In my novels, Jo Beckett is a rock climber. Yes, she’s also a forensic psychiatrist, but when it comes to the crunch, she knows how to get up a wall or out a window and down the side of a building. Sometimes while fleeing gunfire. As you do, when you’re a character in my novels.
I am not a rock climber. But in the interest of authenticity, I asked some real climbers to show me how it’s done. By real climbers, I mean folks who tackle big walls in Yosemite, and scale the Grand Tetons. And today I found the photos proving that I actually have done this. Here I am in Rattlesnake Canyon, in the foothills above Santa Barbara, high up a pitch.
And here I am again, on the same pitch, in a photo that shows more clearly exactly how far off the ground I was at the time. Yes, I was roped up. Yes, I was struggling. Yes, that’s my rock climbing instructor reaching out to make sure I don’t peel off the wall and plummet shrieking to the ground, three long feet below me. It’s my baby sister.
My daughter took these photos. As soon as I fumbled my way back down to the ground, she put on the harness and went up the pitch. Then her little brother did. And no, I am not going to post those photos. The kids both scrambled 50 yards straight up to the top, like a couple of spider monkeys. They climbed so quickly, the photos are blurry.