I had slipped away, it felt like sleep, an amphetamine induced dream. A perfect granite triangle of green tinged rock soared away between beards of stiff salt streaked grass. My hands motioned across gritty stone, orchestrating my dream into dance on a slightly off vertical stage. Each movement slow and rehearsed finding rests and calm with every upward move.
Feet, then hands, feet then hands... Zen like I could breathe slowly controlling each breath with a simple automatic learned action. The wheeling squawking birds overhead adding to the symphony of movement and breathing, my squeaking boots, rubber on weather polished rock provided the rhythm.
I wasn’t dreaming, I was climbing, moving effortlessly in total concentration and focus, climbing so well that it felt like it wasn’t happening. I wasn’t a hundred or so feet above certain death, I wasn’t tiptoeing on slivers of brittle granite stitched to the rock with a thread so thin that the lightest tug in the wrong way could break it. There wasn’t another hundred feet or so of tiny edges barely big enough to balance a hair on above me, or dirty smudges of footholds that took a microscope to see, my brain was not in that place. Any fear was a discipline, a control, a blue water of nothing.
My body was guided, guided by hundreds of hours of vertical movement, arms hardened by years of hanging baboon like from oceans of rock holds. My legs, sturdy and fit, had strained with every downward push on seas of footholds, torso solid and lean from every moving wave of my frame.
This is what my brain and body had been trained for and Buddha like I was ascending, upwards and upwards without a thought or concern, I was pushing through an azure sea, floating and weightless.
The world became horizontal again in a blinding light of grass and sun, standing on solid ground with my back to 200ft of nothing; I stretched out my arms Christ like, closed my eyes and revelled in a woozy drunken return to reality. Sitting on the top pulling in the rope for my partner I couldn’t stop the smile that made my face hurt, I also couldn’t control the cartwheels I did once we were both standing amidst the tufts of grass on a midge infested cliff top, cartwheels of pure joy, released from an ocean of calm and fear.
‘Account of an ascent of, A widespread Ocean Of Fear E5 6a Lundy Island’