On the Edge
Words and Photos by Sophi Rutherford
It’s 9:55 a.m. on June 20, 2018 and I am crouched in the gully of Cloudripper, a summit in the Bishop Pass, an hour south of Mammoth Lakes, California. The steep gully is the width of a school bus, and the granite walls on either side are the height of a five story building. Maybe I am screaming, I don’t remember. I am shaking, hyperventilating and tears are flowing. I think I am in shock but not ready to admit it yet. There had been two rockfall events within five minutes and the thundering boulders had come inches from my body. I remember whimpering and screaming as my climbing partner Brenton dragged me over the rocks to the safer side of the chute. I remember quoting a mantra in my head for five hours on the silent hike back out, probably to keep from going crazy. In many ways, this should have stopped me from ever climbing again. However, there is risk and reward in climbing and it’s that chance of reward that keeps me crawling back.