Work Life Balance

Here’s a route in the Green Climbers Home Valley of Khammouane Province in Southern Laos called Work Life Balance. 

It’s a 7b (~5.12b) in a style that requires tight technical moves, strong endurance, and perfect, slow-moving balance on thin vertical cracks and small feet. 

I worked on it most days for two weeks, piecing together the puzzle of each sequence, and building the endurance I needed to send it in one go. I kind of stopped thinking about/doing a lot of other stuff to focus on this climb.

Then, for three days I’d make two attempts per day- one at sunrise and one at sunset, in order to minimize heat on the rock. Like some crepuscular predator who only hunts at dawn and dusk, I spent most of the day relaxing in the shade- belaying Nat, reading, playing chess, doing yoga, chatting with the other campers who come from all over the world. 

On the third morning of my crepuscular attempts, I attained what felt like perfect attention, poise, and balance. Within fourteen minutes of unbreaking flow, I clipped the anchors 65 feet above the ground. I sat back on the rope and smiled, feeling a wave of catharsis wash over me. The red desert sun was peeking over a jagged horizon of Laotian karsts.

I had done it! Not just the climb, but something a bit bigger. 

I let out a three huge screams of joy which echoed around the valley! Then Natalie let out a scream! Then I screamed again! And to my embarrassment like 65 people at camp were woken up by those screams. Thankfully those guys understood.

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