THE ASIA OUTDOORS FAMILY
Slo and Erik
In late 2006, Erik Ferjentsik and Onslo Carrington left positions as co-managers of a leading climbing gym & outdoors guiding service in the United States to follow a mutual dream of living, climbing, and guiding in Southeast Asia. Drawn to the waters of Ha Long Bay, the unique limestone islands, and stunning beauty — an area brimming with climbing potential – they settled on northern Vietnam’s Cat Ba Island.
Driven by passion for the sport, Slo and Erik invested years of effort into navigating legal and cultural challenges to obtain access to walls, as well as cleaning and bolting routes in order to open crags to the larger climbing community. They opened Slo Pony Adventures (later to become Asia Outdoors), the region’s first licensed outdoor climbing custodian and provider.
Slo and Erik’s work built relationships with the local community, allowing them to open climbing crags such as Butterfly Valley and Moody Beach while giving back through the form of trash pick-ups, microlending, access fees, and community volleyball courts. By 2008, Slo, Erik, and their friends had bolted over 40 routes spanning six crags, as well as explored numerous DWS walls, establishing early classics throughout the region.
Through the following years Erik and Slo continued bolting routes and building Slo Pony Adventures, mentoring Vietnamese and Western climbers in the arts of crag development and guiding. Their efforts have created partnerships with local businesses, providing jobs to local residents while helping preserve climbing areas. They’ve put Ha Long Bay firmly on the map as a climbing destination in Southeast Asia, introduced the sport to thousands of travelers, and laid a solid foundation for climbing development to continue throughout the region.
Although no longer on Cat Ba, Slo and Erik’s legacy lives on. Among many people who have contributed to climbing development in Ha Long Bay, the pair have accounted for a great deal and a lasting legacy. To Slo and Erik, from all of us: Thank you!