Last year August 12th, 2014 changed my life. I broke my ankle severely while boulder training and for a time was worried that I would not be able to walk again. You can read more about it here. I started weight-bearing on my healing leg in November 2014. All the muscle in my left leg had wasted away in 3 months.
I had to learn how to walk on this leg again. It has been a long, slow, frustrating process that has really made me appreciate standing and the simple pleasant act of walking.
Right up until about a month ago, I was still experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort whenever I walked for more than 30 minutes. I still have and will probably always have stiffness in my ankle.
My first time back on the rock, was in May this year. We went out with the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA Johannesburg), to Kings Kloof in Krugersdorp, South Africa. I hadn’t planned on climbing that particular day, just went to belay for C. But once I was there, I had to give it a shot. It was a clumsy, awkward one-legged climb, using my left leg for balance and a bit of stability. But it felt so good to be back on the rock and outdoors again.
Since that day at Kings Kloof, we have been going out at least once a month with MCSA, to amazing rock climbing spots around Jozi. Bronkhorstspruit, Kings Kloof, Strubensvalley, Chosspile, Grootkloof, Cederberg Kloof in Mountain Sanctuary Park and Northcliff Eco Park.
Joining the Mountain Club of South Africa was one of the best decisions that we made. Being a member of the club has introduced C & I to so many beautiful places around greater Johannesburg, that we never knew existed. We’ve met so many great, passionate, down-to-earth, humble folks through the club and made some awesome friends. And we’ve had some serious adventure while learning to climb outdoors. Every weekend there are several meets that you can join in as a member, be it hiking, sport climbing or trad climbing. The membership fee is minimal and I highly recommend joining if you are a keen outdoor enthusiast.
The other awesome rock climbing event this year was the opening of CityRock Johannesburg, this October. It is without a doubt a world-class climbing gym! I visited a few gyms while I was travelling in the USA a couple of years ago, and this gym is on par if not better than some of those that I visited. Thanks to the owners and visionaries – Robert Breyer, Charles, Patricia and Mike. CityRock is going to change climbing in Johannesburg and going to introduce loads of new people to the sport.
Safety at the gym is a priority. Every person has to do a belay test (no matter how many years you have been climbing). There is a padded floor (which is awesome!). Auto-belays. Lead climbing. Bouldering. Children’s climbing walls. Coffee shop. Gear shop. Showers and change-rooms. There will be a yoga studio, gym & cardio equipment area by December of this year. There is already an awesome, dedicated team. Check it out ASAP. It really is fricken awesome.