Although she was in pain, McKayla insisted on doing the Climbodia trip. A short tuk tuk ride east about 5 miles lead us to our cave. Three guides were ready for us, got us harnessed up and went through the gear and the plan (all very safe and secure equipment and very knowledgeable guides who enforced safety regulations).
First we did an easy rock scramble to get comfortable and up to the ridge. Then we clipped into the via Ferrata (a metal cable that was anchored into the mountain and gave us something to lock into as we traversed over to a cave opening). I had never used that system of climbing but it felt very safe. There were two safety lines you’d clip and unclip one at a time so you were alway hooked in.
Next it was time for our cave tour. It used to house a temple within the cave but it was destroyed by the Khmer Rouge. The cave was a maze of passageways through the mountain, some you had to squeeze through, others you could see open air 150 feet up. There were roots that stretched from the cave floor a hundred or more feet to trees on the surface. Bats flew past us as we traversed through some awesome caverns. We walked, crawled and climbed about a mile through the cave system before exiting at a still active cave temple.
We made our way back to our starting point to start the rock climbing portion of our day. They’d set up several routes and the 3 guides took turns belaying our group of 5. It was fair to say that McKayla and I were the least experienced of the 5 but we each completed a few routes and had a great time doing it. We each completed at 5.7 and a 5.8 route and I attempted/half completed a 5.9. It turned out to be just a great day to climb around and enjoy some caves. This day trip was not planned and honestly, climbing isn’t usually that high on our list but we were both very comfortable with the staff, the gear and the routes. The guides were really good at putting us at ease with their endless encouragement, joking, high fives and their knowledge of the area and climbing. This was one of our better snap decisions, really a cool experience.