In Thanks

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Suddenly, I feel Vern and I should stop. I feel the rock has given enough, that we are rich enough, that I have grown up enough with the help of this place, that we should thank the wall, give it a pat and rappel. How much can we be expected to find, enjoy, or learn? As I look down, I imagine a balance swinging, our lives in one pan and in the other an ever-increasing stack of weights, each equaling another moment of risk taking. And when our moments are enough to bring down the pan . . . ? I nearly say all this to Vern, as he fiddles with his anchor, getting set for the possibility of an avalanche of falls. Only then do I realize I am bewitched. The pitch has not been climbed in its entirety, nor has the wall above been climbed. We are yet young. There is more here for the taking. The maiden is befuddling me! With that thought, a familiar lust wells up, and in the next moment I feel something like rage.

I clamp over holds past the first bolt to the second. The move by the second is a high step up on pencil lead to a pencil. It's 5.10. The next move, where aid was used to place the next bolt, is all on pencil lead. It's solid 5.10. The next, the next, the next... all are 5.10. Is this 5.11?

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Vern Clevenger About To Follow Crux Pitch 

Midway through the pitch, it begins to seem dumb. The rage ebbs. Each contortion hurts and staggers me. Then I find a knob and begin hopping from one foot to another, thinking this will rest my calves. The motion reminds me of a badly burned insect, fluttering and flopping before death.