The SpokenCoast Project: Bodies don’t lie...

Made it up to the Clair Tappan lodge today for the Wilderness First Responder course with the Sierra Club.  I wanted to take this course before leaving on the trip so I felt better prepared for a wilderness emergency.  You can never have too many backcountry skills, I’ve found. With each new thing I learn, my confidence to climb all these peaks grows.

 

Until today, that is. Six weeks back, I had a bad whiplash injury with a double-whammy in one day. 1) Geena spun out on the slick road to Bear Valley ski area. 2) Later that afternoon I whacked my chin really hard with my ice axe when trying to practice self-arrest in the mountaineering course. It was a horrible mishap of circumstance, because it had been snowing for two days. Normally mountaineering is done in the Spring when snow is crusted over. Powder is not a common condition, although it happens on occasion.

 

These injuries threw my whole neck, face, skull, etc. out of whack bigtime! In fact, I had a mild concussion.

 

As a result, I’ve not used a pack at all for 6 weeks. All my practice hikes, etc. were with a fanny pack. 

 

Today, I used my big mountaineering pack with about 40 lbs in it to carry my stuff. It was several shorts jaunts to & from cars & trains, etc., but it was enough. The entire left side of my shoulder, chest, etc. is spasming right now. 

 

I’m just sick with worry. I don’t know how to move forward. All these climbs, classes, etc. are planned & paid for, and my body isn’t in alignment with the schedule. I’m also really sad & upset that my body feels so awful after one afternoon of using a pack. The injury feels as bad as it did 2 weeks after it happened. 

 

All I can do is turn this whole situation over to the Divine. I’ve already texted Emilie Cortes, the trip leader for Shasta who is _also_ out with an injury & now acting base camp manager, to borrow her ski pulk for the trip to Helen Lake. Then, I’ll use the fanny pack convertible on my pack, and ask others to spread the weight around for my other items like clothing. 

 

From there, on Monday I’ll call RMI, the guides I’m using for the Rainier class, explain my situation, and hope to high heaven they’ll let me use a pulk. If they say yes (crossing fingers & toes), then my only next problem is scrambling for a pulk. On our day off from the class on May 25th, I’ll hit telemarktips.com & other resources to hopefully score a pulk. I have to practice it for Denali anyway, so I might as well get started now. With each passing day I don’t practice with a weighted pack, it’s one less day to get my body dialed for Denali. But, that’s all my body can do right now. 

 

I know “slow down” & “get rest” is the message, it’s just lousy delivery. Postage due & everything... :(


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