It's always interesting after spending months in a foreign land, without speaking the language, then to return home and suddenly you hear every conversation around you. I met very few Americans (3?) in Europe during my trip, and while all of my Swiss or French friends spoke outstanding english, I was still excluded from overheard conversations, radio, or all the language that usually populates our ambience. Suddenly I can perfectly understand the chatter around me in the line at the grocery store, or the voice over the loudspeaker, or one half of a strangers phone conversation. It's simple experiences like this that remind me of why travel is so awesome. All the little things that we adapt to, the other little things that we forget matter and the stimulating challenges associated with them.
Since I got back some great and also, not so great things have happened. Immediately after arriving in Denver well behind schedule and naturally without baggage, I jumped in the truck and took off for the International Climbers Festival in Lander. This has long been one of my favorite events of the year, and the added bonus to link up with all of my good friends from around Wyoming made the long weekend busy and rad. I taught two days of clinics out at the Wild Iris, did a poster signing with La Sportiva and otherwise just enjoyed the place and the good people in-between trying my best to fight jet lag. On the last day, of course at a wall that is well known for ravaging tendons, I tweaked a finger. Something that thankfully, I have very little experience with. Usually I'm super mindful of injury, reserved about things that could take me out, and also certainly lucky as well. Well... not as lucky this day I guess. The stress gradually consolidated in my wrist - but was strongly associated with my ring finger. Despite an extreme urge to climb and train I rested as much as I could handle since then. I've been slowly but surly making my way towards recovery - and along the way I've found a number of things super helpful which I've shared at the end of this post.
In the meantime I've moved shop up to Estes Park for a while. No doubt a perfect summer hang with a plethora of alpine climbing, the bouldering scene is huge as well, and there is even some sport climbing gems too. Over the years I have spent many months of my life here since well before I started climbing. In many ways it feels like home (or at least one of my homes), I love it up here.
I've been mountain running again which is certainly a rad thing for me. I gave up running back in December to focus my efforts on training for climbing which I think was a good call. As Steve Bechtel says, 'running is about as good for your climbing as climbing is for your running'. A heartbreaking truth for many of us that are passionate about both. Regardless I feel that the running will definitely help with my goals now and it has been super fun to get back into it. On the down side I contracted some pretty gnarly poison ivy, likely from my filthy buddy Zeke. This is another first for me, and let me say that I will never, ever, downplay the suffering involved with poison ivy again. It is heinous!
|spending a lot of quality time with this guy|
Okay well on the upside I've been acclimating and spending some quality time in the Alpine, getting super motivated for my summer goals and now I'm back to training as well which has been shockingly exciting after some down time. I'll be working with 3 Strings Media once again to put together what will hopefully be a rad piece for Arcteryx.
If you have not had the chance to check out this video of my climbing on Biographie here it is for your viewing pleasure! And you can expect the second episode of my Epic TV series 'Nomad' to launch very soon as well. This next one features the radical climbing at Voralpse and one of my all time favorite routes, 'Speed Integrale' 9a.
And also, wander over to both my Five Questions page and my Gear Review for some fresh material with legendary French climber Arnuad Petit and a review on the new ultralight Arcteryx Alpha Pack.
------So here is the low down on my injury and also what I've done and not done since, and where I'm at now. Injuries suck, but they are also almost mandatory for us at some point. I feel so so so fortunate that this one is my worst and is still very minor. Anyways, hopefully if you are experiencing something similar this will inspire or inform you or something! I am by no means a health care practitioner or anything these are just ideas!
The injury was not exactly in my finger, or my hand. It really seems like a tweaked tendon in my wrist - down to about 3 inches from my wrist up my forearm. I did it jumping into a right hand 2 finger pocket and swinging out to my left. I felt a pretty strong 'zing' in my forearm but there was no pop or snap or anything. I felt soreness and limited strength in both of my fingers immediately. I iced, took IB and rested it. After 5 days of no climbing or testing at all, I made a simple test and figured that I could fully load my pointer and middle fingers, so I did some hang boarding with various grip positions on the left hand and the first team 2 finger grip on my right. I found that hang boarding has been much better for recovery than actual climbing because climbing holds and movements are so unpredictable. For the first 10 days or so I was icing 3 times a day and using my ArmAid for massage which I really liked. I was not taking NSAIDs as advised by my one of my trainers. I was using Traumeel on the area twice a day. As I began to notice that my strength was returning I started hang boarding with the entire hand on the right, but removing a lot of weight at first using a pulley system. One of the coolest discoveries for me was to use a bucket of rice for opposition, and also provide some very minimal strength exercises. Here is a link for more info on rice bucket stuff. I have really liked using the rice, and I think that it has greatly helped me heal. Now I am exactly 2 weeks from the day I hurt my wrist / finger and I'm carefully beginning to push towards a standard level of weight for hang boarding - yesterday I was able to dead hang several strenuous grip positions with up to 35 lbs added weight. Although I am noticing a slight pain when I release my closed hand crimp grip. Some grip positions are still bothersome (when trying to climb plastic) and the occasional random grabbing of something (reaching into my backpack to get something has been weird for some reason). I have been taping my wrist when I do any hang boarding which is hugely effective. I am noticing some very slight soreness after training but nothing too far outside of what I would normally expect from a hard training session.
I hope some of this helps!