Ingrid 8, goes Deep Water Soloing – her one and only Christmas wish come true
We planned to stay in Cat Ba for a week over Christmas to give Ingrid her a very special Deep Water Solo climb for her Christmas present.
We hooked up the the AsiaOutdoors team as soon as we arrived on Cat Ba and booked in 2 days of climbing with a friendly discount that Rich the GM had promised us while climbing together in Chiang Mai a few weeks earlier.
Getting ready to climb our first ever deep water solo climb.
We arrived on Cat Ba quite late on the 20th and headed straight out to climb early on the 21st as this was the day with the highest tide for the duration of our stay here.
AsiaOutdoors run all sorts of outdoor activities here, mainly kayaking, climbing and hiking. The bus that took us to the harbour was full of people going out for the day doing different activities. We all got on a AsiaOutdoors junk boat where we would later be having lunch as well.
On our Deep Water Solo boat was Rob, an AsiaOutdoors guide originally from NZ, Ash & Lilo, Ingrid and me. The grey morning skies were not looking too inviting and I was worried about the temperature of the water but I needn’t have worried.
By the time got got to our 1st crag, Hawaii 5-0 the sun was starting to break through and our spirits excitement levels were running high.
I was feeling excited and nervous not sure how Ingrid would react once we actually started climbing. AsiaOutdoors had never taken anyone under the age of 15 Deep Water Soloing before so Rob briefed us all on safety, especially for Ingrid to make sure we would all be able to help if needed.
AsiaOutdoors use local boatsmen to manage the climbing boats and they are very skilled at getting in and out close to the rock. This helped a lot in making us feel safe as well.
First climb on Hawaii 5-0
Ingrid was looking so nervous and I was trying to put on a brave face for her but I was a bit worried about what we had let ourselves in for. What is she freaks out on the wall, there is no option but to jump into the water…. Ash want first followed by Ingrid then me.
1st climb was a 6a+ traverse, long, slightly overhanging but with good hand holds along the main flake and with some sketchy feet. The climbing was not too hard but the nerves of knowing we would have to jump into the water below was making us tense and tired. I managed half the traverse before I took the leap into the water. Only 4 m up but still felt like a really big jump and it took forever to get back up to the surface again.
Ingrid was next, I was more scared for her then for myself. She got the first couple of holds then started to look down at the water freaking out, I want to come down! a few minutes hesitation and then into the water she want. She looked really upset when she surfaced again and the same happen on the next climb again. On climb 3 we set a goal of reaching a land mark 1/3 along the traverse and she decided not to look down. Once out of the starting blocks she just kept going and going and almost finished the whole route.
Epic 12m climb & jump off 3 Brothers Crag
Next crag, 3 Brothers offered more of a range of climbs but with all routes vertical we had to jump from much higher heights to get back down again. We had all overcome our nerves by now and started enjoying climbing up. I was surprised to find that wet climbing shoes did not slip too much but Im glad I wasn’t using my own. Ingrid did 4 routes here ranging from 4c to 6a and did not hesitate climbing or jumping into the water. The last 2 climbs and jumps were over 12m high!!
I loved the feeling of climbing without gear and the thrill of falling into the deep blue water and Ingrid was having such a great time. The least enjoyable part was sitting on the little boat between climbs a bit cold with the constant engine noise and rocking.
The last climb was epic as Ingrid and I climbed side by side and jumped into the water together from 12 up! After almost 4 hours of climbing we headed back to the junk boat and had an amazing lunch together with all the other climbers and kayakers.
What a day! What a girl! Cant wait to climb some more!