The Climb

February 20, 2012
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! My heart was racing as my mind was trying to figure out how I was going to survive. Free-climbing on a slippery red rock in Arizona is definitely not for the feint of heart!

What started as a beautiful, sonny day in the red-rock desert of Arizona has turned for the worst. There I was, scaling the side of the enormous rock with nothing but my fingertips and feet holding me up. Out of nowhere, a flash storm began as the rain pelted down on my helpless body. I could feel my grip loosening and my stamina weakening. The longer I was hanging on, the more my mind raced thinking about my family and friends I have back home. As I started my decline of about 150ft., I lost my footing and was hanging on with one hand, dangling over the Prickly Pear cactuses that were welcoming my sure to be fated death. In an instant I grabbed my knife out of my belt with my free hand and jammed it into the rock wall above my head as a support. From there I figured I could scale my way down using the knife as a catalyst. It worked well, but with just merely 20 more feet to go my muscles were shaking and cramping up. 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15 feet to go. I just couldn’t hold it any longer so I let go with just 15 feet to the muddy, cacti littered ground. BAM! I hit with authority. I could feel each and every needle from the cacti penetrate themselves into my skin, and I was welcomed with a mud pie to the face. My legs and right arm were screaming in pain. When I hit the ground, my left leg snapped and I sprained my right ankle. Being as smart as I am, I didn’t put my knife away before I fell, and I found it sticking out of my right arm. Blood was everywhere and powerfully gushing out of my wound! If I didn’t do something fast my life would be over before I knew it. With my car being about 3 miles away, because I hiked in, I decided to look around for any natural resources that could wrap around my arm. Just a few feet away was what looked like an old t-shirt! I crawled to where it was and sure enough it was a shirt. Using my knife, I cut it to size and bound it around my arm to add pressure. After that it was just a race to my car. I figured I had only a about 10-15 minutes to live, before I ran out of blood. My leg was throbbing as I attempted to sprint along the muddy trail to my car. Finally it gave out, and I fell to the ground looking straight at a rattle snake! Its eyes glistened like the sun, as it watched my every move. After contemplating what to do, I slowly got up and walked very carefully around it. It didn’t even make a move after me, as if it almost wanted me to survive. I was halfway there when I could sense my vision blurring, and my face turning pale. All of a sudden, I stumbled upon an old man, who was wearing animal hide and face paint resembling a Navajo Indian. He asked me where I was headed in this kind of weather, and I answered him. An eerie feeling rushed through my body telling me I could trust him. I showed him my wounds and without further to do he told me to wait, and disappeared into the desert brush. A couple minutes later he returned with different types of herbs and plants. He smashed them up with a rock and lightly rubbed them on my open wound. The pain was excruciating! Within thirty seconds though, my arm went numb and I finally was relieved of the stinging sensation that felt like death since my accident. He told me he knew a secret to the land so I followed him not even bothering to think twice about if his way led me to my car. At this point I felt so close to death that I didn’t even care. Cutting through the sharp cactuses and underbrush we came upon a small hut. The last thing I remember before passing out was the sweet smell of honey that illuminated the house.

When I woke up, I was no longer inside the man’s hut, but instead reclined in my car holding a bag of Doritos and listening to country music. I checked my arm for the cut, and moved my legs to check for pain, but found nothing. I was perfectly fine, not even a scratch on me! Being in a state of utter belief, I went outside to try and find the man that helped me. I wondered who he was and what his story was, but again I found nothing. The weather was nice. The sky was a shade of bright blue, and the sun glistened like something I’ve seen before… I decided to go back to rock I was climbing to see if there was any evidence of my fall, and to maybe climb as well. But this time, something in my head told me to bring some rope just in case.

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