I was wrong.
Minutes after this photo was taken that smile on my face evaporated.
33 years ago I was coming up the Lost Arrow Spire, an enormous phallus of rock in Yosemite Valley. That's the 440m drop of Upper Yosemite Falls behind me.
My climbing partner and friend, Trevor is above me taking the photo. Yet at this moment I was being less than a friend.
For the previous hour I had been yelling, well, screaming at Trevor to move. He had come to a complete stop on what was, by all accounts, a technically easy move on this climbing route. My legs were going to sleep. I was mightily uncomfortable. Comeeeeeee onnnnnnn!!!!!!
'This wire is bad', he said. 'Really bad.'
'Come on Trevor! Thousands of people before us have used it. What's your problem?!' sums up my response for the hour we hung there stalled except I wasn't as polite about it as I'm being now.
That Trevor had more climbing experience, more wisdom and more courage than me escaped me at this moment. All that was important to me was my ego. I wanted to tick the Lost Arrow Spire off my bucket list of big wall climbs and Trevor was in my way.
Finally, he made it past this bottleneck, got to the top, secured himself and I started safely climbing as he took in the slack of the rope every time I moved up.
What you can't see in the bottom right of this photo is what stopped Trevor.
As I closed in on it, my heart went cold.
Let me describe it.
All around is smooth granite. At the base of this gentle scoop we are climbing is a featureless channel. Reach your hand to your lower back and feel that dip where your spine is. That's pretty much it.
At the bottom of this channel was a small feature. It was like a crack that was stunted at birth. A groove that aspired to be a crack.
Hammered into this groove was a mashie. A mashie is a rectangle of aluminium about the size of your fingernail. With a few taps of a hammer, it can be moulded to tightly wedge into one of these poor excuses for a crack. With enough imagination, you can believe they will hold your body weight.
A loop of wire cable, the thickness of your smartphone charging cable, is attached. This is the loop you can see in the very bottom right of the photo, except...
Where the cable joined the mashie it was rusted. When I yelled at Trevor that thousands of people had used this, I didn't know just how correct I was. This mashie was old, except...
It wasn't just rusted, it had frayed, comically, as you would expect in a cartoonish way. Every strand, except one. One rusted strand out of about a dozen that made up a wire the thickness of your phone charging cable attached to a fingernail size piece of aluminium hammered into a crack that didn't really exist.
Now look at the photo, take in the view, and imagine you had to trust all your body weight to that one rusted strand. That's what Trevor did.
Trevor deserved my trust and at that moment I let him down. My anger didn't help. It compounded the situation. I couldn't see what he could and I thought I knew better.
Trust is so important. Building it takes time. Destroying it can be effortless.
... then it was my turn to trust my whole weight to the mashie and pull up on it.
'Wait!' said Trevor. 'Let me enhance the experience for you.'
He fed out about two metres of slack in the rope to make sure I experienced the same fear of falling he would have.
The wire survived. Our relationship didn't.
Think carefully about what you say in your videos. Once you post online you are on the record. Online trust is fragile.
This is why I have a personal policy of asking myself, IS THIS TRUE before I upload. If not I don't upload. It's simply not worth it to my long game.
What's your attitude towards establishing trust? Are there times you have lost it?
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