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I'd been working on this problem for a few days now. The first time I saw it, it looked interesting, different. It was risky, higher off the ground then my usual safe bouldering height, and from what I could see of the crux it wasn't going to be easy. The first attempt ended in ignominious failure. I was barely a few feet up when the foot I had all my weight on slipped. Simple physics slammed by knee into unyielding boulder. It hurt like hell and I felt a little sick.

It took a week but the knee recovered so I headed back to the rock. This time I was inspired, moving easily on the gritstone, solving the problems without any difficulty. I reached the crux and I could see the move I needed. A little awkward, but I knew I could do it. I got my hand on a sloper and now I just had to adjust my feet, to make the next move. Then I lost contact with the rock. I was totally unprepared and I fell hard jarringly on to the ground. I bounced and rolled down a little grassy slope. I ended up upside down, gasping. Fucking fuck!

A few days later, I was driving to the supermarket. Suddenly I knew I had to climb that boulder. I changed direction and headed out to the crag. As I walked up the path it started raining. Damn! Climbing in the wet is difficult but there was a slight overhang on the boulder and I thought it would be dry enough.

This time I zoomed up. No problem. Standing on top of the boulder with the adrenalin still pumping, my hands shaking, I felt totally exhilarated. I remember shouting and screaming "YES YEEESSS!" like a maniac. I sat on the top wih my feet dangling over the side. It was early and there was no-one around. The drizzly rain had subsided but there was still a magical early morning mist surrounding the other rocks. I could hear the birds singing and at that moment I felt totally at peace with the universe.

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