Pretty it was not, but today I lead climbed my first 5.10d in Vietnam (and ever, might I add).
The crag itself is a stunner, located in the idyllic and off the beaten path farmland, filled with water buffalo, lush green grass, and beautiful butterflies. It’s called ‘Butterfly Valley’ or simply ‘the valley,’ as referred to by local climbers.
I had the pleasure of climbing with a pair of lovely ladies, Allison and Imogen, and aside from sharing it with local climbers Russell and Tom, we had the crag nearly all to ourselves. Allison is a super strong trad climber who learned to lead in the Gunks, and her sport ability was most impressive. She completed her 7b/5.12a project, ‘The Prayer of the Mantis’ most impeccably:
I, on the other hand, had quite a bit of a struggle but was thrilled to have reached the top at what felt like hours later.
Although our climbing day had ended, our enthralling adventures had not, as I held on for dear life in the back of Russell’s motorbike in the dark sans headlight on the way back to Cat Ba. I’m thankful to have survived the epic experience.
The Asia Outdoors crew and I celebrated our hard efforts of the day with steamed ginger fish, spring rolls, chili tofu, Tiger beer, bahn mi, and mango shake. What a wonderful way to spend Thanksgiving.