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The Oyster Blade
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Hand of Bhudda, The 

The Hand of Bhudda 

YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII British: E2 5b

Type:  Sport, 4 pitches, 300'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Dutch, '88
Page Views: 3,203
Submitted By: caughtinside on Jul 26, 2007
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Anja on the summit. By Ram Sripracha
Warning Stainless-steel bolts are suspect near the coast. A rebolting effort is underway. MORE INFO >>>


The Hand of Bhudda is an outstanding moderate multipitch that summits the Oyster Blade. You get to tag the summit and get an outstanding view of Phi Phi. (there is a photo of this in the Lightner guide.) The pitches are on the short side, about 80' or so each, but this takes advantage of great belay stances. The route, or the Oyster Blade in general, doesn't see much traffic You'll probably have it to yourselves.

P1: 5.10c - 130 ft. Come out of the jungle and locate the route by looking at the left side of the formation, and starting up a face to a corner formed by a giant hanging stalagtite coming off the wall. Climb up past a few threads and pass left of the stalactite. Continue up and left, passing a thin crux near the end of the pitch. There is an anchor on top of the large stalactite for another route. A few guide books suggest belaying here. The FA was not done in this manner, and it makes no sense to stop here as it is only 50 ft off the deck. Continue to the next anchor.

P2: 5.10a - 60ft. Head up and trend just right to a hand crack before moving back left into that graphite grey, super sharp, dagger rock. Easy climbing, but exposed.

P3: 5.9 - 60ft. Head straight up! The features on this pitch are crazy, there is dead coral sticking straight out of the limestone! This is the easiest pitch, but also the neatest for the features. Take care though, if you tap on the coral it sounds like you are tapping on glass. Easy climbing, but if you fall you will be julienned, and I dont' even want to think about what your rope would look like.

You can continue past the belay for P3, about 15 feet up to the summit. Straddle it and belay off the ring. Back up the old rope/webbing. You can scramble between the two summits for pictures and such.

Descent: From the 3rd (or 4th) belay, you traverse on a fixed line left to a rap anchor. Do one 25m rappel and then scramble down the jungle to the base of the wall.

There is a rap anchor in the notch between the two summits, but it takes you to a hanging belay anchor from 1987. IT'S BAD! GO DOWN FROM THE LEFT SIDE OF THE TOWER! Stay tuned for rebolting info!


Just left of center on the Oyster Blade. See P1 description.


Bolts. As of 2/07, every lead bolt was a Petzl stainless glue in. Every belay had one Ti bolt, and one SS glue in, with the typical Thai setup of a piece of tied rope and big steel ring. Take some slings with you to back up the rope. You may want to leave some behind, so tied slings are recommended.

You need a second rope to do the standard descent. You might be able to rap the route with a single 60m, but you might get the rope hung up.

Photos of The Hand of Bhudda Slideshow Add Photo
the Payoff!  The view from the top, right before the scary rap.
the Payoff! The view from the top, right before t...
Pitch 1 coming up to the top of the stalactite.  By Ram Sripracha
Pitch 1 coming up to the top of the stalactite. B...
Camille at the first belay on the Hand of Bhudda.
Camille at the first belay on the Hand of Bhudda.
Near end of pitch 2. By Ram Sripracha
Near end of pitch 2. By Ram Sripracha
Brian following pitch 3.  Note the sharp looking rock...
Brian following pitch 3. Note the sharp looking r...
Start of Pitch 1.  By Ram Sripracha
Start of Pitch 1. By Ram Sripracha
I think this was the first anchor on the Hand of Bhudda.  Typical.
I think this was the first anchor on the Hand of B...
Me following the fourth and final pitch of the Hand of Bhudda.  The crazy rock is coral protruding from the limestone!
Me following the fourth and final pitch of the Han...
Comments on The Hand of Bhudda Add Comment
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By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Jul 26, 2007

Just some follow up: I sent Shamick, one of the guys who does a lot of rebolting work in Thailand an email regarding the state of the bolts, anchors and especially the rappel, some time in May 07.

Also, for climbers looking for more moderate grades, I'd suggest Phi Phi. There is a ton of 5.10 there, and not many climbers, so few lines. It was a nice warm up for us, and let us adjust to the humidity, before we started crushing it on Ton Sai. heh.

By Scott W
From: Flagstaff, AZ
May 29, 2008

I did this route in December of 2007, it was great, though I found the top pitches a little scary because of the dagger rock...never climbed on the stuff before, so that's probably why I found it intimidating. The rapel blew, I rapped back down to one of the anchors you lead up on, ropes of course got stuck on the pull, the rock up there is like velcro! Your rope will stick to everything including vertical face! Overall a cool route though!

By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Aug 9, 2008

yeah that dagger rock on the upper two pitches is sharp and feels like you're climbing on glass! if you look at the photo I posted where I'm following the last pitch you can see what it's all about, that is actually coral sticking out of the limestone, outrageous!

I'm told there's similar features on the upper pitches of the Thaiwand, but I haven't seen them for myself...

Rapping back to the route was probably the safe play. The lower standard rap station is SCARY. It has three old bolts with old hangars. The hangars are stuffed with old cord/tat, and you can't clip them directly, you have to clip the power point, two crusty biners. If you go this way, take fresh webbing/cord and a knife!

By Ryan Williams
From: London (sort of)
May 2, 2010

The standard way to lower off of this tower is from a rap anchor to the left of the 4th belay, just below the summit. There is a fixed line from the 4th belay leading you left around the tower . From here make one single rope rappel and scramble down the gully.

The anchor in the notch is Ti, and we hope to add two Ti bolts to the "horrible" hanging belay next month. Because of the sharp rock though, the rap and scramble off the back of the tower might still be a better option.

BTW, when you were hanging on the "horrible anchor" you were only about 15 feet to the right of the second belay of the route, which has two glue ins, one Ti. The anchor you rapped off of has been on the wall since 1987! I can't believe you didn't die!

Also... link the first two pitches. The anchor on top of the stalactite is for another route, and it makes no sense to belay from here .

By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Dec 1, 2010

Yeah... I was way puckered hanging on that anchor! Although the bolts looked decent, it was the cord that was really frightening. Wish I had known about the alternate rap. I was following the rap shown in the Lightner guide. I did consider swinging way left to get back on the route and rap that, but didn't think I could swing that far left without shredding my ropes or getting hung up on the pull. Oh well, almost 4 years ago now, pretty foggy.

By Ryan Williams
From: London (sort of)
Dec 2, 2010

As of December 2010 the standard way to get down is still to go left at the 4th belay on a fixed line, and rap off the back of the tower. The mid-station on the front was never re-bolted... maybe this year.

By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Dec 8, 2010

don't remember a fixed line at all, but as I said, 4 years makes it foggy!

Anyway, thanks for the rebolting work!

By Ryan Williams
From: London (sort of)
Dec 9, 2010

The fixed line probably wasn't there when you climbed it. I'm not sure why the middle rap station wasn't rebolted with the rest of the tower and I'm not sure why Sam's book says it was. IF the mid rap station were safe it would be a much better way to get down.

I put a fixed line up in Feb of 2008... more as a guide then for safety since its about 15 feet of class 4. I've replaced it a few times and as of now it leads you to the safest descent.

It's a shame I didn't get the drill on that tower before I left. There were a few harder routes over there that I wanted to bolt and I wanted to fix the rap station as well. I just spent a lot of time on Tonsai Tower, which gets climbed a lot more.

By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Dec 9, 2010

yes, it was a pretty straightforward descent with two ropes from that station. Only drawback is that it is a full hanging station, no ledge at all.