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We talk life, climbing, and injury with Jonathon Davidson

Image of Jonathon Davidson preparing for climbing, by Primo Chalk

Last week we got the chance to interview our Athlete Ambassador Jonathon Davidson; he has been our longstanding leader in the climbing division of this quarters competition, we were dying to learn more about his climbing journey and ESPECIALLY his recovery from a major wrist injury.  

Image of Jonathon Davidson preparing for climbing, by Primo Chalk

What does being a Primo ambassador mean to you?

To me it means I have a company who believes in my goals for climbing all over the world, while supplying me with the best chalk offered today.
It means I have a whole company showing the world how there product has helped me reach the top of climbs and allowed me to climb hard day to day without down time due to ripped,dry, flaky hands.
I am the face of this company, and I will back them, just like they have me, and my dreams of being a professional climber.

How long have you been climbing?

Around 4 years. I started free climbing sometime in the summer of 2014

What got you into the sport?

I would see these rock faces on my hikes, and I got hired to climb trees for trimming in the North East. I was addicted, and rock walls were bigger than trees.

Walk me through a day in the life of Jonathon.

I wake up with a protein shake, rice cake, and some finger boards on my way to the bathroom. Lol.
-I edit and work on videos and public/ social media while I drink my coffee.
I’m starting a 2 month training period so at 11am I’m heading to the climbing gym until 5pm.
I come home eat some dinner and enjoy my evenings with my girlfriend.
I live a normal life. I might be a little crazy and obsessed with climbing these beautiful walls.
I have family days, climbing days more than none, the only difference is I’m devoted to climbing instead of video games and other hobbies the average person does in there free time. Climbing is my life.

In your bio you mention a major fall that impacted your climbing progression, how did you cope with the recovery period, and how did you begin to train differently with your injury in mind?

Image of Jonathon's right hand from a major climbing fall by Primo Chalk Image of an X-Ray on Jonathon's right hand by Primo Chalk

My recovery was rough. It took months to regain movement in my fingers, and wrist. I shattered my wrist and broke my ulna and distal radius. I had emergency surgery ending with a titanium plate and 9 screws, 5 which hold my wrist together. I was in recovery for 18 months. I was on pain medication 7 1/2 months. All I could do was sit and walk around. I couldn’t work, or climb, hiking was a big risk because of the chance of tripping and landing on my injury causing more damage. After 16 months a fusion was recommended due to my age and the pain level, I was 25 with arthritis, and a plate that slides against my tendons, cause discomfort. I refused and began rebuilding strength.
I use a lot of different exercise tools and hand strengthen devices to help me maintain the level I new to climb. I pushed my limits and learned what I could still do after recovery.
I started climbing 5.5 to 5.8 working the strength back into my wrist while not putting to much strain and pain.
The most useful exercise was just buying a bag of climbing holds, and making homemade hangboards. I got a lot of crimp type holds and did pull ups on them. I can now do sets of pull ups on a vertical hang, and smaller sets on a underhand. You just have to work into it at your pace. I was told I was done climbing,  and here I am now climbing 5.10s and minor 5.11s. I have to wrap my wrist in climbing tape to keep swelling down but it’s worth it.

What essentials do you pack when going on a big climbing trip?

Image of Redbull and Builder's protein bar, by Primo Chalk

I carry:

     -a custom built med kit, containing items for trauma care, broken bones, rash’s, friction burn, gashes or severe cuts,etc. I carry enough to control bleeding and make myself comfortable if a accident were to occur until I can get out to a hospital or rescue.
    -materials to stitch,bandage, and make a splint, along with standard pain medication.
     -climbing gear for two. I do this so if a piece fails or I notice later on is worn past a safe margin, I have a second piece. I also do this in case someone else gets in a bad situation and there gear is compromised, I can be of assistance.
-three belay devices, a figure 8, atc, and grigri 2.
-a huge selection of slings as most climbers.  I also have two 70 meter ropes. One is 9.9mm and one is 10.2mm.
-a pair of evolv climbing shoes.
-a petzl rope bag, including my normal rack of quick draws, cams, nutz,biners,etc.
-a bivy along with a hammock for emergencies and shelter if a injury occurs in the cold seasons.
Other than the things most carry I eat a lot of clif bars and red bull on my trips! I carry a camp stove for backpacking for warm food and coffee.
I carry two gopros, a hero and a session.
My setup is a little heavy but I love how I always have anything I need or want!

What are your other passions besides climbing?

I love hiking, I love that beauty you can’t get anywhere else. I always pick the hardest routes up a mpunrain, and I never regret pushing myself to the top.
I love boating and swimming, you can get out on the right river and get that solitude you get in the mountains.
Deep down I’m a big computer need. I can do crazy things, I use to be into heavy computer gaming, owning computers over 2k. My climbing passion took over though.
Jonathon Davidson on his passion for climbing, Image by Primo Chalk