Today I spoke with another surgeon hoping for another opinion, hoping for a cure to my constantly increasing pain. Neither were given, I was told again that it was time for me to quit. It was a surreal experience to be almost pleading someone to chop my foot off but to no avail. I left the hospital and even as I saw my future begin to go up in flames I felt nothing. I know from what he said of the state of my foot I don't have long left before the bone collapses and I also have serious arthritic problems so I have to change my thinking. I have to once again apply the knife to any hopeless dreams and then burn any bridges back to them.
I guess it's easy for people outside of the type of climbing I pursue to say "just quit" but I've totally committed myself to this way of life and after over a decade I know I never will or possibly could live a normal life. Occasional weekends and maybe one week in Norway etc per year wouldn't cut it for me. Its not just the climbing though its the whole lifestyle, it allows me to test myself outwith the bullshit rules and regulations of almost anything else and unlike everything else the mountains don't judge me on my my disabilities up there I'm free of everything including myself. No way that can be given up.......Ever
To quit would be against everything I've been taught and against instinct. Quitting would break me easier than keeping on going until I no longer can, the thought of sitting on my arse remembering what once was when I could still do something truly disgusts me. To keep moving forward may well be the harder thing to do given I know what'll eventually happen to me but in choosing the harder way I know the journey will ultimately be more rewarding and more defining of what my true character may be and in knowing that I'll know whether I'm weak or strong without doubt and without having to fade away wondering what I could've done.....
Thursday, 17 July 2014
Since climbing Cu Sith I've spent all my time searching for new routes and new crags but unfortunately nothing has yet motivated me like Cu Sith did. I found a few things but one was way beyond justifiable risk and it would definitely have been beneficial to have two hands. All the running around is thirsty work so a few nights out were called for to rehydrate.
In the pub with parents and good mates
Juvenile but hilarious antics at the crag with Joe-Pic-Inside The Lens
Last Friday I headed out with Joe, Mark and Steve to get some routes in and hopefully a bit of footage for an upcoming project. We headed to Scimitar as Joe was keen to bag his first E4. First up Mark went on lead then had a nerve racking whipper, all of us relieved he was pretty unscathed.
Mark leading with Steve belaying and Joe looking on.
Joe was up next, he had worked the line and looked strong when he set off soloing up the unprotected route. He got through the crux then it went wrong very quickly.
Joe starting up Fingertip Finale as Mark spots him
As i shouted up to Joe to encourage him and try calm him I saw him look at the ground and before I could say anything he was airborne. I waited to hear the snapping of bone but instead Mark stood his ground and took a massive amount of the force out of Joes 10m fall by being a very effective bouldering mat. The noise they made though still left me expecting injury but both were fine. very very lucky, Joe wisely deciding soloing is not for him.
Joe 2 seconds before 10m freefall.
Its never easy witnessing these things and the noises of any of the accidents I've been present at are what sticks clearest in my mind. Though after speaking to the lads both are keen to be back out. None of us questioned the risks but instead we went for a beer and assessed what had went wrong then took the piss. I guess its the nature of climbing with people who are pushing themselves (regardless of what grade thats on) that sometimes accidents happen but I wouldn't change what I do for anything in the world. This kind of thing simply makes me appreciate my friends and the lifestyle we have even more as we know it can be taken from us so easily.