Monday, 6 February 2012

Form - It's a game of Snakes and Ladders

 Over the last year I've had some high points of really good climbing but also stints of injury that have completely stopped me in my tracks. It seemed that no sooner had I reached a good level, I was back down at the bottom again, just like in the game of Snakes and Ladders.

I finished 2010 with a great week of climbing. Despite the oppressive heat in the Grampians I managed to send "Breathing Gasoline 30" 3rd shot (1st shot putting the draws on that day) at Millennium Caves, "Eye of the Tiger 29" (all time mega classic) 2nd shot at Muline crag and "Tyranny 29" 2nd at Spurt wall, not a bad 3 days of a 5day trip. By mid January i had a finger injury and i wouldn't climb again for another 2 months.

Not even a 85minute walk in 40 degree heat could stop me from sending "Breathing Gasoline"

Warming up at "Bell crag" on an unnamed "24"

By April i was back in the game and sent "Devils Circus 30" 3rd shot at Bell Crag, May saw a trip to the Grampians, the form was good and the weather not to bad at all. I made a quick ascent of "Contra Arms Pump 30" on Sandinista wall (an old HB classic that was cutting edge back in the day). I was then able to put a good few days of work into a rarely repeated route on the Amnesty International wall. "United Nations 31/32ish". A blank wall with with pockets and a long reach to a mono at its crux, what's not to love??. I tried hard, maybe to hard. A under cling above my head had hurt my shoulder on my first day on the route. The moves taxed my shoulder. I pushed on in hope. Unfortunately i didn't send the route, but worse i had done damage to my shoulder.

Attempting "United Nations"  
A week later back home and i went out for just an easy day at the crag. After laps at Centennial Glen i was actually walking back to the car when we saw some friends climbing at Shipley and went to say "hello". The conditions were good with a strong breeze blowing across the cliff and the gear was on "The Pooferator 31"  I can't resist good conditions, tied in and was on. Man I felt good, beside the shoulder the form was great, I cruised into the crux, crushed the holds and grabbed the good jug, when something happened in my shoulder.  I couldn't lift my arm above my head. It was a classic 1 move to many, I had landed on a snake and was headed back to the start of the ladders again.

Damage to the rotor cuff would result in 3 months on the side line and a lot of rehab exercises.Back to my youthful passion, bike riding & running. I raced a few rounds of the Sydney Duathlon series(run,ride,run), I finished 6th. When it came time for the presentation they called out 1st place in the 35years and over category, Andy Richardson. Far out, it just dawned on me that I'm not a youngster anymore!

September i hung the bike back up and got the rope back out. I started working my way back up the ladder  again. I did some great classic easier routes  and some obscure rarely repeated adventures.

Winning my first club race in about 20 years!

"As Tall as a tower 26" A campus start gives instant exposure 

Mid October the form was coming back. I did the first ascents of a short bouldery route at Mt Victoria. "As Tall as a Tower", a 4 bolt 26 and "Fluidity 28" at Bungonia Gorge.

November was kneebar school at Mt Coolum, but i felt i was climbing well and getting stronger again as the month went on.

In December, Diamond Falls with plenty of test pieces was a great place to test the form. I learnt a good lesson one busy day at the crag. When the routes that I was hoping to train on were all taken, I decided to get on "Mr Meaner 30". I had tried the route 3 years earlier, got punished on one of the moves, tore a big flapper and wrote it off. Some tricky footwork, a drop knee and static to the jug, no chance of a flapper and a day later the route was done!. I also noticed a line of holds to my left, the next day at the crag was accompanied by the Bosch and I've got a new project.

January brought some poor conditions, so it was a chance to focus on training properly. With my eyes set at the top of the form ladder, everything was going great, unfortunately WAS! Australia day and a session of laps and Sydney Indoor Climbing at Villawood was on the program. Carlie has set some stellar routes that are perfect for the training that I was wanting to do. After a good warm up I focused on the "runway wall". The plan was 3 laps on the "30" then 3 laps on the "28", both super sustained and awesome bottom to top. The first 2 laps on the "30" went great and the third was going better.....until,, what was that in my shoulder????? I must of landed on a damn snake again.

So it was off to see my physio Rob then to the radiologist for some scans to find out what is actually going on inside. Hopefully I'll have the answers in a day or two now. Fingers crossed that this time it's just a little snake and not a Giant Killer Python!!


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