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Nov 23, 2003, 9:32 AM
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Registered: Aug 2, 2002
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On the first climb of the day yesterday, a sweet little climb well within my ability level, I ended up thumb down with three fingers in a crack, pulled the crux move, felt a sharp pain in the palm of my hand, and tried to push through it. While I made the move, I couldn't grasp the next hand hold without pain. I didn't want to come down because I "knew" I could do the climb, but I did because I didn't want to make the injury worse.

Rested for most of the day, climbed up small distances to get pictures of others in my party, and downed a couple of ibuprofen. By the end of the day, I felt comfortable enough to try the last climb of the day. There were still a few twinges but not enough to bother me any more than usual. Today it feels fine.

I feel like I let ego dictate my decision to do that last climb, and while it worked out ok this time, I might compound the injury next time. What are your thoughts in using the warriors way philosophy in situations like these (otherwise I would've posted in Accidents and Injuries).


Nov 24, 2003, 5:17 PM
Post #2 of 4 (2232 views)

Registered: Jan 1, 2003
Posts: 2463

Re: Injury [In reply to]
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I think I did the same thing yesterday. I tore the colleral ligament in my right index finger a couple of months ago. (The one that restricts it to bending forward and backward at the knuckle and prevents sideways bending.) After a total rest of 3 weeks, I carefully started back to climbing and used the injury as a good excuse to try to learn how to climb wide cracks properly.

On Saturday I climbed 4 pitches of sqeeze chimney or ow and felt that my performance was definately improving over previous wide crack training days. Feeling confident but exhausted, I suggested a 6 pitch wide route on Sunday. I got utterly spanked on each of the first two pitches. I actually started leaking tears in the squeeze leading to the second belay. I had to call bail. I felt like I was really messing my friends' day up, but I couldn't bring myself to accept having my ass handed to me again on some chossy obscure wide crack that they started eyeballing before we'd even finished this bail. I was letting my self image get wrapped up in my performance and my reaction to my performance, and I felt like a loser.

I was the first person to get to the ground. Near my landing spot two guys were setting up a TR on a hand/finger crack that was at a technically harder grade than the climb that just whooped me. However, I am much more skilled and practised at hands and fingers, and this particular climb was a favorite of mine.

Even though I knew that it would be potentially bad for my hand, I lept at the chance to TR this route with these guys and told my friends to go ahead and do that obscure climb up the hill without me. Doing the climb made me feel good because I got to climb in a situation where I wasn't flailing on familiar, comfy terrain. It also got me off the hook for jumping into more chossy, painful ow-sized chaos.

My ego was the major factor in my tears. My ego put me at risk of further injuring my finger. It also rewarded me with a quick fix of ego-maintenence when I sent the climb, and helped me to get psyched again for more wide practise the following week.

As far as how to use the WW to improve my performance in the future... I think that calling it quits when I was doing more hanging than climbing was part of accepting the reality of me being in over my head. The warrior mentality that I strive for will be able to accept the bail alone as the learning experience and won't need to heap on a "feel good" climb at the end of the day to make it feel like a day not wasted.

I'm still working on it, but I suspect that mastering my ego may be a much harder than any climbing project to which I may aspire. In the meanwhile, I hope we all do our best to keep our egos in check where personal safety is concerned. A risk-taking attitude not properly balanced by experience-derrived judgement has landed me on crutches before, and I can swear from personal experience that no climb is worth loosing a whole season over. It sounds like we both got a little bit lucky last weekend. ;-)


Nov 24, 2003, 7:16 PM
Post #3 of 4 (2232 views)

Registered: Dec 22, 2001
Posts: 6179

Re: Injury [In reply to]
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Man, what's with us and injuries? I have a chronic muscle problem in my arm. There was a bouldering comp this weekend that I attended but did not compete because I didn't want to make matters worse.

It ended up being a very good reward because in the end, I went home knowing that if I didn't WIN the ladies' division that day, I would have at least placed (and thereby score free goods), and was confident that if I come back with a healthy arm, I would send the problems that the women got stuck on. It was very heartening and encouraging for me to compete next time they have a comp. I learned that I am not served worrying about my performance, which was the main reason I didn't enter that day.

Very good feeling.


Nov 25, 2003, 12:54 PM
Post #4 of 4 (2232 views)

Registered: Aug 13, 2002
Posts: 3212

Re: Injury [In reply to]
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For me, it's definitely my ego that wants to keep going when I'm hurt. After all, if you know you have an injury you can aggravate and you keep going even though you could end your climbing season, what kind of favour have you just done yourself? And ultimately, what have you learned, other than that if you keep climbing and aggravate an injury you will not be able to climb as much in the future?

The sports doctor who did my knee surgery ten years ago gave me some advice that I still do my best to listen to: if it hurts, stop, take a day off, and try the same thing again. If it still hurts, repeat the previous. Eventually you will be able to add to what you're doing, but you HAVE to rest in order to heal.

Listening to your body is, IMO, one of the least egocentric things you can do. Not listening to it is quite the opposite.

My 2 cents...


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