Batu Caves has one of the more developed sport climbing areas in Malaysia. There are several different sections you can access to climb. One of the easiest sections is called “Damai”. In Malay, “Damai” means peaceful, and true to its name, Damai is friendly to beginner climbers looking to try natural rock climbing for the first time.
A popular site, due to its easy access and parking practically at the foot of the crag, Damai is a rock climber’s playground with route grades ranging from 5C to 6B/C, based on the French system.
A half minute walk from your car to the base, it doesn’t get kinder than this. With wide, open spaces, you can even bring your picnic basket and a blanket to laze around in between climbing.
Mosquito repellent is usually not necessary, although you may need to be wary of red ants for those wearing sandals. Make sure you bring plenty of water and something to eat as the nearest eating area is a short drive out.
Being one of the easier climbing spots, Damai is one of the more populated climbing spots and you can often find other climbers to hook up with on the weekends.
A 60m rope and 12 quick draws are sufficient to see you through the longer routes however many of the routes are actually shorted than this.
There is one natural pro route just right of the tree root, but the rest are all sport routes.
The bolts are screw-in and anchors are chains. Lead climbers will need to know how to thread the rope through the rings at the anchors if you don’t want to leave gear behind.
You can find information on Damai here:
If you look carefully, you’ll realise that some things don’t quite match up between the route chart and topo map. That’s not my fault. I saved all this information from way back when so your guess is as good as mine as to what went wrong. There are also some differences between this and the route chart on rockclimbing.com. It’s mostly right, though.
- Monkey Highway – Natural Pro, 6a
- Ghana Power – 5c
- Lead Man – 5c
- Lightning Grip – 6a
- Golly Gully – 5c
- Rain Man – 6a
- Thunder – 6a
- Monsoon – 6a+, 6b, 6a
- Bad News – 6a
- Wet Look – 5c
- Virgin Climb – 6a
- Stop Twice – 6a, 6c
- Lone Ranger – 6a
- Dry Season – 6b/c (4 pitches)
- Reservoir Doggin’ – 5c+
- Good Onion – 5c, 6a, 6b
- Granular Spindrift – 5c
- Redemption Song – 5c+, 6a+ 6b
- Permaisuri – 5c
- Duckula – 5c
- Sweet Maria – 5c
- Up Step – 5c
- Ichineedsanghait; Bekalan Habis – 5c, 6b
- TJ – 6a+ (2 pitches)
- Sasau – 6a+ (2 pitches)
- Water on the Rock – 6a+ (2 pitches)
- Jah Lap Climbing – 6a+
- 3 Brothers – 6b
- Aciaci Buka Pintu – 6b
- Project Route – ungraded
- X Foot – 6c
MONKEY HIGHWAY, 5C, 40M, 2 pitches, natural pro (mostly slings), bolted anchor
1st pitch: Starts below the smaller cave mouth with the boulder in it. Follow “V” shaped crackline to cave mouth and a threaded anchor. From there traverse horizontally across left to a big tree. Behind the tree is a bolt.
2nd pitch: Follow the bolt up, and then traverse R into a huge scoop. Climb the line of least resistance to steeper ground and the anchor.
(F.A.:Yuen-Li and Yen; end 1996)
GHANA POWER, 5c, 10m, 3 bolts to anchor
Very simple route with just 3 quickdraws required. Most handholds are on the left side of the climb, and well hidden. Good undercling between the first and second bolt.
LEAD MAN, 5c, 12m, 2 bolts and 2 slings to anchor
If you love bridging, you’ll love this route! Interesting moves for all to do at the “bridge”. Recommended to go over it, not through the hole, unless you’re really tiny…
LIGHTNING GRIP, 6a, 20m, 6 bolts and 2 slings to anchor
Why is it Lightning Grip? Because at the crux (after the two big handholds up the crack) you would have to aim to the left and grab a hidden side pull to take you up the rest of the route. May be a slight challenge for climbers with shorter limbs.
GOLLY GULLY, 5c, 18m, 3 bolts and 3 slings to anchor
Long sling for the 4th bolt is recommended. Also lots of pocket holds within reach.
RAIN MAN, 6a, 16m, 6bolts to anchor
Nice balance moves at the start of the climb. Don’t be intimidated by the slight bulge, the good holds are all at the top of it!
THUNDER, 6a, 15m, 5 bolts to anchor
First pitch : 6a+, 25m, 10 bolts and 2 slings
Second pitch: 6b, 25m, 10 bolts
Third pitch: 5c, 15m, 6 bolts
First pitch ends just above the mouth of the big cave. Advisable to do a “normal” climb up the third pitch and be belayed down, as there is no space at the top for a little picnic. Check out the view while you’re up there!
BAD NEWS, 6a, 17m, 7 bolts to anchor
Easy climbing for a 6a route (a 5c+ to experienced climbers). Reach up and feel for the big pockets, which are all within reach.
WET LOOK,, 5c, 10m, 4 bolts to anchor
One of the favourites of many novices, also known as the “KL Connection” in the Climb Singapore guidebook. It’s a tricky start with a bit of smearing – making it the “crux” as there aren’t many positive footholds for the beginner, otherwise a breeze when you get past the first 3 meters.
VIRGIN CLIMB, 6a, 15m, 7 bolts to anchor
Another good 6a. Start is almost the same as WET LOOK, with good pockets in the middle of the route (on the medium-brown face). Climb up over the bulge at the last bit to the anchor.
