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February 3, 2005
D**N, D**N, D**N, D**N, D**N, H**L,
D**N, D**N, F*****K! The expletives bellowed from my throat and
and echoed off the crag. I absolutely could NOT believe it. Considering
all the wild and crazy stuff I do, how COULD I get hurt like
A week ago Saturday it was my day to help out with the Boston
AMC's annual Ice Program. As usual the first day it was being held
in the Lost/Walk In The Forest area of Frankenstein. I love doing
this course, 'cause I love to work with beginners. There is something
very rewarding about watching people as they get into climbing
ice. Helping them get from feeling totally uncomfortable to standing
on front-points, swinging the tools and moving freely up the ice
is a great thing. This year was no exception. It was great fun
to see everyone enjoying themselves and finding their new skills.
Around noon I decided to take a break, get a bite to eat and wander
over to Lost In The Forest to see if I could take a ride on one
of the ropes. All were in use, but the runnel on the far right
that I have done several times looked particularly inviting. It
doesn't get done all that often, but interestingly enough there
were footprints that led right up to it and obvious recent pick
and crampon holes in the ice. While it is steep, there are several
places to get a rest. It's close to a full 50 meters long and I
imagine it to be in the 4- range. I swung the tools into the ice
and headed up.
The ice was in great shape and before I knew it I was at the stance
below the crux bulge. I moved
up to about half-way up the curtain
and got a great stick with my left axe and another with the right.
As I moved up and tried to get the left axe out it was stuck. It
took some very careful tugging and pounding on the hammer side
of the pick to loosen it. I was very careful since I was climbing
leashless and had no spare tool. I definitely didn't want to drop
an axe on very vertical ground. Fiddling with the axe got me pumped
but I managed to continue up to the final stance. It was a real
relief to get flat-footed again and shale my arms out. The remainder
of the climb to the top was easy movement up through moss and ice.
3 or 4 minutes later I was at the top. I felt really great.
I knew that there were ropes set up on the left I could use to
rappel back to the ground so I walked along the top on a small
beat-out path. As I was walking I was looking around and didn't
see a small hole in the path. The front point of my right crampon
stuck on the far side of the hole and my heel dropped in the hole
with all my weight on it, completely hyper-xetending my right calf
muscle. Something in my calf felt as if it had been hit and there
was a burning in the outside of the muscle, letting me know that
I'd definitely done something serious to it. I was seriously PO'd
and let the emotion out!
I managed to rappel down the left side of the crag and hobble
back to my pack. There was no way I could frontpoint and walking
uphill was a total non-starter so I headed down to the tracks.
It took me almost an hour of very slow walking and short steps
to get back to the car. The whole ride back home I was in a very
black mood. Alyssa read my mood when I walked in the house and
calmed me down. She got me on the Rest Ice Compression and Elevation
program. That made an immediate difference, but of course the 3
Ibuprofen certainly helped.
I kept that program up all that evening and most of Sunday. I
knew that I was going to get better eventually, but I admit that
I'm an impatient patient. While I watched the football playoffs
on Sunday I started thinking about how those players deal with
injury and I thought about massage. I started doing self-massage
immediately but I decided that I would try to get an appointment
with my massage therapist as soon as possible. I called her and
managed to get an appointment on Tuesday morning and another on
Thursday. I also called my doctor and described the symptoms and
the injury. He suggested that it was probably a severe strain and
that I continue doing what I was already doing, and if it didn't
get better in several days to come in to see him. The massage appointment
Tuesday morning was definitely a trip as my calf was extremely
tender to the touch, even on the outside of the skin. Still, by
the end of the hour session I felt decidedly better. The second
appointment went even better. She was able to do some deep tissue
work and I left feeling as if I was actually able to walk pretty
I took it easy that day and on Friday. By Saturday I was going
a bit stir crazy, so when my friend Toby called me up about getting
out for a little on Saturday afternoon, I jumped. We decided to
play in the neighborhood so we walked up to an area below the Barber
Wall that I call the Drip
In The Woods. Brad White has put up some
rock climbs on the tiny crag and renamed it the End Of Days Crag.
It's an easy walk and therefore had very little commitment. The
Drip was in as good as I've seen it in years so I gave it a try.
I was impressed at how well the calf felt when supported by the
boot and I climbed well on this short but very vertical excursion.
Whew, it's not going to take all season and massive rehab to get
back to climbing! I can really see how much of a role massage can
play in healing injuries. In the future when I have any of these
kinds of injuries I will definitely hook up a therapeutic massage
as soon as possible. When it's appropriate I am confident that
massage can play a key role in the rehabilitation process.
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It is Time to Climb!
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I was looking around in Crawford Notch on Wednesday and spotted
crag & drip up on the right shoulder of
Mt. Willey. Looks like a really nice bit of ice with an absolutely
brutal approach. Just wondering if anyone has ever been up there.
In addition the rock looks like it should also have some potential.
There are some other interesting crags to the left of this that
look neat for someone who has a lot of time on their hands.
Up on one of the Mount Washington Valley's finest crags and want to know what that climb you're looking at is? Or maybe you're on your way up from Boston and want to check out the Ice Report for your upcoming weekend plans. Or more likely, you're at work just want to daydream about your next adventure. Well if you have a smart phone handy, you can get to NEClimbs from anywhere you have cell service. While it doesn't offer every single feature of the site and it's not an "app", in mobile form, it does do a whole lot and is very useful. Here is the live link to the mobile version of NEClimbs:
Check it out and if you have issues on your specific phone, please feel free to let me know.
Join us and LIKE us on Facebook. I'll try and post some interesting pix every Thursday and the latest Ice Report in the season, tho certainly not the whole Report. Here's where you can check it out:
Have fun and climb safe,
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
|In 1961 I led this chimney in a state of metabolic uproar. At the base of the pitch I smoked several cigarettes (the first and last ones of my life). This was to calm me. Then I spooned half a jar of honey. This was to ensure superhuman strength. Mort Hempel, my partner, watched this silly ritual with mouth agape and eyes exploding with fear.|