Cliffhanger

Yosemite's Rock Stars by Lynn Ferrin
The Atlantic, May 2009

"Wayne Merry returned to Yosemite a decade after that first ascent and started the Yosemite Mountaineering School. Soon after the school opened, I signed up and learned how to belay and rappel, and about the play of rock climbing on the senses: the clink of the hammer on a piton, the warmth of the sunlit granite under my hand, the radiant clouds sailing overhead. I learned not to look down much. All around was the beauty of Yosemite, those waterfalls crashing down the massive walls into the wildflowers, the mists sifting through the granite spires, the river pooling up in the meadows to capture reflections of sunrise and moonlight on the soaring cliffs."

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she edits digital features.

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