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The year of the Phoenix
Trip Report

The year of the Phoenix

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The year of the Phoenix

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Arizona, United States, North America

Object Title: The year of the Phoenix

Date Climbed/Hiked: Nov 30, 0000

Activities: Trad Climbing

 

Page By: CClaude

Created/Edited: Dec 11, 2012 / Dec 11, 2012

Object ID: 829486

Hits: 1697 

Page Score: 91.14%  - 34 Votes 

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Unexpected Events of Life and their Blessings

The Phoenix: There are times when life gets in the way. Sometimes its unexpected, but shouldn’t be.

For me it started out with a simple and innocent trip to Indian Creek. Its an old stomping ground of mine and a place I think of as home. The sunsets and stars over the Bridger Jacks never get old.
 
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nighttime at the Bridger Jacks

 
Solitary camping after climbing
camping at Indian Creek

No matter how often I see them. The trip was a partial success with attempts on “Learning to Fly”, a route that I had wanted to try for the last 3 years. It’s a beautiful overhanging finger crack with no feet. It involves 30 ft of one arm lock offs.


First Attempt on Learning to Fly
First Attempt on "Learning to Fly"


It was to set the stage for things to come. Jason had talked me into working a hard mixed route above Ouray. And was hoping to either work on a route on El Cap or return to Peru the following summer. Returning home, reality hit. On the drive home, I get a message that Sophi (my 4 yr old daughter) had an accident and had thrown up multiple times due to the pain.

I get home, my daughters eye was filled with blood. She had been hit by an elastic band, the type used for therapy. The next days were filled with trips to the eye surgeon. The outcome seemed promising, as soon as the blood drained. When it did, reality hit. With the blood drained froim the eye, Dr Mahanti asked Sophi what she saw, and the response was nothing. Reality was my 4 yr daughter was blind. Luck was a world reknown pediatric eye surgeon was only 2 hours away. Trips were made and surgery was planned. Before that was one last business trip to a medical conference.

I had only an hour before leaving for the conference. These conferences were always hell. Days that went too long. Needed one last workout. I fell. Not a bad fall, maybe 4 ft., but something was seriously wrong. Got on the first plane. A short flight but midway through the flight, the pain set in. The flight attendants could only give me an ice pack, no Ibuprofen, company rules. The connection,, t he longest walk possible in Phoenix was agony. It was bad. The passenger assistance carts wouldn’t stop. Getting on my flight top San Francisco I knew my leg was broken. On the flight I ask for a wheel chair. Embarassed, since this is the second time in my life I’ve been taken off a plane in a wheel chair. In San Francisco the wheel chair attendant helps me collect my bags but the trip to the rental car was on my own. I know know the fracture is bad. Getting the rental car I drive immediately to Walgreens for cruitches. I also call my orthopedic surgeon to make an appointment for when I get home. The medical conference was a blur of talks, ibuprofen, conference calls and alcohol to deal with the pain in the late evenings. I get homem, and thank you for US Airways for upgrading me to first class, my suspesions are correct.I go home in a cast.

 
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first days in the cast


December arrives and my daughter is rolled into surgery. Nothing prepares you for when your four year old daughter is brought out. Eyes bandaged, and her body encapsulated in IV tubes.

Sophi an hour before surgery
Sophi hours before eye surgery to restore her sight


With instructions on how she is supposed to sleep and live for the next 24 hours I get no sleep. Trips to the surgeon, 2 hours away fill my life for the next couple of weeks, but she sees again. With mid December comes snow. With snow comes ice. Two weeks before my cast comes off I fall, and I fall hard. The cast needs to remain on for another 4 weeks. I continue to weight train like a fiend. Its my only outlet .

Come the middle of January, the cast comes off. The first thing I do is go and climb laps on a favorite route. Its cold as hell, but the laps makes me feel like I have control of my life.

Come mid-April life seems good again. Jason and I go do “Golden Spike” in Sedona. It’s a good 5.11d very physical route in Sedona. The way we did it was fun, bike down Dry Creek Road, do the hour plus hike, do the climb, minus the last pitch 5.9 pitch due to a late start and reverse it all. It was fun, and I start to feel like my old self. Shortly life has other options. Over dinner, my wife tells me she is moving out. A marriage is over. I am now a fulltime dad to two girls, ages 5 and 3, along with a fulltime scientist and part time climber.

In whatever time off I climb like a fiend. Trying the amazing “Pacing the Cage” and working on the multi-pitch 5.13 “Lifeline”.

Coming out of a meeting one Wednesday morning, usually a day of meetings hell, I get a call that my youngest as stopped breathing and I had to get down to the emergency room. Arriving I find my friend Marty as the nurse on call (his wife is Amaras normal nurse). Amaras lips are still blue, and they call in a helicopter to transport her to a facility with a pediatric neurologist.Thank god for Marty since his jokes diffuse an obviously bad situation. I am so thankful for him being his nurse A few last test, A CAT scan. Just before we are top load onto the copter the last tests come back. RSV positive! Find out that this year was a bizarre year for RSV, whereas it was running late and often asymptomatic. I spend a few days in pediatrics with my daughter as my daughter sophi has a sleep over with my climbing partner Andy and his daughter GiGi’s house (Thanks Andy, you are a lifesaver). Life returns to “normal”….

