Mid-December already, though it's hard to tell from the 60 degree weather this week. Maybe a bit warmer than I'd like for winter bouldering, but at least we haven't had to worry about snow on the rocks yet.
We've actually had pretty close to ideal climbing weather these last few months, and I've been taking advantage of it as much as I can. While my training schedule has kept me from getting out to climb after work as much as I usually do this time of year, the few weekday sessions I've fit in at Northwest Branch have been nice. Last week I finally got on Give Me Lip and couldn't believe I'd never done it before. Of course the last move of Crimptastic continued to spit me off despite the rest of the climb feeling almost effortless.
Mostly I've been spending a lot of weekend time at Gretna. And while I've been trying to gradually move back into other styles as my almost year-old finger injury continues to heal, crimps on slab or vertical continue to be what feels best. I finally got to get on Feel My Pain a couple weeks ago at the comp and loved it.
Last weekend I also checked out Slice, which I had somehow never looked at in all of the times I'd walked right past it.
Yesterday ended up being a "Robin wastes all of his energy on silly variations instead of finishing any cool climbs" day. After warming up on Help Meat, Josh in the Box, and a sit start to Slice (or maybe that's the actual start?), I got on this really fun crack with Chris that I don't know the name of.
From there we went downhill to Feel My Pain, which Dana crushed in two or three tries and I tried to climb into from the far left of the boulder. Then up to 45, where I took a couple shots at a variation of Fabulous the people were working, before having a go at Destroyer and surprising myself by getting out past Exhibit A without even feeling tired. Just one move to figure out and I'm pretty sure I can put it down next time.
Back injuries are something I always worry about, and they happen on a small scale on a semi-regular basis for me, like when I hurt myself doing dishes last week. Big ones like this come around every two years or so, and based on past experience it'll probably be at least three weeks before I'm climbing again. Fortunately I was already toying with the idea of increasing my hangboard workouts to twice a week for a few weeks, and was only hesitating because that would mean missing out on some of the perfect climbing weather that we're having. Problem solved.
I started to tell someone last night that yesterday's injury was actually more embarrassing than painful, but then realized that wasn't even close to being true. While I have no idea how the actual timeline went, I'm pretty sure I was on the crash pads for about twenty minutes before Mark was able to get me to my feet, though I was at least able to get my own shoes on and tied. I think. Then there was another probably twenty minutes of them draping me over a boulder, and me trying desperately to hold on while Mark tried to relax whatever was spasming, as I tried even more desperately not to laugh. And of course trying not to laugh made everything seem way funnier than it actually was. According to Dana, anyone passing by would have thought I was completely drunk. Maybe that would have helped? Eventually we were all ready to go, and I very helpfully took a few steps on my own as John and Mark carried me most of the way back to the car. Obviously I didn't drive myself home.
A few things I've taken away from this experience... first, and most importantly, I have some really amazing friends. Second, as much as this sucks, it's only a temporary thing. Unfortunately that's not the case for many people out there, which makes me even more excited to continue supporting groups like Paradox Sports in the coming year. Third, I obviously needed the reminder about knowing when to stop. Maybe this is a sign that I'm getting old, but since I still have three years until I can compete in the masters division at comps, I'll take it instead as evidence that I'm still young and stupid enough to not quit while I'm ahead. Lesson learned, for now anyway.
Whatever climbing I had planned for today will now be more of a gentle walk, but I hope everyone else is making the most of this gorgeous weather. Climb an extra one for me!