My throat went dry and my heart rate spiked as I lowered over the edge, my feet dangling in 200 meters of air. I would not typically have this reaction, but I had spent the last two years living a soft life in Brooklyn, NY. My prior eight years of alpine, ice, and big wall experience was lying dormant somewhere deep down inside of me. Lowering over this edge was my Spring thaw.
I continued to rappel the slick sandstone face, my hands and feet quickly remembering what they should do. I came to a rest a couple meters above Pete and tied off.
Pete inched towards me. His breath was heavy. He looked miserable as he twisted, contorted, and employed every trick in the book to make upwards progress. This image was made with roughly four meters left in the pitch. Unfortunately, in off-width climbing, the proximity of the finish means nothing. Every last move is physical and exhausting.
Pete made the last four meters, though not without struggle and he arrived at the anchor in a battered state, dry-heaving and gasping for breath. I look at the image now and love how simply pain and struggle is conveyed through his squinted eyes, open mouth and curled hand. This photograph also ended up running in Alpinist which was really special to me since I had spent a lot of time in college thumbing through that magazine thinking about how cool it would be to one day have a photograph printed on those pages.