Dancing With Death

Our chanitz youth group went to the mountains to have a picnic in Baskenta and visit an orphanage there. 4 of the 25 members decided to climb up to the top of the mountain located in the area where we decided to have our picnic. I was one of the 4. Although there were many who started the climbing with us, all eventually quit and returned to base.

It took us less than 2 hours to get to the top of the mountain where the ground was still covered with snow. Before reaching the top, we had to climb a cliff which was so steep. One of the guys, Jay, was leading the group to the top; I was second, and the other 2, Koko and Johnny, were far behind us.

On this day, I had the privilege to dance with death itself.

I just needed one more step to climb up that cliff. But I couldn't. At the top of the cliff there was no solid rock to grab onto and pull myself up.

Panic I did!! If I slipped, I would fall hard on the ground beneath me, curl down the mountain who knows how many times, and bruise my body badly until it came to a halt somewhere on the path.

Having that picture in mind I shouted as loud as I could: “Jaaaaaaaay! Jaaaaaaay! Jay, Heeeeeelp!”

I thought that Jay was a couple of running steps away from me, watching down the mountain waiting for us to get where he was.

But…I was wrong. I couldn’t see any glimpse of Jay from where I was stuck. I tried to look behind and I saw Koko and Johnny running up towards me. However, they were so tiny that I knew they couldn’t reach me in time.

My hands were getting tired and there was still no sign of Jay. I imagined what would happen if I just let my hands go free. What feeling would I experience?

Fear was my only companion. It struck me hard! I was feeling so high and figured that I would probably die from adrenaline-overdose the moment I lost my grip and fell.

As I came to realize that I was all by myself, I had to take hold of my feelings and use my brain cells instead. Hence, I talked to myself to calm down and convinced myself to try to take 2 steps down the cliff. I knew it was dangerous not to be able to see where I was placing my legs onto.

But I had to take the chance; my hands were getting tired fast and I could lose my clutch any moment.

I succeeded to lower my right leg and then my left leg and got in a better position where it was possible to rest my hands. I looked behind and the guys were getting closer. I wanted to go down more steps, but as my saying goes: if something works once, it might not work the second.

By Jupiter! As I was wondering what to do next, I finally saw Jay running down the mountain. I was glad to spot him. But, man, he was coming down so fast that his shoes were throwing small rocks down my way. Thankfully, he reached me before I had a shower with those tiny rocks.

He lowered himself and I went two steps up again. This was it. It was either me or the cliff. Jay told me to grab onto some roots, but hey, I could plug out these roots before I could say, “Chambukaaaaa….”

That was definitely a no, no. I decided instead to get a hold of Jay's left arm and pull myself up.

This was it; the moment of truth...

On May 1, 2007, I had the final word with that cliff and conquer it I did!!!

Thanks Jay.