Welcome to Episode 47 of the Ω Powerband Podcast - a podcast dedicated to rock climbing in Aotearoa New Zealand. In this episode, I speak with mountaineer, paraglider, caver, board gamer, mountain runner and rock climber, Mike McManaway.
Mike grew up (mostly) in Canterbury. As full time boarder at a very traditional boys school, he signed on for mountaineering mostly as a means of escape. But those early experiences planted the seed of adventure and, in one way or another, Mike has been chasing it ever since.
After the death of a climbing partner on Aspiring and then a brush with death himself in a crevasse, Mike put the crampons away in his early 20s and settled into a corporate career, with a bit of competitive backgammon on the side. Backgammon led to starting a small business selling board games and, eventually, inventing a board game himself:
The global success of Tantrix enabled Mike to enjoy a lifestyle of travel and adventure. At some point, paragliding became his obsession and he found himself competing internationally as part of the New Zealand team. He also set some flight distance records along the way.
At some point, his partner Britta decided that they should both take up rock climbing. Mike was 40 years old at the time and was initially skeptical. But after seconding a climb at Cathedral Rock in Golden Bay, he caught the bug and, with now customary obsessiveness, committed himself utterly to climbing. 22 years later, he might just be starting to slow down.
In our conversation, we chat about Mike's many obsessions but, perhaps more interestingly, about his philosophy for mind games, adventure and life. And we chat about his 350 attempts on Mea Culpa at Paines Ford. That's right, 350 attempts. Enjoy!
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