27. Bouldering Exploration near Puttur – Jan 14th
I have wanted to do some bouldering or rock climbing for quite some time. With Chennai trekking club(CTC), I have been going for many treks, but during treks I dont get time for bouldering. What I wanted to do was of pure bouldering nature rather than a trek or an exploration.
With this in mind I started looking for rock climbers in India. I couldnt find many. But luckily I ended up in a facebook group which was formed by climbers around Bangalore area. I met few people from Chennai in this group, who shared the same thoughts as mine. Rather than going all the way to Bangalore for a weekend climb, we wanted to find some place near by Chennai.
But Google didnt help much to find a bouldering area. I remembered that there are some boulders near Vellore, which I confirmed after looking at the Google satellite view of Vellore. We decided to go there. But later we changed our plans to Puttur (on the way from Chennai to Tirupathi). Our plan was to leave Saturday early morning and come back by night.
We were totally 5 – Shashank, Sathya, Shouvik, Gautham and myself. By 10 am we reached Puttur. We took a bus to Nagari. We decided to get down in a place where there is some scope for bouldering. Around 6 km from Puttur we found a nice place to start our exploration.
I was feeling excited. After doing my basic course in rock climbing, at Mount Abu I was wearing my climbing shoes for the first time. It felt so nostalgic. We walked around 10 mins from the highway to get into the nearby hill which had some boulders. It was a small boulder, but had many routes ( from easy to tough). I started with the easy one for warm up. Some of these routes looked easy, but when we started climbing it, we realized the importance of arm power and good balancing footwork. Still with many tries we completed the routes. I got a feel of accomplishment.
In the above route the main problem was to get up on your foot. Due to the high foot hold its difficult to balance yourself unless you have a good handhold. But once we are able to stand on the rock you can easily get up as shown below.
This was another route in the same boulder. It mainly tested our arm strength. You can reach and hold the top of the boulder. But without a proper foot work the hand hold is not enough to support your body weight. I tried this route many times, but could do it only twice.
Once everyone was done with the first boulder we moved ahead to find the next one. We found an easy rock this time. But the rock was bigger this time, so we decided to do top roping. This boulder had very less hand holds but the foot holds where really good. So we did it quickly and moved to the next rock.
In the next boulder we found 4 possible routes – Two of them were easy, one moderate and one difficult. We did the easy ones quickly. I had to give a couple of tries to do the moderate one. The difficult one included a dyno, which I couldnt do.
By then, it was lunch time. We didnt want to go all the way to town just for having food. So we filled our stomach with 5 star chocolate and some biscuits. We tried to look for some more boulders. But due to the bushes and thorns we couldnt find a nice one. We decided to move to nearby hill. And we saw this amazing boulder. We decided to do it before we leave.
We could identify 3 routes on this boulder. They looked easy and we were confident of doing them. For this rock too, we did top roping. I went to the top of rock, and helped Shashank with belaying. After setting up the belay, Shouvik, Gautham and Sathya tried climbing. From top, it looked easy and I kept encouraging them saying “little bit more”. But I had no idea how difficult it was. I was the fourth one to try.
I jumped to the hold and tried to put my foot near my hand. It looked so easy. but it was damn difficult. Sathya helped me finally and I could stand there. Now there was one more obstacle. I had to directly reach top, because there were no holds in between.
I could keep my hand at the top, but it was too late by then. I had no energy left after the initial struggle I had,so I gave up and rappelled down.
With this disappointing experience we decided to try the other routes on the same boulder. The left most one was very difficult. There was a narrow crack, which made it look easier but since our fingers cant get inside we couldnt do it.
I tried the third route. Comparing with the other two, this was an easy one. I barely managed to do it. I felt so relieved because I was able to do atleast one route.
We decided to wind up for the day. I felt that I should come back to this rock after I get strong enough. It was as if, the rock was asking us to return back and climb it again. We all decided to go back to the same place again some time.
If you are interested in Bouldering or rock climbing and happen to live near Chennai you can interact with us using this facebook group. The group was created for discussing climbing areas nearby Chennai.