ESCALANTE

SPRING 16



















NARROWS OF HELL
I have lost my cool and am afraid.
This 5.2 rated downclimb through canyon narrows was expected to be easier. The lack of chimney experience has tired me quickly. Wet muddy shoes do not help.

I let myself fall into an opaque pool of unknown depth below — hoping to stay mostly dry — and sink 2 heads underwater, not even touching bottom.
The water is frigid and shocks me alert. I gasp uncontrollably.
I make out for the pool's edge to retrieve my pack but am refused access and am pushed back in the water by the slippery mud slope. My head keeps going under. I am now a panicked fledging bird. This ain't a swim but a desperate attempt to stay afloat.

I claw myself out of the pool. Now in out-of-control quivering mode with clattering teeth and a field of vision subject to the same staccato; with spasmic muscles that are rapidly tetanizing and refusing to obey (the body shuts down operation of the limbs to protect its core). Thoughts jumble up, i cannot think straight.

The slot is dark. Blowing through it the wind carries a stench that hits me long before i turn a corner and come upon the decomposing corpses of two cattle stuck between the walls ― which i have to climb over. It does nothing to help my already confused mental state.

These are the narrows of hell. How many more climbing problems above frigid pools that i will be in no state to properly negotiate?
I have lost my cool and am afraid.