The Art of Rock Climbing: Ben’s Way



April 28, 2018. Ben Onderdonk leading Yellow Crack Direct (5 12b/c R X). Gunks, NY. Shawangunks, New York. The CatSKILLZ Mountains, New York. The Catskills Mountains, New York. The Gunks. The Gunx. Mohonk Preserve, New York.

A belayer with the eye of the Eagle, reflexes as fast as the Perigrine. Another witnesses from atop a pine tree. Dangling like a Christmas tree ornament as severe gusts of wind harbinger a torrential Spring downpour. Miss Gulch, before our eyes, turns into the Wicked Witch of the West, laughing and cackling at the gall of the “how dare you” climber. Auntie Em, Toto, and Ben’s hat fly pass as Ben battles the ominous storm of spirited Flying Monkeys. Thunder. Thrashing gear. Flailing but confident arms. Calculated foot holds. Yelps. Hoots and hollers. In the midst of the storm, looking like a Warlord just threw us into The Wallkill river, drenched with mud and rain slimed from the wall, we make our return.
With beads of water still descending from the sky, nimble sprites stroll the slippery scree to the flooded Carriage Road hosting purple ribbons of victory. Smiling and Free.
Smiling.
And,
Free.
Long Live The Spirit !
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