I’ve been back in the US for a few weeks now, and enjoying every aspect of home: the comfort of having my own space, the luxury of Whole Foods, seeing my friends and family, and rockclimbing in Rifle. We’ve been alternating our time between Rifle, Vail, and Boulder; settling into a nice routine of outdoor climbing, gym training, and even spending some time out on the lake.
I sprained my ankle last week when I fell while bouldering in the gym. Those kinds of accidents are so frustrating and annoying. I was only about 3 feet off the mats when I took a fall that twisted my body awkwardly and resulted in my left ankle flopping to the side and taking the brunt of my weight. I immediately thought the worst because the fall felt so jarring and violent. I went to Urgent Care for an X-ray and, after about 2 hours of waiting, found out that nothing was broken, just a minor sprain. The doctor, who for some reason thought I was about 10 years old, told me to keep it in an air cast 24/7 and use crutches for a week, “and you’ll be playing soccer again in no time” he told me in his most childish voice. Irritated and antsy, I went back to the gym and did some pull-ups, then I went home and packed for Rifle.
This past weekend was the Annual Rifle Clean-up. The event was a great success thanks to the Rifle Climber’s Coalition, Wolverine Publishing, and Rock&Ice Magazine. Andrew Bisharat, and Jen Vennon deserve individual recognition as well for organizing the majority of the event. Together, the Rifle climbing community re-built belay stations and parking lots, cleaned up the trash, replaced old bolts and sketchy quickdraws, and equipped popular routes with steel perma-draws. To reward ourselves for our efforts, there was a huge BBQ with ample amounts of Avery beer. It was a good time.
Despite my injury, I climbed 4 out of 5 days. I tightly wrapped my cankle (now all different shades of blue, purple, and green) in athletic tape and squeezed it in my climbing shoe. The first day I top-roped and climbed easier routes, then I decided it was fine and I gave myself permission to try hard. I know the fast-track approach is not necessarily the smartest way to go about healing an injury, but I’m impatient. I figure as long as it’s not too painful I’m not doing damage.
I decided that climbing in Rifle is analogous to playing a game of Tetris. It’s a puzzle game, and the biggest task is finding out what pieces (i.e. body positions) fit before it’s too late (i.e. terminal pump). The individual pieces that descend down in the video game represent each climbing move. You have to figure out how to shape shift your body to fit the cluster of blocks below (the route). Whether it be an upside-down knee-bar, backwards rest, secret heel-toe hook, or a combination of all of them, you have to figure out what fits in the blocky cluster. If not, GAME OVER. Does that make any sense?? My new project is Joey Kinder’s Waka Flocka, a new route to the left of Living in Fear that he bolted and sent last year. It’s a nice one; a combination of tetris sequences and pure, no bullshit power moves. Hopefully I’ll be able to do it when the weather cools off.