CLIFF HUNTERS – WELCOME TO THE THUNDERDOME
AS MUCH AS WE LOVE THE GYM THERE COMES A TIME FOR EVERY CLIMBER WHEN THOUGHTS TURN TO THE GREAT OUTDOORS, TO FRESH ROCK FACES AND NEW ROUTES. SOMETIMES ONLY THE REAL DEAL WILL SATISFY AND SO OUR TEAM OF INTREPID PUSHPEEPS ARE OUT THERE HUNTING NEW HEIGHTS TO SCALE. THIS WEEK THE BOYS TOOK A TRIP TO THE THUNDERDOME. JUST FOR YOU.
Push has been part of the Viet climbing scene for more than a decade and part of keeping that alive and thriving is that we never stop looking for the new – and not just in the gym. So when Chris thought he spotted a potential new climbing site on Google Maps it was time for the team to jump into the Pushmobile and go check it out.
“Chris spotted it on Google Maps and we thought it had potential so we had to go check it out” explains Paul. “Chris, Wesley, Josh and myself drove in the direction of Da Lat. The roads are pretty rough and it’s two and a half hours out of Saigon but when we got there we found three domes of which one had potential. Chris dubbed it the “Thunderdome”.
To get to it we went up through the back which is easy scrambling. The main face is 30 to 40m tall though so that’s one to two pitches. It’s hard granite, very polished, and flaked – so the erosion has allowed water into the layers. That helps create grips but as it’s granite the way if flakes means its mostly little crimps and slopers. So tough but great for technical.”
Left. One sniff of a cliff and the boys leap aboard the Pushmobile.
“It has potential if we bolt it but it’s not for beginners,” adds Chris. “Those are not easy lines at all and so it means a lot of slab and friction climbing. I’m used to that because there’s a climb outside my native Cape Town called Paarl Rock and that’s a similar big granite dome but this one, although smaller, doesn’t really have big pockets. Instead there are lots of sloping pockets and some under clings possible where there are cracks but it’s also pretty much like a cheese grater so if you do mess up you’re going to lose some skin on the way down.”
That adds up to some entirely possible climbing for the lead climbers in the community but sadly not a lot for beginners and intermediates looking to get outdoors. Although the combination of polished granite face and the natural water run off did get the team wondering about building a huge Slip ‘N Slide.
There’s also the catch that the main face of the Thunderdome is exposed to the full force of the sun throughout the morning, making it best suited for afternoon ascents. That said the lure of the granite dome and the pleasure of finding new routes means that Push will now contact the land owner(s) and talk about access rights and the small matter of bolting the rock for climbers. We’ll keep you posted.
IF YOU HAVE A POSSIBLE CLIMB IN MIND, OR YOU HEAR ABOUT A LOCATION THAT YOU THINK THE CLIMBING COMMUNITY SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THEN GET IN TOUCH WITH US AND TELL US ABOUT IT. WE’LL SEND OUT THE CLIFF HUNTERS TO CHECK IT OUT FOR SAFETY AND PRACTICABILITY. IF IT CAN WORK WE WILL GET THE PERMISSION AND BOLT IT SO THE SAIGON CLIMBING COMMUNITY CAN CONTINUE TO GROW IN EVERY WAY. YOU CAN FIND ALL OUR CONTACT DETAILS HERE OR YOU CAN REACH US HERE ON FACEBOOK.
Words by Steve Shipside.