BETA PHOTO: Eagle Wall from the opposite bank of the Nam Ou, i...
Eagle Wall is located along the base of an impressive limestone face rising out of the waters of the Nam Ou near the confluence with the Mekong, about an hour upriver of Luang Prabang. On the two day slowboat ride down the Mekong from Huay Sai on the Thailand border, this was easily the most commanding face and had my climbing partner Erin and I gaping. The climbing stays mostly on the lower left portion of the wall.
The wall is all limestone with mixed rock quality. There are clean white rounded panels, black prickly stuff, and a mix of cracks and face climbs. This area sees very little traffic and so many of the climbs are a bit dirty and adventurous (think jungle climbing with trees in cracks, ants, mouse bones, bees, dirt, etc.)
It is relatively well sheltered and went into the shade in the early afternoon. There was one other party there the day we climbed at Eagle Wall, but there is enough space for a few parties to climb comfortably. With an aggressive day you could climb most things of interest. Not a destination climbing location, but if you are in the area it is a fun place to check out.
According to the author of the free Climbing Laos digital guidebook, Volker Schoffl, all of the routes were put up by Dan Morris, Will Hair, and other American climbers in 1999. The bolts of the few climbs we did all appeared to be in good shape.
I am only including the three climbs I did, but there are plenty more up to 5.13 on this crag. For more information go here climbinglaos.com/ and you can download a free guidebook for climbing across the whole country.
Pak Ou is a small village at the confluence of the Nam Ou and Mekong. Eagle Wall is on the opposite bank of the Nam Ou from the village. It takes 1 hour by boat to get to the village from Luang Prabang. We instead opted to rent a motor bike and motor out to the crag, about 45 minutes to an hour. Leave Luang Prabang on Route 13 going north. After 32 km turn left onto a smaller dirt road to reach Pak Ou. Watch out for big potholes on the paved road.
Walk through the village and find someone near the water's edge to give you a ride across the river. The guy that gave us a lift knew where to drop us. The climbing is left of the tallest portion of the wall, where the cliff reaches all the way down to the water at a small beach. Looker's left of the beach there are some boulders and trees rising up out of the Nam Ou. The climbing is above those trees in the white and red rock. Arrange for a pick up time from your boat man. Ours was very punctual and friendly.
Climb up the steep, short, loose approach trail to the base. There are a few climbs on the right wall that are generally of poorer quality. Break left along the base of the main wall to find most of the quality climbing.
The climb goes up through a tricky section and over a small ant-covered tree. Then you cross an owl-cave with mouse bones and up some tufas and pliable plates on a steep face to the anchor. Very exciting!...[more]Browse More Classics in International