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He looked up frequently, but the stranger had already disappeared from sight, presumably having lifted himself over the edge to where he’d been headed before his little mishap. Every muscle was burning now, along with every tendon and nerve that could possibly lift its voice in agony. He wasn’t about to give in though since that same feeling that had spurred him on was still coursing through him, still giving the necessary spark to keep going. It was still necessary to be sure of each handhold and he had to mind where he put his feet as he continued to ascend.

The spot where he’d slipped was coming up quickly, and couldn’t help but glare at the crevasse as he recalled just how he’d lost his footing. It was no one’s fault but his own, he hadn’t been paying close enough attention and had almost paid for it. He was focused now though. His every reflex had been honed the sharpness of a razor, and he wasn’t taking any unnecessary chances as he continued to pull himself up. Sweat was rolling freely down his body, creating a scent that wasn’t foul but certainly wasn’t clean-smelling either as the heat of the day continued to build.

It was a little more difficult without the chalk that climbers relied on to keep their grip dry and firm, but he was making do. He was going to have to thank the stranger and do his best to exchange information before they parted ways. After all you didn’t just let someone save you and then go on your merry way without at least offering to buy them a drink.

That would have to wait however as he found in the next moment that he’d reached the crevasse that had almost been his doom. Taking a deep breath he reached out, pulling himself up again as he took another chance.

(to be concluded)

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