There was a split second where I almost bottled it. A moment where I thought my head would betray me and although I knew the moves were well within my grasp, my zone was faltering as I balanced precariously on the arete. I did the only thing I knew to do; I closed my eyes, I breathed deeply and reached for that zone which would suppress the panic threatening to overwhelme me.
The crux was over 50 feet above the ground, and with no rope to act as my safety line, a fall at this point would prove fatal; panic was not an option. I had committed to the sequence, and the sequence had to be completed. I inhaled through my nose and slowly exhaled through my mouth to centre myself, repeating the exercise until the haze cleared and I could once more see the moves, like a well rehearsed dance routine.
A rhythm began to form around the sequence. It was the rhythm to follow if I was to perform the sequence flawlessly and so I did; I embraced it. The moves flowed with fluidity and finesse. I wasn't just climbing now; I was dancing with the rock. The top came easily as each delicate move was executed with absolute precision, and as I stood atop the lofty crag staring down over the ascent I'd just completed, I was met with a sense of achievement as I realised that this was merely the beginning. I could walk away from this evening knowing that I'd achieved that which I had set out to do. I hadn't just climbed; I had danced.