Lewis Perrin Williams writes about climbing A Midsummer Night's Dream (E6 6a) on 'Cloggy'...
Light and dark, summer and winter, the solstices. On 21 June, the longest day, James McHaffie and I took the path to Clogwyn Du'r Arddu, grandest of Welsh mountain cliffs. That name! It means "The Black Cliff of Darkness".
I know we've already had an exchange about this Lewis, but I really enjoyed this piece of writing, not least because it resonated with my own intense experience on the route. Ed's comment made me wonder whether everyone who's ever done it has had a similar experience, because it certainly made a mark on me, and no doubt many others too.
Much like you I had a very distinct 'moment', whereby everything could have quite easily unravelled, but didn't. I managed to reign in the doubt and maintain my cool, in spite of the fairly overwhelming situation I was in. In short: I'd unknowingly climbed past the (probably dubious) peg in the groove and only noticed whilst standing some way above it. Down climbing wasn't an option, and there wasn't any other gear I could lower off, so I had to come to terms with the fact that the only option was up...and that if I f**ked it I was in for a 20 metre ground fall. The moves that followed are some of, if not the most intense moves I have ever climbed and I recall executing them perfectly. I'm not sure whether this constitutes 'flow state', but it's as close as I've ever got.
After the intensity of this experience, I think I lucked out with the following two pitches, as I found the perfect line throughout each and - as a result - found the rest of the route pretty straightforward. Nothing seemed quite so hard now that I was no longer faced with the proposition of hitting the ground from 20 metres up!!
I'm glad the piece is resonating with people, as I said to you earlier, it's these intensest of moments that we both crave and dread so deeply, when all notions of 'I' melt away and you are left only with life, death, and the moves inbetween.