Monday, February 1, 2010


It's only a matter of time before you hurt yourself if you spend a lot of your time engaging in "risky" activities. I've never felt that my lifestyle was reckless, or even overly risky compared to the average joe. But, now that I've hurt myself I guess I was really living in a state of denial. It's not that I pushed the boundaries of safety on a regular basis, in fact I was a fairly conservative climber considering my level of climbing and experience. But as I sit here, 3 weeks out from rapping off the end of my rope and severely damaging my wrist and hand, I wonder was it worth it? Like all climbers, I've been in sketchy positions on lead that should I fall things could go bad. I rarely wore a helmet, in fact I didn't even wear a helmet on Half Dome, El Cap, or any Sierra route I've done. In retrospect, that was pretty stupid. As were all of the solo climbs I've done. I'm not a huge soloist, but I've done my fair share of solos on everything from single pitch routes, to backcountry peaks, to sporty onsight solos. If Bachar fell, anyone can. I know now that if I'm ever able to climb again, I will never solo again. It's just not worth it. Especially now that I'm going to be a dad. Plus, I'm more in love with my wife than ever before and life is just too beautiful to fuck it away by rolling the dice soloing.

So what does the future hold for me? I'm not sure yet. I have virtually no feeling in my thumb, index finger, middle finger, and palm of my left hand. I have very limited range of motion of my fingers. I'm going to do my best to try to get back full mobility in my hand but somethings are up to God to decide. I just hope he gives a brother a hand on this one. While I've been injured I've lost an incredible amount of fitness. I'm getting fat and weak from the lack of activity, my self pity, and lack of motivation to do anything but drink beer, eat junk food and watch the tube and surf the net. I gotta change this if I'm going to keep any remnants of my old life. After all, I'm going to be a dad in 6.5 months I have to get my shit together.

Maybe this accident happened for a reason. Maybe someone is trying to teach me that rock climbing is not life, but rather life is life. Rock climbing and all my other outdoor pursuits fit into life but they surely shouldn't make up the bulk of my existence. Hopefully, I will heal up enough to climb again, to be able to paddle a kayak, to do yoga and lift weights, to monkey around on a tree deep in the mountains, to hold by baby, to be able to work on my house, and to take care of my beautiful wife. But hopefully the mental scars of this accident will never fully heal and WAKE ME UP to living life in balance. Never again will I take for granted an easy climb in the mountains, instead I will breathe in the beauty of just being able to climb and be outside. Never again will I push myself to do another 3 miles to get a better workout, instead I will push myself to enjoy my family, friends, and the experiences that life brings us daily. I've realize that my climbing and lifestyle was selfish. I spent way too much time focusing on climbing. Needless to say I've met some amazing people, seen some beautiful places, and have had many deep profound experiences in the mountains but I think its time to scale it down a bit. Life is too short to spend the better part of your years stuck in a wheel chair, or brain damaged, or perpetual back problems, or with a hand that does not function. Life itself is a great adventure, one worth exploring throughout its varied terrain, instead of being so singularly focused on summiting that steep peak in the distance.


uns. said...

Hey man,

I wish you all the luck and all the whatever you need to get back into shape - I hope that your hand will heal properly and that you will be able to enjoy the natural life that you like.

I read that you are going to be a father in 6 short months - what great news! Your life is going to change a lot I guess.

When I was watching some of your pictures I was wondering do you consider safety. I think now that you are going to become a father and that a little kid will need you and will depend on you, you should settle a bit down.

I believe in god. Maybe hurting the hand was a sign to tell you or prevent worse stuff. Who knows.

Again I wish you all the best to you and your family,


Munky said...

Thanks for your comments Sami. It's a tough pill to swallow for me, being injured, because climbing (and being athletic) was such a big part of my life. But... being a father is going to be amazing and obviously will take precedent over my hobbies. Tracy and I can't wait, we're so excited for this next stage in our life.

Like you said, maybe this all happened for a reason and that God is trying to teach me patience, humility, and moderation through my ordeal. We'll see what the future holds for me climing wise, but no matter what happens I have a lot to live for and more than enough happiness to keep treking through the mountains of life.

AMY_BELL - said...

That's tender! I'm glad you feel like you learned something. I really think it will all work out and you'll be able to climb again. At least it wasn't your legs and you can always still do a lot of hiking and out door stuff. I can't wait for the little man to be born!!

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