After a few goes, I felt like I might have half a chance of completing the problem, so took a longer rest before pulling back on: Hanging the second hold, a front-2 pocket, I felt a wrenching sensation in my middle finger as my A2 & A3 tendon pulleys bit the dust...
After a few days complete rest, I thought the injury might not be too bad, and ventured out to do some easy trad; turns out E3 5c wasn't easy enough, especially as it was cold enough that I couldn't feel my hands for much of the route and by the end of the day, my finger felt worse than ever.
Feeling somewhat glum about this, I turned to the internet, and found a very helpful Podcast on the trainingbeta website with details of a tried and tested rehab sequence from Ester Smith (video below).
In short, the protocol suggests a progressive overload of the injured finger, rather than complete rest.
Hence, over the next 4 months I completed roughly weekly fingerboard sessions, using an open handed grip on a 20mm edge (Beastmaker 2000 pockets back-filled with an AA battery)
- first using assistance (bodyweight minus 20kg)
- then bodyweight for a few weeks
- before working back up through progressive resistance levels
- finally reaching bodyweight + 50kg resistance a few weeks ago, which is fairly close to my winter best of bodyweight + 55kg.
Alongside this progressive finger-boarding, I also returned to soloing with a vengeance; visiting new venues and often soloing 50+ easy grit routes in a series of very pleasurable evenings - many venues and routes I wouldn't have otherwise done.
One such evening was interrupted by a film crew turning up to capture the sunset for a Warburton's Bread commercial with a Pride & Prejudice theme - though I've yet to see the finished advert on TV/online.
|A fair maiden with bread basket approaches the cliff edge - Warburton's advert being filmed at Windgather Rocks|
After doing some slightly harder grit micro-routes/boulder problems at Newstones, I decided to start bouldering again properly, though deliberately avoiding any crimps with the lefthand. Conies Dale seemed like the perfect venue with a plethora of 6C-7B boulder problems; I even managed to add a couple of my own new problems:
Conies Dale bouldering - some oldies & some newbies from Ally Smith on Vimeo.
6 weeks ago, I felt like my finger was strong enough to go back to Kilnsey and get stuck in to the roof project I bolted last year. The project links an easier/more direct version of True South (a Zippy 7b+) with a 30ft long horizontal break-line of new climbing and on then continues along the same break to finish as for Mandela. This last bit is in common with Freakshow - Neil Gresham's 8c from 2015.
The new section of climbing feels like a 5-bolt long f8a in isolation, with a couple of strenuous clips and another couple that I've elected to skip altogether! A pair of annoyingly damp pockets at the end of this section have thus far thwarted my redpoint attempts, but when I get through this, there's a mere 8a+/b's worth of climbing left before clipping the chains of Mandela, another 40 horizontal foot away...
All I need now is for the stars to align; my arms to be well rested, a few dry days and an easterly wind to de-smeg the pockets and I'll be back up in the big roof, A muerte!
|Gresham's route map of Freakshow, 8c - pilfered from facebook; my project joins Freakshow at the point marked "bat hang rest"|