Until something happened.
A whole one foot down, but still, she fell! As she did, she felt the rope "catch her" - felt the sensation of being lowered in a controlled, safe manner.
And that was all it took.
Panic no longer consumed her. She was free. Free to take her time, to concentrate on where to place her feet, to search for the next hand hold. Free to gain confidence. Free to enjoy the climb! Within minutes she was halfway up the wall. I warned the guys running the place that she'd never been that high before and might panic, but she kept going... all the way to the top! Complete strangers were applauding.
She trusted the rope. We'd been telling her she could trust it, but she had to experience it - had to feel it - had to know it in a way that truly mattered. Once she did, there was no stopping her. She was free to live out what had been true of her all along: that she is an amazing climber!
Panic cripples. Trust frees. And sometimes ... a fall is a gift.