Tuesday, July 2, 2019

For Me to Climb, I had to Fall.

Its been awhile since I was able to do any climbing, but that desire for me to be able to come back after my soul crushing injury Sept 12, 2016 finally peaked last week.

Knowing full well that if I did not start trying, I probably never would!

For those people who climb, they each have a personal reason as to why they do it. I am no different. My biggest regret in life, is not starting the sport till my late 30s.

But my reason, is not tangible nor clearly defined. But there is something in it that makes me feel good, maybe complete? I am not sure. But since my accident, I suffered with more then just the injury, but my confidence was low, I got totally engulfed with depression, I gained a lot of weight! So much in fact it was effecting my health in a very bad way.

Since the beginning of this year I started to focus on my health and my weight. In order for me to be able to climb, I knew I had to shed my extra weight. So my finger boards and chin up bars were put back into position over my bedroom door, much to the chagrin of my loving wife who is not to fussy of the ugly green hang board in the bedroom. And after several months I went from 230(ish) down to the weight I was when I fell which was 200. Mind you, its not muscle mass, so although I am the same weight as then I am a little softer then before. But I will get there.

Early last week it was warm, and it was sunny. I was bored and I was down in the basement cleaning up when I opened up my storage bin containing my climbing gear. It was all sitting there.. not touched in a few years. It was in that moment that I decided to get back out there and do it.

I have been avoiding going to the local climbing gym, I feel judged every time I go there cause of my injury. People looking at you, the "staff" hovering over you, watching you thinking that you need to be policed cause you could get hurt. So I said screw that. I will do it on my own.

I like climbing rope solo, I actually find it calming. I am on my own, with no distractions. No "Staff" telling me how to hold a rope, or giving me unsolicited meta and suggestions on where to place anchors.  Its just me.. So off I went.

I dropped down to Flatrock, a local climbing hotspot near where I live and I went right to a place locals call Blood Bath. And I started to set up my anchors and my ropes. Although I was rusty and took 4 times as long to set things up, I found that I was feeling something I have not felt in a while. Anticipation of the climb!

So I started to climb. It was NOT a resounding success that I for. I got 4 or 5 feet off the ground and froze up. Afraid to make another move. Afraid I would fall! And prior to my injury I never had a fear of falling at all, ever! But this time was different.

You see, when I broke my ankle, I didn't fall a large distance, in fact it was far from dramatic or exciting. I started my fall, and before my rope was able to arrest my fall, my ankle got hooked in a crevice and snapped it off. Literally I fell maybe 2 or 3 feet in distance, but my foot stayed right where  it was at when I first slipped. 99% of the time nothing would have happened.. I was a lucky man that day I guess. :(

So here I am, a few feet of the ground afraid of the "what if .." feeling. So I bailed.. back down to the ground I went. I sat down and wondered if I could still do this, and doubt started to set in.

My mood I guess was a reflection of the weather, as a cold fog rolled in, sucking any heat and enjoyment from my attempt of climbing again. Looking at my rope, I decided to give it a shot one more time. But I let my fear get the best of me, I set up another rope with another grab to ensure that if I did fall, I would only fall a few inches before stuff was engaged.

Like a total newb, I pounded my way up the face. And then the rain struck.. so.. halfway up, in the rain, cold and wet I had to rap back down as it was not a good idea of climb on wet rock. I packed up my gear and trudged home in the rain. Soaked!

I was defeated and while walking back to the car I punished my self for not being able to make a short easy climb. I felt good about getting back out and trying it, but not being able to make the climb on something I climbed a hundred times before was really killing me. And if anyone knows me, if someone tells me something can not be done, well I go and do my best to prove them wrong. And that natural reaction to lifes problems started to kick in on autopilot. 

The whole night home, this bittersweet feeling of my attempt was just chipping away at me. So much in fact, that next morning it was sunny and clear. I got up and went back to do it again.