First pitch : 6a, 20m, 7 bolts
Second pitch: 6c/7a, 25m, 13 bolts
First pitch is an easy 6a – ends just above the ledge. Second pitch is a real endurance test. Advanced climbers have the option of going all the way in a single pitch on a 60m rope, then abseil down from the top with a stop at the first pitch’s anchor. Also known as “Crack X” in the Climb Singapore guidebook.
LONE RANGER, 6a, 11m, 3 bolts to anchor
The start is rather awkward – be careful not to slip. Easy 6a, nice balancy moves.
DRY SESSION, 6c average
First pitch : 15m, 5 bolts and 2 slings
Second pitch: 5m, 7 bolts
Third pitch: 14m, 7 bolts
Fourth pitch: 14m, 8 bolts
Starts at the top of the steel staircase that leads up to the mouth of the big cave.
(Project Route), unknown difficulty, 25m, 10 bolts and 2 slings to anchor
You’ll have to get up to the ledge above the big cave in order to start this route. Best to go up via Route 14 (Dry Season).
X FOOT, 6c, 20m, 8 bolts to anchor
Climb is to the right side of the mouth of the big cave, ending at the ledge above the cave.
RESERVOIR DOGGIN’, 5c+, 10m, 3 bolts to anchor
A rather crusty start, otherwise nice warm-up route.
First pitch : 5c, 25m, 6 bolts and 2 slings
Second pitch: 6a, 28m, 9 bolts
Third pitch: 6b, 25m, 8 bolts
Bring extra slings to loop around the tree trunk at the first anchor as backup – there’s barely enough space for 2 climbers, let alone 1 to rest comfortably. Best for the seconder to rest at the second last bolt of the first pitch, before heading straight up the second pitch. A rope bag to stuff your rope in would be a good idea if you’re heading up the second pitch as well.
Slightly smooth halfway up the route, otherwise a nice climb for those who want to check out the view. You’d love the large ledge at the second anchor… big enough for a mini picnic on the rocks! Lots of loose dirt, so good rope management is advised.
GRANULAR SPINDRIFT, 5c, 14m, 6 bolts to anchor
Awkward start as the first bolt for this climb is not quite “accessible” without contorting your body in a certain manner!
PERMAISURI, 5c, 20m, 7 bolts to anchor
This climb ends at the mouth of a small “cave” which is just spacious enough to squeeze your body into while setting up your anchor. A good climb with a slight overhang at one part of the climb, suitable for beginners who want to learn to go over bulges without much hassle. Also a slightly balancy move on the way up to the overhang.
First pitch : 5c+, 28m, 11 bolts
Second pitch: 6a+, 25m, 7 bolts
Third pitch: 6b, 20m, 6 bolts
For the first pitch, a long sling is recommended for the third-last bolt as it is located under the ledge, which would create a real drag if your quickdraw is not long enough.
DUCKULA, 5c, 28m, 11 bolts to anchor
A little bit of tricky navigation required at the top of the route. Be careful to test the tree roots first if you plan to use them as holds (they’re mostly in the way so you can’t use much of anything else!).
SWEET MARIA, 5c, 20m, 9 bolts to anchor
First pitch: 5c, 20m, 9 bolts
First pitch: 5c, 25m, 8 bolts
A nice one to cool down with for those who’ve had a hard day’s worth of climbing. Lots of good holds, even novices would enjoy doing it as one of their first lead climbs. No information on second pitch yet.
UP STEP, 5c, 30m, 11 bolts to anchor
The start of the route is the crux move! With a finger pocket on the left and a grip on the right, step over the “lake” (the beginning of a drain that’s usually filled with water on rainy days) with your left foot first, then pull up while aiming for the big jug at arm’s length above. A little luck required when pulling down your rope, sometimes it gets snagged at the tree roots.
First pitch: 5c, 28m, 13 bolts
First pitch: 6b, 28m, number of bolts unknown
Situated just above the “lake”, it’s a cruise up the wall. Be careful while pulling your rope down from the climb, it would definitely fall into the “lake” which would get your rope wet/muddy unless you have a ground sheet to catch your rope with!
Second ptich for this route currently under “development”. Estimated to be about 6b and 28m.
First pitch : 6a+, 28m, 12 bolts
Second pitch: 6b, 25m, 12 bolts
Don’t be intimidated by the wall – it’s not as flat as it looks! Many good crimps along the way up that won’t hurt your fingers. The climb gets easier after the first 10 meters.
First pitch : 6a+, 22m, 10 bolts
Second pitch: 6a+, 25m, 9 bolts
The first pitch is a real endurance route for the first 8 to 10 meters. A lot of layback moves involved which would get you pumped up pretty quickly if you have not warmed up enough.
WATER ON THE ROCK
First pitch : 6a+, 22m, 12 bolts
Second pitch: 5c+, 25m, 6 bolts
Not as hard as it looks, requires a bit of technique on tackling the smoother parts of the route halfway up. Also a slightly awkward move in down-climbing near the beginning of the route to the side of Jah Lap Climbing’s mini roof, then continue upwards following the hangers. Can be considered as an endurance route if you’re not familiar with the holds.
JAH LAP CLIMBING, 6a+, 24m, 10 bolts to anchor
A challenge for those who love roofs. This one has a small one for climbers to tackle, but nevertheless quite leathal. The crux move at the roof is not too difficult once you have the sequence – look for a crimp hold for the left hand (about an arm’s length) and an even tinier crimp for the right hand. A high step for the left leg is required above the roof/ledge.
THREE BROTHERS, 6b, 20m, 7 bolts to anchor
A very balancy route at the 2 crux moves – the first about 1/3 way up, and the second at the second-last bolt. Tough on your toes!
ACIACI BUKA PINTU, 6b, 22m, 7 bolts and 1 sling to anchor