temple and showing off all the facts I learned from the guidebook, but instead I'm going with me (a bit sweaty, but there you go) standing in front of the iconic Angkor Wat (and yes, I got a hat picture there). Went for the sunset, and, well, the sun disappeared behind a mass of gray clouds, and so there were no pretty colors. Tomorrow we're heading to Battambang, home of Sam, the chef/owner of Phnom Penh Noodle House. We debated Phnom Penh and Battambang. Phnom Penh has the royal palace, the silver pagoda, the security prison 21 museum, and the killing fields. The last two, while very important and worthwhile, just seemed too depressing. So we went with Battambang. It has its own depressing sites, as well, but at least the city is smaller and seemingly friendlier than Phnom Penh.

Rob sweating at Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat: Siem Reap, Cambodia
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19 May 2008 - 5:04:15 AM
Siem Reap

I'm in Siem Reap, Cambodia -- all my flights are over for the time being. Now I just need to get over my jet lag, and I'll be set. Took a little boat ride on the nearby lake, Tonle Sap, where there's a floating village. Odd trip. A continual stream of little boats bearing tourists courses through the village, and you get to observe the residents doing such exciting things as cooking and washing clothes while ignoring you. Interesting to see, but the poverty and the one-sided tourist aspect is pretty depressing. Ah well. It'll be better tomorrow, when we start templing it up. Time now for dinner, though, and there are many good restaurants in Siem Reap. Mmm.

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17 May 2008 - 11:57:56 AM
Resurrecting the roblog yet again. This time I'll be taking a break from eating lunch in Seattle's International District by eating lunch (and other meals) in the international districts of Cambodia and Thailand. It's a three week trip: a week in and around Siem Reap checking out Angkor Wat and other old temples, a week near Krabi rock climbing, and a week doing something else. I'll be meeting up with my international climbing buddy, Amanda, for part of the trip, but otherwise I'm on my own. I'll even try and upload a picture or two along the way. Whee! My flight leaves Seattle in about three hours, and then it's a quick 18 hours until I reach Bangkok Sunday at midnight. With any luck I'll be able to sleep for a few hours before my flight to Siem Reap the following morning.
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