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Season 5 (2012): I'm Back (Again)! For Real This Time!

Recovery, Continued... Continued...

So it's my fifth full year of rock climbing, and once again I'm starting the season coming off of a surgery. In November I had a surgical reconstruction performed on my right ring finger A2 pulley. Over the winter I rested this finger for three and a half months, deciding to start climbing lightly in March of 2012. As of now I've had three sessions back in the gym (Portland Rock Gym) and I feel ready to report on my preliminary status. On my first day in the gym I climbed on very little sleep and had a pretty laughable session. Although it felt good to be back, I struggled on 5.10's and got pumped almost immediately. I laughed it off, and on my next two visits I was actually surprised how little I'd lost from the previous year. In fact, I tried the finger crack that had been my year-end gym success the previous year and on my second session got it with one foothold outside the crack, and in my third session got it 100% clean! This really has me psyched for outdoor climbing and makes me think that despite my strength losses, my tendons/ligaments have gotten even more solid during my time off. Onsighting several 5.10's and a few 5.10+'s makes me even firmer in this conviction. At this point the challenge is going to be stopping myself from climbing anything too hard while I continue to recover.

So over the past few weeks I've thought about several goals that I have for this year. Here's a few of them broken up by how lofty they are:

Not So Lofty Lofty Supa-Lofty

Riverside Rock Quarry 3/10/2012

So on my fourth day of climbing this year I decided to join Ivan, Ryan, Pru and a few new friends named Andrea and Keene at the Riverside Rock Quarry. I didn't know how I would feel, but I knew that I would still have fun even if I could only climb a few moderates. For my first route I led Whammy (5.10b) and it felt somewhat difficult. I expected, at this point, that my day was going to be short and predictable. This wasn't at all accurate. After finishing Whammy I did a top-rope lap of Tangerine Dream (5.10d) and it went really well. I had no trouble with the overhanging crux at the top or the balancy moves in the middle section. Once this was done I recommended we head over to the Slander Sector for a few climbs I remembered doing years prior. I went over with Keene and ended up leaving Fueled By Slander (5.11b). Although I fell a couple times at the crux due to beta issues, when I figured it out I sent confidently and continued to the anchors without much trouble. I felt really good about this send and my psyche started getting better. After Fueled By Slander I did another lap on Tangerine Dream and felt really really strong. After this I climbed a new route for me called Mudslinger (5.11d/12a) that was just right of Fueled By Slander. This route had a very tough crux that I fell on twice but eventually sent with the correct beta. Awesome! To finish the day I had a failed lead attempt on Flesh and Blood (5.11b) and a quick run up Trundle Trophy (5.10c). In total I did seven routes and about 600 feet of climbing! **Pictures from Ivan's Camera**

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