It happened at the top of the sixth pitch.
I suddenly realized there would be no quick escape. Whether I descended there or finished the remaining three pitches, it would be awhile before my feet touched the dirt. I felt panic, but also something else. Seven hundred feet above the earth, hanging off the side of a sandstone behemoth, I was becoming a part of this landscape—of this wild desert. I scanned the horizon, having never been so trapped and so free at the same time. Perhaps I had already escaped.