“I started rock climbing in 2015; it was actually my rock climbing anniversary yesterday! I first got into it because I was looking for something healthy to do. I was overweight for a period of time, and I told myself that I needed to do something about it.

I did lose some weight from running and doing other kinds of exercises, but I wanted to pick up a sport which was fun and engaging. Since I was never good at any team sports like soccer, I decided to try rock climbing instead; it’s a lot more individual.

My friend and I just came back from a rock climbing trip actually. I needed to escape from life, so my friend and I went on our first official outdoor climbing adventure. We went to Bangkok, Laos and Krabi. We didn’t even engage a guide; we planned everything ourselves.

The experience was amazing. The first place we went to was this campsite called Namphapayai in Bangkok. We lived in tents, and every morning, we had to cross a river to get to the climbing site. It was just five minutes away, but we had to get across on a zipline.

I was very nervous at first. Unlike indoor climbing, there are no designated holes in the rocks to help you climb. You have to study the rock formations yourself and figure out where to put your hands and feet. I didn’t know if I could do it at first, but as time went by, something slowly clicked, and I got used to the outdoor terrain.

When I came home a few weeks later, I felt recharged and ready to take on life again. Climbing really is metaphorical for life’s challenges. You may not be able to control your situation, but you can always find ways to go around it. It keeps you healthy too, of course. I was 87kg, but now I’m 69kg; I lost a good 18kg.” – Yihan, 29

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