What do you two days after being discharged from the hospital, after two ER visits and admission for SCI-related problems? Why, fly to Salt Lake City to climb with a friend you have not climbed with in over six years (just before my accident), of course.
While I was eager to go to Indian Creek, my friend was eager to stay closer to Salt Lake City, and climb at the City of Rocks near Almo, Idaho, a few hours away.
This trip really was my first time climbing outside and leading this “season”, due to all the health setbacks I experienced this year. It took me a pitch or two to dust off my trad lead cobwebs, and I was also winded on approaches from the hospital stays and elevation change. However, I was soon back in the game.
While climbing routes that you are comfortable with is a lot of fun, it is also quite satisfying to climb routes that do not play to my strengths. For example, the route below requires stemming, which is a challenge for me as exerting outward pressure on the left leg/foot is difficult. So to climb such a route in good style feels pretty good.
It has been interesting, roping up with a friend I had not climbed with since a week before my big climbing accident. I wondered how she would feel; sadness for how I/we “used” to climb, or happiness that I was even climbing at all. Fortunately, it seems like my disability has not affected our climbing at all, except for Sarah carrying the heavy rope and more gear in her pack (she is an ox).
We are taking a rest day in Almo, ID due to rain (and, in my case, torn up finger tips) before spending one last day at the City of Rocks tomorrow. It is always great to check out new climbing areas, and I am already looking forward to seeing where I will go for some winter rock climbing. As usual, there is a tension between rock climbing, ice-climbing, and skiing; we will have to see what Mother Nature brings us this year.