I think of all the rock climbing expeditions I’ve ever been on with the Rockrats, my all-time favourite has got to be Gua Musang. Although we had a lot of fun during all our climbing trips, this was by far the most relaxed because there were no expectations or a need to prove anything. It was pure climbing for the enjoyment of the sport.
Gua Musang is located in the state of Kelantan in Taman Etnobotani. It’s about 5 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur and 3 hours by car from Kota Bharu. I wasn’t the designated driver so I can’t really tell you how to get there, although there’s a description on Rock Climbing on how to get there.
There are dormatories located on site that you can stay at, but the nearest town is only a hop away so you have the option to stay there instead. Even if you stay at Etnobotani, you’ll still need to drive to town to get food, unless you pack your own supplies.
We were originally planning to stay on site but couldn’t find the caretakers so we ended up taking refuge in town.
Below: Simian Boy’s panorama.
One of the nicest features of Gua Musang is the ability to drive right up to the crag and park your car at the foot of Section A.
Since the access is so easy, you can pack as much as you want (read: whatever fits into your car) and bring it along with you to crag – an eski full of beer if that’s your fancy. You can bring along your camping chairs, or haul someone up to the anchor on top rope if they’re taking too long (just hook them up to the car and drive away – kidding!).
If you’re bored, waiting for your turn to climb or just want something else to do, you can ride the horse in the nearby paddock. Okay, just kidding. I don’t even know if they offer rides or if the horse is still there since that was about 5 years back when we visited.
Gua Musang has five Sections – A to E. We only managed to get time to climb Section A and C. Section A is nice and easy with plenty of large, solid holds for you to take your pick from. Grade ratings are all round 5B/C. Section C was a bit more challenging, around about 6A/B.
You can see from the photos that the belay stations for Section A and C are all pretty clear. Section D which is the wall facing Section C (to the left of the photo above) shares the same belay area as Section C, but the routes look a lot tougher. We didn’t get to climb Section D, but I think someone attempted one of the routes, albeit unsuccessfully. Thin Man and I hiked around to check out Section E which had some pretty wicked looking routes that we talked about coming back to try when we were “better climbers”. Unfortunately, that was my first and last trip back to Gua Musang.
There are also some pretty cool boulders slightly deeper in from Section C and D that are pretty interesting to boulder. The ground cover is clean so they provide a pretty good area for some beginner bouldering.
Taman Etnobotani is also a training ground so they have an obstacle course in the park that you can try out for free. Well, it was free back in 2003. I’m not sure if it’s still free now.
Stay tuned for the next post for the Rockrats’ Gua Musang 2003 trip report.