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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

All the way up to 5.6 Indoor Climbing

Been a month now of healing for my poor left hand. Not sure if I mentioned it here or not, but for a little while I was working some great 5.10's at Momentum Climbing in Sandy, Utah. I had made it up two, but had hung on the rope a bit, so I wanted to get them done in one go. As part of that I was climbing some 5.9's (one of which I could nearly speed climb) and the mystery routes.

At Momentum one of the guys who puts up new routes, the routesetter, would leave the tag blank for a few days till general climbing consencus would determine the grade. I liked to give it a shot so I could put in my own $.02 worth, since I am like the 5.8 master.

My own system (fwiw):
5.5 or under = up in one go, not much thinking or moving around
5.6 = up in one go, a bit of thinking and moving
5.7 = one crux that I have to think around
5.8 = about 25' up I don't like it a lot
5.9 = about 15' up I don't like it much
5.10 = about 10' up I don't want to finish
5.11 = about 6-8' up I bail
5.12 + = I look at the little crimps and off-angle slopers and don't even think about going up

So far this system has been pretty much right on at Momentum anyway.

Anyway, about a month ago I was moving some stuff at work and in the car and it really stressed out my left ring finger. That night I got on a new beige route, that from the looks would go at around 5.9. I reached up with my left hand and touched the hold and "boing" my left arm sortof twitched and wouldn't hang on. I tried it again and my fingers were limp feeling. I quit and just belayed the rest of the night.

I was Angie's belay slave for a month. Not even ice climbing this year so far. I finally figured I could squeeze stuff lightly the other day and for the past week have been doing a light-duty Power Web Hand Exerciser workout for both hands. 100 reps of open-hand squeeze and 100 reps of narrow-hand extension both sides. This is a great device for hand workouts. Get one.

Anyway, so last night I decided to try it. I got on a yellow mystery route that I had climbed once before and would put at around 5.5 (didn't read the tag to see if they rated it yet) on the short wall on the north side of the center section of the gym and sent it. I kept the pressure light on my hands as much as possible and only took nice jugs with positive edges (as opposed to the juggy round holds that have a lip around 4" in diameter that fill your hands and keep them fairly open). Angie said I had good footwork and stayed on my feet more than usual, which is probably because I didn't want to put too much pressure on my poor ring finger joints. (I'm normally the king of overgrippers). It worked, and now today after a couple of rowing machine workouts with lots of "pulling" on my fingers, I'm still okay.

Hope that means I can slowly get back into it. Slowly being the key word here. I think last time I took time off to heal I pushed too hard on it when I got back into it. I'll see about staying at 5.6 or so for a month, only a few routes per day and see what happens. Thanks for the support of those who have shown it.