So this is my new blog about all things climbing related in my life…….
The last year has been a tough one for me. It has been my final year of university and it has been plagued by injuries!!! This may have been a bit of a blessing in disguise as it meant that I had to spend more time on my university work to keep myself busy and entertained. That said this year has had some exciting twists and turns I have still managed to improve my climbing around the 3, yes 3, finger injuries I have had this year. I have managed to climb my first V8 boulder in Fontainbleau, onsighted an F7a+ route in Spain and flashed a F7b route at Chee Dale just last week.
Personally I hate injuries, well who doesn’t, they seem to sap all the psych away from your body and turn you into some kind of grumpy anti climbing monster. This hasn’t been helped by the fact my part time job was in a climbing wall so I spent probably 3/4 days/evenings a week there instructing or working. On the other hand can feel very rewarding. As soon as you start feeling that the injury is improving you can just feel the psych building and that feeling of improvement coming back. Over the past year I have managed to badly stain my flexor on my ring finger in my right hand, and partially tear pulley on my ring finger in both hands. Admittedly the flexor injury was probably the worst this happened while dynamically moving for a small incut crimp. I didn’t quite latch the hold correct and your heard an audible pop. The other two pulley injuries seem to just come on over time, probably over use of crimping!!!
The flexor injury was my first ever climbing injury so I created a plan to get myself back to full fitness. Annoyingly it happened just before last summer when I was psyched to get out to Europe climbing but hey these things happen. I used the spare time I had to work at the wall and improve other parts of my climbing fitness. I spent a lot of time running and working on my core strength. By the time September came I was back climbing and felt stronger than ever. It was weird that having so long off working on finger strength could help but I guess the extra training in different areas made my climbing all round better and it seems to appear that my base finger strength isn’t really that bad! I managed to compete in The Climbing Depots BOB which was awesome and super fun to get back into comps. I actually surprised myself how well i did condisering the lack of pulling of hold over the months preceding it. The next big comp was the BUCS university comp. At this point I was super psyched to train hard and do well here to add to this myself and a group of friends had just booked a holiday to Costa Blanca in Spain. The psych was so high!!! Unfortunately not for long though…..
It seemed as soon as I’d just got over the flexor injury I some how managed to partially tear my pulley in my left hand. Psych gone!!! I was training towards trying an F8a in Spain and this was not on the cards at all now. I felt pretty low uming ahhhing on weather to actually go on the holiday. In the end I decided to just as even if I didn’t climb that much it’d be a break from the university work and a nice place for rest and recuperation. The holiday went far better than expected, I couldn’t try that many routes a day or my finger would flare up and I had to keep away from crimping, but this just meant I had to climbing steep ‘juggy’ stuff’. I was pretty happy on one of the days when I managed to onsight my first ever F7a+ at Gandia. Just prior to this trip I had started ultra sound on my finger which seemed to help the pulley repair. I know proof of whether or not it helps is sketchy but in my case even if it was a placebo it helped!
By the time the injury had completely gone away I had less than a month to train for the BUCS competition. Instead of focusing on strength gains that I wouldn’t have time to make I focused on making sure I’d flash all the routes up to the grade I could currently climb. This seemed to work and on the day I was happy with my performance managing to finish joint 12th. Psych levels were high this was added to by sorting out a trip to the forest of Fontainebleau with friends from work for March time. I set about training as hard as I could, maybe to hard….. I left for font with have felt like a little niggle in my right hand ring finger flexor and came back with what was another pulley strain. Say hello to more time off………. That said I did managed to climb my first V8 at Apremont while on the trip!
Right now I am sitting at home only 1 and a half weeks away from my big summer trip around Europe feeling and hoping that all the time off since march have helped this finger injury fix! Since the last injury I have just tried to take things easy. I have been again been focusing on other areas of weakness, my arm strength and back strength, and been on a casual trip to Fontainebleau to celebrate finishing university and climb some easy boulders. During this time I have also been lucky enough to become a brand ambassador for Mad Rock. They are keen to support climbers and get their band out there. I am super excited with their products and excited to see where they will go in the next year. Fingers crossed for this year that I can ward off the injuries and keep the improvement coming!!!
I’ll leave you this time with a little video hat we made on the summer trip to Fontainebleau.