Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rock Climbing Mumbai

One year and four months of settling into life in Mumbai and we FINALLY got our act together to go climbing. It took some momentum building to make the moment come together. In May, I got the contact info for a local who knows some info about the climbing scene. That he "knows" it is an understatement. Abhijit, aka, Bong, is the reason there is any climbing community in Mumbai. When we stepped into his modest home, we were greeted with half of the room covered in climbing holds and gear piled up everywhere. His place is THE meeting spot and the climbing is a short walk away. There's an article about him in Climbing Magazine ( But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Having obtained this pertinent piece of info to get connected with the local climbing scene, the school year ended, blazing heat broke with the
monsoon season and we left on our summer travels. When we got back to Mumbai, I would periodically come across Abhijit's contact information, reminding myself to contact him once the monsoon season ended. Maybe by putting this out into the universe helped again with motivation because I was then introduced to Chris, an Australian, whose children go to the American School. Chris is a kindred soul with his love of the outdoors and adventure. He was also wanting to get dialed into the local rock climbing scene and had been told about "Bong." That's when I made the plunge and contacted him. When I heard back from him, Abhijit was friendly and welcoming. He invited us to his house to meet up with other climbers and then go climbing nearby.

The climbing is in a suburb of Navi Mumbai called Belapur, across the bay from Mumbai and a bit of a haul to get out there. Luckily, Chris has a car and driver, so he graciously offered to drive, making it much easier t
o reach our destination. Belapur is a wonderful, peaceful place nestled up against some green, rolling hills. The neighborhoods are small bungalows, crowded together and reached by narrow foot paths. It wa

s calm and cozy. Beautiful and allows one to forget they are in Mumbai.
The climbing area has many boulders and then a handful of bolted routes. We brought most of our gear since we didn't know what to expect. In the end, we only needed our shoes and chalk bags because the bolted routes are still being cleaned from the monsoon season. There were about seven other climbers who were welcoming, relaxed and we felt free to hang with them or try out other boulders. The highlight of the morning was when I slipped in to try a traverse and placed a hang jam. One of the locals was so excited to see this and wanted to try it. (There isn't much crack
climbing around, so all the locals are strong crimpers....I am far from that, so I used what I do best). Chris came over and tried to start from the bottom of the crack system. Again, excitement. One of the wise and older climbers stated, "you've just put up a new route. We didn't even think of that." It was so much fun to exchange beta and learn from each other. After a few hours we were spent, having lost a couple of layers of skin from our soft hands, and our bodies not use to climbing. It was wonderful!! I hope to be out there most weekends until the heat comes again... Yeehaw!

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