My fingers and feet are important to me especially since gaining low vision. I depend on them for sensory input: texture, temperature, and pressure. They touch, I listen. But how strong are they I started to wonder after reading news out of California.
When I read about an ascent by free-climbers of El Capitan, a 3000ft vertical granite rock face in Yosemite National Park, I was astounded. I tried to imagine the grip strength needed to be able to pull off such a feat. One of the climbers is even missing an index finger. Picture that.
When I was a massage therapist, I definitely felt more power in my legs, and my arms, hands, and fingers. Sliding and pushing and rolling skin builds up grip strength, one ergonomic glide at a time. The dexterity and endurance to scale a surface with only your fingertips and small toe holds for leverage must be phenomenal.
Everyday as I sweep my white cane, muscles and tendons ripple with fluid movement, translating the physical environment into passable terrain. I’m conquering horizontal surfaces with my fingertips and toes. While skill is involved, I wouldn’t go as far as to say extended fitness is required for orientation and mobility. Balance and focus yes, but not a gym membership.
The next time I feel a little tired and need to switch grips or hands as I use my white cane, I might recall the two climbers as they spent nearly three weeks working skyward–their movements led to skin wearing away, bruised and scabbed fingertips, pain. Mega pain. But that didn’t stop them.
Fingers and feet are incredible. What do yours scale everyday? Tell me about it.