October 23, 2015 – On June 5, Alex Puccio took a short fall while warming up for the World Cup bouldering comp in Vail, Colorado. The result was a torn ACL and MCL in her left knee, and the season was over for America’s most successful competition boulderer. She had knee surgery a couple of weeks later, and doctors told her to expect four to six months of recovery before she could risk falls while bouldering.
The doctors, however, clearly hadn’t counted on the determination of Alex Puccio. She began working out (in ways that wouldn’t affect her injured leg) even before her surgery, and the physical therapy and gym workouts only intensified afterward. By early August she was able to hike to lower Chaos Canyon in Rocky Mountain National Park and hang out with her friends as they bouldered. Then, while attending the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, Puccio spent a couple of days climbing in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Her very first outdoor boulder, on August 6, was Euro Roof (V10). Three days later she did Euro Trash (V12).
The pace has only picked up since then. During the last four weeks, the 26-year-old climber has done four V13 problems in Colorado, including the first female ascent of Irreversible in Rocky Mountain National Park, along with Don’t Get Too Greedy and Free Range (shown above in a Chris Motta photo). She’s also done several V12s and flashed Mysterious Wayz, which she called V11 but others have called soft V12.
After her send of Don’t Get Too Greedy on October 15, Puccio wrote at Instagram: “I really didn't think I was going to be climbing this hard, let alone climbing at all this fast, after my knee surgery. When I get frustrated working a boulder I need to think about how lucky I really am! It has only been 4 months since my surgery! My knee improves every day little by little, and this whole experience has definitely taught me some good life lessons! If you thought I was PSYCHED and LOVED to work hard before my accident, just watch now!!!”