"After laughters, come tearz" (Wu-Tang Clan)
A few months ago standing atop of Cerro Torre summit mushroom i've had a strange feeling. A mixture of relief for having no more climbing left, surprise for being in a place i always dreamed to be, and the blessing of for once feeling simply lucky. All of those feeling were pretty unusual and i've raised doubts about how long luck would last. One hour later and fifty meters lower we were already in full-on survival mode, on bad weather, with 55meters of rope left,a empty backpack(all of his content was lost while hauling on the final pitch,the fact is that it was attached open and upside down...) and a very long way to go down. The phrase above from Ghostface Killa ringing in my head, i had to smile at how things change quickly.
Two days later i was nursing a sore eye from snow blindness and a mild frostbite on my thumb both from the epic descent. The hardest was to cope with the frustration of missing a day and a half of good weather.
I thought that it was not too bad after all but sometimes i suspected i was not done with troubles...
Dec 26 Rive gauche d'argentière,i was on the stupid slab of the first pitch on (yet unclimbed) Nightmare Rex .It was dangerously covered with a lot of fresh snow. Couldn't see any good gear placement, we carried no bolts or pitons to open this mixed climb, 12 mt from the ground i contemplated jumping to the confortable crashpad of snow at the base. Instead i kept climbing, one meter later snow collapsed and i was sent to the base. I jumared the remaining of the day. Damaged rotator cuff on my right shoulder. One month of inactivity two more of pain and doubts whereas it would get better afterall...But then, a lot more of good climbing all winter,and good skiing,working, good vibes too ,the shoulder was healing quite well...
April 4 Grand Montets . The end of the skiing season is close and i was relieved of finally taking over rockclimbing, also, skiing is something i don't really trust, too many small stupid accidents, too many people gone while skiing or having bad accidents. And it happened, again, white-out, catch a small rock with my skis, fall on my outstretched left shoulder. Rage, despair and little hope, this time is a lot more painful than last time, and last time it took months too heal. Damaged left shoulder's rotators cuff. Two months of inactivity. Still not fully recovered in september.
June 15 The shoulder got a bit better and finally i started climbing again.With PJ we climbed two days in St Leger, through pain, but, hell ,i'm climbing.
June 16 , hot temperatures drove us to go climbing some alpine multipitch in Vercors.
Happy to get back too the hills and those Prealpes are a pretty nice place... then it happened ,again.
I was on a long tiny ledge fifty meters above ground .The ledge is used for the approach,were it ends in the middle of nowhere, the actual climbing start. I was ready to climb and waiting for PJ to take me on belay when it happened, i don't know what happened but, PJ heard the noise from falling rocks then a few seconds later he saw my rope stretching toward the ground. I was unconscious during the 40 meter fall. Pj was unscathed, a bit scared though. His side of the rope was rolled around a number of boulders the rope runned beyond a huge flake and trough a runner i placed at the end of the ledge. That avoided a factor two fall that might have sectioned the ropes, my friend getting hurt, and myself falling the whole fifty meters lenght of the ropes. It was about the only positive news.
Off course i could have died or having to sustain even worse injuries. Now is not like is the only and last accident i would experience in my life. Yes i'm lucky i can keep climbing, having injuries, repair from injuries.
Surviving the risks life bring to our everyday life.
I would personally feel lucky if one day i will wake up and acknowledge that i'm not addicted to climbing anymore and being just happy with watching other people climb.
The fall resulted in losing conscience twice for a few minutes a broken nose, maxilar bone and a few missing teeth. A piece of my upper lip was hanging but still attached.I had a broken metatarsal on my right foot. Two fractures on my left wrist. The foot and wrist were a special concern for me. I made a living(as a mountain guide) and climb with my feet and hands certainly not with my face. It was a accident bad enough to feel the need of taking care of my sorry ass instead of simply being angered with myself for the material issue of : not working ,not climbing and losing the chance of taking another trip to Patagonia. Later i understanded that the task it was not really underwhelming. After a week of nursing my wrecked mind and body, the idea of myself recovered in 45 days seemed not too stupid. Doctors suggested a three to four months of inactivity.It actually took 50 days to get back to work (guiding up and down Mt Blanc). I slowly got back into shape and even buy my flight tickets to Patagonia against all odds and beyond reason.This time, recovery has been the most taxing of all the things i have done in my life. Now the season is over and the few days of rest that issued brought to me the pleasant feeling of having nothing broken in my body and after several months, virtually no pain. I went back to climb with Jeff at the drytooling crag of Eptingen . My shoulder still hurts but fuck it , i've learned to live with the pain and i accept it.
As long as i feel the pain i have nothing to laugh of, and hopefully... not Laughter, not Tearz.