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Peter Croft once explained the feeling you get from free soloing as a heightened type of perception. A little edge that you need to stand on looks huge—everything comes into high relief. That’s just what happens to your body and your mind when you’re focused intensely on the feedback you’re getting from the environment and there are no other distractions. You become an instinctive animal rather than a person trying to do a hard climb, and that perception doesn’t immediately go away when you get to the top. It dulls over time, but for a while it feels like you almost have super senses. Everything is more intense—the sounds of the swifts flying around or the colors of the sun going down. A lot of times I don’t want to go down, I don’t want it to end. I had been reading a book I found in the Yosemite gift shop called The Things They Carried. In it, the author, Tim O’Brien, writes about his personal experience as a soldier in the Vietnam War. After a firefight, there is always the immense pleasure of aliveness. The trees are alive. The grass, the soil—everything. All around you things are purely living, and you among them, and the aliveness makes you tremble. You feel an intense, out-of-the-skin awareness of your living self—your truest self, the human being you want to be and then become by the force of wanting it. . . . There is a kind of largeness to it, a kind of godliness. Synnott, Mark. The Impossible Climb (p. 306). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Synnott, Mark. The Impossible Climb (pp. 305-306). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Synnott, Mark. The Impossible Climb (p. 305). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

— being on the edge  

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