Kathy Bassett: I'm a wuss when it comes to heights


For years now, I have been corresponding with Cindy Paskett, of Sandy, Utah, who is the great-granddaughter of Josie Bassett Morris.

We have become great friends.

Recently, Cindy sent me this amazing YouTube video of her son, Nate Brown, of Wilson, Wyo., and his friends on their eight-day climb on El Capitan in Yosemite.

Seems Josie's determination lives on. Check it out here.

Holy cow.

Take it from me, from fearless, tuffy ol' me, my other name is "Wuss!" If I can't see over the top of any rock, anywhere, anytime, I ain't climbing up it! I'm petrified of heights! Just watching this video gave me the shivers.

I once walked out on seemingly flat land and suddenly, it ended. I was looking hundreds of feet straight down onto the Green River. I had to lay on the ground to peer over the edge. Something just pulls at me if I am looking down. It is hard to describe to anyone who isn't afraid of heights.

On TV, if they show someone on one of those big tall buildings in New York or wherever, I have to look away because I can feel myself trying to fall off the sofa. I've tried flying twice in my life. No, thanks. I'll drive. On my first flight, I think I held my breath the entire trip. That may explain why my face was blue when we landed.

I've had to crawl up on a ladder to get to the roof a few times, and it takes me about an hour just working up the courage to put my foot on the first rung and then take a step upward.

Oh, mercy.

I have to shut my eyes and feel my way up the ladder. I can't look down. It might be only eight feet, but it feels like a mile or so to me.

Once I manage to wriggle my way onto the roof and do whatever it was I went up there for in the first place, then I have to figure out how to get back down.

That is the worst part.


First, I sit down and then slowly inch my way toward the ladder. Once I reach the edge of the roof, I have to work up the courage to open my eyes so I can see whether the ladder still is there. I have been known to yell for help getting down. I have been known to sit there a good, long time.

Then, I have to figure out how to slowly turn around, so I can get my feet on the rungs to start my long journey downward. The hardest part for me to figure out is why I feel this way. As a girl growing up - actually, I was no girl, I was the neighborhood's biggest tomboy - I held the distinct honor of being able to climb any tree on our street higher than any of the neighborhood boys.

I also used to find great fun and delight in joining all the other neighborhood kids, when our parents were gone, of climbing out my bedroom window onto the kitchen roof and seeing who could jump the furthest out into the yard.

That probably explains why I'm full of arthritis these days, but now, why am I afraid of heights?

I suddenly just woke up one morning and knew I was afraid of heights. I hate amusement park rides that get a couple of feet off the ground.

I'll take the train ride or the ghost house tour any day. Just don't make me go on that roller coaster or the Ferris wheel. Last time I was on a Ferris wheel, it stopped with me right on top and stayed that way five minutes. I had a caramel apple at the time and suddenly it jumped right out of my hand and plopped straight down onto the ground.

I've never ridden one since.

But the video is fabulous to watch, and those boys sure know what they are doing. It is scary to me, but I admire them and their accomplishments.


Ray Cartwright 7 years, 10 months ago

I don't blame you a bit Kathy, my motto is "No higher than corn and no deeper than taters" p.s. I enjoy your columns keep up the good work


grannyrett 7 years, 10 months ago

Kathy, I enjoy your columns so much. You always bring a smile and a chuckle.


Kat 7 years, 10 months ago

dentedfender - I sure do like your motto. That is a good one. I'm happy to know that folks enjoy my stories and truly appreciate all the compliments. Thank you!


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