Diabetic Climbers?

Are there any diabetic rock climbers/boulderers/ice climbers out there? Maybe even some mountaineers? I’ve had diabetes since I was 1 and I’ve been climbing for almost 2 years and I’ve seriously found 2 rockclimbers and only a handful of mountaineers. If you do this sport and/or would like to (I’m always game to teach new folk how to climb:) drop a line. I’d love to hear from you.

I’d also love to get a convo started on blood glucose control while climbing, placement of your pump and infusion site (I just got a pump a week ago and am having harness/crashpad issues…thinking about going back to MDI), keeping your medicine at the right temp, and just climbing with diabetes in general.

I’m not a climber, but I know there are a lot of them out there. One place to start looking is: http://www.mountain-mad.org/
MAD is Mountains for Active Diabetics.
Good luck!

I was born and raised in Colorado so have done my share of mountain climbing and rapelling. For my son’s graduation gift from high school 5 years ago, we went back to Colorado. I had to move to Texas a few years ago to take care of my parents who were both terminal and ended up staying. My son and I hiked over 800 miles in 3 months of summer. The only problem we had was forest fires kept chasing us out of areas. We usually camp for 2-3 weeks in the summer in Colo. but this was for the whole summer. I haven’t read where you live but I was raised in an area where there is a half circle of Fourteeners - meaning they all are over 14,000 ft. I have never attempted ice climbing, however, a lot of my mountain climbing ran me into snow and ice but not like you are speaking about. I get a big laugh out of the rock walls at the malls here that they consider climbing.

I remember the first time going off the top of a cliff to rapel. I was scared for my life but once you get the hang of it, it grows on you and becomes addictive. You just pray that all the ropes and caribeners work! Love to hear about some of your adventures.

I looked at your pictures on your site and wondered where your helmet was? You really should wear one. J

Thanks for the heads up on the website, Jerry! I’m gonna check that out.

Nice! Where do you climb? My favorite place to climb thus far is the Red River Gorge. Seriously, if I died, and ended up hovering around the Red as a ghost I would assume I was in heaven. How do your blood sugars run and how do you adjust when you climb?

Never went mountaineering before, but it’s definitely on my agenda. A couple of friends and I are probably going to Mt. Shasta later on this year. Should be an easy first attempt. I’ve actually never ice climbed either, but a doctor at my work is giving me his old ice axes “only if [I] promise that I will actually use them.” So, I’m guaranteed to do it. How was Rainier? How did your blood sugars shift due to less oxygen and acclimitization?

Yeah, I don’t wear a helmet unless the rock is really chossy (looks loose or really dirty). I know it’s bad, but it’s extra weight and when I’m pushing the grades it kinda gets in the way.

That’s really awesome about your climbing experiences!! 800 miles is a LONG hike, definitely on steep terrain, with heavy backpacks on. I whine when I have a 3-4 mile hike with my climbing gear, lol. Man, I want to go to Texas SOOO bad-mainly to climb at Hueco Tanks, but austin is supposed to be just an amazing music scene as well. It’s gonna happen soon! And Colorado…man, you’ve already lived my dream!! I want to go skiing and boarding there. As well as climbing of course.

A couple of friends of mine are planning a trip out to Colorado next December to go skiing. I’m so stoked to get out there. And Sometime maybe around August, a few other friends are planning a trip to Mt. Shasta. But first, I have to get used to my new pump and or figure out my BG trends while hiking at altitude. How did it affect your BG control?

If you go to Colorado I would suggest you go to Salida and do the fourteeners that I told you about. I have family and friends there that could probably help you with accomodations. My little nephew, ok, he’s 37 and a firefighter there. I have a lot of family and friends in Colorado but mostly in the Boulder and Salida area. You’re going to have to wear a helmet though because this is too much. I love climbing above timberline and just seeing nature’s beautiful flowers and untouched soil. When you go plan on white water rafting and Salida can really set you up with that. There are many companies there that can give you the ride of your life. If you like taking it to the edge like I do and sounds like you do, try it!

Yeah, I proudly wear a pin on my jean jacket that says, “I Hiked Colorado.” A male nurse asked about it when I was in the hospital this weekend when I went thru the ER. We landed in Denver, took a bus to an area where I wanted to start and went from there. When we wanted to leave a certain area, we just took a bus to another. We ended up all over the state but was a bad year for forest fires.

