Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
URLs OF THE MONTH
POSE TO THE PROS
QUESTION: What’s the worst climbing-related injury you’ve had?Sean McColl: When I was 14 years old, I was competing in a PCA competition in Salt Lake city during the trade show; I wasn’ts strong enough to pull off this hideous sloper so I mono-ed the bolt hold instead. When I tried to pull up and right off the hole, I felt this twinge all the way down my left forearm and I had supposedely strained a tendon. It felt worse, because I couldn’t climb for two months … Charles Fryberger: I am currently recovering from a groundfall from the topout of Dark Waters. I don’t know what hurts more… the three screws holding my talus bone together, or the blow to my ego that maybe I didn’t really send the problem, which would have been one of the hardest I’d ever completed.Will Gadd: Hueco Tanks, TX, about 1987: After shredding our tips climbing routes (we were there to climb routes, the bouldering wasn’t yet a big thing) we busted over to Mexico for the evening. Our field trip concluded with my friend and I getting chased back over the bridge to the US with splinters of plate-glass in our hands. The splinters took forever to get out, and the alcohol poisoning was no fun either… Other than that, a busted nose from falling ice, and my current problem, sever elbow tendonitis from hand-hauling bags on a new wall route this fall.Nico Favrese: While climbing, I have never injured myself! Knock on wood! I have had my back tweaked a little bit. That’s all!Ammon McNeely: I’ll have to go with the time on Angel’s Landing in Zion while climbing the Dunn Route. Brian McCray and I were going for a day ascent and were climbing in blocks. We were two or three pitches up when he pulled a man-sized flake off. It clipped me on the head (if I wasn’t wearing a helmet I’d probably be dead) my right shoulder, arm and right leg and ankle. I was knocked out cold and the next thing I remember was Brian at my side saying, “It’s going to be okay, buddy.” He clipped me into his harness and self rescued us. Later, he said that his epic with Warren Hollinger was whirling in his head. An ambulance arrived along with a stack of rangers. I hobbled into the bushes and hid until they left. I just kept thinking, the last thing I want while in such pain is to answer a bunch of questions from the rangers.Markus Bock: Ringband-injury.Cedar Wright: My most heinous climbing injury was a Compound Fracture to the Ego! and a blown tendon pulley! I don’t know which one hurt worse.Chris McNamara: Fractured Elbow.Joe Kinder: I broke the Hamate Hook in my hand during a comp Tim Kemple set for. It was a reportable injury and was written about in medical journals. I was out for three months and had to have surgery to get the broken off bone out. Jamie Emerson: Popped two tendons in my pinkie, in the gym, on a problem I set!Sonnie Trotter: A broken heart.Andy Raether: I decked into the jagged ledges below Pump-O-Rama in Rifle. I ended up hitting rock with my right shin and removing a chunk of flesh about quarter-inch deep and the diameter of a nickel. If the rock had hit an inch to the left and missed my shin bone the wound would have been possibly inches deep. I got up the courage to repeat the rout three days later.Eric Scully: I guess if you can call the broken ribs at Indian Creek climbing then that is the worst injury I’ve had. They still hurt by the way, longest recovery time of any injury I’ve gotten.Brain Camp: I f’d up my ankle pretty bad in the gym, tore ligaments and tendons and stuff. Michael Reardon: One night, not too long ago, there were a few whiskeys passed around. Sure enough, naked climbing came next. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of upping the ante by doing an offwidth … The worst part of the whole thing is that no one was willing to rub the neosporin on my naked ass, and now Ihave scars!Rob Pizem: Breaking my lower back when I took 10 meter fall while trad climbing!Mats Mosti: A quite sore pulley, had to be calm for two or three months.Josune Bereziartu: In 1997, while I was working with a rounded disk drill machine, the disk broke in many pieces and one of this little piece cut my left hand extensor tendon completely. They had surgery and the doctor sewed the tendon. It was like two months without climbing. Just one week before this accident I did my first 7c+/8a route onsight. So, I was in very good shape at that time.John Sherman: The surgeon botching my elbow surgery, crushing my ulnar nerve and leaving my left hand partially and permanently paralyzed. No ulnar function for two years – couldn’t pick up a book, turn a doorknob, squeeze nail clippers, much less retract Friend cams, clip quickdraws or make a hand jam. Got some function back after revision surgery by a more skilled surgeon, but some hand muscles never recovered. This will plague my climbing forever.Emily Harrington: I broke my arm when I was seven – fell out of a tree. Nothing much since then. I sprained my ankle falling on Beer Run when I was 16 — got the rope wrapped around my leg and flipped upside down.Stephan Siegrist: In 2005 I had the big accident with Ines — first, it looks like her leg is better, but after two months, the doctors found out that my ankle was broken a couple of times.