Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Intro Revision

Working on this book can be like pulling a fresh wound, not quite healed. But if I don't keep at it, keep polishing it, keep reworking things to make it work then it'll never get done.

With that said, here is another version of the intro. Have that hanky handy.

Sweat dripped off his brow from hiking up to the base of Goat Wall in Mazama, Washington. His canine companion struggled to keep up. His big steps during the scramble were enormous leaps for her.  Panting, she found a shady spot next to the towering rock wall while he shrugged off his backpack.

He squinted, looking up at the rock, his eyes following the natural climbing line as it meandered up and out of sight. He spoke with Bryan that morning about the nuances of the climb and felt confident in his choice of route. So confident in fact, he left his climbing guidebook back at the cabin. He also came here alone.

Prime Rib, a moderate 12-pitch 5.9, gains a total of 1500 feet of metamorphosed sedimentary rock. An easy rock-climbing route for someone as accomplished as Ryan, rope or no rope.

He took a swig of water, pet his panting dog and bent over, removing the contents from his pack: shoes, harness, rope, carabiners, chalk bag and a small sack lunch containing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, blue Poweraide drink and a Kit Kat candy bar he intended to eat later.  He whistled a Wilco tune he heard while driving down valley from the Lost River Airport community to the parking area for Goat Wall and made sure he had everything he’d need.

The upper Methow Valley is beautiful in early September. Clean mountain air, summer warmth during the day and cooler temperatures at night. The pine beetles sang and he heard the steady movement of Lost River below.  A light wind kissed his arms so he slipped on a windbreaker.

Carefully, he balanced on one leg while putting on one climbing shoe at a time.  He put water in a plastic container for his dog and slipped on his climbing harness. He crisscrossed the rope around his shoulders, tied it around his waist and closed his backpack, stashing it behind a tree. He let out an audible exhale.

“You stay here, Makiah.”

He didn’t bother to tie her up. He didn’t need to. He figured he would be back down in a few hours and Makiah rarely wandered and usually obeyed. He eyed the route again, dipped his hands in a chalk bag and started climbing.

Makiah dug herself a comfortable place to wait in the shade, close to Ryan’s backpack. She glanced up and watched as he climbed out of sight, letting out her own audible exhale.

She was the last being to see him alive.

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