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“This is the crux move, keep me tight,” Crista barked from 60 feet above us, as she prepared for the biggest risk of the route. Lead climbing (without the safety of a rope secured to an anchor above her), the next few moves—a slabby foothold and a crimpy handhold by her fingertips—would dictate a clean send or a big whip down of nearly 25 feet. These quick words were a request to Travis to pay close attention, so that a potential fall would be caught quickly.

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