For over a week I’ve had both of my ring fingers taped up tightly so that I don’t crimp down too hard.
My right middle finger pad is split completely open and a chunk of the nail is missing. I have to sleep lying on my forearms to stop them from throbbing in pain all night. A simple task such as putting on my coat has now turned into an Olympic-sized event.
Daily, I get asked what it takes to climb past the 5.13 level… I would have to say for myself it was learning how to move past what I thought was my max level of pain and discomfort.
These days, my whole back from the top of my neck to my lower back is one huge knot. Headaches, stiff knees, broken fingers, jammed wrists, black eyes, cramped feet and tons of scars on my face are the norm.
But still, after all this, I sit on a rock, strap on my Oasi and rope up to work on my projects. Masochistic? Possibly.
I find myself being drawn to very thin, vertical limestone routes. I also now judge what I’m about to climb in levels of pain, and if I can handle the repercussions of what I’m about to do to my body. I’ve climbed over eighteen 5.13s and a handful of 5.14s. Each took me weeks to recover from.
I didn’t wake up one day able to jump on hard routes. I have trained hard and dragged myself on the ground for years to finally be at this level. I climb 4-6 days a week outside and the rest indoors to maintain my strength. I have nearly no time in my life to maintain friendships. My life is climbing.
Some days I crawl, but hey, I figure even if I’m crawling to the route, at least I’m still doing what I love. And hopefully, I will be trying new rugged routes even when I’m an old man!!
Is this how climbing is for you? I’d love to hear about your experiences.