Climbers can, as a rule, break rules. We expand our youth, our shoulder stamina, and, most commonly, our seasons. How many people do you know who go crack climbing in shorts in January? Ice climbing in puff jackets in June? Sport climbing in bikinis February? Hyper-mobility and air travel lends itself to this, but so does the split personality of any excessive outdoorsy person.
I’m one of the worst offenders. To make it more interesting (read: personally challenging), I try to be prepared for any activity at any time. This works. Or it does until you have back surgery.
Two weeks ago, I packed up my rental apartment in North Conway, NH. I lovingly placed my monopoint crampons next to my leashless tools. I stuffed my ice climbing packs with every extra down/synthetic/wool/fleece layer I had. I took my boots and filled them with screws, and then nestled them into duffles. In the beginning, I held up each piece of gear as if honoring it before mashing it into a temporary resting place. I mourned that I would not use it for more than a half dozen months. And then I got a shooting pain down my right leg, stood up with the help of the wall and a chair, limped to my bed, and laid down.