Today is the one year anniversary of the last time I climbed for real. I haven’t publicly said anything about it for a few reasons, but mostly it’s taken me this long to come to terms with it being a likely permanent thing. My neck/shoulder had bothered me on and off for years with numerous weird muscular and fascia problems, but I was generally able to keep climbing as long as I foam rolled and stretched and whatnot and took occasional breaks.
Last fall, over the course of a month or so my neck got much much worse. I was working on putting up a very hard invert offwidth when it started to decline, but the decline continued for weeks after I moved on from Flavor Blasted.
I’ve seen multiple docs, bodyworkers and PTs, including a well known PT who only works with climbers, who basically just said “I don’t know” after 6 sessions. Nobody can give me a specific diagnosis, and none of the treatment plans I’ve tried have helped much.
So at this point, it appears that my climbing career is over. And that also means my climbing photography career is as well since I can’t jug a rope either. Maybe at some point in the future my neck will heal and I’ll be able to start climbing again, but I have no idea if or when that would happen, so I’m not counting on it.
I had a great 14 year run. Fantastic really. Climbing brought me so much joy, so many great friends, to so many wondrous places, and an incredible community. I started as a very part time climber in college, and ended up eventually as a dirtbag (even though some people called me “the cleanest dirtbag”), living in a van traveling the west for a few years, getting paid (a very modest amount) to climb and take climbing photos. Climbing brought me so many incredible moments that I will never forget, favorite places I will continue to visit, lifelong friends, life lessons, and even future opportunities. The business I started after moving to Salt Lake this past summer came directly from climbing.
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