Something a bit different, a piece I wrote quickly, after the event, very much in the moment.
So the deed is done, I rope soloed Kilnsey Main Overhang via the original line, Mandela.
It took an afternoon evening and morning.
Now I sit here in Sandbach Services, sipping coffee and eating cake. I am aching, sides aching from hanging in a harness, hands aching from hauling up aiders, thighs from cramp, and buzzing. And so the sky is bluer, the birds louder, I hear their every note, I hear every car and lorry on the motorway. I played Brothers in Arms loud and on repeat all the way here, every note, every drumbeat, almost every heart beat clearer.
Is it fear, no, I never felt frightened, and I frequently am when climbing. This is about focus, intense focus. After 8 days climbing El Capitan we were in a whole new space, 8 days of total attention to detail, total focus where getting it wrong really meant something, not a call to the insurers, not a hit on the credit card, not a quick trip to accident and emergency, it meant something.
Thoughts too, with a partner they flow out, Helen says I talk more when climbing than anyone else she has climbed with. On your own thoughts bounce around in your skull. Reflecting, amplifying, focusing. That intensity stays inside. I see, I hear, I feel, but no-one to tell.
Is this how it feels to be autistic? No mental filters, taking in every scrap of data from every sense, the smell of the cigarette, the wood of the seat the smooth metal of the arms, the spots of rain on my skin the birds the planes the carsthesirensthewindovermyearthehelicopter. Maybe that’s why Andy Kirkpatrick looked like he had seen a ghost after 14 days alone on the Sea of Dreams, that’s why Sylvia Vidal had a thousand yard stare alone on a remote wall in Chile for 32 days.