Well, I attempted my first dyno yesterday…and it was outside on real rock (granite, specifically)!!! I was attempting the route Feeling All Right, a 5.8 on The Island in the Shoshoni Canyon outside Cody, WY, and I ended up dynoing for a hold without even knowing what I was doing! I didn’t think to myself, “Oh, I think I’ll try a dyno outside on real rock when I’ve never tried one before or believed I could do one.” No. My brain turned off and the motion took over. I found that switch into pure movement again! No overanalysis, no hesitation, just the calm feeling that that was the next move that needed to be performed. And I did it! I didn’t stick it, but I went for it! I almost stuck it – I had a mark on my hand at the calluses on my palm where I had stuck it, and the tape on my middle finger had pulled where I had begun to stick it before it slipped. I asked AJ to dirt me, still not thinking anything of it. AJ said excitedly, “Do you know what you just did???” I thought for a moment and looked up… It clicked. A dyno? “Yeah!!! You just did a dyno!!!” Fist bump! “Have you ever done a dyno?” No, haha! “Would you ever have done it if you had thought it was a dyno?” NO, haha!!! I definitely would never have tried that if I’d thought “dyno” in my head. “See? Your brain turned off and you just went for it! You turned it on! Your first dyno and it’s outside on real rock!!!” Fist bump! That totally made my day, right there. That would be my first and last attempt at that move for the day due to the temperature of the rock in the sun, however.
AJ and I moved over to a route on the other side called Big Ben, a 100′ tall 5.10d/5.11a. The basalt was smooth and dark…and in the shade! AJ and I didn’t have the map with us at the time so we had no idea of the name or grade of the route. It just looked fun! AJ began on lead. He had the first half of the route done and rested in a V-shaped shelf. “It’s all incut shelves and jugs so far! You should try this one!” He began the upper half of the route after resting for a few minutes longer. All of a sudden, he let go with his left hand in a strange fashion. His arm just fell awkwardly to his side. I took in on the rope in case he was going to fall. “I just popped a tendon!” he yelled down. “I think it’s my A2 pulley on my middle finger!” I asked if he needed to come down. The loss of one quickdraw was no big deal to me when safety was the concern. “No, I think I can still climb with it! I think I can finish the route!” Okay. He rested after every clip and I kept the rope slack to an absolute minimum as he proceeded, checking now and again to make sure he was still okay. He managed to reach the top and clean the anchors on the way down. He had set up a toprope for me so that I could try the shelved part of the route. The shelves were huge, and made great jugs, sidepulls, and gastons. I was fatigued from all my attempts at the 5.8 that I had done the dyno on, however, so may grip strength was fading fast. I did my best, and then had AJ dirt me so that we could go back to the truck and get some Tylenol into AJ and some ice or something cold in his hand to keep the inflammation of his injured finger to a minimum. When he had gotten down after finishing the route (before I tried it), he showed me the comparison between his healthy finger and his injured finger on each hand. His injured finger was very swollen and painful. We packed up and headed back toward the truck. AJ was obviously frustrated. I was frustrated, too – not at him, but for him. I still tape the A2 pulley of my left ring finger that I tore in December of last year. It is frustrating. AJ said, “Well, here’s two weeks of no climbing. No hard climbing, at least. We can still go on trips. I’ll just have to do easier climbs, like 5.7, 5.8, maybe 5.9.” You mean the ones I should be able to do. “I mean the ones you can do. You’ll just have to lead for me on those. That’s what that means, right?” he smiled.
We got all of our gear loaded up and headed back to Cody so that AJ could get one of his favorite cold beverages at this one particular Exxon gas station. We decided on the way back to take the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway route to Red Lodge, which would take us on the Beartooth Highway and over Beartooth Pass on the way. I had never been on those roads or seen the views, which were heart-stopping in some places. It was beautiful! The amazing things we saw, including the 16′ high walls of snow on either side of the highway through the pass (and it’s June, so this is melting off – they were taller!). AJ got some good photos with his iPad and we generally enjoyed the calming effect of the bright spring colors and melt-off in the mountains. We were really glad we decided to take that route back to Billings. It was quite incredible, and took the edge off the injury to AJ’s finger somewhat. He said it really hurt and showed me that it was hurting up into his forearm, even. Yep, that’s exactly what I felt when I tore my A2. I dropped him off at his place and he was going to go seek out tape for his finger. I thanked him for going and wished him well.
So, again, we see this balance that always seems to be in play. A great thing happened (my dyno), then a terrible thing happened (AJ’s torn A2). Overall, we had a good time. I’m just sorry that AJ tore his pulley. That sucks. That absolutely sucks! I know because I’ve done it. AJ and I were discussing in the truck how I was curious about all the taped-up fingers on climbers I saw in the gym prior to my own injury, and then I was one of them! AJ had taped it up for me, too, at the time, after I had iced it for 45 minutes to keep the inflammation down on whatever I had done to myself. “And then you became one of them. They have accepted you into their tribe!” The tape tribe, I joked. But it’s true. These things do happen, unfortunately enough, and it’s nobody’s fault. Injuries happen. We rehabilitate them. And we climb some more! Climb on!!!