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Crazy Horse Buttress

Unfortunately, due to a legal situation, Crazy Horse has been closed since 2018. Despite efforts by the climbing community in Chiang Mai, it is unknown when it will reopen, but since it’s such a famous spot, I’ll tell you a little about what makes it so great. When it reopens, I highly recommend you check it out!

You can’t talk about climbing in Thailand without mentioning Crazy Horse. This is where I started my rock climbing career. Looking over the mountains of northern Thailand, the “Crazy Horse Buttress,” after which the area gets its name, is home to a few dozen routes, with more than 130 in the surrounding area. The spectacular caves, massive walls, and amazing climbing community just 45 minutes outside of Thailand’s second largest city make Crazy Horse a climbing destination to behold.

Climbing Thailand Crazy Horse Buttress
This is my friend and I climbing in one of my favorite areas — Crazy Horse Buttress. This photo was taken before 2018, when it was climbable. Photo by Surachet Kongsingh

Single pitch routes for both new climbers and veterans alike

The routes here are mostly single-pitch with small, positive, and sometimes slopey holds ranging all the way from 5.6 to 5.13c, making it great for beginner and veteran climbers. It is one of the safest climbing destinations you’ll find, with glued-in titanium bolts close enough to the ground to avoid the need for a stick-clip, and close enough to each other to avoid session-ending whippers. While you may be trading in the romantic beaches at Tonsai and Railay, you’ll be just as happy to see smaller crowds and lush, lively jungles.

When and if it reopens, the best time to climb here is in January, when temperatures are a bit cooler. Due to the caves and overhangs, you can also climb during the monsoon season in August and September. Lodging at Jira Homestay, a nearby destination for like-minded climbers, is available year-round, and authentic northern Thai cuisine can be found just about anywhere.

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