Hello From Afghanistan

Sep 5, 2010

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Hi Steph,
Hey, my name is Colin. I’m 23 and I’m currently serving in Afghanistan with the British military. I’m going to try and make the most of it and get back to climbing as soon as possible. I led my first HVS a few weeks back before I deployed, so I’m pretty upset I’ll have to work my way back up to that grade when I get home. I brought my rock shoes out with me and I managed to find myself in the hills near some rock with no one watching and had a quick climb. The rock was bloody sharp though! I’m loving climbing, the fear and exposure are incredible feelings to come to terms with (or at least try!). I’m in a fairly good mood at the moment, I’ve just got involved with a bunch of Canadians and Americans who have set up a bouldering cave in two shipping containers, so any free time I get I’m in there, even if I’m knackered I’ll go in there to chill out whilst dripping with sweat in the afternoon heat!
I came across you recently whilst watching climbing and base jumping videos….I am so inspired by your life, you’re living my dream! I’d love to jump off the Eiger mushroom, it’s my dream to be able to solo something huge and remote and then jump off it! It’d be awesome to find a girl with similar ideas, where are they all?! I’ve just finished reading your book. I found a quiet rock to sit on and read and forget about all that’s going on out here. I’ve become a little disillusioned about it all…you’ve given me the idea to abseil off short ropes into a river off a big bridge…that makes more sense to me! :)
I’ve applied to work on Mountain Rescue, hopefully that’ll provide plenty of opportunity for gaining experience. If I’m lucky enough to get paramedic trained with the MR then I’ll leave the Military and get into these remote site medic jobs, hopefully on some awesome expeditions. I used to take kids and teenagers climbing. I’d love to get back to that one day too. Would you recommend anywhere for some completely out of the way travel?
Would you like to hear a joke about three ropes?!
Three lengths of rope go to a pub, a sign on the door reads “NO ROPES ALLOWED.” The first rope says “Screw this, I’m thirsty!” He goes in and grabs a stool at the bar. The bartender comes up and says “sorry, no ropes allowed” and points to the door. The rope walks back out and tells the others what happened. The second rope says “What? Let me try!” He decides to go to a table, the bartender asks, “What can I…wait a minute are you a rope?” “Damn skippy I’m a rope,” he replies. The bartender points to the door and asks him to leave, upset, he marches outside.
The third rope smiles, ties himself up, messes up his hair, walks in and gets a seat at the bar, the bartender sees him and says “not again….are you a rope too?”
The third rope replies “Nope, I’m a frayed knot!!!”
Hope you like it and not heard it before!
Thank you for all your inspiration…your book has certainly made being out here somewhat more bareable. Watching some of the things you get up to keeps me looking forward to what hopefully one day I’ll be able to get up to something along the same lines of myself. The Castleton base jump video is my favorite!
Would it be too cheeky to ask for a signed photo?!
Thanks for reading, hope you get this ok!
Take care :)
Colin x

Dear Colin,
Thank you so much for your wonderful, touching, funny, awesome letter. Thank you also for your service. No, I haven’t heard the rope joke before :) :)
It means so much to me to see the picture of you reading High Infatuation in the middle of Afghanistan, and to hear that it might make the time pass in some good thoughts and dreams. Thank you for sending that, and thank you for writing to me. Really, it means a lot. I’ve read your letter several times, and am so touched.
When you are finished, let me know if you could ever make it to the States, and we will climb Castleton together.
And I will definitely send you a poster!
:) I wish you all the best, and that you will come home soon and safe!!!
xx Steph

  • Colin

    Steph!

    You’ve absolutely made my year replying to my letter! Thank you sooo much,

    I’d better get some serious training in and hold you to climbing Castleton one day! I’m really looking forward to following everything else you’re getting up to.

    Take Care
    Colin xx

  • Ian

    Hi Steph, thanks for replying to Maca (Colin), he’s skipping around Afghanistan like a school girl now, it’s really annoying x

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