“Belay on!” shouts Jeff.
“On belay!” answers Truette looking up the ice at his friends.
“Climb!” Jeff continues the shouted ritual.
“Climbing!” pronounces Truette as he swings his axe in a full arc over his head. His heart pounds and a wave of keen emotion produce a tremor through his body.
Truette’s front points hold. His axe and Interalp hammer place securely. The rope coming down to him from Jeff offers comfortable security. He makes a note to himself not to cut it in two with a misplaced blow from his axe. The climbing is going wonderfully from his point of view. He is strong. The exertion is nothing to him. It is invigorating. He senses a competence in what he is doing and feels proud of himself. His fears of inadequacy dissolve as he climbs up, powerfully and with certainty. Jeff pulls the rope up in front of him quickly.
He reaches Dave and Jeff pleased with himself. He smiles and chuckles agreeably. They believe success is certain. They laugh and congratulate each other. Dave is rested now. The three men are bound at their souls during this interlude, while Truette is gathering the gear to lead the next rope length. The entire team is off the ground now. They are entirely in the vertical environment, three apart from the rest of human kind, independent and without hope of assistance from anywhere except inside themselves. The climb has fully begun. They are bound together by more than rope and carabiners. Their selves are melded for one purpose; to climb up.

Dave remembers a poem from Dougal Haston:
On the uppermost European up,
On the uppermost up of Mont Blanc,
Three were we and in winter too,
But mindwisely tormented by the Alternative downs from the uppermost up,
A burning flame,
Up and up the hidden Freney,
And finally down,
All for the glory of winter firsts.

Stubbs, Truette (2013-04-19). STARSHINE: 1978 Mountaineering History Making Ice Climb on the North Face of Whiteside Mountain in North Carolina USA (Kindle Locations 1669-1681). Truette T. Stubbs. Kindle Edition.