He had been making his way slowly all day. Anyone watching might have thought that he was stationary, so slow was his progress. The weather was that “inside a cloud” level of general Lakeland moistness that would probably show up as ‘95% humidity’ on the Met Office website, and although it wasn’t exactly raining, or even drizzling, there was no doubt that he had become absolutely sopping, wringing wet.
His equipment was top notch, reflecting hours spent over winter evenings checking YouTube reviews of different brands, all with the same arse-clenchingly annoying music behind them, as people with the charisma of a ‘salesman of the month from a very small region of the country for a very large retail chain’ talked through the pros and cons of different items, always addressing the viewer as ‘guys’, with that weird not-really-mid-Atlantic-but-what-do-you-call-bland-tv-americanisms voice, with ubiquitous Australian Question Intonation? At the end of the sentences?
Anyway, the gear was the best he could find. He always held out some hope that the promises of at least a small branch of capitalism might hold some water. Literally, in the case of his Goretex (TM) jacket. And yet, with the effort that he had put into the morning’s ascent, sweat had poured from him and filled the jacket, condensing and running back down his sleeves to soak his technical under-layers. Wick as they might, wicketty-woo as they were, they were drenched. But now, he had another problem.
The sweat was pouring from him in torrents, and he was clinging from his fingertips at full extension, his feet similarly on a tiny ledge below him. His harness should theoretically keep him safe, as his line was clipped through a piece of safety off to the left, but he had been unable to make any further progress. And now, he could see that the rope was hanging in the gate of the carabiner, unable to take the weight of his fall.