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A short story

4:35:47 PM
When I came to, all I could smell was her hair, it smelt beautiful. It was all over my face.

The day had started out well enough, she had picked me up before sunrise and we had made the familiar journey out to the cliffs. On the drive in we had mostly talked about climbing. I pointed out that the river next to the road was high for this time of year.

I had known Sarah only a short time, but I had seen her face in climbing magazines for many years. For someone young she had packed in a huge amount of climbing experience both here and overseas. She was the sort of girl who was highly sort after in the climbing fraternity, beautiful, but in an athletic, tomboyish sort of way.

But all that mattered now was trying to keep her alive. The taste of blood mixed in with tears as I tried desperately to revive her. Her grey eyes looked lifelessly skyward and reflected the setting sun; aside from my hopeless sobs it was eerily silent and peaceful.

None of this would have happened if I had been paying attention.

1:26:20 PM
Were you using a gri-gri ? ; Did all the runners pop , for said climber to sit on ya face like 'that' ? ; Was this an attempt on Bonzo , before the retro-bolts ?

Please explain !!! (you do it with such a 'lubricating' style , bro )

Luv HEX (watching the fish 'rise' to the surface of that river by the road !)

3:16:48 PM
Right-on ,bro !

10:03:26 PM
You left out the bit about "a dark and stormy night".

4:58:16 PM
what ever happend to 'once apon a time?'

2:03:31 AM
Must have missed some clips in the gym...

1:12:32 PM
The Pied Piper finally finds his flute! :)
Those sunset walks are getting a little closer.
10:22:07 PM
Probably reversed the car over her while she was undressing for a swim in the river ("objects in the mirror are closer than they appear")
1:50:13 AM
Re: Damien's 'A short story', definitely a candidate for a Bulwer-Lytton award.

Here's another:

The day had started out well enough. I noted the night had not been dark and stormy. The sun had risen earlier than expected and it looked like being another hot one – perhaps a good day to spend on ‘New Wave Wall’ since it got shade all day. I picked up Brandon, whose car was being repaired, at least for as long as I had known him. Brandon was really a boulder but he could be coaxed into climbing if you offered to drive and tie him in. I was still tired having slept badly. Had the anticipation of sending ‘Holey Moley’ 12a (Australian 18/19) kept me awake or did the thunder disturb me in the night? I told Brandon I didn’t think I could drive the hundred miles to Tucson without some sleep, so he took the wheel. An hour later I woke and saw the city ahead of us and Mt Lemmon to the West. I dozed off again thinking I would let him drive through town and up the mountain. I woke with a start. The sun was directly over head and the car was hot. The landscape looked unfamiliar and flat. Mt Lemmon was gone. The next road sign to appear read ‘El Paso 70’. A screech of brakes - we had driven into Nevada. Brandon, perplexed, could do nothing but apologize. He claimed he hadn’t noticed Tucson, but agreed that we must have passed through it. He said he’d also been feeling tired and may have dozed off ‘for a bit’. Three hours later we're taking gear out of the trunk at the pullout above New Wave Wall. Brandon said, “Did you bring the rope?”
8:27:50 AM
Should have driven the last 70 miles to El Paso and gone to Hueco - wouldn't need the rope...

5:08:58 PM
PS DBD, good showing mate, I enjoyed your story
10:19:30 PM
Damien, you don't ring... you don't write... your Dear John letter actually was to Dear John... I mean what is a girl to do?? i thought we had something.. did it all end when I washed up your dishes too well? OOOOMMMM be calm, Sam, be calm....

11:21:44 AM
Sorry Baby, Damey's only for play on the forum

1:45:25 PM
What in God's name is this all about? What are you doing you idiot

12:07:30 PM
ahh righto woozer/damien/hexo.. get back to work

10:05:47 AM
I'm sitting patiently around the campfire (it's cold out here) waiting for others to contribute climbing-related stories and fiction


10:45:25 AM
I have enjoyed reading them.
My mind is too analytical so my creative talents aren't flash enough to match your contribution, but I think its all good stuff (even some of the responses were humorous!).

3:22:10 PM
Ozy Direct - roof.

I led the seventh pitch tackling the main roof to a hanging belay called ‘The Gledhill Bivvy’.
I was greatly impressed to find a thick, chest-diameter sized flake of rock, retroglued to the wall at the start of the horizontal ceiling traverse. Obviously it was creaky for those skilled enough to free this pitch and must have been too frightening to leave as it was. The outrageousness of freeing this pitch still causes me to shake my head in wonder, each time I dwell on what it must have been like. While aiding this area I eyeballed the moves required to free it, and am simply amazed that its been done in that style. The handholds are there but are spaced and slope, or are small and sharp. The footholds seem non-existent. The fatigue I experienced on aid indicated how damn hard it must be to free. I gather that it’s only considered grade twenty-five, though I would rate it that simply for its location and exposure, without the further consideration of ‘difficulty’!
For me it was quite a different experience, as I had far too much heavy gear on my double chest-gearslings from not knowing what was required out of sight above. I found they kept slipping back off my shoulders and though I was committed for the moment, made a mental note to devise a better system for the roofs up higher. The rearward movement of equipment had the effect of pulling my upper torso down out of balance, and required mega-strenuous arm effort to maintain a relatively horizontal position and progress. I was grateful for the few, ‘fixed wires’ which I supplemented enroute to the lip.
At ceilings end, the crack starts the wall above by slanting steeply to the right. Getting something to stick here was awkward and on my second attempt I managed to get a small stopper to hold, though it was hard to test other than yanking on it. I gingerly committed to it and it held, but as I turned the lip it popped when my weight shifted to a more outward loading on it. The metre fall with resulting pendulum was totally unexpected due to my having already been on it a while, and the fixed wires under the ceiling are now more thrashed than before, from me swinging on them. I had earlier decided they were not worth cleaning as they looked haggard prior to this additional abuse, plus the effort would have been significantly disproportional to their value, not to mention the inconvenience to future ascent parties.
I was stoked !
As I gently stopped penduluming I noticed my body position had pivoted towards the outward vista whilst dangling, and the clear two hundred metre shot to the deck was more confronting than my senses had appreciated while grappling with the ceiling. The thought running through my mind was ‘wow, what a radical place to come off’! The sense of exhilaration was definitely greater than any sense of fear, however it was still a sobering experience pinging as unexpectedly as I did. I vaguely remember making a strangled kind of exclamation as I fell. It was probably a cross between swearing with a hoot all at the same time! I thanked Ian for his attentive belaying, and also noticed that the arc of the trailed haul and jumar ropes back to him reinforced my sense of ‘being out there’.
It’s a big ceiling.
I negotiated the lip with three pieces set in very close succession (within an arms-length) on the merely vertical, but bottomless, ‘Magnificent Corner' above it.

3:45:30 PM
Great story A5, I felt like I was on belay watching

10:04:53 AM
On 24/06/2004 damietta wrote:
>Great story A5, I felt like I was on belay watching
It's a true 'story'.
As I said earlier "my mind is too analytical, so my creative talents aren't flash enough to match your contribution" (re story writing); so I extracted this portion from my (extensive) diary recollections composed at the end of each day while on that sojourn.

For interest sake, I will now post my belayers version of the same incident since your post has triggered this connection ...

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