This time, I was able to do it. But the whole time I was nearly crippled with fear of falling. And I knew that for me to be able to climb again, I needed to fall. I needed to face this fear that has kept me from getting back into the sport and I needed to kick its ass.

So I did what any sane person would do. I contacted my climbing buddy *not knowing if he would still climb with me anymore as I technically stopped hanging with them after my fall* I told him what I was doing, and that I needed help if I wanted to return to it again. And Greg never hesitated! We set up a time to go to the local gym again, which was another fear I had to deal with (see above statement), and there he made me climb. I was able to totally crush 5.5 and 5.6 climbs, and I manged to (not) gracefully send a 5.7. And in fact, the lack of mobility in my foot actually helps me out on doing dropped knee moves, as my foot just locks into position and doesn't move! A pleasant discovery!

But then the time came when I completed a climb, Greg payed out some slack in the line and told me to fall. I had to face it, and Greg was not going to let me come back down unless I let go of the hold. I froze again and the anxiety set in like a freight train and my grip got tight and rigid. I could not do it, my brain would not allow me to let go!

I actually hung suspended with my own grip for roughly a minute. There was slack and Greg was not going to "Take" the line. Images of my accident came rushing back again, I could see myself hanging there with a foot at a 90 degree bend and the two white bones protruding out through where my foot should have been. I could see the exposed torn tendons, like grizzle on a raw steak before going on a grill, spasm'ing as it tried to pull my dislocated ankle bones back into place.

I wanted to climb, I was going to climb, but to climb I had to fall.

I am going to climb again.

I am going to climb again.

I am going to climb again.

Then let go. Let go and climb!

With a calm deep breath and my arms pumped from hanging for so long. I let go.

And I fell.

I fell maybe a 12 inches.. I felt my harness take the load as the rope started to stretch and then everything was still. I was hanging, I looked at my foot and it was till there, attached.. I cheered!

I got back on the wall and I told Greg one word. Again!!

This time he payed out more slack, and I got into position and I just dropped. I was falling, and I controlled my landing as I hit the wall several feet further down, I was able to do it!! The fear was beaten! I had could finally say I made it back to climbing again.

I got back down on the ground, I disconnected my rope and my emotions got the best of me. Almost 3 years of fear, anxiety and not knowing if I could actually do this all just got expelled from my body. I felt lighter, I felt like I could stand up straight and feel good again. It was an amazing rush of emotions and feelings.

It was a good day to fall.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Winter: Outdoor Fire Building.

Trying to get myself back into the world of outdoor hiking and camping again. I decided to try some basic fire building practice during a pretty cold windy winter day here in Newfoundland.

Check out the video,

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Help Support!

Hi everyone,

Its been awhile since I actually posted anything here, as I am still recovering from my fracture in November. But I got something I wanted to post.

My climbing friend Greg has a daughter who has just recently qualified to compete in the Canada National Climbing Championship in British Columbia in February. Now, we all live in Newfoundland which is on the complete opposite side of the country. And I mean that in both the figurative and the literal sense.

So, naturally, all 16 year old athletes trying to make an impression in a field of sports can of course easily afford such a trip and expense.. right?? That's an awful lot of paper route money!!

We all know families sacrifice a lot to make things happen for their children and that's a heavy burden to carry on their own.

I have only known Greg and Erin for a few years now. But I could not of asked for two nicer people to be able to climb with, learn from and just plain hangout with.  Erinn, who is a superb climber has always taken the time to help me learn, put up with my clumsy climbing and answer any of my questions and never once made me or anyone else she climbs with feel silly for climbing grades much lower than her ability to climb while she belays or watches or gives advice, she also climbs them too!  She has some serious talent and I truly believe she will make a huge impact on the climbing world and I want to help her get that chance, in return for everything that she does for our local climbing community here and for me personally. She deserves this chance. So please help or share.

I have posted below a link to her gofundme page, and if you can not fund or do not fund I ask that you simply share this page and spread the word!

