Back to basics

How do you climb your one week of ice climbing and Alpine mountaineering without; getting injured/wasting time/being exhausted.

Most of my clinic is made up of basically fit people with high ambitions; a marathon, a climbing grade, a cycling challenge, a competition, lifting or some other fairly specific goal which their body seems determined to thwart. Physio, I have learned is not just about diagnosis and hands on skill – its mainly about communication. Understanding the patient’s need and expectations and getting across a realistic outcome. Sometimes I have (honestly) told someone that despite their sprained ankle they could attempt a 50 mile run carrying a heavy pack over 3 consecutive weekends – it wouldn’t kill him. He was successful in his attempt to join the SAS and I am forever grateful I was prepared to say it like it is.

I, as a climber/runner/cyclist am very realistic about my abilities and (I suppose) fairly knowledgeable about my bodies capabilities. Prior to setting off on my trip I made a plan based upon needing to climb for 6 days broken down into 3 day vertical ice, 1 rest day where I would walk up a mountain and 2 more days on the ice.

  • I would need mainly legs so I ran 10-20 miles a week.
  • I would need some arms so I romped up grade 6’s twice a week down the wall.
  • I lost weight, stopped drinking and took supplements.

I managed it fine – 6 days climbing with 6 others all of whom were younger than me, all of whom took rest days, all of whom climbed less and less hard.

Smug – no. Satisfied I can practice what I preach – yes.


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