A few days later talking a picture of my daughters at a picnic I turn, I hear the sound of a shotgun going off, as does everyone around me, as I my legs collapse and I fall to the ground. Days later I am back at my surgeons office scheduling surgery. Needing a break I hike Mt Humpheries with my sister who has come out to help. It was slow, never knowing how much a nine mile hike on crutches could hurt.

 
Hiking Mt Humpheries
Hiking Mt Humpherys days before surgery


It was also so good to be out in the wilderness, that I didn’t care. June 13th, finds me in and out of surgery. That night I find that I am still a single dad needing to feed my girls. Work is difficult on crutches (doing controlled delivery of pharmaceuticals I can’t gown up to go into lab), so I am stuck crunching data. I continue to train like a fiend. Life may seem like its lowest, in the midst of a divorce, raising two girls, working and in rehabilitation. It could be bad but my friends and climbing partners are always there.

I get a call from a friend Mike. Another friend has fallen the entire first pitch of Salathe, 160ft in all. It’s a 130ft of free fall to bounce off a slab to fall another 30ft into the talus. Calls and emails result. She “only” has a fractured jaw. How is it possible. At some point you forget about asking how, but are more then thankful.
 
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first day back on Shotgun

Come August I can start climbing again. The weight training paid off. My first climbs are “Paradise Lost” and “Shotgun”. I am content.

Slice and Dice
November 2012 back at the Creek on Slice and Dice


December 2012….Its now been a year. I’ve made trips a couple of trips to Indian Creek, and working one routes I was working on before this all has happened. I am starting to feel as strong as ever I have ever been even though I am now approaching 48. I am still a single father of two young girls. I worry about what they want for Christmas, and if I actually know what I am doing raising girls. I’ve been on a total of three dates since the day my ex-wife left. I’ve also made amazing friends since, climbed with some old and new friends. I have also found inspiration for new things, routes that have never been done (thanks Jeff) .

Trips to Peru and Patagonia are in the making. Sometimes life can be found from the ashes, a Phoenix. Life may not be perfect, but as long as there is a future, there are dreams to be fulfiulled. I look forward to the future and everything it brings. It hasn't been my worst year, but it has taught me lessons that I will always remember.

Images

User Profile ImageSlice and DiceFirst Attempt on Learning to FlyHiking Mt Humpheries

Comments


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Viewing: 1-10 of 10    

KeithNMaybe

KeithN

Voted 10/10

I should try breaking my leg, I might end up climbing harder. Glad the children are well; seeing your child seriously ill is a worse feeling than any run-out.
Posted Dec 12, 2012 5:05 pm

ywardhornerWow

ywardhorner

Voted 10/10

hope things go better for you from now on!
Posted Dec 16, 2012 10:24 am

CClaudeAs Chief said....

CClaude

Hasn't voted

Life will have its highs and lows irregardless of what we do....in my opinion, the lows are only as bad as how we view them. Something to be embrassed as a part of life, a challange or something that rules our life, our choice....
Posted Dec 16, 2012 12:45 pm

CClaudePerspective

CClaude

Hasn't voted

I also figure during rough tiwmes, perspective is golden. Breaking my leg/ having knee surgery/ getting divorsed was nothing compared to having my daughter go blind and the other stop breathing. Compare this to whT happened in Sandy Point Ct this last week.... You need to feel thankful for the cards you are given....
Posted Dec 16, 2012 2:11 pm

MoapaPkgood wishes

MoapaPk

Hasn't voted

We've had some disagreements, but I wish you well. Life is not meant for sissies, and you certainly don't seem like a sissy. Nothing gives one a greater appreciation for life, than watching life fade on the horizon, then come back within grasp.
Posted Dec 16, 2012 6:19 pm

CClaudeMoapaPk

CClaude

Hasn't voted

Totally agree... Fan of the Helan Keller quote of"Life is a wild adventure or nothing at all"... As for disagreeing. Hell, if we all agreed life would be absolutely boring or living in a fundementalist ( add you least favorite religion here) state
Posted Dec 16, 2012 8:46 pm

Vitaliy M.Great write up

Vitaliy M.

Voted 10/10

Some silly quote from Rocky movies could be appropriate here: "But it ain't about how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward." I love this quote personally. Good luck with your daughter's and own health as well as climbing goals.
Posted Dec 17, 2012 1:47 pm

NWWow

NW

Voted 10/10

that is quite the year. When your girls grow up they will be able to look back though and remember that you didn't give up when met with adversities and they will respect you for it. It will be a good example for them and give them strength to push on in their adult years. I find that climbing really helps me cope with the problems of everyday life as well. It's a way of clearing you head and letting off the stress. In my household, I have diabetes and my daughter was diagnosed when she was 4. It is my belief that, while I love it and so it benefits me, it also show her that she doesn't have to let her illness hold her back. So good job keeping at it and good article.
Posted Dec 18, 2012 7:46 am

FletchExcellent TR

Fletch

Voted 10/10

Wish I could vote 11. CC, it's good to see there are folks like you out there. Nicely done.
Posted Dec 18, 2012 1:49 pm

CClaudeThanks....

CClaude

Hasn't voted

NW....i admire the example you are setting for your daughter on thriving with diabetes. I study vascular disease and understand the implications of it. To show your daughter to be active is the best example.

Fletch...,thanks. I find most people around me to be inspirations on being a better person. On this site, i find inspiration in Parofes. To live with something unknown, and then the known on a day to day basis is hard. To thrive with it is heroic....
Posted Dec 20, 2012 9:51 pm

Viewing: 1-10 of 10