Saturday, October 22, 2011

Injury Update

A little over a week ago, I sustained a season ending ankle injury while climbing on pitch 15 of the Dawn Wall project on El Cap. There's not much more to say than that. I'm extremely disappointed to not be on the wall right now, pursuing this dream project and supporting Tommy.

The injury occurred while attempting the 8 foot sideways dyno on pitch 15. On my first attempt of the season, I threw with everything I had, hoping to stick the move with the muscle memory from last year. I made good contact with the hold and began to hold the swing. Usually, the left foot slides down the wall, stopping when it hits the corner and halting the swing. Instead of sliding, my foot stuck upon first contact, and rolled. It then continued to slide down the wall until it hit the corner and rolled again. I instantly knew something was wrong, but a combination of shock and denial clouded the pain enough for me to try a few more times, until I stuck the dyno.

Upon lowering to the belay, I knew something was terribly wrong. I called my amazing physio Vicki Chung from the wall and made an appointment for the next day. Less than 24 hours later, I was in her office getting checked out. An X-Ray revealed that it wasn't broken. Three appointments later, the swelling had gone down and we were able to get a good assessment of the damage: bruised bones and a combination of stretched and compressed ligaments. I should recover fully with time, but for now, any kind of inversion or eversion of the ankle is still painful with the joint itself feeling quite unstable thanks to the stretched ligaments. 4 weeks of no climbing.

Seeing Tommy's updates from the wall is surreal. I feel out of place without the exposure under my toes, chalk on my hands, the sounds of gear being clipped, the pain of those sharp holds under my fingers, and the monumental task at hand that we've been working for so long. Tommy of course is charging ahead, now with the support of his amazing wife Becca. Since October 2009, this has been a team effort. To be a member of a team is to act with selflessness in the name of success. If Tommy sends without me, I will be happy to have helped push this project to completion. If not, we will be back.

Go get it Tommy. Eye of the Tiger!

- KJ aka Hector