A Walk In The Park.. Yeah Right......... Phu Soi Dao.

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by ianyonok, Dec 4, 2018 at 10:13 AM.

  1. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

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    #1 ianyonok, Dec 4, 2018 at 10:13 AM
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018 at 10:46 AM
    This was to be the toughest hike yet...

    Phu Soi Dao is 2,102m high and the hike starts at 650m altitude. Hike is 1,450m vertically.
    By comparison, Doi Chiang Dao is 2,300m high, but the hike starts at 1,100m altitude. Hike only 1,200m vertically.

    It was a 2 day ride to get to Phu Soi Dao. Carrying the rucksack on the bike is no problem, the weight rests on the back of the seat. Overnight in Nan on the way.
    2016-11-26 11.02.05.

    Approaching the mountain range on the 2nd day of the ride.
    2018-11-26 12.57.54-1.

    Phu Soi Dao waterfall. A beautiful location.
    2018-11-26 13.08.48.

    Arrived at the National Park Headquarters early afternoon.

    I was doing this hike with good friends Peter and Doris, from Austria. We stayed a night in a bungalow at the HQ, so we could discuss what food to take with us. Peter is explaining the nutritional effects of Moolis.......
    2018-11-26 15.00.00.JPG
     
  2. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

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    Next morning, we were ready to go at 08:00.
    2018-11-27 07.59.00.JPG

    We checked in for the hike and the bags that the porters would carry are weighed and you are charged accordingly.
    2018-11-27 09.06.53-1.

    With our 2 guides for the day, we travelled from the HQ to the waterfall..
    2018-11-27 09.16.48-1. Another hiker, Khun Orn from BKK, joined us.
    2018-11-27 09.29.21-1.

    We started hiking around 09:30, up alongside the many tiers of the waterfall.
    2018-11-27 09.30.21-1.
    The larger trees always grow close to the rivers.
    2018-11-27 09.41.35-1. 2018-11-27 09.50.30. 2018-11-27 09.56.03-1.
    2018-11-27 10.01.08-1. 2018-11-27 10.04.11. 2018-11-27 10.04.31-1.
    Early in the hike we also saw a small snake and a 12" long centipede...... nasty...
    2018-11-27 10.11.26-1.
    Just before midday, we stopped for a break and some lunch; Apples, bread, nuts etc.
    2018-11-27 11.42.42-1.
    By 12:30, we got our first views of the mountain ridge.
    2018-11-27 12.20.44.
    Below the mountain to the left, is the flat ground we are to camp the first night on. The left side of that, is the slope we have to now hike up.
    2018-11-27 12.20.51-1. 2018-11-27 12.31.22-1. 2018-11-27 12.49.58. 2018-11-27 13.15.19-1.
    By 13:00, we are looking up at the last pitch of the slope that we must hike up. It's getting hot in the afternoon sun......
    2018-11-27 13.15.48. 2018-11-27 13.34.09-1.

    Steps made in the slope here. But it was a hard and hot hike up.
    2018-11-27 13.37.43. 2018-11-27 13.37.51-1. 2018-11-27 13.44.49-1. 2018-11-27 13.45.01-1. 2018-11-27 13.51.37-1.

    Finally, by about 14:30 we got up onto the plateau. We'd hiked up about 1klm in altitude and 6.5klms in distance.
    2018-11-27 14.13.06. 2018-11-27 14.17.29-1.
    The mountains here are a red sandstone and we are on a pine forest plateau.
    2018-11-27 14.17.32.
    The best time to visit here is August, as the field is covered in wild flowers.
    But.... er..... that is the middle of rainy season, too..... think I'll do that one in another lifetime...
    2018-11-27 14.17.37-1. 2018-11-27 14.17.45-1. 2018-11-27 14.18.07-1.
    After arriving, we checked in at the base camp and got our kit into the tents.
    Doris preparing Ham Green Gurry with veg and rice.
    2018-11-27 17.04.16-1.
     
  3. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

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    The 2nd day of the hike we would attempt the summit.
    But first, a breakfast of porridge, dried fruit and nuts.
    2018-11-28 07.18.33-1.
     
  4. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

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    It was 9 degrees C at 06:00 up at the basecamp.
    We collected our safety helmets and saftey harness lines. This was going to be severe...
    2018-11-28 08.34.47-1.
    We left the basecamp at 08:30. This was to be a 2.5klm hike in distance, with a rise in altitude of about 450m.
    2018-11-28 08.37.56.

    After hiking some mild slopes up and down for about 1klm we reached the start of the tough part.
    2018-11-28 08.50.41.
    Almost impossible to ascend this section without the ropes.
    2018-11-28 09.06.43-1. 2018-11-28 09.13.11-1.
    Several other hikers joined up for the day. It was really almost mountaineering.
    2018-11-28 09.13.17-1.

