Climbing On The Edge of The World
As our boat left the Harbor out of Ha Long City, my friend, Greg Troutman and I got our first glimpse at the cliffs we traveled halfway across the world to climb. Dark and ominous they rose out of the ocean with a menacing white tint, piercing the horizon.
Ha Long Bay, located off the northwest coast of Vietnam is an awe-inspiring site for those who are lucky enough to see it. With thousands of white, limestone cliffs jumping out of the ocean it is fast becoming the next climbing Mecca.
Erik Ferjensik and Onslo Carrington saw the potential in this sleepy little fishing village three years ago and started a climbing/adventure business based out of Cat Ba Island. Casually located on the outskirts of Ha Long Bay, Slo Pony Adventures has been paving the way for climbers ever since they opened for business over three years ago.
Ha Long Bay is a climbers dream; a labyrinth of stone hovering, gracefully over the ocean with hundreds of cliffs ripe for the picking; the best part, all you need is a boat and a pair of shoes.
Compared to Vietnams close neighbor, Thailand, Ha Long Bay is a breath of fresh air. For the three weeks we spent in the area climbing we only saw a handful of climbers, but there were plenty of spectators. Fisherman and Vietnamese tourists watched in wonder as we climbed out of our perfectly good boats and onto the stark white faces. Their wonder turned into bewilderment when we got to a high point and tossed ourselves into the ocean.
If you’re looking to be ocean side than you can catch a boat and head out to Tiger Beach, which has something for everybody. There’s the moderates which stay in the shade till noon and are perfectly located only a hundred yards from the only bar in the area.
Once the sun lights up the bar side of the island, grab a kayak and head across the channel to Monty beach to where you can take in some of the easier sport climbs. If you’re looking for a bigger rush than hang a left in the channel and head towards the imposing Hawaii Five-0 Wall where you can lose yourself in bulbous tufas and gnarled pockets all while contemplating the big plunge which awaits when your arms fail, or you choose to make the leap back towards the ocean.
Slo Pony also can customize Deep Water Soling trips for you out into Ha Long Bay. You can get you and your friends a nice cruising boat, stocked with food, beer and water and spend as many days as you want exploring the vast array of cliffs which await you.