As often happens when one gets cocky, I paid the price. In this case the price was a fractured fibula and severed ligaments in my ankle. As it turns out, I am not made of magic, nor do I live in a video game, but one thing is for sure: thank God for modern medicine. May 5, 2011
Squaw Valley, CA. Red Bull Superpipe. The scene of my monumental display of hubris.
May 5, 2011
X-ray of my ankle. Note the compression of the fibula and it hitting the bottom of my tibia.
May 8, 2011
I went into surgery and emerged with a new and improved ankle. Complete with a titanium plate and 10 screws. Note the long screw going through the fibula into my tibia to provide stability for the ligaments to re-attach.
May 19, 2011
23 staples later, it vaguely resembled a leg.
July 12, 2011
Equipped with a fancy new boot, my girlfriend Ally Stronach and I took a two-week vacation up to Alaska.
After being on crutches for 12 weeks you start to get the hang of it.
July 19, 2011
Upgrading from crutches to a cane and I attempted walking. Which, by the way, is incredibly awkward without the ability to articulate your ankle. We got to investigate some rad boulders in Hatcher’s Pass and Archangel Valley, AK. Can’t wait to come back in good climbing form.
Awesome looking blocks, but blasted rain!
July 21, 2011
On the way to Denali National Park, I ditched the cane and started hobbling unaided.
August 10, 2011
I went back into surgery to have the long screw removed, resulting in normal ankle articulation and a sweet souvenir. Note the garage-door-crushed-fingernail for scale.
August 21, 2011
15 weeks after getting waaaay to awesome for my ankle, I was finally able to climb my first rock. Albeit a low angle crack slab climb, it felt great to be climbing again.
September 5, 2011
Feeling emboldened by my recovery, I decided to head out to the Sierra Buttes with Ally and my buddy Ty Fairbairn to see how well I had really recovered. My ankle seemed to have survived the hike, so on went the climbing shoes.
Ally doing one of the many classic moderates on the EZ Bloc. My confidence building with every successive problem sent, we decided to check out some unclimbed blocks.
After some landing work and a heel hook on my bad ankle, I was able to snag the first ascent of this boulder problem that I named “Back in the Saddle” V6.
September 11, 2011
With confidence and drive back in full force, Ty and I headed back out to the Sierra Buttes.
Six first ascents, two projects, and a thunderstorm later, we called it a day.
It is amazing how much I took climbing for granted. I can’t even begin to describe how good it feels to finally be able to do the one activity that I could only dream about doing for all those long weeks of not walking. I still have some serious work to get back 120%, but my psych to get out and climb has never felt so uplifting.