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. . . ☟