    There were about 50 individual rope sections, with rope lengths between about 5m and 20m.
    2018-11-28 09.24.56. 2018-11-28 09.25.25. 2018-11-28 09.25.51. 2018-11-28 09.32.48. 2018-11-28 09.38.05.
    A very tough climb, this was.
    2018-11-28 09.53.00-1. 2018-11-28 10.37.00.JPG
    It put Peter on his knees.... the last 50m up was the steepest section of all.
    2018-11-28 11.05.53-1. 2018-11-28 11.18.00.JPG
    But after 3 hours climbing, Doris was the first onto the peak of the mountain.
    2018-11-28 11.19.37-1.
    We had hiked up the Thai-Laos border and the mountain top ridge is the border.
    2018-11-28 11.20.00.JPG 2018-11-28 11.21.00.JPG
    We had a nip of brandy to celebrate. Apologies....my shirt was dripping wet with sweat....

    We had a quick glimpse of the basecamp down below, then the clouds closed in and we lost the views.
    2018-11-28 11.27.13.

    A picture of success! The Three Mountaineers....
    Just to prove that age is no barrier to adventure... Peter is 69 years old, I'm 63 and Doris is somewhere near to that.
    2018-11-28 12.15.13.

    Then it was time to head down again. We clipped our safety line carabiners onto the guide ropes for this section.
    2018-11-28 12.48.28.

    This section is called "The Death Wall". During the Thai Laos border war here in '87-'88, the Laos artillery were hammering this near vertical section. Many Thai soldiers died, hence the name.
    2018-11-28 12.48.40. 2018-11-28 13.08.49.

    The signs at the bottom of the steep section, are accurate.....
    2018-11-28 14.33.30.

    Back at basecamp, it was foggy and chilly, we had coffee by the campfire.
    2018-11-28 15.06.00.JPG 2018-11-28 15.07.00.JPG
    The basecamp was almost a military camp. But the plastic was welcome over my single skin tent.
    2018-11-28 15.20.43.
    There were about 40 tents set up, ready for the high season influx of hikers.
    2018-11-28 15.20.47.

    We were issued a bucket and scoop for ablutions. Collect your water from the nearby stream and wash etc in the wash house. There was no electricity at the base camp.
    2018-11-28 15.20.51.
     
  5. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

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    3rd day of the hike; Another chilly morning and we had porridge again, prepared by a chicken, it seems.....
    2018-11-29 06.37.00.
    2018-11-29 06.39.11.
    The view from the edge of the plateau.
    2018-11-29 08.15.40.

    2018-11-29 08.16.07. 2018-11-29 08.25.11. 2018-11-29 08.26.27. 2018-11-29 08.26.34.
    Here is a 360 degree view;


    We headed back down the mountain at about 08:30.
    2018-11-29 09.07.29.
    The porters are tough guys and carry massive packs, maybe weighing up to 25kgs.
    2018-11-29 09.43.00.JPG

    Lunch on the way down; bread, cheese, apples, nuts etc...
    2018-11-29 11.08.00.JPG 2018-11-29 11.35.49. 2018-11-29 11.57.15. 2018-11-29 11.58.04. 2018-11-29 12.11.16.
    I couldn't resist it. After 3 days wearing the same shirt......... a dip in the cool waterfall was fantastic.
    2018-11-29 12.21.43.
    A proper wash at last.... deep enough to swim here. just wonderful.
    2018-11-29 12.22.18. 2018-11-29 12.22.37.
    4th highest peak in thailand. We cracked it....... Satisfaction....!
    2018-11-29 12.33.27. 2018-11-29 12.47.32.
    Three Happy Heroes......!
    2018-11-29 12.49.31.
     
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  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Oh man. Tat's awesome you just keep raising the bar on GTR.

    The history of the commie battle out there with Laos is damn interesting, in that it wasn't so long ago - in ''our time" I understand.

    Were you aware of the climbing ropes before you left?
    Did you carry the gloves for that or were they supplied / bought locally?
     
  7. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

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    Thanks David. It certainly was a great adventure.

    Yes, the Thai Laos border war in this area and Bahn Romklao was when Chavalit was army commander and happened late '87 - early '88. Not so long ago. There was apparently no publicity at the time and very little is said about it now, as Thailand gained nothing and lost about 1000 men.

    The National Parks are all very organised and particularly here, as it is a popular hike.
    They have everything you could think of, for rent;
    Tents, sleeping bag, mattress, pillow, gas cooker, pots, plates, fork, spoon... etc etc..
    You can also order food a day in advance for porters to carry.
    To hike from the base camp to the peak, you have to use safety hats and safety harness line. They give you gloves if you don't have any and you do need them, due to the number of ropes you have to use to pull yourself up with.
    I asked the chief guide and he told me he had carried injured hikers down on his back in the past. Impossible to use stretchers in that terrain. So, now they insist you use a hard hat and harness and clip on to the guide rope on the "death wall" section.
    I had visited the HQ some months ago so was aware of the use of ropes. But I expected half a dozen rope sections, not the 50 or so ropes that we encountered.
     
  8. Chantony

    Chantony Member

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  9. Monster Man

    Monster Man New Member

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    I finally get 30 minutes respite from from the hectic Xmas rush. Log on to GTR and see another mountaineering story from Ianyonok......... You ripper........ This'll be another entertaining read. Make a coffee and once again let my mind wander as I read another inspiring yarn. Inspiring because you and your friends are living and savouring every moment. And when I finish reading I am just a little bit closer to being back in Thailand again.
    Thank you once again.
     

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