INFO, Why Paraport? - TOPO

 link to  Paraport-Overview maps, boulder topos and directions

Hampi - Why Paraport?

 It's a tribute to a special place which was perfect with so many huge trees and boulders everywhere, "empty rocks only" as the locals would say. To us they were far from empty giving lots of good climbing. It's still great as they have stopped blasting just near the climbing and go to other places. This could be due to the climbers who pleaded with them not to take those rocks.

Why would anybody go and live in that area in the first place?
 Too many loose flakes on Hampi island?
 Too touristy and overpriced?
 How and why did they escape from Planet Hampi?

People thought I was peculiar for going to stay over there in the forest and the locals told me it's very dangerous. Go back and stay in Goa corner resort with the others they would say. I just had to tell them, look it's free and the best boulders are out there! My old friend Gopalswami the boss of Mowgli guest house always laughed at me, "jungle boy" he'd say. I was laughing too, "MR. Mowgli V.I.P." I'd say back and watch with amazement at his rapidly expanding Mowgli empire. All the guest houses on Hampi Island were expanding at a super fast speed.

Some of the hills are frequented by more bears and some leopards. You can tell by the shit that you find. Too much bear shit and it’s scary especially at night or sunset walking back to your cave when you hear the grunting growling sound of that beast. The year before I had found a high hill with two big pinnacles and boulders scattered on the plateaus in front so I plodded up there to check it out for another time. When I walked behind the pinnacles it was a flat grassy plateau with loads of rocks big and small.

Suddenly standing there this time it felt special, It felt so right. There was no sign of any rock blasters then. It was high up and I was looking down all the way back to the imposing Rishimuk on Hampi island. A long way from anything here that’s for sure. I assumed nobody had ever lived there as it was too far to the water spring and few people would ever pass. It was in the middle of nowhere and so beautiful. I would make this place my base.

Now I could spend every day climbing the easier problems and live on next to nothing. At first I would do classics which I could do quickly. It's nice not to get stuck on projects sometimes.

 One day I could feel a finger tendon so I went to do these two classic new problems 7a and 7b. When I'd finished the pain had gone! Sometimes it's just like that, you can 'climb away' injuries.
     After a while this boulder was on the hit list for the blasters but refused to break. DONT BREAK 7a

 DESTROY THE FUTURE!  I To me it seemed like the blasters were doing just that. Then after too many tries and seeing my finger tips I thought I was destroying my own future also. But for one or two days only. Fingertips heal themselves and get stronger. Broken blasted rocks can't be healed so fuck your mind if you think too much about it.

Actually in the beginning apart from wild animals, strange insects and falling from boulders there was not much to stress about and most of the time I would be so busy anyway. If I am not climbing and searching or exploring then it’s collecting dry sticks and the 1 hour water run. With all the boiling and cooking thrown in plus the yogic activities that's what I'd be doing every day.

It was doing me good living like this I could feel it. When I met people back down in the ‘real world’ I found myself being nicer, more friendly and more sympathetic also. Maybe I was becoming more sensitized by living like that. Or maybe it's just easier to be a nice person when you only have to do it for one day a week.

The only people I ever met out there were the occasional woodcutter always asking for water and some family groups of nomads who travel from place to place with their animals. They stayed on the next hill to be near the water. One middle aged guy came while I was bouldering and seemed interested in me so I went to visit their camp which I could see from my cave about 25 minutes walk across the valley and up a hill.

