Monday, 20 February 2012

Little Tryfan

I was scared witless. I don't think I've ever been as totally terrified in my life. It's not me in the picture, but it could be.
This is Little Tryfan, my second ever attempt at out-door climbing. Last year I had a couple of days at Harrison's Rocks: simple, roped climbs, one pitch, belayed from below, just like the rock wall only outdoors, in the sunshine. This year I was on Little Tryfan, a fairly easy (Moderate, a climbing standard whose scale ends at Extreme 10) but multi-pitch climb in the pouring rain.
Multi-pitch sounds innocuous, but what it really means is that when you have conquered your fears, struggled up the greasy rock, balanced on your toes with a sprained ankle in great walking boots - but you are beginning to understand the difference between these and rock-boots - you have to stand, alone, holding the life of someone else on the end of a rope, fifteen metres high on a ledge on the rock face, freezing and wet, contemplating the fact that you are about to have to do it again. And again.
I cried and I cursed, I hyper-ventilated and I panicked. And I put one foot above the other and I climbed. It was scary. And I did it.
Sometimes there isn't much choice; the moment of choice has been and gone and it is just a case of keeping going. Every step is a question of trust and I have to trust my choice. I have to trust my ankle to hold my weight. I have to trust the instructor who tells me I can do it. I have to trust my friend who holds the rope. I have to trust myself and find that I do have the resources to continue on this climb.

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