A black fin of sandstone protrudes from the right side of the crack. I pinch it like a tufa and look up at the iron ring. Next stop, ring, I tell myself. Feet up, then hands. I layback the crack for a few moves and then pull in to stand atop the fin. It wiggles under my weight, crumbling slightly. My hands become vise grips, clamped on their holds as a hot lump of fear catapults from my throat into my stomach. I place a sling around a chicken head and clip a draw to it. By the time it’s attached to my rope, it’s below my feet. The fear cools, and I laugh to myself. Absurd. Just get to the first ring. It’s some fifteen meters above me still, and below, my belayer patiently stands on a small ledge.

Read the full story about my 2018 trip to Elbsandsteingebirge and Labak on The Climbing Zine.