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the ravages of age
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Jul 23, 2011, 7:25 AM
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Registered: May 16, 2005
Posts: 144

the ravages of age
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At 52, I'm beginning to feel the ravages of age, specifically; arthritis in my left hand.
Now, granted knowing that age has its way with one's life, I should just accept things.
Being a climber, at least at heart, is a different matter.
That which defines me, that which gives me reason to awaken every day is ice, and it's genres; dry, mixed, alpine.
It's just that in the mornings, there's these disagreements and aches on what should just come naturally.
Knowing that it's a battle one can't win; what does one do?
I'm still alittle old school, climbing on headless Madames;I like the way Malcolm thinks and what Jeff has done over the years.
So, I guess my question is;what can one do? leashes,
gloves, supplements, different tools?
I hope you all reach this point; when questions of age become a factor.
We climbers have been given a fate;how do we continue,how do we continue to show the way, how do we become the bridge to the other side, we are all arrows to the other side.

Partner rgold

Jul 23, 2011, 9:58 AM
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Registered: Dec 3, 2002
Posts: 1804

Re: [julio412] the ravages of age [In reply to]
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I can't help you with ice specifically, I gave that up so long ago I'm surprised it hasn't all melted by now. But rock (and snow) from boulders to big walls to back-country alpine, I've been at those games for fifty-four years now and counting.

I've been lucky with arthritis so far, just an occasional twinge. I do take glucosamine/chondroitin, and have experimented enough with stopping and starting to be convinced they work for me, this in spite of their statistical ineffectiveness in general.

I suppose it should go without saying that one of the secrets to longevity in climbing is to keep doing it. As you age it gets way harder to get back in shape once you've deconditioned.

I don't want to give the impression that I am blasting up 5.11-5.12 trad any more. Aging is very individual, how much climbing you can manage to do and your own genetics both play a decisive role, and decline is inevitable, and in my case seems to have accelerated after 60 (I'm now 67). My most rapid loss seems to be in forearm endurance; I just can't hang on anything close to what I used to be able to do.

One of the biggest problems is figuring out where you are today. It may not be where you were last week.

As for putting up with all this, the choices are either acceptance or quitting, with the understanding that if you do live long enough, there will be a moment when retirement becomes unavoidable.

I think that those of us (now perhaps a minority) who came by our interest in climbing as a byproduct of a love of back country exploration seem to have an easier time dealing with a decline in abilities, because whatever gymnastic levels we may have achieved, at the core it was essentially about being outside in beautiful and sometimes remote mountain settings, and that fundamental joy in nature can accommodate a range of technical abilities.

Climbing does not define me; I'll be fine without it when and if the time comes. But as long as I'm still having fun (as understood by climbers, meaning that the epics aren't too too scary), I'll keep it up at whatever level, be it ever so humble, that my body can handle.


Jul 23, 2011, 10:28 AM
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Registered: Jun 15, 2006
Posts: 566

Re: [rgold] the ravages of age [In reply to]
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Very thoughtful post Rgold.

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