Two-day event is aimed at encouraging interest in climbing ahead of a planned practice facility.
It’s all about sharing a passion for active sports, encouraging participation and bringing something new.
Your fingertips are burning, your forearms trembling, and you know that if you let go, a terrifying fall at nature’s mercy awaits. These are some of the apparent joys of climbing, but a far safer option would be attending the first “Khlimb the Penh” event, which will be held this weekend in Phnom Penh.
For only US$5, climbers can ascend a 25-metre-high temporary climbing wall on the side of the Yellow Tower, a building under construction on the Chroy Changvar peninsula. The wall will be divided into two levels of difficulty to satisfy both novice and experienced climbers.
“Khlimb the Penh” was dreamed up by two avid Phnom Penh-based climbers, Tony Keating and Yves Nommay, from Ireland and France respectively. The two friends share a love of outdoor sports but encountered a lack of climbing facilities in the capital, with the nearest spot located outside the city.
Keating and Nommay explored the possibility of opening a climbing gym and actively encouraged schools to add climbing to their physical education curriculum. It was through these efforts that they realised how many people in the city enjoyed, or wanted to try, climbing.
According to Keating, the seedling of “Khlimb the Penh” sprouted a few months ago. “The eureka moment occurred, as they usually do, on a rooftop bar overlooking the Tonle Sap,” he explained.
“Rising from the peninsula on the opposite shore was a building under construction. It was close enough to town and had, we later found, magnificent views back across to the city and of the sunset.”
Nommay and Keating were able to contact the owner of the building, who agreed to let them use it for the climb. Tony added: “The phone calls, email exchanges and [notices on] expat notice boards paid off. The interest we received surprised both of us.”
However, the owners were keen to underline the fact that this is not a business venture. “It’s all about sharing a passion for active sports, encouraging participation and bringing something new and interesting to Phnom Penh,” clarified Keating. “There are no profits from the event; anything made will go towards running costs.”
The intrepid twosome hope that “Khlimb the Penh” will generate sufficient interest, from both Cambodian and foreign communities, for a climbing gym, with a 40-metre-high wall to be built next year.
The climb is to run from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. A free ferry will be available to transport climbers between Paragon Hotel and the climbing site every hour, starting at 11am. Harnesses and safety gear will be provided at the site, and a bouldering wall will also be set up next to the ferry mooring. Participants are encouraged to wear trainers and pants that at least cover the knees. For more details, please email [email protected].