Topping Out in Thailand

The images and the joy from a day of rock climbing victory in Railay Beach.

By Didrik Johnck


Our trip to Southern Thailand started with rain. A lot of rain. Our base at the family-friendly Sand & Sea Resort was inundated by the Andaman Sea’s summer monsoon, which arrived on schedule and delivered big.

But one crack in the clouds and we were out the door, headed for Phra Nang Beach Wall. The 75-foot seaside face draws climbers from around the world for its holds and its views.

The weather forced all the climbers under one overhang where the only dry rock was located. But our son wasn’t worried about the rain. He was there to climb.

Tied in, he began a 5.7-5.8ish route to ascend the cliff. Training back home in Oregon at the Bend Rock Gym had transformed him. The coaches guided a kid who wasn’t that into team sports into finding his game.

My climbing buddies would say that he moved “effortlessly and beautifully” upward, alongside climbers many times his age.

When this little dude gets vertical, his focus, commitment, and problem-solving are on full display. And there’s something about being away from home that helps kids realize their potential.

Near the top, he got stuck on a cruxy-type move. It took him quite a while to overcome the problem, and when he did, the dozens of onlookers erupted in hoots and hollers.

For Cynthia and I, it was an emotional moment watching our son top out. Knowing how hard he worked to get there, there aren’t words to describe how happy we were to see the littlest climber hit the highest spot.

But no one was more proud than his little brother.


Didrik Johnck  – June 2019

ROAM Photographer at Large 


© ROAM Family Travel 2019 – All rights reserved


ROAM with us! Read the latest REAL family adventures



Don’t miss a single trip! Enter your email address in the box below to subscribe to ROAM and receive notifications of new posts by email. Check your inbox for an email to confirm your subscription, click the link and you’re ready to ROAM!