Category

Staying Healthy

The Power of The ‘Book

By Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Interior, Trip JournalNo Comments

The clouds have parted and a heatwave has now hit Squamish. But, hey, we’ll take that over the rain. We’ve lost a lot of good folks the past week due to the sub-optimal weather conditions and it simply being the “time to go.” There’s a small contingent of us left, but the season for tent villages in the Chief campground is over. I think most of us have stopped checking the weather report- we now understand we are living in a temperate rainforest and the rain gods will do what they please, without warning and for-better-or-worse.

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Tow Truck Confidential

By Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Interior, Trip Journal6 Comments

Damn, it feels good to be back. On the road, that is. I haven’t written in a while, mostly because I’ve been doing my best to keep busy since we arrived back to the Bay Area. If I am doing other stuff, I don’t think about climbing. If I don’t think about climbing, I don’t get sad. Good plan. Right? Meh, it was an okay plan, but it’s the best one I could think of under a looming depression. Well, that sounded depressing. Let’s go with hovering depression. More hovering than looming. Anyway… I show no perceptible signs of injury (albeit a slightly swollen left middle finger). I am also not hindered or unable to do anything else except for climb. The single thing I’ve obsessed over and devoted the majority of my time to this past year. I guess I should mention that I also can’t give people the middle finger with my left hand, but that bothers me slightly less. 😉 Not climbing naturally creates an emptiness that I’ve been desperately trying to fill.

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Full Circle

By Climbing, The Interior, Trip JournalNo Comments

We are back in Santa Barbara (actually, we’re back in Berkeley now, but I began this post in sunny Santa Barbara). We woke up early enough to catch sunrise in Zion National Park before charging through Arizona and Nevada. California, especially Santa Barbara, was a sight for sore eyes. The cool breeze tinged with sea salt wafted through our rolled down windows. We were definitely ready to be back, which is always refreshing on a road trip. Often you leave a place before you feel ready and that’s always a bit unsettling. It felt really good and really right to be back. After 1 year, 2 months, and 17 days, our road trip had come full circle- our first stop when hitting the road last year was Santa Barbara. I was incredibly happy that Spenser agreed to go back to Arches and Canyonlands. It was definitely a bit out of our way from Joe’s Valley to Santa Barbara, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity! I can assume that I will be by these places again later in life, but what if I’m not. Better to not assume, I think. 🙂 Over a year ago when we started this road trip, we had different goals. I think a year ago, we would have argued to pass up these sights just to get to the next climbing destination. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when our road trip mentality changed, but it was likely when both Spenser and I began to ride…

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Settling Joe’s

By Bouldering, Climbing, Staying Healthy, Stuff We're Psyched On, Trip Journal2 Comments

Spenser and I have been in a back-and-forth injury competition for months. I guess I have the heads up right now, though this is one competition I want both of us to lose. Currently, Spenser is back in action and gaining strength back rapidly. His progress has been raising my spirits and giving me something to look forward to when my pulley injury fully heals. It’s been exactly two weeks since the pop and my finger is feeling much better, although not close to 100% yet. I just received my Acupressure Massage Rings in the mail yesterday, so I’m hoping a daily rub-down with these babies will speed up the healing process. If you are a climber (or someone who works with their hands frequently), these rings are a must! The rings range from giving you gentle to greater pressure, depending on your needs and finger size. I ended up buying a pack of 3 from Amazon since I wasn’t sure what I would prefer (I think I like them all, depending on my mood for massage). From my research, it seems like you can use them as frequently as you would like to increase circulation while breaking up scar tissue. You won’t believe how good your tired fingers will feel… I tried climbing for the first time a couple days ago. Sadly, my finger is not ready to hold onto anything except for a sloper (no jugs, no crimps, no flat edges). I taped my finger for support while…

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Recovery Road is a Long One

By The Interior, Training, Trip JournalOne Comment

Until our last day of climbing in Red Rocks, Las Vegas, I hadn’t bouldered since December 21st. That was the day I somehow fell from the pinch on Saigon Direct, missed the pads, and cracked my heel in two. I wanted to use the forced rest period to address another injury of mine, that being chronic tendonitis of the right elbow, or medial epicondylosis if you’re inclined to use specific terms. Nearly 4 months and hours and hours of physical therapy later and I cannot say that it’s gone. I can say, however, that my condition has improved, and I am now back to trying hard. Except for a couple of days of sport climbing, I didn’t climb in Bishop after the foot injury. Three months later, As a reintegration to movement, Evan Ludmer and I did a little bit of trad climbing in Vegas, ticking the incredible classics Epinephrine and Sour Mash. At this point, my elbow wasn’t really hurting, but still made the crepitus-like noise that it has been making all year. I figured that keeping the climbing to a vertical 5.9/5.10 level would be okay, and it was. I decided to try some easy bouldering. For the purposes of this blog post, I’m using grades to discuss relative strength within one person (me). It is not my intention to use grades as ego markers. They are brought up here only to illustrate a point, and in our idiosyncratic sport, grades are the best approximation we have for a standard rubric. For the first couple…

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Blogpost Challenge: Go Outside

