Approach This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   I had made it halfway up the crack in the rock face by the time I realized that I could go no farther. My hands were rough with scratches, and white from the cold. The paint speckled chamois shirt I wore had two more rips and my white tee shirt showed through. I must have been covered with sweat. I had my feet opposite me, pressing against a small outcropping, and my back pressed against the large crack I had climbed. I could just barely summon the energy to press hard enough to keep myself there, and my shaking legs told me that I didn't have enough to start climbing again. Within twenty feet was the top, and it was about double that back down. A rope was running through my green belt to the top where my friend waited. I took one look at the lichen-covered rock above me, and grabbed the rope. I leaned out from the rock, holding tightly onto the line, and slowly made my way down.

"Come on, go for it, Matt," came down from my friend, but I shook my head and made my descent to the forest floor. I took a seat at the bottom, and looked up at the rock that I had failed to climb. It had many cracks in its aged face, and I had tried only one. I sat there on a small rock and rested for a while.

"Let's try the one to the left!" I yelled up to my friend. n

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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