Alphane Moon 8A in Chironico,
pic by Aldo Tonazzi

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Knocked out

Hmmm… it’s not the first time that I’m injured, but this time it could be the end! Pessimism? Hopefully… but definitely a possible consequence.
Since nearly a year I’m climbing with pain in my right index finger. After each climbing session the end joint hurts. I could climb mostly painless and was not limited through this pain, except at ultra-small crimps in overhanging routes (like “La Soucoupe” etc.), but after each climbing session I had some pain and felt it also a little in everyday life.

In November 2012 I went to my family doctor and made a radiograph (X-ray). Everything looked good, with the exception of small calcium deposits. He told me that he is not able to do anything and that I can proceed climbing. I just should have a look to it and come back, if the situation worsens.
The situation remained the same until the last week. After the last boulder-session (not the hardest one!) I had an extreme pain the next day. Really… it was almost unbearable!  I don’t know what happened. I felt the greater pain already during the session… but it was never as painful as the next morning.

This week I started to investigate. I had a few “injuries” in the past and always put the correct self-diagnosis. This time, all the indications point to an osteoarthritis (Heberden’s arthrosis) in this joint. Sure… it’s not a final statement! I could still be wrong. But if it is arthrosis… specifically with a strong degeneration of cartilage, it could need a long time to recover, if a sufficient improvement is possible at all…!!!
typical Heberden nodules on both sides of the joint... and a bit swollen.
In a few weeks I’ll have an appointment with a hand specialist (surgeon). Let’s wait until then… we will see what happens next.
The only thing is that I’ve planned to go for a revival-trip to the Rocklands this summer. After I already was there in 2005 (with almost NO CLIMBERS there!), I postponed this trip since three years now because of the birth of my two sons. It would be pretty brutal, if I had to cancel this trip again.

But there were also some good news…! I was able to finish “Delusion of grandeur, 8B” the last Monday. This was the next day of climbing after my last entry.
Firstly I checked out the unpredictable slab with the rope and climbed these moves a few times. Luckily the topout over the slab is easy… otherwise I wouldn’t have tried it alone. But with the confidence gained it was no longer a problem.
“Delusion of grandeur” is definitely not the hardest 8B… but for sure one of the nicest ones!! And if I compare it to other lines, it definitely deserves the grade. Sure… there were always “easier” routes, which feel “harder”. But the reason for this is just the question, if it’s your style or not and if you’re actually in a good shape or not. To take this as a reason for a downgrading is uncertain. If I had to follow this style of grading, “Conquistadors direct, 8B” would just be an 8A…! ;)
On the other hand I’m really wondering, why some guys are climbing a shortened version and downgrade it afterwards, although the first few movements (hands and feet) are not the easiest ones.  But anyway…!
I try to upload a video I made in good quality… let’s have a look if it works.