Ice climbing & shoulder injuries

It’s been a while since I’ve written on here. I don’t know why but I haven’t felt particularly motivated of late. I think it’s a result of having a lot going on. Since winter started I’ve been really busy skiing, holiday-ing, then rehab-ing. First hubby took a fall skiing and hurt his knee, then my shoulders started acting up. We’ve both been keeping our physio in business with weekly visits x2. Good news is that his strained ligaments and my rotator cuff tendonitis should both heal up in a few weeks and we’ll be back to (mostly) normal.

My shoulders have actually been bothering me for over a year and after switching to a physio who focuses on sports injuries I’m feeling more optimistic about it. It’s interesting because a few other girls I climb with regularly have experienced similar shoulder issues. Seems like with enough climbing, this type of overuse injury comes up in one form or another. I think that going forwards, if I plan on keeping up this level of climbing I’ll have to take up some kind of upper body workout that will help balance out all my muscle groups. Here’s an interesting post from Steph Davis on the topic of shoulder injuries.

The only climbing I did this month was two ice climbing trips. The first trip was my 3rd annual girls ice weekend. My friend L. and I have started a tradition where we go to Canmore, book a hotel with hot tub and enjoy ice climbing and catching up on life. This year we signed up for one of Sarah Hueniken’s courses and it was a blast. It was really nice to spend a full 2 days working on technique and I feel like mine has improved exponentially! I even got on some fun mixed climbs. It worked out well because the next weekend I had signed up for an “Intro to leading ice” course for girls with Sarah through the Alpine Club of Canada.

Backpacks all hung in a row - keeps the critters out!

Thanks for the photographic evidence Sarah H. :)

I have to be honest, my intention when signing up for that course was not to actually lead but just to have fun learning and practising some basic skills. When we all met in Canmore to discuss the day’s plans, I was a bit intimidated when it seemed everyone but me was set on doing their first lead that day. Of course as we went around that’s not what came out of my mouth – apparently I ‘planned’ on doing a lead that day too! Ha! I really enjoyed doing a bunch of mock leads but as the day progressed, I was a bit nervous knowing I’d have to make a call at some point whether I’d lead or not. When the time came, I decided to go for it thanks in large part to Sarah H.’s encouragement. She really knows how to help you push yourself!! A few screws were pre-placed and I added screws as I went up. The route was ~WI3 and I made it about 2/3 up before I ran out of screws. While it was scary – it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. While I wish I had saved some screws to get higher, I’m just too darned proud of myself to care!

Nothing like a feeling of accomplishment to end off my January! And a fuschia softshell jacket from Patagonia at half price :)

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  1. Congrats on your first ice lead, Sarah! I’m jealous of your snow and ice. It’s been an uncharacteristically dry and warm winter here. Glad to hear that you’re taking care of that shoulder, as well. You’ll be back up and at ’em in no time. :)

    • Thanks! I hope I’m better soon too. It’s just difficult waiting for things to heal and giving them time. On the plus side my domestic skills are improving greatly :)


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