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I could feel my heart pounding inside my chest as we set up the rappel. Because the distance from summit to the notch that connected the spire to the wall was so far down we had to tie multiple ropes together for the descent. There were lots of stories of people dying on this route and I had never passed a knot on rappel before. Joe’s quick tutorial from back at camp kept going through my mind. He went over it again, and then off he went over the edge with a wink and a smile. As I waited I took a moment to really capture the view, the buildings and cars looked like small toys from here and the valley looked larger than ever before. The wind and the waterfall were so loud that I never heard him yell, “Off rappel!” but I assumed that he was when the lines went limp. “Here I go!” I thought to myself as I clipped in my ATC and leaned back.
What a wild day. Together we were climbing Lost Arrow Spire. For the moment we were in our element working our way up the pure white glacier-carved granite with the largest waterfall in North America just 1000 feet to our left, spraying us with its mist every time the wind picked up. Was I scared? Of course I was. It was a glorious accomplishment to summit the spire with Joe. The adventure ended with the two of us swinging across the Tyrollean traverse that we rigged to get back to the wall. 2700 feet of vertical exposure, a brilliant sunset, and a warm kiss – that begun my summer of 2007, one of the best seasons of my life.