nicotine ice

Jim took the tin from his map pocket. He'd had it for some time now and it bore the scars of abuse. The green and gold paint had flaked and peeled to reveal the silver metal underneath and the dents and scratches were testimony to struggles and stories, told and untold.

He crouched down and surveyed his surroundings. Perched on a 2ft square stance on the second pitch of 'The Trespasser' on 'Meggy' he could see all the way down the valley. The air was still and cold. He watched the snow on the opposite crag as it avalanched in the morning sun.

Up above, his climbing partner had struggled to find a way through and, once reaching the stance, had tied himself off for a rest. This was going to be a long haul. A ten-minute breather was required.

Jim let go of the ropes and dropped his outer gloves, letting them hang from their cords attached to his jacket. His thin inner gloves would stop the cold metal sapping the heat from his fingers. Crouched in his stance he balanced the tin on his left knee and prised off the lid. This he then slipped under the tin so that it would not fall and he could survey the contents of the box. 2 ozs of Virginia's finest hand rolling tobacco, a packet of green Rizzlas and a Zippo lighter that was competing with the tin for battle honours.

He stuck his right hand into his mouth and pulled off the inner glove with his teeth. This was then placed carefully in the side pocket of his heavy winter jacket. He shifted his weight slightly to avoid cramp and began the methodical process of rolling a cigarette. With his un-gloved hand he extracted the cardboard packet and slid out a thin paper using his thumb. He then dropped the Rizzlas back into the tin and slipped the paper under his gloved forefinger on his left hand, which was still holding everything in place. He then began to load tobacco onto it. When satisfied that he had the correct amount of tobacco, he lifted the paper and its contents carefully clear of the tin, which was still balanced on his knee, and used both hands to roll the cigarette. This involved spreading the contents along the paper until even and then, after a deft twist, gently moving the front of the paper against the back until the tobacco formed a thin worm. The glued strip of the paper was facing him and just prior to the last 'roll' he ran his tongue along the line. Once formed he stuck the cigarette in his mouth, pulled the lighter from the tin, closed the lid and placed the tin back in his map pocket. He then stood up and stretched, shifting his feet to return the circulation but watching the ropes weren't caught under his crampons. Once happy, he replaced his inner glove onto his right hand and lit the cigarette. Simultaneously he popped the lighter back into his map pocket and sucked in the smoke.

It hit his lungs with a rush and he felt the nicotine surge through his veins. The mixture of cold, fresh air and smoke gave him a light-headed feeling. He took another long drag, watching the tobacco glow brightly and sucked in deeper. This second dose proved more satisfying than the first. After the fifth pull his body was content with its lot. He flicked the butt away from him and put on his outer gloves. As he did this, his partner took in the slack, rigged the ropes through a stitch plate and shouted down "climb when ready."

Jim cleared the belay stance, shouted up "climbing now" and set off after his partner.

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17 Jan, 2006
Very good - especially for those of us trying to give up! <<jealous as hell>>
17 Jan, 2006
Good to see. Smoking on a stance is one of the best things in life (sure will miss it when I give up) and there should be more literature celebrating it. Just a real shame about the down sides :-(
17 Jan, 2006
) But getting a good roaring campfire going on a large stance is the Real Deal! I often take firelighters , sticks and just a small sack of coal on mountain routes. Nothing boosts the morale of an anxious second twhen s/he arrives at the stance to see you've got a nice fire going! PS But always take care to keep your ropes away from the fire. I won't make that mistake again in a hurry!
17 Jan, 2006
Are you talking about smoking or climbing? Inquiring minds would like to know! lol!
17 Jan, 2006
Come off the fence Mark. What do you really think? ;)
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