They were all sitting chilling out in their jungle camp in the hot time. It was what looked like his daughter that struck me. She was so wild looking with her half dreadlocked hair, psychedelic clothing, piercings everywhere, tribal tattoos and jewellery. She wouldn’t have looked out of place at Woodstock or a psytrance bash. If she walked down the street in England she would be automatically branded as a 'dirty hippie.' With her big beautiful eyes and a happy round face she looked amazing but I don’t stare at people for too long so I tried to take my eyes off her and focus on the father. After we talked in a mixture of kannada , Hindi and English he was smiling and made chillum hand gestures. I was off tobacco but got out my small pipe which smoked like a chillum and some ganja. We were still talking as we smoked which seemed to work somehow and he was telling me about the wild animals round these parts and to be careful. The bears would attack he said. They had loads of those lethal spikey bushes to make a circle around the camp at night giving protection for them and their animals. What a life I thought. As far I could know they were a nice family, just happy travellers and I felt like I’d made friends with them when I left.

With the 15 litres in a water ball on my shoulder I wasn’t looking back much but became faintly aware of someone following me. Then she was just by my side, the psychedelic daughter ! I could hardly believe it. She was skipping down the hill with me smiling all the time. She seemed to be excited and happy about something but then 18 year old girls who live in the jungle get excited quickly, don’t they? I thought.

Then I became a bit confused as nothing had happened to me quite like this in India. Women just don’t behave like this normally. Maybe as travelling nomads they have a different system of ethics. But Is she allowed to do this? Maybe she said to her family members that she was was going for a piss and sneaked off or did her parents send her after me saying “go and make friends with that fine fellow.” I didn’t have a clue. What if she wants to be my ‘special friend.’ It felt like I was getting out of my depth. Then just as my cave came into view she stopped, smiled , pointed at my cave then laughing and skipping like a little girl turned around to run and jump back to her camp. Such a happy one I thought, happy with almost nothing, not like the people in the real world.

That night I was thinking about her as I drifted off to sleep. Wouldn’t it be wildly outrageous to get involved with someone like that I thought. Someone so out of the mainstream. Much to their delight I visited the camp every time I went for the water and even though I would probably see them at the same spot next year I was really sad when they left. They had moved on and I missed the ultra friendly gypsy vibes.

I was very psyched for climbing so when in the mood would push myself further and further into the scary highball zone. It was becoming my new cosmic cave and I knew about how to trust the rock but it’s different here, the rock generally more solid but still there willl always be the odd flake. It’s also a little bit far from the hospital or anywhere so the risks are greater. Sometimes on high top outs it's a technique of lock, reach, tap, listen to the sound and decide quick.

Dhal in the Dharma cave.

I would be like this only. With no mobile, no computer, no house, no car, no anything really. The crash pad life was mine now. I'd gone backwards and was loving this freedom more than anything in my life so far. After a while I got a radio though. Otherwise I might lose touch with the real world I thought. If I wasn't already maybe I could become 'uncivilized' or even 'junglized.' 

To reach and stay within the global poverty line of 2$ a day while living a happy satisfying life and not hungry or wanting for anything. I hadn’t meant to but it just happened.  No luxuries, no rent, no fuel for cooking only free wood and a very basic but healthy diet (dhal and rice every day) made it possible. 

EUCALIPTY WALL 7c This sweeping wall of white granite would give an absolute classic problem straight up the middle. Very crimpy body tension moves at the start then a great move up high to finish the route. It's well worth seeking it out in the afternoon when its in the shade.

Real world
Every time I went back once a week or so it was a bit of a mini culture shock. All the people I would meet in the ‘real world’ (Sanapur, Hampi or Hospet) seemed to be on a different level and sometimes made me nervous. I thought about it and yes it was starting to seem scary….. everybody seemed really desperate and are grasping so they can feel happy and satisfied.
I realized that by striving for less I was going totally in the opposite direction from almost everybody else. People started to think I’m wierd though and the locals told me all the time not to stay like that in the wild forest area. Real reason – they are not getting any money! So try and scare me, it didn'y work but I knew they would be scared to stay out there for even one day. When I met other foreigners I tried not to tell them what I was doing but I couldn’t lie if they actually asked where I’m staying I had to say it, “I live in the forest for free.”

For boulders like this. It's the reason for staying out here. When I get a rock with 4 or 5 classic problems it makes me so happy as to be almost ecstatic.

