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Keeping Death In Mind

March 10, 2010. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Late morning.

I pulled on my swim trunks, trainers, and a tank top and walked out of my little guesthouse room, sliding through the cramped restaurant strewn with tables, and out into the hot, dusty air of Phnom Penh. It's a hot day. It'll be good to swim after lifting weights.

I said, "No no, thank you" to the tuk-tuk drivers offering to take me somewhere in the city, pushed through the little crowd, and out onto the street. The streets in Cambodia more resemble alleyways than streets, and I navigate around people and vehicles.

I went down to the end of the street, turned left, and skirted along close to the local restaurants, half-tent half-storefront type places to get food. I stepped into the crosswalk, the Hotel Cambodiana rising in front of me. I check right and then left, and I watch left as I cross, watching for oncoming traffic.

A loud scream rings out. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Falling

On Tynan

Being high up in the air isn't a problem until the wind starts blowing.

Then the dance begins -- your mind rebels, and you have to do everything you can to not get sucked down into it.

The veteran climbers at The Gunks in Upstate New York have adjusted, but it's my first climb outdoors.

We wanted a 5.3 difficulty climb, but birds were nesting. So we're on a 5.6 called "High Exposure" -- a fitting description.

Adrenalin and bravado are a potent mix, and the first two-thirds of the climb were uneventful. Pleasant, a walk in the park. I'm a natural for this stuff. If I dropped 10 kilos, I could be a a pretty great climber. This is easy.

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