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The arms turned steady, but the legs continued to tremble; 40 feet ascent wasn’t a cakewalk; a quick surge of adrenaline, however, ensured two hours of struggle bore some fruit even as the entire body bathed in an unbridled shower of endorphins.
With this victory, howsoever, small, firmly within his grasp, the eyes set themselves to conquer the bigger and the larger rock.
With no crevices or protrusions, he knew it would be even tougher.
The little drops of sweat sitting on the edge of the eyebrows continued to test gravity before succumbing to get absorbed by the rocks they fell on immediately.
The breeze turned warmer; the leaves rustled as if warning to postpone this new adventure.
He, however, continued; the lean body now stood at the bottom of the vertical 80 feet wall of rock. The eyes looked up trying to guess the distance, a slight tilt of the head was insufficient and, he now needed to fully stretch his body, to just comprehend that rocky wall but, even that seemed inadequate right now.
Moving a little farther away from the rock, he looked up again; to gauge the ascent, he needed to climb.
The ropes hanging on the shoulders were quickly turned into knots as he began with the final task of the day.
The mind suddenly turned blank to every other thought except the rock, while the eyes now couldn’t see anything apart from the gigantic granite standing tall in front.
He was finally ready.
The thought of putting on the harness was dropped immediately as his bare hands dipped in powder to get ready for the ultimate test of his mind and body.
The ropes now smelled ground as he resolved to present himself for the ultimate test; bare and naked, with no ropes to support his ascent.
‘Let’s go,’ he shouted; the vertical ascent was ready to be conquered.
For a flickering second, his throbbing heart seemed to have reached his mouth as he slipped his fingers from the slimy rock.
The other hand, however, stayed put strongly, balancing his lean body in the air, and remained stick to the rock from the chest.
Every step now turned into a momentous occasion; breathing becoming heavy as the loud sighs pushed the air from his mouth and nostrils inside and outside of the body.
And then he got a moment to feel overjoyed.
‘A crevice,’ he grinned.
A Slit on a flat rock like this is akin to finding water in a scorching desert. His entire body now smiled as his feet latched onto it.
The left-hand fingers stuck on the wall now got hold of the opening above the fissure where his eyes spotted a tiny lump.
‘Wow, since when have I turned this lucky,’ he murmured to himself as his hands moved swiftly to hold on to it.
The feet, however, were still stuck on the opening as he swiftly turned himself into a triangle on that wide wall without even realizing it.
He was now locked.
All his limbs were stuck on the rock at that moment with no space or opportunity to move.
‘Don’t panic,’ his mind suddenly turned calmer, as he stood still; the soft breeze blew through his sweaty hair as he looked around to conjure up a solution to this problem.
‘Only 60 (feet) more to go,’ he reassured himself.
And suddenly, with one loud exhale, he did the unthinkable.
With the two hands still bolted on the protuberance, he let his legs fall free, letting go of the crevice he was so pleased to find.
‘This is one stopping everything,’ he murmured to reassure himself of his decision.
The body swung in the air for a moment, before he embraced the rock again.
His hands were turning white now, as the gravity denied the flow of blood to that part of the body.
But, there was nothing else to hold onto as he couldn’t go down and there was no way up.
‘I am stuck’
‘The rock lured with a crack to strand me here,’ he realized.
The eyes examined the place precisely. Within a few seconds, he could spot another crevice a few feet on his left.
‘Is it a bait,’ his mind wondered.
‘Do we have any option,’ the mind answered itself as swiftly.
The reply was as quick as the enquiry.
The body now moved slowly, as he somehow fixed his feet.
The left hand then loosened its grip as it latched onto another small lump, and he moved across a little.
‘Always look for more than one option; every fissure may not be a friend,’ he suddenly recollected what his instructor would tell him.
Balancing his entire weight on the legs, he swayed towards his left and then towards the right hand before curving a little towards the waist, letting every part of the body feel the renewed flow of blood for some time.
‘Move,’ he shouted at himself again. The longer than expected break of one minute was now over.
The body started pushing itself up as he finally began to feel the refreshing air blowing from the top.
‘It smells different and even tastes delicious,’ he murmured, following a long pause, and after taking a deep breath both, through his mouth and nose.
And now, within touching distance from the top of the hill, his face broke into a broad smile. The sweat drenched the entire body as he readied himself for the final push.
‘Just a few minutes and I will be there,’ he thought.
The thought, however, couldn’t even leave his mind as his hands suddenly slipped; the feet too lost the balance as quickly forcing him to somersault in the air, 90 feet above the ground. ‘Everything is weightless ,’ his mind uttered softly as the smile remained intact; his mind quickly glanced through the entire city even as his feet still waited to touch the top of the hill he was climbing for.