Alex Puccio has been out of action for almost five months after a big injury during a competition. After surgery and a huge hiatus she is now back in action and able to boulder outside again. In just a few weeks back on rock she has sent two V13 / 8B problems!
In December Alex started outdoors again and very quickly topped out on “Epochalypse” V13/8B in Flagstaff. Then just this Valentine’s day she followed up with the V13 / 8B “Wheel of Fortune” in Clear Creek Canyon. Just one grade down from her hardest grade, both of these boulders are incredibly hard and really show the training paying off. Though she still can’t take big drops on to the knee – this is definitely the start of Alex’s return to the top level of outdoor bouldering.
The injury came back in July 2019 when Alex was competing in the Womxn Up 2019 competition at Dogpatch Boulders, San Francisco. On one of the final routes the competitors had gone back to have another go at topping out. Alex managed to stick the last move and get a top but when jumping down landed awkwardly and twisted her knee. The result was a full ACL tear and partial MCL and LCL tears. Being maybe the best boulderer in the world meant getting into surgery only a week later – post surgery instagram pic.
Recovery meant strictly no falling – i.e. no bouldering indoors or out for months. However being a top athlete – and generally also just the person Alex is – included to sessions of physio a day and non-stop core, finger, and upper body training. After months of intense no-feet training Puccio is in top condition and just needed to get back on the rock to bring back the muscle memory.
Although Alex still can’t fall from any height, she has started back on low problems outdoors after 4.5 months of only indoors training and campusing. The Moon Board has featured a lot in recent training as well as campus boarding. Both allow for big, hard, overhanging moves with a relatively low dorp. In December Alex started back on real rock with a send of the V12 “Trice” in Flagstaff. Over Christmas she also got engaged to her boyfriend Robin O’Leary who is the coach for the GB Paraclimbing team.
We wish all the best to Alex in her recovery and look forward to seeing that strength back in play outdoors. As Climbing in the Olympics 2020 features for the first time, Alex famously decided not to compete in order to focus on her outdoors bouldering. This was a huge announcement considering she has won two World Cups and got top ten in 36 (!). It was a big decision we really respect as it comes from a personal desire to enjoy bouldering outdoors. Puccio has a record of five 8B+ problems outdoors and is poised to get back to 8B+ and possibly up to 8C fast.