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olyclimber

[TR] test - test 4/29/2016

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I’d had my eyes on The Brothers since last July, but never managed to find the time.

Edited by olyclimber

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good to see you're still drawing breath there, josh - how you been since your big accident years back?

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It was a rough recovery, but I eased my way back into the hills again. Did many months of difficult physical therapy in attempts to save my finger. The harder I tried, the worse things became. I could still feel the pounding of rock against my face along with horrible head aches. My compressed back hurt for a lot of months (I'll never make a full recovery on this front either). On the anniversary of my accident I saw the movie Meru with my family and climbed the Inspiration Traverse shortly before this. My passion for climbing was fully restored. Shortly after this I was back to being in a arm sling for 2 more months due to getting 8 screws and 2 metal plates removed from my arm (no pinch, less lightning rod).

 

A few weeks later I talked with my hand specialist who discovered that the finger joints were destroyed. The base of the finger was also really messed up. There was also a massive amount of scar tissue despite all the therapy, ultra sound, and coconut oil/Vitamin E oil each day. Before taking drastic measures he had me see another hand specialist. Every time I saw the doctors the news would always be worse than what I thought would be the worst case scenario. The second specialist discovered that the bone grew back in wrong making my finger beyond saving. I saw a third and forth specialist to confirm this. It was a really tough call that involved a lot of thought and logical planning before finally deciding what to do. Arthritis was starting to form and the finger was disabling me from being able to climb, open doors, and other various things. On January 4th, 2016 I had my left small finger amputated. Since then I had to undergo therapy until very recently (still doing my hand exercises to this day). I lost 20% of my grip strength, however I am still making good progress in terms of healing.

 

Losing my finger and getting a spinal compression were not the worst of it. Aside from the initial impact of the 3 foot wide rock knocking me out, within 5 seconds later I took a serious blow to my prefrontal cortex. This is why I cannot run anymore, suffer often from head aches, reduced memory, and may be responsible for all that I have forgotten from the accident. I had to re-learn how to spell many things (in a programming class last Fall I could not spell the word "pumpkin" which messed up the program), get my speech back, become un-clumsy, and even re-learn the alphabet (I could not make it through months later). I've made a tremendous amount of recovery, but am more scared than ever of linguistical education.

 

After getting out of an arm sling (again from surgery from the same accident) this year I started working on learning to backcountry ski. My back is doing so much better these days (just got back from a Kololo + surrounding peaks traverse). I've become a lightweight-aholic which is really helping me out, along with careful physical training. In less than 2 weeks I plan on climbing the North Ridge of Mount Baker and later would like to do the Picket Range traverse. Due to implementing good tactics and eating healthier than ever I'm getting close to the best shape I've ever been in. While I have a ways to go, I'm on my way to becoming an Alpinist. :grin:

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daaaamn. my quick reply does not do justice but I am sorry about the finger. The fact that you regard it some ways as a lesser of consequences of your fall is hard to fathom, but I guess a finger is more concrete than the 'mind' so that hits harder, but man that sucks. That said, this writing sounds more organized, focused, and mature than anything I've read from you. With zero intention of sounding or seeming patronizing, you sound like a man and not a kid anymore. Wish you best well for continued progress in climbing, bc skiing :fahq:, and your health.

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Amazing story of recovery and resilience Josh. You're an inspiring guy for sure.

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I'll second that Josh, you're an inspiring example of how to persevere in the face of pain and setbacks. You are already an Alpinist, certainly in attitude. That is the kind of mental strength and determination that fuels the strongest in the climbing community. I hope to run into you again in the hills, take care!

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daaaamn. my quick reply does not do justice but I am sorry about the finger. The fact that you regard it some ways as a lesser of consequences of your fall is hard to fathom, but I guess a finger is more concrete than the 'mind' so that hits harder, but man that sucks. That said, this writing sounds more organized, focused, and mature than anything I've read from you. With zero intention of sounding or seeming patronizing, you sound like a man and not a kid anymore. Wish you best well for continued progress in climbing, bc skiing :fahq:, and your health.

agreed. despite the serious fuck-you life's laid down on you, you sound much more mature and thoughtful - i think you still have good days ahead, so keep your head up :)

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The fact that you regard it some ways as a lesser of consequences of your fall is hard to fathom...

 

It's not just the fact that you can't remember a lot of important things that you've learned, it's also the fact that your ability to learn is compromised. Albeit I've been able to re-spell most of what I lost which I am extremely grateful for. Yesterday I went for a light jog with my brother which I had not done in a long time, unfortunately I had a head ache all yesterday followed by a slight one today from it. I have to choose between my "mental powers" and ability to run. Unfortunately no matter what both are compromised too, but at least by reducing head aches (by quitting jogging) I suffer less. Mountaineering hard only gives me light ones due to non concentrated efforts. Even when climbing 5.9 last summer it did not give me one which I am also grateful for. Despite certain elements of my life that were rough before the accident and are now harder than ever, I do not take this life for granted (I didn't before the accident due to overcoming some other obstacles).

 

That said, this writing sounds more organized, focused, and mature than anything I've read from you. With zero intention of sounding or seeming patronizing, you sound like a man and not a kid anymore.

 

Thanks Water. I've become more meticulous with my writing with crafting what I say and looking into the dictionary often. Ironically I'm better at spelling after leaving high school due to doing it on my own terms and using quicker resources. I do plan on writing an after post about my accident. Been busy with things and soon more climbing, however when bad weather returns I hope to get to it.

 

@Bronco: Thanks. "You can take the man out of the woods, but you can't take the woods out of the man" -Gary Paulsen

 

I'll second that Josh, you're an inspiring example of how to persevere in the face of pain and setbacks. You are already an Alpinist, certainly in attitude. That is the kind of mental strength and determination that fuels the strongest in the climbing community. I hope to run into you again in the hills, take care!

 

Thanks Jason. Rocks and falls will break my balls, but being unable to climb will hurt me worse. ;-) The strength portion will come in time this year, it's the skill part that I'll need to make greater efforts on. Fortunately I'll be putting forth some quality practice soon. Hope to see you too.

 

despite the serious f***-you life's laid down on you, you sound much more mature and thoughtful - i think you still have good days ahead, so keep your head up :)

 

I have arguably the same amount of passion for the mountains as I did back then, the main differences are that I've become much more meticulous, have a lot more skill backing me, and have a much easier time saying no to a seemingly good offer. I turned around on Shuksan about a month ago due to some circumstances that in the past I may have tried to fight it off (could have made it, but not good for long term health). I've learned that being a "yes man" is not a good path. However I am trying to strike the perfect balance of pushing oneself and being flexible were it is appropriate. The number of incidents have dropped a lot the past few years despite the large quantities of great climbs that I've been doing. I do appreciate with mountain climbing that thoughtfulness goes a long ways, I was reminded of this last year on Hard Mox.

 

When you see trouble, don't just put your foot down. Stomp. :cool:

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Josh, I suffered a compression injury L4/5 in 1977 at age 23 and have lived and climbed with the resulting complications ever since. Certain moves were more difficult than others on rock, lybacking for instance, and man, when it gets tired it can really suck...

 

I started doing yoga about 10 years ago and it has really helped me manage the pain and continue to climb albeit at adjusted level of difficulty. Yoga, some weights, core work and doing laps, kicks only, with a floaty board stretched out in front of me in the pool at the health club keeps the old back strong and supple. Give it a try.

 

And good luck on Baker.

 

d

 

 

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Wow, makes me feel damned lucky (typing with 9 fingers isn't something I'd want to learn). Congrats to you both for the recovery process. May it continue and life become even better. Stay healthy everyone!

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