By Bouldering, Climbing, The Interior, Trip JournalNo Comments

As soon as I walked into the Food Ranch this morning, I realized I had made a mistake. Since popping a pulley, I’m keeping my hands off the boulders for the next couple weeks. I tagged along yesterday and snapped some photos while the gang went bouldering, so I thought I would go do some work on the computer today. Now, I’m alone upstairs at the Food Ranch and it’s really depressing. I should be outside. Why am I not outside? I made that mistake again. When given the choice between hanging indoors versus outdoors for the day, I chose indoors. Oof, what a fool. So today, I challenge everyone to learn from my mistake. If you have the chance to be outside, take it. If you don’t think you have the time, make it!! I’ll leave you with the lovely musings of John Pels from Timothy  McSweeney’s Internet Tendency (click on the link to be able to read it a bit easier on the site). Spenser just called and is coming to save me from my Food Ranch prison! Yes, going outside! …Might tweet about it 😉

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In Celebration

By Bouldering, Climbing, The Exterior, Training, Trip Journal4 Comments

Last week, we met Katie and Niko at the local Joe’s Valley watering hole, The Food Ranch. The similarities were pretty conspicuous from the get-go: another couple on a year-long road trip, blogging and videoing their way through the experience. The main difference is that they are 2 months in, while we’re on year 2. We immediately got along great and became fast climbing partners and even (gasp) friends. As the amiable couple left to Moab for the week, Spenser and I mulled over a large realization they had brought to our attention: we’ve been on the road for almost 14 months! This awareness was a bit shocking to both Spenser and I. The year-mark came and went, without the least bit of recognition. It was an organic occurrence for us, it didn’t mean nothing to us, but it didn’t exactly mean anything either. Why didn’t we celebrate? Wait, celebrate what? “Congratulations on living your life,” seems very silly to me. I should mention I’m also not much for celebrating birthdays. Celebrating a year of being on the road is along the same vein. At least now I know why Spenser and I have been having such a difficult time answering people when they keep asking us how much longer we’ll be on the road for. The short answer is, we don’t know. We can’t really think about it. This is our life. We’re happy, much happier than we were in the Bay Area. We still enjoy gong back to…

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Elbow Tendinitis- Searching for the Magic Bullet

By Staying Healthy, The Interior4 Comments

Elbow tendinitis. Like I said, it totally wasn’t worth it. Sitting around Bishop and not climbing on some of my favorite boulders in the country is lame, but if there’s a silver lining to this whole elbow thing, it’s the fact that I’ve learned quite a bit about what to do if the demon gets you. The last post (linked above) admonishes those who might be tempted to ignore the pain and/or live with it. This one sums up what I’ve learned so far. I should mention that I got in this mess by ignoring about 2 years’ worth of elbow inflammation. If you are just getting started with your “itis,” you’re in luck. A little bit of care will see you through. But if you’re a chronic patient like myself, you might need to throw the whole kit at the problem. Strength gains happen much, much faster in muscle than in connective tissue, so idea behind most of the following advice is to isolate tendons, relax muscles when they aren’t being used, and increasing vascularity in the joints. As a disclaimer, I’m NOT a doctor and you should probably seek real medical treatment. The purpose of this article is to show you what happens when your injuries get the best of you, and what might be done about it. Also, if anyone reading this has any expertise, please leave a comment. If you’re getting the first signs of medial epicondylitis You’ll probably want to read this article by Dr….

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It Wasn’t Worth It

By Staying Healthy, The InteriorNo Comments

Good news: my broken heel is no longer broken. I’ve been walking now for about three weeks, hiking and biking for two, and I ought to be back to powerful lowballs and sport climbing now. I should have cranked out a storm of vengeful conquest on Saigon Direct. But I can’t. I have another injury, and it’s my fault. This whole road trip has been a façade for me, a thin patina of improvement protecting a fragile, rotten, slowly deteriorating core. Even before the trip, I maintained an uneasy truce with that infamous and ubiquitous demon from the first circle of climbing hell, medial epicondoylitis (or climber’s elbow or golfer’s elbow or “why does it hurt when I do deep lockoffs?”). I paid lip service to antagonistic exercises, to an icing ritual, to stretching, to rest, but it never got so bad that I couldn’t just climb through it, try a little harder, and feel hardcore for wearing my throbbing badge of overtraining like so much finger tape. I come to you now bearing the gift of wisdom hindsight. Had I dealt with my tendinitis aggressively long ago, or maybe just not tried to climb at my limit 3-5 days a week, I would likely not be in the situation I am in now. With the first niggles following a few too many lockoffs, I should have banished the demon once and for all. I should have developed the good habit of doing those boring exercises in the last 10 minutes of the…

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Rest, Recovery, and the Return

By Staying Healthy, The ExteriorNo Comments

It’s Saturday, February 2nd, and we have been here in Kensington for a bit over two weeks. This brief return trip was for the purposes of R&R, as well as celebrating my father’s 66th birthday, and sending off my little brother Eliot to Miami for his first big-boy job. Congratulations Eliot! It’s been just over 6 weeks since I broke my heel. I think I went through the typical stages (Kübler-Ross) of: Denial- “I think it’s just bruised…” Anger- “Ah shit. I think it’s broken” Bargaining- “It’s okay, I’ll just do lowballs” Depression- When I realized that crutches were becoming a regular, accepted, and even familiar part of my life, I started to get really depressed. Acceptance- This stage should’ve come sooner, but I think it only really came today. I wish I could inspire you with this post. I wish I could tell you that my time off the rock was productive and instructive. I wish I could tell you I trained my weaknesses, learned a foreign language, edited ten videos and had time to campus train. I wish I could write a post about how to stay positive when the main purpose for your trip, indeed, your greatest passion in life is snatched from you in a freakishly mundane accident. For the first few weeks, I weathered the storm pretty well. I drank what must be record volumes of coffee at the Black Sheep. I mastered my crutches. I won $50 playing Blackjack in Las Vegas, and another $50 at the Paiute Palace. I…

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