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Jumping the Freight Trains

Today's story is dedicated to my good friend Austin. I moved from Boston to Austin my freshman year of high school and of course had no friends here. On the very first day I made friends with the people who remain my best friends to this day, and I consider that to be perhaps the most fortunate event of my life.

One of those friends is Austin. Now in the military flying whirly-copters, he used to be the one guy (well, actually I could pretty much always count on Terry too) who would always be in for a crazy plan.

This scheme fell right into our laps.

Falling

On SEBASTIAN MARSHALL

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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