David Lama on a Malaysian Trip
ClimbandMore: What had you expected to find before going to Malaysia and what did you find on the spot? Did this trip meet your expectations?
David Lama: It was kind of strange; Patrick Andrey told me there is enormous potential and that there are walls like in Céuse. And actually that was the reason why we decided to make a trip to Malaysia. Pascal B., a guy working for Mammut, told me it is OK but not really good.
So I and my trainer Reini Scherer, who bolted most of the routes together with me, didn´t really know what to expect.
In the end we found a paradise for every climber. There are so many incredible rocks that you can’t climb them in your whole life! It was really unbelievable and we had to decide very well which of the walls we are gonna bolt and which we´ll leave for others, who will hopefully climb them soon.
What were the conditions for climbing in Malaysia - I mean the temperature, humidity etc? I'm asking because climbing in Southeastern Asia always looks good in pictures, but because of these conditions it can be more of a torture than a real pleasure...
When we were bolting the routes it was okay. There were always cool temps and it was kind of fresh thanks to the wind. We were sweating but the conditions were good enough to do the work. Unfortunately, when others arrived there was hardly any wind and it got really warm. The humidity was OK. I think it all depends whether there´s wind or not.
Also, some parts of the crags are in the shade for the whole day. And because there are different sectors on one crag which are at a different time of the day in the shade, you can choose one part for the morning, and another one for the afternoon. So you can climb in the shade for the whole day. Climbing in the shade is really not too bad - especially compared to climbing in the sun ;-)
Had you ever equipped a bigger number of routes before going to Malaysia?
No, we were crazy!!! We bolted about 100 routes in less than 9 days. That´s really crazy! When we arrived in Kuala Lumpur we drove for 2 hours to Ipoh were we bolted the first crag. When we saw the rock faces we were so impressed that we were no longer tired of the 13h in the plane and the jetlag and started bolting without a break. It was really hard work (which you can´t imagine if you don´t try it once) and after a couple of days we were already bleeding around our hips because we had spent too much time in our harnesses. But we still kept on bolting!
What is the difference for you between creating your own route and repeating an existing one? It’s said that there’s a huge difference when something is really hard, and you don’t know if it’s feasible. Usually it’s also much more difficult to grade this kind of routes…
I think grading a route is always something difficult. Everybody thinks something different about a route. For instance I tried an 8a+ in Spain. Many people say that the routes in Spain are graded easier than anywhere else. But this route was really hard-graded. There was a short boulder at the start, and I needed about 30 tries to do the moves and then it still was not easy. In general, I think that grades should be seen more as proposals than as something that is absolutely right.