His lungs still struggle with each inhale, but the pace slows and he grabs the limb with his right hand, wiping the sweat from his left palm and repositioning. He shifts his weight and raises his right knee just high enough to shove his foot onto the next ledge. Leaning forward, his muscles strain and quiver as he brings his other foot up to stand nearly upright. He is keenly aware of his bladder starting its familiar press, notifying him of a most basic human need. He takes the next climb with similar awkwardness, but has to stop again for fear of falling.
Dizziness pervades his head and chest. He can feel a cold sweat break out around his ribcage, and he is wheezing again. He is only halfway there and doubt creeps into his mind, seeps into little cracks in his soul, and darkens his outlook in billows like octopus ink. He tries not to cry, although his throat tightens and a few tears mingle with the sweat on the bridge of his nose. He lets them drip, along with the sweat, to the carpet below.