‘I am going to climb The Nose of El Capitan. The largest cliff face in Yosemite Valley. The largest granite monolith in the world. And I am going to do it before we leave the States.’
To hear this out of his mouth and to know that it was going to happen, made me exhale. The air that I had been holding on to was stale. I breathed in again. The air was fresh. Life. Because that is exactly how my love lives. He lives with life. Nothing is too great a challenge. And the greatest challenges are there to be met.
He and a friend would rock climb up a 3000 ft sheer cliff face in 5 days, spending nights in a hanging porta ledge and the days with their hands full of rope and slings and granite rock. This was the greatest of challenges so far. It was indeed a life dream.
It was early morning in Yosemite Valley. The five of us sat in line at camp 4 waiting for a site to open, drinking hot coffee from the jetboil. The mountains towered over us, their cliffs already tending climbers and waiting to meet more later that day.
On the day that they started, the meadows were quiet. Morning shadows split The Nose in half and we watched. Teeny little people were crawling up the cliff face. It was hard to tell their size. It was hard to tell the mountains size. Everything looked a little dreamlike – the same way it had felt the few days before. It towered over us, The Captain. And everything else was small.
While they were on the wall, we left them and The Valley to drive on to the city. As we drove, I felt a huge wave of pride flow out from my heart. The feeling was rare. Indescribable almost. There he was, my love, living. I wasn't scared. He clearly wasn't either. He was living every ounce of his life.
The pride didn't wear off. It still hasn't. To be that proud, to watch someone so inspired, so driven, so brave and so strong was nothing close to stale. It has stayed fresh. Oh so very fresh.
They made it. 5 days, 31 pitches and the biggest stories you will ever come to hear. The challenge was much harder and longer than they’d imagined. I got a phone call a day after they had finished after well-deserved pizza, beer and sleep. They were exhausted.
‘So, you did it. Your dream is done. What’s next?’ I joked.
‘I am going to climb The Nose of El Capitan again. This time much faster, maybe even in a day. And I am going to do it the next time I’m in the States.’
There wasn't even a beat. And I wasn't even surprised. Because my love he lives. And nothing is too great a challenge, and the greatest challenges - they are there to be met.