“Wake up,” she said, and he pulled the sleeping bag from his face, letting in the still soft sun.
“Now?” he grumbled. “I thought we said 7.”
“Well it’s 6, and you’re awake, so let’s get going.”
He could hear the whisper of the gas stove outside the tent, the murmur of the percolator. He stuck his head out the door, still wrapped to his armpits in down, and smelled the bitter coffee bubbling, the rain on the wind. They had one more day before the rain. And that was pushing it. By that night, it might be pouring, swelling the creek beside their campsite and streaming off the steep sides of the valley.
He slid the out of the bag, letting the cold bite at him and wake him before pulling a jacket over his wide shoulders and slipping into boots stiff with the cold. She crouched low over the stove. The coffee was black now. Pouring two small tin mugs full, she stood beside him and together they leaned back to look at the towering granite wall above. This was their goal, their plan for the day. It faced east, and the rays, now losing their gentle quality, hit the stone sharply. Under its telling light, the features were clean-cut and obvious. A big corner leading to a left-leaning ramp. Splitter crack for a few hundred feet, then the jumbled stone of the final pitches. From the base, it was hard to pick a route through that final section, but it looked solid and protectable. The mugs drained, they bent again to the tent, pulling out backpacks heavy with metal and nylon. Now it was time to climb.