Help Erinn Climb in British Columbia!

Please visit this link here!

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Short Update: Healing will take time!

Well, its been a little over 3 weeks since I took a spill while #climbing #outdoors I just had my plaster cast removed and replaced with a lighter fiberglass cast. They examined my wounds, and the skin is healing as good as can be expected given the amount of trauma it recieved when my Tibia broke through the skin, and the 9 inch scar from the metal plates and pins are also mending well on the opposite side if my leg. Now its a matter of time to see how well my bones heal and how well my ankle will work with so much joint damage. I still have at least 3 more weeks before I can hope to get into a walking cast and then I have several weeks of therapy before I walk again. Some people have asked me, how do I feel about it happening, referring to my later in life passion for rock climbing. And I tell them this... I could've broken my ankle as easily by slipping on some ice while getting groceries to my car, but instead I got hurt doing something that I loved, pushing my limits while learning more about myself and feeling alive while doing it. I learned a lot that day, lessons I will take with me into the future. This summer I pushed myself, to get myself back into being the outdoor active person who loves exploring, hiking and adventure that i used to be when I was younger! I had a great year outdoors, and although I ended with a badly broken ankle, I got some of the best memories I could've asked for. And it goes along way to compensate for the last 20 years I feel I squandered away. I have combined my newly recent passion for climbing with a lifetime passion of #hiking into the best combination I could ask for! "See it, Hike it, Climb it" #seeithikeitclimbit #noregrets #olyo #healing #fracture #thinkpositive

A photo posted by Jeffrey Corey Locke (@lockeoutdoors) on

Friday, November 18, 2016

Locke"Indoors" Indoors?.. What?

Warning, *Maybe Graphic to some" Reader/viewer Discretion Advised 

Well, my first full day at home after being in the hospital for 6 days, after getting two surgeries to repair my compound fractures of both leg bones at my ankle! 6+ weeks of not being able to do anything adventurous.Sad Times

While on a short excursion last weekend I ended up taking a very short slip on some inclined slab. I slipped roughly 12 to 16 inches when my foot caught a ridge and effectively broke off my right foot!

Trust me, it was a pretty good surprise to me when it happened, as at first I thought I may have strained my ankle, and it was only when I looked down at where I was going to stand did I noticed my foot was not in its usual position!

EMS arrived roughly onsite 30 minutes later, and I was back down to the mobile unit about an hour after they arrived. It was a rough old slog!

By the time I got back to the closest hospital it was roughly 2 hours, where I then went under a series of treatments to re align my shattered ankle!

This is roughly 1.5 hours after the slip, and just getting back to the ambulance. Yes, I am smiling, adrenaline does wonderful things! Photo Credit: Greg Locke 

So, I have the picture of what my foot looked like when I got to the hospital, just before they sent me to surgery, but I am not going to show you that! But to give you an idea, picture looking down the length of your  own leg right now and pretend instead of a foot you see a long white bone tip sticking out. Next to that tip, is someone elses foot is laying perpendicular  and you are looking almost directly at the outside of their ankle. Ok, I am sure thats clear enough.

So, then I went into surgery and placed me in what is called an EX Fit is where they put my bones back inside my skin, align my foot back up with my leg, and attach a exo skeleton type of jig which holds everything in place and is drilled directly into bones. Google it! its pretty impressive!

My own EX Fit!

Two days later, they send me into surgery for a second time where they actually remove the Ex Fit and throw enough silverware into my leg and foot to hold everything in place.

Foot pointing in the right direction and in the right location after my second surgery!

Anyways, So, that's it for me till the spring I would say, but I fully plan to keep doing what I love! Getting outdoors! I have lots of things I like to do inside too!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

My Friends and I Outdoors

A video that shows some of my cool friends, who with out them, I would not have been able to do all the cool stuff I have done!

Thanks for the best summer ever!