Save the Cliffhanger

by WordsLikeWater
originally published at 12:19PM on Friday, April 06, 2007

Rutger crouched down on his toes. His left hand was balled into a fist and jammed into a crack in the rock face in front of him. Extending his arm, he leaned back and rested on it.
He shook out his right hand to ease the cramp and took a quick breather.
He was hanging off the face of El Capitan about 1500 feet up. The sky was electric blue without a cloud in sight. Looking down, his eyes followed the rope hanging below him. It ended at his partner about 100 feet below.
Rutger’s left fist was beginning to feel the rock cutting into it. He reached around to the back of his harness and unclipped a jam cleat. He slipped it into the crack in the rock and moved it around looking for a solid anchor point. Feeling it wedge in, he gave a tug to seat it.
Still hanging off of his left fist, he pulled up some rope with his right, ready to clip it through the carabiner at the end of the cleat.
Suddenly he felt his left fist slip. Before he could grap anything, he was falling backwards, staring at his empty carabiner