Hitting the Wall


The wall called to me the first time I saw it. I would climb it. The fact that I had never gone rock climbing in my life was only a minor impediment to my plans. So BN and I practiced a little on Weaver's Needle, put together some gear and declared ourselves ready.


The day of the climb we set out early. The wall rises about 1000 feet from the desert floor. It is not particulrly remote; in fact at its base there is a parking lot where we prepared our gear and ourselves. Because of our inexperiance we arranged for a friend to hike around the back way and be ready up top to lower a rope if an emergency situation came up.

The climbing went well enough. We shared leads and made it up 500 feet without any real falls. We went slower than we had anticipated but nonetheless the end was in sight. I was convinced we had things in the bag. Alas that was not to be. Upon making the largest ledge we discovered the mummified skeleton of a male big horn ram that had clearly fallen to its death, breaking its spinal cord across the boulder it hand landed on. It was more than a little sobering to see that the wall had brought down one of the desert's most agile climbers.

Still we moved up. Upon reaching another ledge my friend pulled himself up and I unclipped from the belay. Stretching I spotted a small deer watching me from across the ledge about 60 feet away. I nudged BN and asked "What the hell is a deer doing here?" Before he could answer the deer began running towards us when it dawned on me. "That's not a deer, it's a baby ram." A blood curdling scream issued by myself scared the animal away but we knew that babies meant adults and we pushed on faster.

In our haste we veered far off from our planned ascent and the two of us became trapped in a small cave. We crammed in there together, there was barely enough room for the both of us and the floor sloped downwards and spilled out to a 700 foot sheer drop. With the sun going down now we knew we needed to quit. A rappel was prepared and we both dropped back down to the last ledge. As we moved carefully back along the edge to a good rappel station I heard BN making strange noises behind me. Looking back at him to ask what was up I see that he has gone ashen white and is staring up at the sky. I look up as well and what I saw turned my blood cold. The silhouetted form of an enormous big horn ram stmping its hooves against the stones and shaking its horns.

"Move MOVE!" I'm screaming and pulling on BN. We started scrambling and sliding for the best rock to rappel from and the ram gives chase. It's crashing down the wall at an unholy speed and like a nightmare I feel as if I move through molasses. A hail of stones falls on us each time the ram lands on a ledge closer to us. Despertaly tying the webbing and clipping into the rope while rocks crash against my helmet. BN rappels first and slowly as he is forced to untangle our rope on the way down. I'm just standing inneffectually watching the ram, 50 feet above me, 40 feet above me, I might have been screaming, I'm not sure, but my voice had gone hoarse later.

The ram makes the ledge and is steaming towards me like a train. I contemplate just jumping and hoping I can hold the rope tightly enough when I hear off rappel. I clip in and just jump not bothering to slow the descent for an instant. Thankfully a large overhang prevented that ram from pursuing us further and we reached the ground safely although shaken. Still though the ram haunts me and I occasionally awake thrashing and screaming from a nightmare where I am pursued by the skeleton, an ungulate grim reaper.




See the world, they
told me...

bayou goula towhead

the sea test

the circumnavigator pt5
the circumnavigator pt4
the circumnavigator pt3
the circumnavigator pt2
the circumnavigator pt1
falling dream
the darkness
one hell of a mile 3&4
he will return
the believers
the horror pt2
the horror pt1
death valley

paradise of outlaws
the mountain climbers 1&2
brought to surface
one hell of a mile 3
the lost world
inner gorge
a ghost story
the riddle
slaying the minotaur
heart of darkness
public lands
organ music
two sought adventure
the virgin river
the road north

steal the world
the end of the world
el dorado
the valley of the kings 2
the valley of the kings 1
one hell of a mile 2
one hell of a mile 1
the mountain climbers rr4
heroes rr3
rainy roadtrip 2
rainy roadtrip 1
the transgression
sinister 2
sinister 1
new chapter

like sedona?
torn in two
bridge to nowhere
the door
hitting the wall
elusive 2
elusive 1
pick up lines

revisited 2
revisited 1
which way?
lost mines
in their footsteps
a dance with death

casting the bones
mountain thief
the deer hunter
strange temple
burial pt. 3
burial pt. 2
burial pt. 1
the apparition
return to hell
the lower depths
underground lake
stretch sewer
the hidden lab
shadow movements
meager rations
sw8: the conclusion
sw7: lost gold mines
sw6: the big tubes
sw5: gold!
sw4: el calderon
sw3: redondo
sw2: ghosts
sw1: westward bound
formaldehyde dreams
the underdark
in the beginning