Back on Plastic

I’ve taken my first steps back into climbing following surgery on my injured knee.  They’re just small steps at my local climbing wall, because I worry that anything else will see me injure myself again or at least slow down my recovery.  My physio was clear about how to not hurt myself – avoid jumping down or falling off from boulder problems until my legs have regained the strength needed to cushion the impact.  The only way to follow that advice was to carefully climb easy problems and down climb everything. Back to plastic

This was limiting and could have been a bit irritating, but I decided the best thing to do was to accept climbing this way and ended by enjoying my session.  It’s sometimes fun to just focus on moving well during a climb and to forget about pushing yourself to climb harder.  I think that I’ve been guilty in the past of getting so caught up in things like the next gear placement, the fall below me, reducing rope drag or how to complete the next move that I just forget to enjoy moving on the rock (or on plastic).  My injury has been frustrating, but it is getting me to think differently and to think more about how I move, how I balance and how I can just relax into climbing.  If I can change my focus in this way then may I can  enjoy the climbing I can do more and build up the fundamentals of good climbing technique so that I can be a better climber in future.  Maybe I can also not get frustrated about how rusty my technique is right now and how much strength I’ve lost. 

My climbing wall session was the start of all this.  I’ve got quite a way to go yet to return to my previous climbing standard, but I’m happy to be back climbing.

12 thoughts on “Back on Plastic

  1. Well done Robin – you’re even encouraging me to get my climbing shoes out again after all these years…

  2. Excellent! I’ve just started physio but have a long while yet before I can get up a wall again. A fall shattered my fibula into 3 pieces, broke tip of tibia and dislocated ankle. But I’m happy and excited to see another injured climber making good progress and back to the walls! It gives me something to look forward to, thanks for sharing and making my day.

    1. Thank you very much. I’m very pleased that I made your day.

      You injury sounds pretty horrific. I really hope that it is not as bad as it sounds and that your recovery is quick.

      I’m part way through reading Make or Break by Dave MacLeod at the moment and it’s got me thinking quite differently about injury, recovery and climbing in general. You might want to check it out.

      Best of luck. I definitely hope you are back at the wall yourself soon.

  3. Glad you’re getting back into it 🙂 I was worried about how my worn-out hip and grumbly knee would cope with climbing now I’ve started again this year but can’t report any problems at all – they seem fine. I don’t climb very hard though!

    Not sure why they think you can’t be lowered from the climbs though? I like to climb down at least once per wall-session as I think it’s good practice for outdoors in the hills.

    1. Thank you.

      I’m pleased that you are back to climbing yourself.

      I probably can be lowered from roped climbs – it’s boulder problems I shouldn’t jump down from (or fall off).

      Best wishes,


      1. As I have osteoporosis, I don’t jump down off even the bouldering wall where there is a crash mattress myself. There have been tales of people just thinking they can fall off from the top without ill effect and breaking things. I suppose it depends how you land partly.

        1. Down climbing is certainly the safer option, although not always the easiest one. I can understand the temptation to jump off boulder problems, but you’re right that you need to be careful how you do it.

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