Bouldering When my brother, 29, offered to take me rock climbing, I was thrilled to go. We left our house at about 10:00 in the morning, and started down the highway. When we pulled off to the rock climbing site on the side of the road we were both surprised to find that there were no other cars parked there. Normally this turn off was packed with cars with people climbing the Falls. Although we were both happy that there was no one else around to interfere, there was a lingering feeling of dread, that if something went wrong there wouldn’t be anybody else around to help out.

We both got out of the car and decided to go on down against our better judgment. The trail down was a steep runoff ditch about two feet wide surrounded with scrub brush. While on the way down I was thinking both about how bad my legs were getting cut from the brush, and about not slipping on the sandy trail. When we reached the bottom there were signs of past water flow during the winter months. We crossed over the rocky river bed and headed to the recreational climbs off to the left. Scott went up first, so I could watch and get a feel for the grip locations.

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When he reached the top, about 30 feet high, he came back down on a side path and said, Your turn. I got up on the wall and was doing fine until I got about three quarters of the way up. I heard him yell up Hold on while I go back up! I pressed my self against the wall so I could relax my arms, while he climbed the path back up. When he reached the top he laid down on the granite slab and stuck his head over the side. I started climbing up again, but got stuck about two feet from the edge. I couldn’t see the last grip so I asked my brother, Where’s the last hold? He pointed to a spot just above the cliff and told me You’ll have to jump for it.

He put his hand on it so I could see where it was and said he knew I could make it. I nodded then relaxed my arms and legs, took in a deep breath and jumped out off the wall and up at the same time. I grabbed for the grip but only felt loose rock in my hand instead. I shouted FALLING! then suddenly felt a single hand grab my wrist. I grabbed back so we both locked wrists with me dangling 30 feet off the ground. I started searching for a hold for my foot when my brother yelled Find a damn hold! I felt my foot catch a crack and crammed my foot into it.

I then placed my free hand on the wall and pulled myself up with our wrists locked tight. When I was up he pulled me to my feet. He stood up and put his hands on my shoulders and in a low voice said You OK? Yeah.. I think so. I just got up and started to walk, while I composed myself.

When we got home we had both decided not to tell my parents, especially my mother, because we would never be able to climb again. I would always be afraid of bouldering if it hadn’t been for my brother who got me back on the same cliff that next weekend. But, this time I got the hold.


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