Dilemma By Christine Swiderski




Sometimes the choices we make in life are not as simple as what to wear that day. Nor even what to eat at any given meal. There are professions that make life and death choices at a moment's notice.

Until lately my choices were of the mundane variety. At this moment I have a major decision to make. Some would call it a dilemma.

I find my predicament synonymous with wishing I never got out of bed this morning. I decided to go rock climbing. My gear is top of the line. I have climbed solo and in groups for years. This particular climb I have done a thousand times. I use this area to keep myself in shape. I enjoy being on the ledge. Nature changes this cliff regularly. Leaving each step a new challenge. The problem is, I misjudged a step. Normally that wouldn’t be a bad thing except when my foot slid, it hit the side of another rock, dislodging the rock I missed, this left me with a farther reach than what I am normally capable of. I am hanging here trying to decide whether to push off and swing to the right side or the left. Hoping to find another spot to grip.

I choose to push off to the right. I reached for a ledge with my right hand. My grasp was solid. With my left hand now along side my right, I tried to lift myself onto the ledge to assess my injuries.

Once seated I estimated my biggest injury was my bloody nose from side swiping a limb. My left knee is scraped and bleeding as well. Pulling out my cell phone I dialed the local rangers station told them of my predicament. The girl that answered said she would send someone out right away. I hate doing this. It will cost me financially and I hate defeat.

It seemed to take forever till someone arrived. When in reality it was only a half an hour. I hear the same female voice calling down from above. She said: “I am going to use your line to winch you up. I said that would be fine. I hear the clanking of metal against metal. A motor started up. My line became taut. Pushing off using the pull of the rope to draw me up. I was nearly to the top when something snapped. I must have fallen 30 feet before I hit a tree, bounced off and landed on my back onto something soft.

Just as my sight cleared of the stars this created, I saw immense claws coming straight down at me. When I heard the loud screech I realized I fell into an eagle's nest. The claws bit into my shoulder, holding just long enough to pull me out of the nest before releasing me to fall another 20 feet, before what remained of my line caught something and went taunt again. A jolt went through my body as it came to an abrupt stop. Again after my sight cleared I could see the large claws coming at me again, I felt a wet splat on my face, this time, I tried to move out of its grasp. Only to find myself being slammed against another tree, dislodging my line again. This time, I finally hit the earth.

I could not move nor did I dare move, not knowing what my injuries are. I must have passed out. When I came to, someone was wiping my face with a wet cloth and I was being loaded into an ambulance. At that moment I decided I would never go on a climb alone again