After being unable to climb for nearly three months, May 10th marked my return date to climbing at the gym. Happily, the finger and tendon in question are holding up pretty well, albeit I have changed my gym routine a bit to play things on the safe side, and to plan for future climbing adventures (read on!).
One of my cousins lives just outside of Atlanta and happens to be an enthusiastic climber. I ran into him a couple of weeks ago when he was in town, and he invited my brother and I down to do some climbing. So in preparation for that trip (probably in September), and the upcoming Lead I class at Sportrock, my brother and I have been focusing exclusively on top-roping at the gym.
I got off to an easy start, staying primarily on 5.6 – 5.8 routes, wanting to test the finger and see just what it was capable of. Fortunately, with the help of its three friends I’m not having any major strength issues in my right hand. I am taking precautionary measures and taping the finger and wrist to try and keep the tendon moving around too much. Not sure if that really does more than provide me a little piece of mind.
I’ve only been to the gym three times since my return, but already ramping things up and feeling pretty good about it. My brother and I didn’t really venture past the 5.10 plateau at the gym before I got injured, but we also weren’t taking falls on routes. For both of us, I think it was more of an endurance factor than a difficulty one. We are both bouldering in the V4/V5 range, which means we should be climbing 5.12 routes. While we could complete each move individually on a 5.12 route, doing the entire route without stopping was inconceivable.
Last night we decided to step it up a level and start climbing at our threshold. After warming up on some easier routes, we turned out focus to two routes: a 5.11 and a 5.11+.We both ended up taking one fall on the 5.11 at the crux move. We had worked the 5.11+ the other night and were familiar with the route, so we both completed that route without too many difficulties. The 5.11 was arguably more difficult, but both routes were a lot of fun.
As I mentioned, Lead I class is just around the corner (June 1st), and we are both excited to start sport climbing. Even though that date is just around the corner, I think we’d both like to be climbing 5.11s consistently by June 1st. I personally would like to have completed at least one, if not consistently completing, 5.12 climbs by the time we head to Atlanta.