A breakoff group of the Rockrats consisting of Thin Man, Fearless Leader and Combat Girl, accompanied by Eugene and Joel, took a trip to Gua Kelam in March 2003 to check out the crag at Gua Kelam in the state of Perlis. Gua Kelam is located very near the border of Thailand so if you’re keen to cross over, you can bring your passports along.
The drive up from Kuala Lumpur took us some 8 hours which was probably a bit of a crazy journey just for a weekend climb but then we were pretty eager beavers back then… Gua Kelam is a picturesque little place (as you’ll notice from the photos) where a family could visit just for a picnic. Gua Kelam is divided into five climbing sections across two areas. You can check out the route descriptions at Rock Climbing – Gua Kelam.
I’m afraid I didn’t really do my homework for this trip so I can’t tell you which routes we climbed except for the Section which I recognise from the descriptions…
Upon entering the park, you’ll be able to see Section A and B. To access Section C, D and E, you’ll need to pay a dollar to cross the cave to get into the other side of the park. There isn’t much there in the way of food or accommodation at the park except for the foodstalls and some sheltered huts which we camped under for the night.
Bear in mind that all this information is based on what I saw a few years back so I don’t know how much the park has changed since then…
We arrived quite late in the afternoon, so most of the stalls were already closing. We had to survive on extremely acidic mangoes before taking off to look for dinner at the nearest town after we were done climbing. The real pity was that it rained when we were there so a lot of the rock faces were not climbable.
We wasted a lot of time huddled under the shelter while it was raining, but Eugene came up with a route called “Pain”. Campussing only on the outer beam of the sheltered hut, you have to complete one lap of the hut to finish the route. The moves are not particularly difficult, just enduring. You can check out the photos below…
The other limitation to our trip was that Gua Kelam was too big an area to explore in one weekend. It was our intention was to return for a longer trip at another time but I guess we never got around to it because the journey was pretty exhausting.
I don’t think many people climb the area often so it’s probably a good idea to check your bolts and anchors. You should also be wary of any insect nests – which I soon discovered when I got too close to a hornets’ nest on the first day and had to bail with a fat lip. There was also a huge bee hive hanging off one of the routes in Section D but luckily it had been abandoned when we were climbing there.
All in all, a nice area to go climbing, although it’s a bit far to travel when you live in the Klang Valley. I knew a group of climbers from Penang who used to take trips out there from time to time since it’s only about a 4-hour drive from Penang. It’s been a while so I don’t know if they still do.