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Summit of Conquest

By Chris C.

Straps are pulled and tightened, buckles are fastened and helmets are installed. Within minutes, everything is ready. The commands are given and affirmed, and finally, the climber is scaling a wall of challenge.

This is my story of the scariest climb Iíve experienced so far. I was down in the dumps, sitting on a bench in the barn, jealously watching other kids ascend the climbing wall at Camp Orkila. But soon, I was all set to reach my goal: climb to the top of the wall. I got the commands covered immediately. Wishing self-luck, I started to go.

It seemed about thirty to forty-five feet high, from bottom to top. I gripped the first handhold, then swung my legs around, searching for footholds. Having found some, I proceeded to continue my rise.

The first signs of badgering took effect at about sixteen feet. The handholds were out of reach, until I had acquired another foothold. Unfortunately, the nearest ones were near knee height, and getting on them would squeeze me like an accordion. I had to let go a few times due to anxiety, and although I knew Iíd hang where I was, not fall to a likely death, the swinging movement and my case of acrophobia (fear of heights) seemed to mix, and I was terrified to death.

By now, I was frightened beyond belief.

Hearing shouts of advice and peeps of encouragement, I looked back at the people below and told them to pipe down, íEy, what did I say?! I said no encouragement at all, people!  Suddenly, I had a rush of determination, and it was all I needed. Eyeing the pinnacle of the wall, I said, partly to myself and partly to the onlookers, I am gonna do this, even if it takes me all day!! 

With that, I took the accordion risk and grabbed a handhold, and put both my feet on footholds. I climbed carefully, semi-endlessly keeping up the test. Now this is much better, I thought as I darted up the wall like a lemur. The hand- and footholds were easier to hang on to; they were set in an alternating line. As I neared the peak., I grinned enthusiastically at the insane reality: I was gonna get there.

Twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty. FORTY-FIVE!!!! I extended my arm and gently slammed my hand onto the wooden beam, just above the upper edge of the wall. Yells and wild cheers erupted from the benches on my section of the wall. Yaaaahhoohooohooowwee! I was going a touch berserk myself.

With the mission accomplished, I was lowered down to the earth. Receiving tons of praise, I difficultly dislodged the harness and helmet and ran to sit down, hurriedly declining more high-fives from the other students. Believe me, I didnít need any more congratís. I was self-proud enough.

Youíve heard my point of view of the Camp Orkila climbing wall. It is nightmarish and victorious, all the same. You could climb it, could combat your fears. If you have never scaled it, I suggest you try. In a special way, everyone can do it!


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