It’s day two at The Needles and the breeze is a godsend, sweeping away the heat of an intense sun. Kris and I have 12 miles of hiking and 1200 feet of tough, tenuous climbing under our belt. Though only two pitches remain to the last summit, our trip is far from over. I’ve placed a red C3 as far as my frame could stretch and am staring up the Atlantis crux, trying to convince myself to launch into a barn door tips layback sprint. The adrenaline acts as pain relief and for the first time all day my feet don’t hurt. Several times I feel out the moves, waiting for that magic moment of stability, but more than anything realizing the commitment I’ll need to muster to pull that second foot off the edge. Kris is just to my left on the belay ledge. He doesn’t say anything. He knows.
The arguments play out in my head but I know the winner the whole time. Finally I core up and pull on for the ride.
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