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The season at sustenpass started well this year. After coming home from South Africa I quickly got in really good shape and was making good progress on my “highlander-project”.
In between I tried a project to the left which I was not able to finish up last year. After some days and falling once on the last move I was able to link this really cool and big moves and the “keinschneehasi” was born. Grade is hard to choose as its super morpho. For my size it felt like in the 8B/+ area, if you are taller you can use way easier beta, if you are ondra its may just 8A but whatever grade, super cool climbing, I think it will become a classic!!!
pic 1: crimping for the FA of “keinschneehasi, 8B/+”
Afterwards I was coming very close on the “highlander” again falling on the second last move. Bad weather forced me to take a break up there. It was spent in beautiful Frankenjura with some great climbing, delicious cake and the best beer of course. Then the weather turned again and finally it was there; the day I was waiting for such a long time: 15C in the shade at 5pm, 10%humidity and slight wind, it was THE perfect friction and conditions for the “highlander”!!! Warming up on the standingstart it felt like climbing in a dream; my fingertips seemed to glue on the holds, the moves felt effortless like never before… I knew this would be MY day, if I just would have felt completely fresh. Despite two full rest days I still felt tired from my desperate and close attempts on the wet “riot act, 8B+” back at Frankenjura. But the friction was so great i had to give it at a go.
pic2: on the “highlander-project” – two moves from the rescue jug – better don’t hook here – can kill your climbing life!!!
Arriving at the first crux where i fell for 3weeks in a row, (3days a week) I just pulled through nearly statically, even wondering while doing the move why I fell so many times here. Everything was under control and I felt strong. Then I was on my way into the real crux. I climbed the tricky section without loosing any foothold, but I felt like I started sliding around a bit on the holds (no way to chalk), and that I was getting a bit tired. But two moves from the rescue-jugs no wonder… I then put my heel high up, could still feel the holds (no frozen fingers like last year) and this time I was 100% sure to pull through that last two moves. I gave all I had and went for that crimp and as my fingertips touched it, I slipped bit with my left hand and I felt like my hamstrings – under full pressure just gave way – instead of going for that last move and finishing that epic battle, I went down to the pads with instant and growing pain… – I instantly knew, that it was something serious…
pic3: no good
The next day I was in the hospital to check how bad the injury was. And it turned out to be REALLY bad. The MRI scan showed that I managed to rip off 2 of 3 hamstrings (later found out that all three were off). That’s a very rare and serious injury that needs surgery (even if you want to continue with “regular” sports) and has a very long (up to 12months) and painful process and there is no guarantee that I will be able to come back to where I was… For the next few days I was nonstop searching and reading medical papers and surgery reports. I never had surgery before and I was scared as shit from the operation. But according to all the literature I found it was the only real option to be able to have an active life again!
And to make things even worse some, two days after my injury some stupid kid crashed into my girlfriends car. so that was it: I was laying at home with a crippled leg, car totally wrecked and Angela with shoulder and back pain wrecked as well. I really was thinking about breaking bad in that moment…
Then i was on the search for an experienced surgeon, that was not an easy task given this injury happens may 5times (or less) in swizzy in a year…. And it was crucial to execute surgery as soon as possible (to avoid further damage and to have a good result). So I was glad i found an experienced surgeon who knew this type of injury and who was willing to make that surgery and to make it right now. so I went for it.
pic4: two anchors fix my hamstrings to the bone
The pain after surgery was horrendous and not even morphine helped. after lying around for three straight days my autonomic nervous system played quite ugly games with me during the night… But somehow you get over it, especially as I got the news that according to the surgeon, surgery went very well. Two anchors fix now my ligaments and the attached hamstrings. The pain has decreased, but I can’t bend my hips, can’t go down on my knees, can’t sit… For the the next 4weeks I’m not aloud to put weight on my injured leg, no sitting, just lying in bed… I am totally helpless and I’m so thankful my girlfriend who will take care of me as much as possible. Even the easiest things (going to the toilet) are very tricky (when you can’t sit down..) and exhausting. Total recovery time is estimated at six to twelve months if everything goes fine… It is and will definitely be a trying and humbling experience to make my way back!
I can’t change what happened, but I know that I want to make use of my leg for the next 40years, that I want to climb again, that I want to send that piece of rock up there at sustenpass which has caught me for the last 8years and on which I nearly destroyed my (climbing)-life… so the real epic hast just begun.
But I will be back and i will be stronger – so see you in a year (or two…) “highlander”!!!
pic 5: on the way to the next epic