Do you get your biggest high scaling up a mtn. or rapelling down one? J

Rafting sounds stellar, for sure. But…well…this is gonna sound ironic maybe, but I can’t swim!! I know, I know, it’s on my agenda for the summer to learn. Your hiking sounds phenomenal! I want to go so bad! I hiked like 20 miles on the AT (Appalachain Trail) with my cousin last year and it was so refreshing. Like your body goes into harmony with the sunlight, and you wake up when the sun’s about to rise and start getting ready for supper and bed before the sun sets. So awesome!! And it’s just so quiet. Love it! Oh, but how was your BG trends on your hike? Did it change at all?

As for sport or rockclimbing, it’s a really neat thing that happens when you climb for a while. At first you just wild out at how high you are. You think about the rope being the only thing between you and your maker. It’s an amazing rush! And then you get another rush by rappelling down! Nice. But…then you change and it’s actually not at all about the top…it’s about the movement. Just like dancing…not that I dance, lol. Each move has to be perfect, and you have that fear of falling waaayy in the back of your head; unless you can’t get gear into the wall and you realize you’re about to take a 20 ft whipper (fall). If the fear is there, the climb is not. You will fall. It’s very akin to meditation, imo. And it mellows you out sooo much during the rest of your week. And bouldering is a totally different beast alltogether. You’re free of gear, just you and the rock. That’s it. I love it, I’m addicted for sure.

I am not the type to have no fear and climb or scale up the rocks. However, once I learned to rapel and have faith in all the equipment, it is quite exhilarating. I remember once when the cliff started shifting inward and I really had quite a time getting down. I had a friend teach me one on one. I have always been an athlete, long distance runner, and played every sport there was. I guess I should have been a boy. When we did the whole summer trip five years ago I was 51 years old, Isara. Now I am 56 and doing a 5K June 3rd.I would never ever let you rock climb without a helmet. It just isn’t worth losing your life over and you only get one shot at it. Just think about it, okay? I still look at my caribeners and get homesick.

I know exactly what you mean about your body getting in harmony with nature. When the sun went down I was ready for bed and when it came up I was ready for something hot to drink! Still get cool and cold at nights in Colo. and very damp. When I do anything athletic I load up on the carbs before I start so that I can maintain. I always have the little snacks everywhere on me in case BG goes either way.

Okay here is the thing about rafting as I have two kids that don’t swim that are adults. They put the best of the best life jackets on you. Your guide gives you about an hr. instruction on what to do. Sitting up front is best. You have to paddle but you catch all the water. If you go over the guide immediately jumps in after you. They also have lines to throw to you. In the summer there are so many in the water that there is always plenty of instructors to pull you out. They tell you what to do if the raft should flip over etc. You can choose to go down mellow parts of the Arkansas River or the advanced onces. If you are like me and I think you are, I take everything to the edge. My day ends when I slide in sideways on my butt with the dust flying. No fear. If you went the third week every June they have the International Fibark Kayak races and that little town of Salida is jumping with fun. You can also rent kayaks and take them out in the river and they give you instructions. Yeah, I am definetly a nature girl. I have never had an indoor job in my life and could never imagine it otherwise. Great sharing with you. J

Man, I want to go to the Gunks soo bad. I do sport climb and boulder, but truly I don’t want to be limited to that. I’m slowly building up enough cash to buy a full trad rack and ice gear. What do you think about buying used passive pro? Oh and a doc at my work told me he’d give me his ice axes whenever I get the rest of my gear. That will be awesome.

I have not read that book, but I will get it soon.

That sux about the rain! It’s funny, how this sport is so weather dependent. Rain just throws a wrench into any aspect of it, which makes sunny cool days so revered. All of my non-climber friends tell me that I’m “worse than a fair weather friend…you’re a bad weather friend,” lol. I’m supposed to be going to Mt. Shasta later this year; if everything works out right. I figure it would be a good intro into mountaineering and whatnot.

And man, thanks for all the beta on how to take care of diabetes while climbing in different scenarios. And it’s also nice to know that someone’s already done it…that way I can’t have any excuses :).

Nice!! One of my climbing buddies has the greatest advice on learning to climb. He says: “Tie in right, Don’t backclip, Don’t die,” lol. It’s quite an addictive sport, so be forewarned. Where did you climb at?

Nice. What are you in school for?
I do live in Nashville. That’s wild you’re from Hendersonville. I actually have a few friends that live there. It’s a really nice area.
There is TONS of climbing near Nashville. The closest is in Clarksville, which is an ideal place for beginners. If your in town and you’re feeling bold, we should give it a go. When will you be in town next?

I’m down for sure. Just hit me up when you get into town. Good luck with the half marathon!!