The Invitation of Nature aka ION is a foundation established by Yangon University Hiking and Mountaineering Club since 1998. The 15-day-long Mount Madwe Razi climbing was started on 20th November 2019 with 14 mountaineering enthusiasts – 6 women and 8 men.
Mountain climbing, as hard as it sounds, is not quite an easy task. It’s all about one’s courage, stamina, decisiveness and teamwork. Unlike other sports – winning or competing – it is the art of learning how to overcome the struggles and the challenges of nature.
“I doubted myself at first if I could really do this since I’m a woman,” said Ms.Sabel Myat Noe Tun, one of the climbers of Mount Madwe Razi Group. However, she kept herself motivated during the training of 6 months – jogging on weekend mornings and joining short mountain climbing trips once a month.
Mr. Htun Hla Aung, one of the group leaders, explained how they prepared for the trip. “We have climbed other ice mountains in Kachin State such as Phangran Razi, Phonyin Razi and a lot more but Mount Madwe Razi is the highest ice mountain around Putao so we had to prepare a lot for this.”
The climbers were trained not only how to use ice axes, crampons, cams, ropes and other essential mountaineering tools to be familiar with but also techniques and methods that’d be useful for the ascending and descending against rock walls for over 6 months.
The journey starts
For the first 3 days, the climbers had to walk over steep rocky slopes in and out of the river so they had to be careful not to trip over and get injured themselves. Thankfully, the group has received local support from guides who also provided them with food and other requirements for their journey.
“When there was no water to get around, we had to save it for another two days when we got to Kyan Ngu Dine camp at 9000 feet. Then we needed to save it again so we don’t have to go down to the cliff to get water.”
Some of the places on the way, the temperature was terrifyingly cold and there was no wood whatsoever to keep them warm, the climbers had to just stay inside the tents enduring the zero degrees.
“But it was all worth it. The feeling I got when I reached the summit was indescribable. It just made me feel so proud and satisfied with all of the efforts and sacrifices we made for this to happen. I believe it is our teamwork and support for each other. I miss my friends with whom I used to climb together.” said Mr.Htun Hla Aung.
Ms.Sabel Myat Noe Tun also added, “It gives me hope and motivation to keep doing what I love to do in the future.”
With its mission to promote the climbing sport among teenagers and students from universities and colleges and to teach the basic steps and techniques of mountain climbing, ION foundation has been arranging mountain climbing trips for young enthusiasts. As they have plans to coordinate an ice mountain climbing trip in November, with the guidance of Chairman Mr. Myo Thant, ION is always welcoming new climbers and enthusiasts if they are in need of support or advice for mountain climbing.
Follow them on Facebook @InvitationOfNature.