Sunday, February 28, 2010

S .E Asia 2010 Slide/Video Show

Back in the USA. It's been tough being back home and back to reality. The carefree sunny days of zipping around on motorbike, climbing limestone, swimming in the sea, and eating great food are long gone. My trip didn't exactly go as planned either, as I never made it to Bali. Five weeks was barley enough to see what I saw, money ran out quickly, and flight prices tripled from the time I left to the time I was ready to try and fly from BKK to Bali. Regardless I had an amazing time and so I slapped together a short slideshow/video show of the some of the fun times that I had during my five weeks in South East Asia this year.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

DPM Interview

Planes, trains, motorcycle's , buses, and boats, are what I have been up to. That is of course because I needed all of these to travel from Laos to Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand, and then down to the island Koh Samet, located further south. During this time I managed to do a lot of things including a visit to the Chiang Mai Zoo, climbing at Crazy Horse, racing around on a motor bike, seeing old friends, and sitting on the beach . I will plan to get some of the photo's up when I arrive back in the States.

In the meantime I wanted to make a quick post about a recent interview/feature that I have in the recent issue of Deadpoint Magazine. Deadpoint is primarily a climbing publication and the founder Matt Stark has some great ideas on how to expand his publication  and  how to appeal to a larger audience with a wider range of interests. Or that at least how I see it, and D.P.M has been including illustration, and  Art features in the magazine. This I think is pretty awesome, as I of course, as stated in the interview think there is a lot more room for this sort of thing in the climbing  industry. 

At any rate  I am really proud to be a part of Deadpoint Magazine and they put together an 8 or so page interview with me about my art, and my climbing. I was allowed to ramble on about all sorts of things, and I think they did a great over all job with it. Psyched!!! Thanks guys!!!!

 I have included some of the pages here on my blog but urge you to check out the actual online edition, as it includes a lot of great photos and other fun material pertaining to climbing and the like. So here is the link:


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Leaving Luang Prabang

I am leaving Luang Prabang today shortly, and wanted to add a few more photos.
So here they are:

The Mekong River

Local Architecture 

Quiet Temple

Woman selling hand made, 
hand stitched children's books

Laos style Tuk Tuk

Luang Prabang Night Bazaar

Arrived in Luang Prabang the other day which was a nice change from Vang Vieng. Although I really liked Vang Vieng there were also a lot of things I did not like about the place. Vang Vieng is sort of a conflicted place in many ways. What I mean by that is that I couldn't stand a lot of the foreigners that flocked there for the tubing on the river and for buckets of cheap booze.There is sort of  frat. party spring break mentality among most of them, and that got old pretty fast. On the other hand I met some of my favorite people I have  ever met in my travels, and in this case the good certainly outweighed the bad. I hope this does not come across as if I am a saint and do not enjoy getting a bit tipsy every now and again, because I certainly do. But I get a bit frustrated by the people that come to Vang Vieng for nothing more than to get wasted.

At any rate Luang Prabang has a different vibe to it all together with a bit chiller crowd. The French Colonial architecture is really great, as well as the food, and the views along the mekong are quite beautiful. Last night I went out and checked out the night Bazaar that takes place every night in the center of town. Its pretty awesome to see that a lot of the local economy is based upon selling hand made goods made here in Laos. Most of the stuff you can get here is of good quality and rather unique, unlike some other Bazaars I have been to in South East Asia.
So here are a few shots I snapped the other night:

Night Bazaar Luang Prabang

Child at the Bazaar

Night Bazaar 2

Food Cart

My guest house

Tomorrow afternoon I am off to Thailand. Hopefully before I go I will post a few more pics of Luang Prabang, if the internet connection is cooperating.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Climbing at the Daeng

The climbing in Vang Vieng ranges from total choss to really good. I have seen some really strange things such as door handles being used for anchors on routes, bolts in seeping dingy caves that are not even suitable for toilets, and boulders that are not much taller than 4 meters with numerous bolts on them. Despite all of that there is also some really good climbing to be had at a zone known as Na Pha Daeng, which we have been referring to as the Daeng. At the Daeng there are a bunch of really good routes ranging from very easy up to 8a plus, and there is certainly a lot of potential for new routes as well. At any rate I wanted to show some photos taken on a few of the routes at the Daeng, as well as a few of the beautiful scenery that is taken in along the 22 kilometer motor bike ride from town to the Daeng.

Nam Song River

Marcelo Diaz Redpointing
A Million Elephants and a White Parasol 5.12b
(photo:Alvaro Diaz)

The next two photos are of the route Dream Catcher 5.12d, and in my opinion the best route in Vang Vieng. This route is rather special because it climbs a line of natural pockets on an otherwise blank wall for 20 meters or so. There is also an extension to the route known as Sweet Dreams 5.13a, which makes the route a lot pumpier and difficult. The crux involves a stab to a small pocket at the very top of the route. A good route for sure!!

Dream Catcher 5.12d
(photo: Melissa Collings)

Alvaro Diaz sending
Dream Catcher 5.12d

The Daeng from the distance

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Journey to the Valley of Eden

My time here in Vang Vieng has been great. The people I have met, the sights I have seen, and the places we have climbed have made it one of the best places I have ever visited. Below is a shot of the Bungalow I have been staying in here in Vang Vieng, which I have gotten pretty comfortable in.

My Bungalow

The other day a few friends of mine from Australia and I went on a little journey to find a climbing cave known as Tham Nam Them. The direction to find this place were pretty vague, and involved crossing a river, trekking in the jungle to a place where two mountains converged,  and hiking through a cave for 10 minutes. The climbing didn't turn out to be quite what we had hoped, but we continued our hike into the valley that was beyond where the climbing was. This turned out to be a place known as the Valley of Eden, and was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. 

The place where the two mountains converge in which
Marks the entrance to Tham Nam Them and the Valley of Eden

Me in Eden

Wild Flowers

Small pond with Water Buffalo

Valley Hut

The Valley of Eden

Mountains on a ride home at Sunset