One of our walking group arranged for us all to take part in a climbing taster session at a local centre. It has been many years since I did any climbing, and I’ve certainly not formally scaled anything since I had my implant, so I was eagerly anticipating being harnessed up and let loose on a wall without the encumberance of a socket. Things actually worked out slightly differently…
On arrival at the climbing centre we noticed that no-one was using a rope. I thought that was pretty unusual but it transpires that our local centre specialises in bouldering. Keeping the height of the walls relatively modest and having a thickly padded floor underneath allows ‘climbing’ to be practiced without needing the security of a harness and rope.
The first stage in our taster session required us to traverse around a room of holds gaining no more than a couple of feet of height at the most. When our instructors had assured themselves we were not totally incompetent we were allowed into the room with taller walls, easily giving us the ability to gain sufficient height that falling off could be an issue. At this point I was struck by a slight dilemma – ITAP allows me to do some amazing things but large impacts on the implant, such as that produced by falling awkwardly from a significant height, are frowned upon. As you may imagine, I considered my options for a few full seconds before plunging upwards!
I like to say that I displayed a natural flair for climbing and overcame the awkwardness imposed by my prosthetic leg with grace and composure but that simply isn’t true! I did actually part company with the wall in an unconventional manner a couple of times, one of which was from near the top. On that occasion, hanging on with one hand and twisting round until I’d stopped penduluming allowed me to land in a semi-controlled fashion without any unwanted ITAP consequences. At the end of a really enjoyable session I was pleased that I made the decision to take part despite the slight risk involved. After all, what is the point of having a superb prosthetic system if I don’t do anything with it? I’d like to do more of this sort of thing but next time I’ll go somewhere that provides the climbers with a rope!