The Come-Down: Machete Direct (Round 2)

“Elliott, I’m going to die and I just shit my pants.” Actually, what I said out loud was, “Elliott I’m not feeling this.” I swear.

“Just come down if you want.” His tone suggested nothing. Elliott was neither encouraging or dissuading me from pushing through my fear.

“I’m coming down.” 

Below me, the dry creek was a bed of magma. Death was absolutely sure if I fell those thirty – maybe even forty – maybe even seventy – feet to the earth. Crater was more like it. Crash and splat. After that, my wimpy corpse would be cast into some Hell where I would be forced to top rope plastic 5.6’s for all of eternity. I was about to urinate despite my lack of a place to do it. God in heaven, maybe some angel might save me.

Nay, I was alone on that man-foresaken rock. The thirty feet of air between me and that creek was the scariest empty space I may likely ever see again.

To my right, the crack ran diagonally and down for thirty feet. Somewhere down there, was a yellow cam that was essentially laughing at me as if to say, “You’re on your own, bud.”

Every grain of dirt and moss threatened to yank my feet out from beneath me. The creek was hungry. Machete Ridge was a mother raven, and her chicks were chirping.

Inch by inch, I teetered over hand and foot, down to the cam. I clipped the stupid bastard to my harness, immediately exposing myself to death again, and continued to creep down to the tree. Stepping out from the wall to the rotten branches – covered in living moss – I breathed with resignation that a branch was about to break and I was about to fucking die.

Down the branch, and over to the other, I finally kissed sweet Earth. Primates aren’t supposed to climb rocks.

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