What is interesting about deep water soloing is that it used to be called water bouldering, that was before it became mainstream popular, and the main difference of course is that instead of a mattress, you’ve got the even more comfortable surface of water to cushion a fall.
Deep water soloing is popular in the south of Thailand and boats are always available at Tonsai and Railey Bays to take you over to the limestone towers in the sea. I mean, just look at this photograph – it’s enough to remind you that the weather at home really is rather bloody at the moment, and hell, why not… high tail it to more salubrious climes!
photo from andamanadventures
Deep water soloing in Thailand is the authentic deal. No bolts, no slings, no aid hammers. Nothing mars the rock. Just you and the limestone until the moment you fall and start again. It couldn’t be better.
Having said “no aids” – from time to time ropes are necessary to get you onto the rock as otherwise the barnacles can be a problem if you start too low down… The ropes were probably initially installed by the birds nest collectors. The following video is a good of what lies in store for you if you’ve taken the decision to leave the frozen north in exchange for a brief sojourn in paradise …
It’s useful to use a guide for your first few days as they know where to go and what the tides are doing. But eventually you will be able to hire your own kayak and go out for the day. Matt Maddaloni’s the site to go to. This is his map below, but he does now have a guide book for the whole area with 100 routes from Phuket to Krabi.
There is great climbing all along the cliffs from Ao Nang to Tonsai with amazing roofs which brush the water line for 20m before soaring vertically to fabulous heights. Then there are all the outlying islands and cliffs, many have not yet been explored.
No aids, just skill. This is extreme climbing… in paradise.
What are you waiting for?