Climbing again- hooray!

18th Sep 2012


The last time I posted, I was heading off for my first climb since my SLAP repair on my left shoulder. Having broken my leg in January, my climbing this year amounted to a few sessions in May before I had my shoulder operation. So I was definitely ready to climb, mentally if not physically! Tim and I went to The Foundry and climbed ten routes, ok, it wasn’t rock but I still enjoyed it. I kept the grades very low, mainly fives with the odd f6a. And I was wearing my trainers (Scarpa Mojitos- which are awesome for wall sessions), as it’s a good training effect but kept me from being tempted by harder grades. I didn’t want to try anything fingery, as my fingers felt very weak. I had also stated I wasn’t going to lead anything but within three routes was leading happily. So all in all it was a fun session and a real eye opener. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this weak before in my life. Having essentially had 8-9 months off climbing, I have lost incredible amounts of muscle and it’s a very strange sensation to climb without the strength I’m used to. Even before I was ever a climber, I was quite strong anyway, just from all the sport I did, gymnastics etc. So I could already do numerous pull ups, whereas now…I’m too afraid to try! I think some people would benefit from having to climb without their strength, as it really makes you climb with good technique and use your feet to their full potential. But my technique has always been my strong point; so building up my strength again is paramount. I just hope it doesn’t take too long, we’ll see. I’ve also had a couple of little traversing sessions on my local outdoor boulder (see picture on right). This is one of the many advantages to living in Sheff; we have three or four outdoor boulders, which are, actually pretty good and free! So popping down there when it’s not raining, will be great for building up some forearm endurance. I tried an up problem that was stupidly a little bit too hard and felt my shoulder pull right where the biceps tendon attaches. This is precisely what I don’t want to feel, so I just need to take it easy and not get too gung ho at this early stage.

All I can say is that it feels absolutely lovely just to be moving in this way again. When you haven’t done something for so long, you almost forget how good it feels or why you love it so much. And even just having the few small sessions I’ve had, it’s reminded me again the pure joy I feel when I’m climbing. There’s a possibility I may end up in Pembroke this weekend, which is exciting. Tim has to take some pictures for Marmot of Neil Mawson and Steve McClure down there, so I’ll go too. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find somebody who fancies doing some easy routes with me, fingers crossed!

I wanted to say massive congratulations to Fran Brown, who has just won the World Championships in her category of Para-climbing. This is a fantastic effort for GB climbing and will hopefully inspire more disabled people to get out there and give climbing a go. I don’t think we’ve had a world champion since the late ‘80’s and never a female, so well done Fran!! Also, with climbing being considered as an Olympic sport for 2020 (on a short list of eight sports), the IOC was present at the World Champs in Paris checking it for consideration. I’m sure the climbers and organisers did a great job, I just hope the IOC think climbing can be an Olympic sport and were suitably impressed.

Looking forward to a sunny weekend by the sea…



On the left, you can just see Neil Mawson finishing up 'Lucky Strike' E2 5b in Pembroke. Can't wait to see the old place again...