I was freaking out and scared out of my mind.
I was around the halfway point, on my way up Engineer Mountain. From my vantage point, in a narrow passageway about a person and a half wide, I couldn’t see the way people were going. Straight and to the right, was a sliver of a ledge. One slip of a hand or foot and life would be over.
I attempted that way, but after a few minutes I realized there was no way I would make it. Especially alone.
I made my way back to the haven in between the rocks and wondered if people were climbing up to the left. I couldn’t tell.
My heart was pounding and I was legitimately scared.
I pulled out my phone and noticed I had service. I sent a text to a few friends and even my Mom.
“I’m freaking the fucking out right now.” Was what it said.
I didn’t really know what to do. So I waited.
I figured people, whom I could see on my way up, would be coming down soon. Instead of panicking on my own, I would wait and ask for help on the best way up.
I spent probably 20-30 minutes in this spot. When a couple, maybe in their mid-40s came down, I admitted that I didn’t know where to go, that this was my first time trying to get up Engineer and that this was my first time going up a mountain, ever.
When they came down, I saw that they did climb up and to the left of where I was. And they assured me that I was in the hardest section and that in about 10 yards I would be able to easily navigate why way to the top.
My heartbeat settled and my confidence was to it’s normal state. They even mentioned that a group was on the peak with a dog.
So if a dog could get up there, so could I.
From there, I made my way up equipped with their advice.
As I was going up, everyone who had reached the top was coming down. I was able to follow in their footsteps.
It wasn’t but another 10-15 minutes from where I was stuck, that I reached the top. And since everyone was already on their way down, I had the whole peak to myself.
I was ecstatic. It was one of the greatest feelings in the world to summit my first mountain ever. And I think my freak out ordeal made the moment ever sweeter.
I can’t remember a specific time in my childhood, but that was the most scared I had been since my youth. What made it so nerve wracking was that the first half was loose dirt and rocks on a steep incline. And keeping my feet from slipping was impossible.
From there, the terrain immediately switched to large and more steady rocks. But once I reached that halfway mark, I was extremely worried about making the slightest mistake.
Looking around me on the ascent, the intense composition of landscape around had me amazed. The vast empty air, though, had me on the edge in my head.
The whole climb was filled with fear. It wasn’t like I had to push past one specific moment and from there I would be home free. It was an intense experience for me. There were many times I thought about quitting, but I went there to climb it.
Getting to the top, 12,972 ft., was monumental for me, to say the least. The pure joy I felt, I will never forget. It truly was one of the best feats I have achieved.
I opened up in a victorious roar, before the descent. It was a day I will never forget.
And I can’t wait to do more.
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” -Jack Kerouac
View from the top: