Red blood trickles down her forearm. Coarse, colorful rock takes skin and determination. You can see it on her face, her furrowed brow and clenched jaw pushing her through the next funky hand jam, over the next bulge. The way the corner leans contorts her stems. They seem almost horizontal. Two hundred feet of green, orange, and yellow streaks fall away from her feet to the bushy talus, the river, and the mountains beyond.
The Next Corner
A two tiered castle of stone stands in the sand, thirsty vegetation crowding its base. Three friends, packing two skinny ropes, and gear to 5 inches versus one thousand feet of mystery and dirt. Clouds grow fat in the sky as they inch up wide cracks and stand on crunchy smears. Thin jackets fight against the wind. A gnarled pine corkscrews into the storm. It is the questions that make this day alive. Will the weather hold? How much longer does this wide crack last? Can I climb the overhang before dark? What is around the next corner?
The Dragon’s Tail
Sticky, cold ice draws the pick of an axe into a world of blue. Crampon points swing through the air and then into the snow again. They climb towards a ceiling of grey, following the path of a million lazy snowflakes. A skinny shoot of neve, a frozen constriction, and a wide open snow slope brings them closer to the Dragon’s last defense. Black rock stands between two highways of white. They shoulder their daggers and storm the castle. A flake leads to black, blocky steps peppered with a slippery blend of lichen and snow. A dagger is unsheathed and stabbed into an icy patch. The Dragon’s back has been broken.