Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Das Foot Update, 2014 Retrospective

Well, it's almost 2015 and I figured I would update anyone still bothering to read about my foot and future plans. In early December I was finally able to see a orthopedic specialist (the third doctor I had visited) and get a more thorough diagnosis. The last two doctors had been able to rule out a full fracture and other than that just referred me onwards. This foot specialist diagnosed my issue as tendonitis of the peroneus brevis tendon which goes from a muscle on the in the outside of the lower leg through a notch in the ankle and inserts at the base of the fifth metatarsal. The good news is I don't need to be on crutches or in a walking boot for months. The bad news is that anytime this tendon gets irritated it pinches itself as it swells and irritates itself further in a vicious feedback cycle. I have been ice massaging it vigorously for the last four weeks to try and keep the inflammation down and although it is still there I have been able to do some physical activity without anywhere near the discomfort I was experiencing (cycling, swimming and some pretty boring walking. I have also  just started to add in more stretching and some specific strengthening exercises. I am hoping that my foot will be healed enough to allow a return to cragging by February and some alpine by March. I am excited to say that my pullup and finger strength are both at an all-time, although I have gained over five pounds in upper body muscle which may or may not be beneficial in the long-run.

Despite my injury from the last four plus months of 2014, it was a pretty good year for me. I went from having done only one real technical alpine route (ice and mixed) to soloing two of them in January; Devil's Kitchen Headwall and Jeff Park Glacier. I then got a hold of of Steve House and Scott Johnston's new training book and put together four plus months of solid training in preparation for my June trip. During this training period I managed to get out to climb the North Face Right Gully on Hood and North Sister in a storm, both with Travis Holman. In June I went down to the High Sierra by myself, to rock climb there for the first time. Over six days I soloed the West Ridge on Conness, the Tenaya-Matthes-Cathedral linkup, and the Swiss Arete on Mt. Sill in the Palisades. I then started graduate school and focused on my bouldering for the summer, before climbing the Backbone Ridge on Dragontail Peak in the Stuart Range. Considering that I have been climbing technical (typically roped and above 3rd class) routes for less than three years I think this is a pretty good year. I would have preferred to spend more time climbing, and being able to be more active in general would have been a huge stress relief for me this fall, but I was very busy with graduate school and in some sense it was a blessing to have something I'm so obsessed with cut away. That said, this break from climbing has confirmed for me how much I value climbing, especially alpine climbing and just being out in the mountains in general. I can't wait to be back out there.

P.S. Happy New Year!!