As my wife and I hurtle through the Mojave and the way to Jtree (Joshua Tree National Park) talking about how my buddy Chris has the ability to look at a climbing route and pick just the gear he will need and where he was going to place them. He took just what he needed for the route and nothing else. I on the other hand always take too much gear and struggle to pick the correct piece due to my not having any depth perception.

This conversation sparked the thought about another correlation between climbing and diabetes. Namely the ability to pick the right food, the right insulin dose and at the right time and picking the right piece of gear at the right time and putting it in the correct place.

Climbing, like diabetes requires the right gear for the right situation. However the ideal is not always available so we must make do. Scott Cooper "getting it done" in JTNP on a route named "Diabetics".
Climbing, like diabetes requires the right gear for the right situation. However the ideal is not always available so we must make do. Scott Cooper “getting it done” in JTNP on a route named “Diabetics”.
I cant count the times that I have been on the edge of losing my composure on a route while I struggle to find the right size cam or stopper. At those times I usually end up getting a piece in that is good enough to hold a fall, but not a perfect placement. The placement will hold, but not something that I would use as an example of how to place gear. The same goes with my eating. It often seems that I am able to come close with matching my food with my insulin and other life factors going on but not good enough to make an example of. My dosing is good enough to keep my doing what I do without any trips to the hospital but my complications show that over the last 22 plus years, I have been far from perfect.

I can pretty accurately blame my inability to match the crack to the gear due to not being able to accurately judge the crack width. I know the general size a yellow camalot is, but seeing the crack and determining if it is a one or two is very difficult. But after so many years of being diabetic, one would think that I would have my management down to a science.

This brings me to another unfortunate correlation between diabetes and climbing. The number of years climbing and being diabetic someone has does not necessarily translate to ability. There are a lot of climbers out there who have been climbing for years but never really were able to get into the hard grades, just as there are many diabetics that for many different reasons are unable to get their BG’s perfect no matter how hard they try.

Unfortunately, I fit both of those descriptions. I am currently struggling to get into the 11’s and having a very hard time with it. With my BG’s I have struggled to stabilize them the best that I can, I have left many endocrinologists shaking their heads and say that since there is no patterns or consistency with my BG’s there is little they can do to normalize them. Just a little pump setting tweak here and there.

Thankfully I am considered a very stubborn person and with my climbing I will keep climbing as hard as I can and take plenty of falls. I will push until I meet the goal of being an 11 climber. With my diabetes, I will keep doing the best I can and see if I can find something that will work for me. I once had a Dr. say that she wondered how I was still alive after downloading my meter, I had several answers for her, but I kept them to myself. But I did find another Dr. and have kept on keeping on.