Mandalay is Myanmar’s royal city, and we are Mandalay’s loyal weekend warriors. The ten-hour night busses that take us to Mandalay and back to Yangon make for grueling transportation experiences. On a typical Mandalay trip we will spend two nights on busses and one night at a hostel. When we arrive back in Yangon early Monday morning, we emerge from the bus in a zombieish haze and essentially head straight to work from the bus station. After more than ten trips like this, Katie and I have the details dialed: Our favorite hostel, number of melatonin tablets to take on the overnight bus, cheapest motorbike rental shop, everything is dialed.
Hong Kong ➢ Macau ➢ Taiwan
Hong Kong is an island/city/quasi-nation box of cramped high rises stuck between the hills of the island and the channel separating it from the mainland. Also, there are a surprising amount of spiders.
There are two sport routes that I have projected for longer than a calendar year. The first was Monkey Puzzle at North Table Mountain; a 5.9 vertical route topped by an amazing V4/5 roof boulder problem. After I finally sent Monkey Puzzle, I sent several routes of equal or harder difficulty relatively quickly. It wasn’t only that I had finished the route, it forced me to become a better climber. “Chaos” at Anarchy Wall in Clear Creek Canyon was in the same category. I wanted a route that would force me to bump up against my ceiling. Chaos didn’t disappoint; I attempted the route so many times (somewhere between 200-300 burns). It wasn’t just powerful. Due to the infrequency of ascents, several of the key holds had no chalk on them, making the beta difficult to decipher. It was a tedious process, working on a sequence for a couple of weeks wondering if the sequence would take me through the crux, hitting a dead end, and then wondering if it was bad beta or a lack of strength that was protecting the chains. I was constantly doubting, and also doubting which doubt to doubt about. Is it strength? Is it climbing ability? Is it conditions? Is it beta? Adding to the difficulty, the holds are too small to grip when it is warm outside. The ideal temperature window for Chaos is 35-40 degrees; also known as winter.
In said winter, I was finally getting close to sending the route. However, I also had a Myanmar job contract looming. Only a few weeks remained. I had to do it, or I would leave the country with no firm timeline for returning. I started going to Anarchy Wall at every opportunity: after work, in the dark, on the weekends, early in the morning. Whenever I could get Katie, Jeremy, or Erin to come out to the wall with me, I was on it. I really didn’t want to spend months in Myanmar thinking about how close I had been. . . ☟
40 Double “W”: 40 West Wesley. Watch this if you are ready for a wave of recent nostalgia (depending on when you’re watching it) and approximately a “meellion” inside jokes. This is life among an eclectic group of friends in Denver Colorado: Featuring a dog, a student, a couple of young professionals, and a couple of young unprofessionals. The film contains some cussing so if you get offended by swearing you should probably still watch it
and feel guilty later.
The Undeleted Scenes II has arrived. 40 Double “W” ☟
You guys really fill life to the brim. I love you all.
“I woke up at 3:30 A.M.”
“The flight was indescribable. . . my words cannot give you the scale and majesty of these mountains. It wasn’t a real place until just now. Waterfalls were falling into the clouds; rivers Continue reading
Himal is a first person Himalayan film. The trek was mostly solo, and lasted 18 days. My experiences included getting lost in the mountains, falling in a glacial river, avoiding fighting yaks, ice climbing the Khumbu icefall, summiting large mountains, and failing to summit large mountains. I hope that this film can communicate a piece of my experience in the Himalaya. “The highs were higher; the periods of despair were deeper and darker.”
A History of Andrew Riley vs. Long’s Peak
– 2004 –
I was 15 years old. My family was spending a week in Rocky Mountain National Park, and an Uncle and I decided to climb the tallest mountain in the park. We got three-fourths of the way up Long’s, past the boulder field and through the keyhole. We were beaten by the mountain on a small ledge. Where, cold, tired, hungry, and without the proper gear, we turned back.
– 2011 – Continue reading
The beginning of my climbing experience consisted of Andrew Fulks stranding me 25 feet in the air on my first line (Heat Wave 5.9) with no one belaying me. While Fulks took his sweet time putting the rope into the grigri belay device the correct way, I tried to not fall off the route and die. This first hazardous adventure became the benchmark for my journey in climbing. From that point to present I have experienced a grigri ripping off of a harness, a 30 foot lead fall while climbing by headlamp, an episode involving exposed bone and 18 stitches, getting robbed of everything I possessed while bouldering in the Dominican Republic, and most recently a runout rated R route that had 3 bolts in the last 80 feet of climbing on chossy stone. In spite of this, I can’t get enough.
Climbing is its own culture complete with its own language. For example, a climber might say: Dude, I just redpointed a heady multi-pitch line that had a super crimpy crux but then eased up on some bomber side pulls, but I was so pumped while I was climbing it that I just had to yell, JERRRY!
There is so much to this sport. It’s not only the language; its the gear, the rock, the technique, the difficulty, the wilderness, the adventure, the freedom, and the community. The scope of rock climbing can only be explained by experience So here it is, the last 4 months of climbing; the last 4 months of life on the line.
The name Cactus Cliff did not disapp Continue reading
I drove for 12 hours before I started to get close to Denver. I remember the exact moment I drove over a hill and saw the front range of the Rocky Mountains. It’s gonna be a good Continue reading