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The Black Hole


by Jonathan Copp

December 31, 2001

The Black is a conceptual shift. The place is a verb, alive. The gravity of a moment can move from a smell to terror and into a vacuous calm. On more than one route here Iíve recalled a saying from Lao Tzu. - "Cast off limiting thoughts and return to true emptiness. Stand in the midst of the great void."

Itís only a brief moment, maybe thirty seconds or so, but, from the vaporous space below to Mikeís five-mile gaze, something pivotal seemed to twist and breathe inside me. I canít say these moments donít happen now and again in the Black, and I canít prove the five-mile gaze wasnít partly related to the pain killers Mikeís dental work had called for. I do know, however, that as he was making his way up to my perch atop the fifth or so pitch of the first ascent of "No Pig Left", after climbing through a headwallís crux, I peered over the edge laughing furiously. We had one rope and a standard rack, no hammer, bolts or pins. He told me heíd like to stay there a while. So he did, hanging from finger-locks in the sun, a universe of shadows below, a bizarre grin that I must have had as well, finding our way. We had found a gem, an island, a whatever. Something unforgettable, bound in an alien trance of humor and amazement.

Not only were the initial pitches overhanging offwidth, the corner had history and culminated with gaping wideness through a huge roof. The history is what tweaks you the most. Shit - people like Leonard Coyne, Jeff Achey, Robert Warren, maybe others as well, bailed out of this system somewhere below the 200 ft. mark. Hmmm. Guess we should give it a go too...right Andy...Andy?

What Iíd like to say:
When luck finds itís place
where even wind must race
to escape a magnetic control,
Youíre bound on a course
by a daunting force
Welcome to the Black Hole

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