Koh Tao Thailand Rock Climbing by Kelsey Gray

Jansom Bay climbing area. Photo by Kelsey Gray.
Jansom Bay climbing area. Photo by Kelsey Gray.

Climbing on Koh Tao is generally considered to have started in the early 2000’s with the first climbing shop on the island being Zen Gecko, which closed in 2005. Primarily a bouldering paradise there have been multiple printable guidebooks written since James March’s first guidebook in 2002. Other guidebooks have existed in some form or another from several of the shops on the island with this guidebook being the most comprehensive and a combination of information from many of these sources. In addition, the route developers, new climbers, and experienced Koh Tao veterans have all contributed to making this new guidebook the most complete and accurate of any guide to date. 

Rachal Fagan climbing Forewarned (6a) at Lang Khai. Photo by Kelsey Gray.
Rachal Fagan climbing Forewarned (6a) at Lang Khai. Photo by Kelsey Gray.

Scattered amongst the palms and sandy beaches is textured granite and featured walls waiting for climbers. The first edition of this guidebook brings together 114 established climbs, most within minutes of the road. There are seaside crags with amazing views, mountain top cliffs with climbs on all sides, and an island crag that requires a kayak. All within snorkeling distance of the beaches and some of the better burgers in Thailand. 

Rachel Fagan climbing Do It! a 6c+ at Golden View. Photo by Kelsey Gray.
Rachel Fagan climbing Do It! a 6c+ at Golden View. Photo by Kelsey Gray.

As Thailand becomes inundated with travelers from all over the world, climbing areas such as Tonsai and Railey are becoming increasingly crowded. This guide opens the possibilities of a new area and a completely different style of climbing than most would experience in Thailand. With excellent weather much of the year it is an ideal destination with the months of October and November having much of the rain, leaving the rest of the year to be sunny and beautiful. 

Ryan Senko following Drunken Yorkshireman (6a+) at Big Brother Slab. Photo by Kelsey Gray.
Ryan Senko following Drunken Yorkshireman (6a+) at Big Brother Slab. Photo by Kelsey Gray.