I started rock climbing in 1997 when I was 21 years old. I started climbing in the gym before I ventured outside top-roping and sport climbing a year later. Now I’m a dad, a husband, and a massage therapist, but I still love to climb and I plan to climb for the rest of my life.
My step-brother introduced me to gym climbing when I was 21 and I fell in love right away. It was like I had finally found the answer to the meaning of my life. As I started venturing outside top-roping then sport climbing, everything else in my life started to fade away. I slowly phased out my mountain biking and quit karate and ju-jitsu. I brought yoga into my life a few years later, only because a friend and climbing partner suggested that it would help improve my climbing. I have had to take time off from my climbing; moving around, injuries, massage therapy school, and babies have all taken me away from climbing for periods of time, but I have always come back to it.
Now that I’m a family man, my climbing focus has changed. I spend a lot of time teaching my children to climb, and I help and encourage my wife to improve her climbing skills and experience. I take the whole family up multi-pitch trad climbs and we do day trips up to Rattle Snake Point to top-rope. My youngest daughter was four when we did our first family trip up to Bon Echo National park, a 300 foot multi-pitch trad climb craig.
I do get out climbing without my family as well. I train once or twice a week at Grand River Rock, and I get out to Mount Nemo a few times a year. I’ve been up to Bon Echo a handful of times. When I’m climbing with my family, I’m patient, encouraging, and methodical. When I’m out with the boys we like to climb hard and push our limits.
My training as a massage therapist has been a great help to my climbing. When I injure myself, I know what to do to get myself back climbing as quick as possible. I know right away if I should use heat or ice, when to stretch, or rest, or just push through. It used to take me a week or more to get a solid answer about how to handle an injury, now I start with the right course of treatment right away. Even more importantly, I know what to do to stay healthy and reduce the risk of injuring myself. Proper stretching, training supporting muscles, better posture, proper rest periods, and hydrotherapy all keep me strong, flexible, and limber to me keep climbing and training hard.
I find that my massage therapy clients who also rock climb gain specific benefits. Not only have I experienced many of the injuries a climber would come in and seek treatment for, but I have also done the research for my own climbing injuries so I’m up to date regarding the latest medical treatment options and techniques.
I also know the lingo. I know what a crimp is, I know what a jug is and I know the dynamics of a layback and roof climbing. Communicating the specifics of an injury is often difficult between a client and their therapist. Trying to describe a climbing injury to a hockey player is like speaking a different language, and vice versa. I have experience with many different clients with many different injuries related to many different sports and professions but it’s the climbers that I know understand the best.
Climbing has been part of my life for a long time. It has permeated the rest of my life, family, and work. I might not be the best climber but I have a good amount of experience and have a lot of fun with it. I hope to continue growing my climbing experience, and I hope to share my knowledge by helping as many people as I can with their own climbing.