A couple evenings a week have found me up Rock Canyon lately working on my sport climbing, which includes my ability to lead climb. This Tuesday I was just about to my next bolt when I got "sewing machine legs," and my hands felt slick no matter how much chalk I dusted on them. I shifted my weight to move my right foot and a scream reverberated off the canyon walls and filled the air that I found myself falling through. I came to a stop, swallowed my heart back into my chest, and thanked Gavin for a job well done on the other side of the rope. It was only then that I realized that the scream belonged to me. And yes, I scream like a girl.
I took inventory of my limbs, found only minor scratches and bumps, and latched back on to the rock. I had gotten my first lead fall out of the way; it had to happen sometime. I fell twice more on the climb, but didn't scream... as much.
Note: A big lead fall in rock climbing is often referred to as a "screamer." Mine wasn't quite far enough to qualify, but this one does, and he didn't even scream!