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Terry James Walker

Rock Climbing Injuries

Climbing the Grades

Knowing how quickly to get stuck in after an injury is a tough decision and can slow recovery if jumping the gun. Here I explain my A3 pulley rupture and getting back into the swing of things

So I'd just spent 6 months in the Alps and hadn't touched rock at all.  On a busy evening at the Cromlech boulders,  I joined my friends and got stuck in.  I'd 'warmed up' on the ramp a couple of times, and then feeling mega-psyched jumped on The Edge Problem (V6 ish).  I knew the moves from the previous summer, and the muscle memory was there.  Left foot up, started to rock it out and CRACK.  My friend across the other side of the road though I'd snapped off a big chunk of the roadside boulder.  Nope, that was my A3 pulley ligament.
So I took the summer (2012) off climbing, just doing Trad routes with clients while working.

I then took last Winter as even more recovery and didn't pull on to anything for 6 months, just skiing.  Which is kind off cold and hot treatment for the whole 6 months in ski gloves.
On coming back to Llanberis this Spring, the psyche returned and I structured a very simple program to help my lack of self discipline.  I knew without this, I'd just jump back on hard routes and boulder problems again and worsen the injury.

It was now April 2013 and I had climbed about 20 routes in the last 18 months.  So my plan was:
* Start at french 6b, go up to 6b+ in four weeks and 6c four weeks after that *
And it worked out really well.  I got to climb loads with my girlfriend and go to all the crags I wouldn't normally visit (Penmaen Head, Creigiau Heulog, Amlwch Quarry etc.)  All the time racking up mileage and getting up to 11 routes a day done.  I think I managed about 20 different F6a+'s, and 15 F6b's.  Obviously it started to pyramid as the grades got harder, and work got in the way throughout June and early July.  I'm now full of mileage and getting the endurance up, trying to Onsight almost all the routes I'm doing.
I'm now starting to train a bit harder indoors, still pulling on relatively big holds but starting to crank longer more powerful moves. (Video here). It's all moves in the bag and making 7a+ feel a lot easier than it ever has before.  Hopefully all this will continue and I should be working at F7c/+ before time to go back out to the Alps in November.

But currently, I don't have any niggles and it's great to know that you can almost fully recover from such a horrible sounding ligament rupture.  It just takes 'psyche discipline' !