"Breathe", "Breathe". These were the only words that ran through my head. My forearms burned as I held on for dear life, but I couldn't let go no matter what. I looked down at Avi about 70 feet below me and he gave me a nod of confidence that pushed me forward. I continued to inch forward hand over foot. I was searching for a place for gear: nothing. At this point, I started to panic. I was ten feet from my last piece. If I didn't place soon, it could result in a pretty gnarly fall. I found a tiny under clicking crack that could barely fit my fingertips. I started fumbling through my gear rack trying to find the perfect piece. Now I was really getting desperate. I picked out the smallest knut I could find and jammed it into the crack. It wasn't perfect, but I had to keep going. I climbed up about another ten feet and then heard the most terrifying sound that any climber could ever hear. The last knut that I had just placed loosened from the rock and started swinging down the rope. It stopped with a loud metal "clank" as it ran into the piece below it. The distance between me and my gear was now a terrifying 40 feet. Even though I tried to put this thought to the back of my mind, it lurched forward. If I made the slightest mistake, put my foot on a bad chip, if I burned out, anything that would peel me from the rock, I would most likely hit the ground below me which was a treacherous 80 feet. There were few protruding ledges on the way down the cliff that could catch me before I hit the bottom, but I definitely wouldn't walk away unharmed. I tried to slow down my breathing and looked out across the horizon as I repositioned myself. The world slowed before me and I felt the wind blowing through the holes in my helmet. I turned toward the ocean and saw the birds fly by and the waves crash against the bluffs in the distance. I begin to think of myself. I think about my place in this vast land and how I'm just a mere speck on this mountain. This thought pushed me forward. I don't want to be an insignificant name in history, I want to mean something. I told myself "I'm going to get to the top of this mountain and I'm going to conquer nature". At that moment, the adrenaline rush kicked in and I shifted into high gear. I didn't pay any attention to my place on the wall. I just kept pushing forward with my focus set on placing my hands and feet in the perfect positions. I used the last bit of energy left to thrust myself to the top of the mountain. I felt my hands curl over the top as my feet simultaneously loosed from the rock. Time stood still as I felt the earth slip away from me.
The next thing I remember is lying on the ground looking up at the clear blue skey with a clam peacefulness coursing through my veins. The world was spinning around my frozen body. I could still hear the waves crashing against the rocks and the birds still soared above me in the neverending sky. I slowly closed my eyes.
"I made it."
Sophie Gibson '16