I`m sitting on my couch right now staring out the window at what looks to be a perfect ice climbing day. No, I`m not waiting for a drive or for my coffee to finish brewing. I`m here because yesterday I was `that guy`while I out climbing and now I can`t do much more than hobble around my kitchen making breakfast and whining to my girlfriend in self-pity.
If you turn to pretty much any page of Freedom of the Hills, watch any self arrest videos or if you’re lucky enough, listen to a guide, the first thing you`ll read/see/hear is that if you slip and start sliding down an ice or snow slope, don’t put your heels down. Your crampons are great for traction when you’re standing but the last thing you want is to create a lever point around which to wrench your legs and ankles. I can’t feign ignorance because I read Freedom mostly cover-to-cover, watched the videos and paid for a guide (shout out to Dustin for the great weekend!). But, yesterday while I was walking around a ~45% ice slope trying to take some pictures of James, I sat down on my very dry but very slippery Arc’teryx hard shell pants and slipped down the slope like I was on a crazy carpet. Not wanting to shoot off into the river in a comical but likely very cold sudden stop, I automatically and immediately dug my heels into the ice as hard as I could. I came to a stop, looked up at my axe 20ft up the slope (dug in ‘for safety,’ of course), and evaluated my ankles. But first, some background.
I played basketball for about 8 year through school and some rec leagues along with 5 years or so of squash. Besides being a lot of fun, these activities conspired against me to turn my ankles into something that, under X-Ray, would likely resemble cotton candy with the strength of a damp pasta noodle. I’ve lost count of how many sprains I’ve had over the last 10 years. I’ve been lucky to have avoided anything serious through the last 18 months but any time I look at an uneven patch of ground I’m a little concerned about a new sprain. So long story short, digging my crampon points into the ice to self arrest didn’t do much for ankles. Luckily one of my climbing partners for the day had a supply of good pain meds that would have probably required a subscription to get anywhere else and I was able to climb out of the gorge we were in but I’m paying the price today. I’m used to hopping around on one good foot to rehab the bad ankle but spraining both at once is a new and interesting experience.
The real point of this article is me wondering if anyone has suggestions on how to stay relatively fit when you can’t walk around. My training plan for the weekend was to get between 10 and 15 pitches of climbing in then come home Sunday night and put together a training itinerary for the next month. Instead I’m wondering how I’m going to manage getting around at work tomorrow, let alone work on my fitness. My options as I see them are basically to do some sit-ups (planks are out) or maybe some chin-ups if I can make it to the bar over my kitchen door.
So I’ll put it out to you, dear reader(s): How can I get through the next week or two of inactivity and not start to grow moss on the couch, as my dad was fond of saying?
*On a happier side note, I got my first lead of the season and hardest to date on a short WI3 piece of ice.