Rock Domain: Bangkok’s indoor climbing paradise

This past Saturday, we went climbing at Rock Domain, a newish climbing gym in the Bangna area of Bangkok (a lot of words start with a Bang here).

IMG_3662[1]

I used to climb quite often while I was in university, but I haven’t gone once since we moved to Bangkok. This soon became painfully obvious. Nothing like heaving yourself up a wall over and over again to A) remind you that there were too many Magnum bars and not enough weightlifting during your now long past pregnancy, and B) make you ponder the futility of human existence a la the book of Ecclesiastes. Oh wow. That is way deeper than I wanted to go. Let’s go back to the frivolity.

IMG_3670[1]

Get out of my brain King Solomon, and get out of my face, Todd-with-his-camera

We met up with our friends Michele and Leah at the gym. Michele and her muscles appeared on my blog a long time ago. Hmmm… this seems like the perfect chance to reuse one of my all-time favourite photo series: Michele teaching our friend Sean how to do a cheerleading lift. I was going to add captions, but really, the photos say it for me.

IMG_0830

IMG_0832

IMG_0833

She still likes to throw people around, but her guns have gotten even gunnier since those days.

IMG_3660[1]

If you gave me some muscles’n’posture, I could almost be her twin!

After a few climbs, I gave up all pretence of keeping up with her. Fortunately, her CrossFit buddy Ben soon joined us. They alternated between climbing some of the most difficult routes in the place, and doing 2-fingered pull-ups during their breaks.

IMG_3688[1]

Lucky for me, Leah is new to climbing, so she and I took a more relaxed approach. During one of her breaks, she somehow managed to put my child to sleep in her arms, a feat that I have not yet accomplished. I am still awestruck.

IMG_3693[1]

IMG_3699[1]

Not sure what is going on in this photo, but I think Leah might be gloating.

Todd was a daddy extraordinaire, and looked after Zoe while I climbed. He managed to find a few moments to do a little bouldering, and to introduce Zoe to the wall. It’s never too young to start good habits, right?

IMG_3687[1]

IMG_3668[1]

Zoe free soloing her first climb.

I was pretty impressed by the set-up at Rock Domain: there are loads of top-roped routes at varying levels of difficulty, lots of lead-climbing routes, and a big bouldering area. You can rent any equipment you might need, and the staff can teach you how to belay. It would make for a great day out – we noticed groups of friends, what looked like some awkward dates, and a few daddy-daughter combos (they are not paying me to say this – I was just really, really happy to find such a great climbing centre in Bangkok).

IMG_3684[1]

Part of the bouldering area. It’s not just my crappy photography skills – it’s actually on a slope.

Oh, and the cute cafe next door, intriguingly named My Secret Place. Because you never know when you might secretly need some coffee and a weird tuna pastry to fuel those climbs. And no one should know about your tuna pastry habit unless you want to tell them.

IMG_3680[1]

AND it secretly contains a Christmas tree. Motto: “Bangkok: where it’s always Christmas, but never winter”

IMG_3705[1]

AND we secretly feed our child chocolate banana frappes.

Here is the link to Rock Domain. It is almost invisible from Bangna Trat, so be sure to check out the map, and get your taxi driver to talk to the staff at the gym if you get confused.

Mmmmmountains

If there is one thing that T-bone and I were looking forward to when we planned our trip home – after seeing family/friends and eating Vietnamese subs, of course – it was heading to the mountains.

IMG_2446

Ahhh. Eating a Vietnamese sub. What would this blog be without my flattering self-portraits?

Hiking, skiing, and eating the equivalent of our body weight in trail mix (“I have DEFINITELY burned enough calories to necessitate the consumption of 10 lbs of chocolate covered coffee beans”) are among our favourite activities in the Calgary area, and we were eager to head fer the hills ASAP once we recovered from our jet lag. As luck/planning would have it, two of our favourite siblings were visiting from California at the same time, so we got to roll a whole bunch of favourite things into one big favourite day.

Todd is displaying all of his favourite teeth at the thought

I was a little nervous when I heard that Todd’s brother Dean “The Machine” and his Cute’n’Perky wife Jane were planning the hike. These two eat mountains for breakfast, and I wasn’t sure that my beluga-esque body would be able to keep up.

They look innocent, but they are beasts

Fortunately, Machine and Cute’n’Perky had a plan: we would all hike to Sentinel Pass together, at which point they would split off and climb this Mothah:

The bony finger of the Grand Sentinel points in the direction that you need to climb (up)

It worked out great. Machine and C’n’P dealt with cold, wind, and severe exposure, while I hung out at the pass and psychoanalyzed our friend Tanis; tried (not very hard) to resist feeding the chipmunks; and mocked our friends Justin and Cory as they attempted to “skateboard” down the side of a mountain riding a slab of rock. It was a pretty good division of labour.

Dean and Jane prepare to climb…

Not exposed at all.

More my style: watching Cory trying to feed a chipmunk with his teeth

When Machine and C’n’P returned from their climbing adventure, it was time to head back to the valley. T-bone’s day was complete when he realized that he could squeeze in a little skiing along with the hiking and trail mix eating:

The view from Sentinel Pass. In the words of that wise sage, Taylor Swift: “I don’t know if it gets better than this.”

It was such a good day that we felt the need to head out to the mountains again the following week. This time, it was just me, T-bone, and Bannock.

Bannock and I scope out the valley (on the Stanley Glacier trail)

We ended up following the same pattern as our first trip, though. We climbed to the highest clump of trees we could find, where Bannock and I hunkered down to read a few chapters of Game of Thrones. Early literacy is extremely important, particularly when it involves raping and pillaging. Meanwhile, Bannock’s father decided that he needed to touch the toe of the glacier looming above us.

Have fun, T-bone 

On our way down, we discovered several fresh springs. A nice change from Bangkok’s bottled water. For any of you Old Testament buffs, these photos remind me of the story in Judges where God tells Gideon not to choose any men who bend down and drink like dogs for his army.

Good biblical technique

And dog technique

It worked out in the Old Testament, but in this case, poor Gideon would have ended up with the prego.

Leaving Todd free to continue his favourite habit of smirking next to mountain lakes

We actually made it out to the mountains a third time, but I’m saving that story for an upcoming post on bobbleheads….