Rock Climbing In Chiang Mai With CMRCA
Our Introduction to Rock Climbing Class with Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures (CMRCA) was just as amazing as our caving experience with them. I have taken rock climbing classes many times before in Colorado and the quality of CMRCA’s class and instructors was up to par. All their instructors are certified under American climbing standards and pay close attention to safety.
We arrived at the office of CMRCA about half an hour before we were supposed to meet them so we could grab a quick breakfast and coffee at a nearby cafe. We then checked in at the CMRCA office, met our instructor and were fitted for our harnesses, helmets and other gear for the day. Afterwards, we hopped in the truck and drove to Crazy Horse Buttress.
Once we arrived, we checked our gear, set up the GoPro and hiked up to the first climbing area. Our instructor explained the purposes of all of our gear and how to properly use everything. We already knew the basics of climbing but it was great to get a refresher from a pro. He then explained the different types of climbing and set up the ropes so we could begin our top-roping adventure. Our instructor then went over the belaying techniques and climbing commands and we were ready to begin our climb.
The first route we climbed was obviously the easiest one. We were both able to make it to the top pretty quickly, and it was a great confidence booster for the rest of the day. The second route was about the same level of difficulty as the first, but had a slight overhang and fewer easy hand holds. The third route was a little more difficult and was much higher. It was probably a hundred feet vertical and allowed for some pretty cool views of the countryside at the top.
At this point, our limbs were a little shaky so our instructor suggested that we go eat lunch back at the truck. After we inhaled our lunch, we had some time to chat with him and take a break before the next climb.
In order to get to the final climb, we were told we had to hike to the top of Crazy Horse and rappel down into a cave. After about a 15 minute steep hike with many photo opportunities, we arrived at an opening in the mountain with a 40-meter-drop into an enormous cavern below. We had rappelled 40 meters during our caving class with CMRCA the day before, but when you can see the bottom, 40 meters looks much more daunting.
Our instructor set up the rappelling rope and explained the process to control our speed as we made the descent. We then dangled ourselves over the opening and slowly pushed off from the wall as we rappelled down. About halfway down, the wall disappeared so were were left dangling by only the rope as we slowly neared the ground.(Yikes!)
The cavern was enormous. We had some time to walk around with our mouths agape staring at the various rock formations as our instructor set up our final climbing route. The last climb was set up inside the cave and was definitely the hardest. By the time we reached the top we were exhausted.
Luckily we were able to walk out of the cavern to the parking lot and did not have to climb back up the rope like we did in our caving course.
When we arrived at the truck, Eric realized that he had dropped his phone somewhere in the cave. We were surprised that all the instructors and even the driver put on headlamps and hiked back into the cavern to help us search for the phone. After we had given up all hope they actually found it! This just goes to show how professional, helpful and caring the CMRCA staff are.
At every point during our climb and rappel, there were multiple backup safety ropes and attachments so even if we fell off the rock face or let go of the rope, we could be easily caught by our instructor. We felt safe and confident the entire time and enjoyed the challenge!
If you are looking for world class rock climbing in Chiang Mai then check out CMRCA.
- Visit the Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures website for detailed descriptions of all their classes
- For this course, climbing shoes, harnesses and helmets are provided
- Wear long shorts or pants
- Crazy Horse Buttress is about an hour outside of Chiang Mai and transportation is provided
Poplar Travels took part in this activity as a guest of CMRCA. Our opinion is always our own.