I have one toe smeared on nothing and the other, where my shoe is starting to wear through, is mashed down on a paper-clip-thin nubbin–a hope and a prayer, really, are all they are while I contemplate my options: Traverse diagonally right, up the sloping ledge upon which my hands are struggling for a better grip, and sink my fingers into the vertical crack until I figure out what to do next, or fall. Fall far, on a red X4, a piece that I really only placed as a mental security blanket because (1) I’m still too new at this to run it out that far, but (2) the seam its cammed into walks the fine line between being a vaguely protectable crack and a joke.
Normally, I’d sit there and sabotage my own composure, running my fingers over the same dissatisfying options, getting too pumped, and ultimately try to downclimb to avoid the chance of a fall. And that’s on a bolted line! On the stuff that my brain knows will actually catch me.
But here I am. I’m still holding on. I don’t want to go back. I can do this.
Things shift. My inner voice is not screaming go down! anymore. It is replaced by a simple, rhythmic mantra. Everything else slips away. I am reduced to the sensation of my hands weighted on the grooves and divots of granite, my lungs taking in air, the strain in the arch of my feet.
Breathe. Move. Trust.
I lower my body weight, send electric waves of confidence from my brain into my desperate fingers, and ease out right toward the vertical fissure that will be my salvation and further from my last pitiful piece of pro.
I sink the finger jam. Things shift.
–little moments make big days // Leavenworth, WA