Blocked by Unwanted Recovery, April 4 2016 - Mark Rafferty

Looking back onto my accident I can't stress enough how lucky I am. Hearing stories of how people fall off of a 5 foot ladder or roofs having the consequence of death rather than broken bones amazes me. Without wearing a helmet, all I suffered from was an open compound fracture in the ankle and a compressed fracture in my lower spine from a 45 foot ground fall. If thats not a miracle I don't know what is.

After many visits to the doctors looking at my ankle I thought for sure I wasn't going to be back outside for at least a year. However with the discipline I laid onto myself just in 5 long months Im out doing what I love to do best. Even though my doctor said that I shouldn't be out in the mountains, my physical therapist said otherwise and highly recommend to take it easy. As a die hard climber and having a huge passion for the outdoors I took it as to push myself back into the physical shape I was in before the accident.


With a climbing membership at Spire Climbing Center I've been lucky enough to train twice a day 7 days a week. Luckily they remodeled the gym a few years ago and now offer free showers with the membership as well as overnight parking! However spending so much time training in the gym I've just started to physically climb on the walls in the gym. Not that I couldn't have before but I've never been a huge "gym climber." In South Dakota our climbing gym wasn't anything special so we rarely went forcing us to just boulder, free climb outside. Even when the temperatures are just above freezing, we always seemed to make it work.The more I research climbing areas around Bozeman the more and more I am surprised. There are large amounts of hidden gems in the canyons and passes just minutes from where I park. The problem being is finding a partner to go to these places. Most teens and adults I have talked to are either too busy or don't won't to expand their boundaries of where they climb. So I often go by myself to small boulders or easily accessible top ropes for solo climbing.


With my ankle still being fragile I was told specifically not to jump onto it. If I jump on my ankle too hard I could potentially break the plate and screws in my ankle enabling me to regain full movement in that ankle. So bouldering scares the crap out me because bouldering requires a lot of jumping down to restart the route with only a single crash pad to soften your landing. With the ground being to uneven there is a high chance that I may twist or really screw up my ankle.Basically I look at these problems or routes and think to myself, "Is it really with potentially being out for another 6 months?" A side of my says yes absolutely however I know that If i wait a few more months I'll be able to push it a lot harder than I am now. The thing that is killing me the most is having to do small or easy stuff staying at a level of difficulty that is being block by my injury. So while I sit and wait to push myself harder, the bigger my list go goals gets. So when the time comes I can start ticking off the list one by one making more and more memories to show and inspire all of you!



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