Mud oozed between my bare toes as I peeked over the cliff edge—twenty feet down, maybe more.


Please don’t fall. Please don’t fall. I silently willed my partner.

What if he fell? How fast could I unclip my ATC and throw it over the edge before we both were dragged down to the talice below? Should I unlock my carabiner until he clipped the first bolt? Give more slack?

On the ground seven feet to my left was a bolt, my anchor, empty of gear. Nothing held me to the cliff.

And then I felt the rope tug and heard the gate snap shut. He was clipped.

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