A friend of mine, who’s in town to defend his doctoral thesis, sent me a message yesterday, telling me that I shouldn’t worry if I didn’t find work soon. “Go to Thailand,” he suggested, “where you can live and climb for $10/day on a nice beach, surrounded by beautiful women.” Well, that’s been his life for the past three months.
The reality of this struck home last night at the Old Dublin, where I went to see a one-degree-of-separation boyfriend (he goes out with a friend of mine) give a slideshow of his past expeditions to Baffin Island, Pakistan, India, and Thailand. I knew he was a strong, accomplished climber, but I hadn’t realised how much so. He solo’ed a 6000-metre peak in Pakistan, blew a knee out in India so spent the rest of his trip travelling the country, and finished off last year by spending time in Thailand, climbing without a rope on seaside cliffs, where the only way down was to jump off into a warm, crystalline sea. The milliner circus freak and I walked away, immediately deciding that we had to go to Thailand.
For me, the highlight of the evening was his account of his trip to Baffin Island. He and two frineds of his packed their bags and off they went, deciding on an unclimbed peak. I should point out that these cliffs rise straight out of the island’s fjords, and are about 2000-3000 metres high. So, they find a cliff, decide which way to climb it, and off they go. It turns out that they spent over 30 days on that cliff, sharing a two-person tent and a hammock. 30 days! Several thousand feet in the air, suspended by the merest of metal and rope. They succeeded in climbing about 200 feet per day, descending back to camp to spend the night. Once they climbed 1000 feet, they would move their camp up, hauling up several hundred pounds of food, water, and equipment.
It takes a completely different mindset, I’ll tell ya what.