Monday, September 27, 2010

Injuries and the Benefits of Maple Canyon

Dealing with injuries has got to be the hardest part of being a climber (or serious athlete in any sport, for that matter). All the struggles and failures that go with day to day climbing and training seem pretty inconsequential when you are no longer able to climb. I've had many injuries over the years, but the one I sustained in the spring of 2010 will go down as being one of the hardest, psycologically.

After a great year of climbing in 2009, I rolled into 2010 full of optimism. All that optimism was quickly crushed on a single Squamish bouldering move in early April. The diagnosis was a tear in my glenoid labrum, but not the common SLAP lesion most climbers suffer. My tear was located at the base of the ring, making it somewhat less threatening, but also less responsive to surgery. I choose the conservative route and entered into five months of serious physical therapy to re-balance my shoulder and give the injury time to settle down (cartilage tears never really "heal", unfortunately). In the process, I learned a great deal about the anatomy of the injury, patience and the benefits of social climbing with friends. I also benefited a lot from speaking to people with similar problems, so if anyone has any questions or needs a sounding board for a how to deal with a similar injury, please feel free to get in touch. Really.

So after months of low level climbing and rehab, we faced a tough decision: risk booking tickets for the great fall trip to Turkey we had planned or be conservative and wait and see what happened with the injury. We choose the risky option, booked the tickets and hoped for the best.

So here we are in Maple Canyon trying to get some endurance back for the crags in Europe. We figured the smooth cobbles of Maple would be reasonably non-threatening and that the long endurance climbs would whip us into shape. Both have turned out to be true and we are gaining fitness with minimal injury aggravation so far. The steep cave routes are a slap in the face after months of vertical cruising, but in order to get fit for steep rock, you have to climb on steep rock, so here we are. The canyon is beautiful at this time of year and, if nothing else, the time has been relaxing and therapeutic.

The pictures are random shots from the canyon and surrounding area. The climbing photos are of Mindi, a Salt Lake City climber sending the route Toxic Turkey (13c). Nice one, Mindi!

Stay tuned for pics from Turkey and enjoy the fall season everyone!

Marc Bourdon - Squamish, BC

No comments: