Saturday, May 13, 2006

Rational Neographic Magazine

The thrilling challenges of low-altitude mountaineering.

1 comment:

BruceH said...

When I was young, about thirteen or fourteen, I used to go rock climbing in St. Croix, USVI. Now, St. Croix does not have anything one could charitably call a mountain, and the hills are not any sort of challenge to scale. You just walk right up them.

What we did have, though, was a very rough coastline in certain places. So the challenge became not to scale the cliffs (which weren't very high, but were very sheer and dropped into pounding surf) but to make your way from one beach to another by climbing across the shoreline cliffs. We did this with no lines or any other rock climbing equipment because we were young, poor, and didn't know such things existed for rock climbing.

I remember one place in particular where we would have to run in front of a shallow cave between incoming waves. A new crashing wave would come in and flood the cave violently about every fifteen or twenty seconds. Timing was very important because if you were caught in front of the cave when the wave came, you would be smashed against the cave wall and then drug out to sea only to be pounded on more rocks. Very dangerous. And thrilling.

Just goes to show that one does not have to be hundreds or thousands of feet up to enjoy rock climbing. In the right circumstances, mere yards are enough to produce that certain euphoria one feels when cheating death.