Laos Climbing: First Impressions

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Table of Contents

Facilities

Green Climbers Home does not have Wifi. It hurts. To alleviate the pain, you either take a tuk-tuk to Thakhek, the nearest town with Wifi, or you focus on climbing. Going to Thakhek requires forking out 100,000kip (SGD 16) for a Tuktuk, so most people stay in the camp and climb. When you climb more, you get stronger. GCH presents many conditions for one to be a better climber. Wifi-less is one of them.

Minutes from crag

GCH has two camps: GCH 1 and GCH 2. The camps are 400m apart and crags surround the camps on the southern, eastern and western sides, all within walking distance. No cars needed. No motorbikes required. From the camp, it is a 5-minute walk to the nearest crag. The furthest requires at most 15-20 minutes walk. This makes climbing so convenient that even the laziest climber will not have any excuse to not climb. You can easily pack 5 climbs in a day. If you start earlier and end later, you may be able to climb many more. Convenience = more climbs = stronger.

Green Climbers Home Direction Signage

Climbing season (October through May) offers dry weather and reliable clear blue skies to try out more than 300 available routes: 52 x 6a, 70 x 6b, 46x 6c, 40 x 7a, 36 x 7b, 23 x 7c, among others. Temperature rises to 30 deg cel in the day but if you choose shaded areas, you can expect comfortable, balmy weather that aids in route sending. Another motivation to climb more.

Routes for climbers of all levels

Many routes are friendly and inspire confidence, in the sense that the bolts are not too far apart (on average 1.5-2m). First-time roof climbers can try Beginner’s Roof 6a (12m) and Saugeburt 6b+ (20m), relatively easy routes to experience roof climbing, which would otherwise be impossible at other crags where many roof routes are 8 and above. Climbers will also appreciate the fixed draws at roof routes, where there is no need to put up and clean draws. A favourite route among many (non-roof) is Mon General 6c, (25m), not too technical, but with an endurance crux that rewards climbers who commit.

At the Schöffl Block (I) sector, opposite Pied d’Élephant 6c (20m), Sound of Music 7a (20m) and Dr. Isa 7c (20m), there is a toilet. A proper toilet with a toilet bowl and a huge plastic barrel of water for flushing right in the middle of a climbing sector. And it’s C-L-E-A-N. Where else in an outdoor crag can you visit a proper, clean toilet in between climbs?

Pied d’Élephant [Elephant’s Feet]

Cleanliness and hygiene is GCH’s big selling point. Tanja and Uli (GCH founders and managers) make it a priority to keep all places clean. This includes, most importantly, all toilets and shower areas, whether they are private or communal.

Food prices

The focal point for each camp is the restaurant, where people social in general, eat during meal times, snack in between climbs and take a nap or read during rest days. Sample prices:
– Pork Schnizel = 40,000kip (SGD 6.50), Tofu Schnizel (vegetarian-friendly) = 30,000kip (SGD 5)
– 2 eggs = 11,000kip (SGD 1.70)
– Bacon = 5,000kip (SGD 0.80)
– Yoghurt = 9,000kip (SGD 1.50)
– Coffee = 9,000kip (SGD 1.40)
– Whiskey shot (local) = 4,000kip (SGD 0.70)
– Rum (imported) = 20,000kip (SGD 3.20)
– Mojito, Pina Colada = 32,000 (SGD 5)
– Beer (big bottle) = 12,000kip (SGD 1.90)
– Pepsi = 7,000kip (SGD 1.20)

Try the peppermint yoghurt lassi (14,000kip, SGD 2.20), made with real peppermint leaves. Gives you a feeling that all climbs attempted are just so worth it.

Pay when you leave

An element of trust permeates the entire camp. This may be a result of the small clientele, where you basically see the same people day-in-day-out. But more importantly, and more interestingly – the notebook concept. Each guest is allocated a notebook. Dishes ordered will be entered into the notebook by the staff. Beverages and snacks will be entered by the guests themselves. What you take, you record. GCH trusts you and you live up to be trustworthy. No cash transaction at all throughout the stay, until the day of checkout, where you will have the options of paying in KIP, USD, EUR or Thai Baht.

Green Climbers Home Huts

Accommodation

Accommodation includes:
1) Dormitory (USD 7.50/person/night) –  a spacious room that sleeps six. You will have plenty of space to sort out your clothes, gears and other personal belongings.
2) Bungalow [shown in above photo] (USD 20/night) – private building that fits two, some with private shower
3) Tents (USD 10/night) –  single or double, pitched in specially designated areas; outdoor shower area, or share shower with dorms

The relatively affordable prices make a long stay feasible. And because of this, slots fill up rather quickly. Be a stronger climber! Email GCH to make your reservation asap to secure a space for your desired climbing trip!

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