Shaky legs no more

August 19, 2002 at 4:57 pm (Climbing)

You know how, if something terrifying has happened to you, from which you’ve escaped, that you tend to get the shakes afterward? We all know that this is simply the body’s reaction to a surplus of adrenaline pumped through the body when faced with a fight-or-flight situation. Following a certain little operation a few years ago, it was deemed unnecessary to re-attach some of my adrenal glands. This has had the weird side-effect that, no matter how scary the situation is, I can only coldly assess the recent accident/fuck up, thinking, “Wow, I just nearly died. How interesting. Oh well, carry on.”
Yesterday, I was high on a cliff with my sometime-partner Suzie B. About 200 metres up, Suzie starts climbing this huge crack before deciding that she’s in over her head. It’s getting kinda late, so I figure I’ll try and, if things don’t work out, I’ll just come down and we’ll simply rappel off. I start climbing and quickly decide that we don’t have the necessary equipment to continue this climb safely. So, there I am, trying to arrange some gear so that I can come down safely, when I suddenly peel off from the wall, landing on the rock and sliding down to either serious injury or, you know. After about 20 feet of leaving a lot of skin on the rock, my fall is arrested, due to a good partner and a tree. (I should point out that, in the space of 5 months, I have fallen into trees, both of which times have saved my a$$.) I stand up, bloodied, expecting to start quaking like a leaf at any moment. No such luck. We take 5 minutes to compose ourselves, take a look in the guide, and realise that where we should have been was only 10 feet off to our right. Finish the climb and get back to the car at about 8 o’clock, ten hours after we started. Just another little epic.

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