The Pendulum

When Stone Speaks: In the History of Big-wall Climbing, Even Geology has  Something to Say - Mountain Life

“How long must you wait until you demand the best of yourself?” -Epictetus

What hard decision have you been deliberately putting off?

Consider the rock-climber who comes up against a section of slick granite that offers no ledges or cracks to grasp. You have two choices: abandon the climb or risk a move like “the pendulum.”

Just like it sounds, the pendulum works this way: Reach high above your head, fasten a loop with a metal nut and slide the rope through the loop. Then climb down a few feet, dangle on the end of the rope into empty space and try to swing across the sheer section. It takes nerve. It takes guts. You have to lean out into empty space and vault yourself across the face of the cliff. If your lunge to a safe spot fails, you swing back and try again.

Once you’ve crossed through the pendulum, you pull the rope all the way through the loop and from then on, there’s no turning back. The loop is now out of your reach and the rope coiled at your feet. You only have one direction you can go.


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