I massaged my foot until it was mobile. I injured my pinky toe bone 11 weeks ago. A hard hit to the Code Talker Wall, what is commonly termed as getting "short roped," left my right foot bruised and possibly fractured. I knew it was a stretch that I was going to send the route on Mount Elden, but then again I'm not one to dwell much on the 'what if's' of a climb. I knew the moves, I had the partner, and I had the time (cue in Willie Nelson tune).
I somehow?! motivated Rox Box to go up there and belay me on it. It was hot, and leaving much later in the morning than we usually do to go to the crag. We quickly rallied, carpooled up to Paradise Road and hiked up to the wall. Inhaled trail dust and micro lichen, wind still, buggy and surprisingly humid, I knew the climbing and the holds were going to swarmy.
Which they were.
I tied in. Started up as per usual.
I had top roped it with my friends the evening before more than a few times. I felt confident, I figured out the "Tam" version of the delicate Elden dacite moves: what to pull on, what not to pull on, and what not to pull on but you have to pull on to get to the top and clip the chains. That goes for the handholds and footholds. You could see why it had remained unrepeated for eight years, it was dirty and obscure.
That morning everything en route felt very familiar, but the gear. I never really took a close look at it. Studying only the crux and it's bomber placements, I never knew the rest of the routes gear felt so fickle on the sharp end, but I pushed through. I was in full on serious Tam mode, I continued up the route despite my uneasiness, crumbing holds and crap gear.
Scooting my way on to the "midway" ledge, the route only tops out at sixty feet tall, I realized this route was a serious one. It wasn't until I placed those bomber crux pieces (two pieces by the way!) did I feel that any of my gear between me and the ground would have held. I was giving it a 20-40% chance of any (which were not many) of them holding a fall.
I wasn't going to fall.
Figuring out the crux, and headed towards the chains, you do a slick traversing move out and around the slot, and enter another pod just under the anchors 15 feet past my last pieces of gear. It was there, in the pod I took a quick breath, and punched it for the chalked up and tick marked finishing jug. I was close.
I grabbed it, felt relaxed and then reached down to grab my rope, when the jug broke.
The fall resulted in a severe impact to my hip which set me up for over three months of R&R, PT, patience, and frustrating road to rehabilitation. I'm headed to a strong road of recovery. It will be a long time before I will be able to rope climb, so lowball (no falling) bouldering is my ticket to ride. These past few days were a significant turning point for me. I climbed the "simples" on the Island at the Priest Draw, stretched, hiked, saw beautiful sunsets and MOVED AROUND! I feel as if now I am able to recreate and see the world from other than a rolled down car window or quick hobble from the car!
These are exciting times! Climbing! YES!!!