Friday, November 9, 2012


by Chris Thomas
follow up to:

For a variety of reasons, I’m TERRIBLE at resting. I NEED projects and goals. Staying engaged mentally and physically is more than just a way to kill time – it keeps me focused on something positive, thereby distracted from life’s other destructive addictions and habits. So when the doctor told me I wouldn’t be able to bend my arm for two to three months after my accident I was worried for reasons beyond just not being able to go climbing. What the hell was I going to do with myself all summer?

Just a few weeks before my accident I identified a few key weaknesses in my climbing ability. Fitness goals were set to focus on two main areas: lose about 25 pounds to increase my strength to weight ratio, and improve hand/finger strength. For the past many years my rock climbing goals have been focused on granite cracks and slabs. Branching out to other types of climbing requires a more well-rounded skill set and varied type of fitness. After my surgery I spent a couple of days moping around the house, having written off climbing anything hard for the year. But boredom breeds motivation, and it dawned on me that I didn’t have to sit on my ass while recovering at all. In fact, not having climbing take up so much of my time could be the perfect strategy for working on my weaknesses.

So I got to work. I started going to the fitness gym and running/biking for several hours every day. I worked on my flexibility and core strength. I tried to do one-arm pullups with my good arm. I counted calories and started eating healthy and not drinking so much beer. As I kept track of my weight I was amazed at how easily the pounds came off. It’s not that I was ever “fat”, but with a little bit of focused effort it became obvious that I could easily optimize my body composition for the passions that I love: rock, ice and mixed climbing.

In time my doctor gave me the OK to do some hang board workouts. I still couldn’t bend my arm, but I could hang straight from it and work on finger strength.
Sarah and I also took a trip to Alaska for my brother’s wedding. I’ve been to Alaska to climb many times before, but as I flew into the range it was always for a specific objective. I never really had time to scope out other objectives and explore some new areas of the range by air. Sarah and I took the opportunity to take a flight seeing trip and scope out some peaks and potential new routes. Psyched to go back when I'm healthy again!!!


Happy climbing.  Stay safe!
-Chris Thomas 

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