Fantastic rock with three 7a's, one 7a+ one 7b and a hard project. Unfortunately this boulder is just outside the agreed 'no blast zone' so we can just hope it stays.

With very small holds at the start and a hard move to finish it's MAJICK FINGERS 7c and like a short powerful version of KUNDALINI RISING. It's a classic line which draws you in, don't miss it. This problem also got left out of the guide but it's just near the main pinnacles area. Take the original topos with you if you go there. It's got a lot more problems and is lighter to carry than the in the guide

A special piece of rock this is. I found it in the mid morning half way between my cave and the water hole. It was slopers in that groove you can see and full moon so I went back to climb it that very night. SHINING GROOVE boulder 7a and the special thing is a superb project round to the left of this.



It's here I can view straight across the valley to the pinnacles.

When I'm resting between tries I get a sinking sad feeling as I have a perfect view over the valley to Paraport. Not one blasted boulder is vivible they are all behind the pinnacles. The real world, the poverty, the blasters, the need for material wealth all sitting BEHIND those pinnacles. It's ironic that of all the places I could have come to escape the march of materialism it would arrive here anyway.


Not many people came to Paraport but a climber called Squib came and liked it a lot. After repeating most of the problems he also wanted to find new things.
This photo was an area on a seperate lower plateau nearby and exclusively developed by Squib. It was brilliant and he did some 20 or so problems but there was still more to do. One climb was tall and he had to try for a couple of days before I spotted him on it. He did it that day, a beautiful 7b and more like E5 also.
The next year he didn't come and I saw the blasters had taken a liking to this area being easier to get a tractor to. What we see here in the photo is just the start of their campaign. If you go now there's not one boulder left. All his classic problems are gone.
Most of the boulders at Paraport and nearby are still there though and we begged them in the nearby village not to blast there. We watch as people destroy the hills but never say anything harsh to them. It's not their fault they are victims of systems way beyond their control. As a boulderer it's so sad to see the boulders just disappear one after the next and essential to try and stop them. I'ts still great now at Paraport partly because of this effort. Unlike a lot of hills and plateaus beyond and to the west which are now boulderless.
Help to preserve this area by going to climb there and go to the village (Yahadeli) 2km away on a rest day. Just tell them what you do and how great the place is. The more people who tell them this the less likely they are to blast it. They've got so many other 'active places' so don't lose out and the locals told us they hope to soon get permission to take all the rock from just one hill rather than running between so many boulderfields. We can hope so too.

Original topos and how to get there, logistics, water etc. on the pdf with about 250 problems to go at.

   link to  Paraport-Overview maps, boulder topos and directions

All the following problems still exist for now so must be attempted...

LITTLE ARETE 5+ left and right version both good
PARAPORT TRAVERSE 6a brilliant steep traverse
JUNGLE PEOPLE 6c –JUNGLI block pinnacles area, pockets wall great finish
PARAPORT WALL 7a – pinnacles area high classic
SEARCH FOR SOMA 7b+ – Soma block, slopers jugs crimps its got everything
PARATRANCEPORT 7a+ - Paraport boulder,
PARAPORT EXPRESS 7b+/c -long moves very steep and fingery
IRON GRIP 7b+ - Karadi area, crimpy dynamic throw and tricky finish
DHARMA KAYA 7b – Dharma cave area, superb bulging wall
STONED IMMACULATE 7b – classic undercut arete
MAJICK FINGERS – 7b+/c - near east pinnacle. Hard to decide the method. Static? Jumping throw? mmm.
THE MILKING WAY 7c – karadi area, superb sloper problem. Milk the sloper!
EUCALIPTY WALL 7c the field. fantastic climbing up a beautiful bulging white wall

JUNGLFEVER 7c+ great move to latch the top.

WORLDS IN COLLISION 8a – pinnacles area. Great climbing and compelling line.

No comments:

Post a Comment