Post by jetjackson on Nov 12, 2017 14:51:52 GMT -7
Really went for it on Saturday on a run out section of a climb I was working. Missed the clipping jug on a bump and took about a 10m ride, coming up about 5m off the ground and lifting my belayer/wife a couple of m off the ground. Finished the route, sat down and my back started feeling tweaky. By the time we got home it was pretty sore and it's been painful/tight since. It's getting slightly better today but I'm supposed to be going to New Zealand for climbing this coming weekend. Hoping it heals up but probably can't take another hard fall in the next couple of months without flaring it up.
Keep going over it in my mind, but I don't know how she could have given me a better catch and kept me off the deck. I would have though even if there wasn't much slack out the mere fact that I'm heavier and pulled her off the ground would have made it a softer catch.
Seems the climbing gods really have it in for me this season. Might have to just do hangboard training for the next couple of weeks to keep my grip strength up before my back gets back to normal. I've read 3-6 weeks recovery time for this kind of thing.
Gets in my head though - I really want to be able to take 30 foot whippers on the regular so I can start climbing at places like Taipan wall, where this is the norm, but it won't be a go-er if I strain my back every time.
Seems more likely that you did hyperextend rather than compress your lower back then.
Backs in men are notoriously tricky, especially for sedentary overweight types (not you). Some people have reported faster recovery with a heating pad. Although for you the priority is probably just avoiding repeating this kind of fall any time soon. Easier said than done... may be time to TR and boulder for a bit?!
Ouch. Can't say I've hurt my back taking a fall, but I've had a lot of lower back pain over the years (probably desk job related) and something I've found helps is doing bodyweight squats, 10 or so, then holding the bottom position on the last one for a minute or two while purposefully allowing my lower back to arch forward a bit.
I take big falls on a regular basis. Having a good belayer that you can trust is pretty key. If it's a climb I know, I decide ahead of time where I can fall and where I can't. It it's a climb I don't know, I assess the situation as I go. If it involves putting myself in a position I'm not comfortable with, I bail, which is rare, but I'm willing to do it if I think it's a dangerous situation for me.
I took a monster whipper this season at the NRG, somewhere between 20 and 30 feet, and ruined a perfectly good helmet in the process. It was a truly bad and ugly fall. I felt like I'd been physically beaten. Physically, I recovered relatively quickly, but mentally I had a hard time for the remainder of the trip. By the last day of the trip, I'd worked out a large part of the jitters.
It's a valuable learning experience. An expensive one, but valuable.
Post by jetjackson on Nov 12, 2017 22:29:59 GMT -7
I get what you're saying about glass is half full, but I'd be operating on the assumption that a 20 foot fall would be something that should be considered relatively safe with good technique i.e. it shouldn't be considered overly dangerous to fall with 8-10 feet of rope out since the last bolt - otherwise we'd all be bolting at 4-6 feet intervals?
Yeah, it's not uncommon for bolts to be 4m (12 feet) apart here in the Grampians in Australia, so that's 12 feet, with rope stretch you're looking at a 25-30 foot whip any time you fall while close to the next bolt - even worse if you have clipping slack pulled. I generally trust my wife, but once back heals I'll probably put some time in together in the gym catching whips and maybe video it so we can compare technique. Would be good for me to see if I'm leaning back on falls and perhaps focus on resisting the back arching. Also, she could have flinched and pulled back on the rope when I fell and maybe didn't tell me about it. I don't recall a particularly hard catch - but that could have been the Adrenalin.
The next time I run at this route I plan on running a 3-4 foot extended draw so I can clip below this move. I'll just throw it on on my first hang dog run.
In the short term I'm thinking if I feel good enough easy climbing next weekend, or just belaying others. Hangbarding only for next 2.5 weeks with returning to bouldering as I feel I can take the shock loads of falling. Hopefully then I can squeeze a few performance weekends out of December before the Christmas break.
Anyway, I'm ranting, I'm just super bummed about being injured, and that's worse than the actual pain.
No one has mentioned fall factor yet, but that's a bigger consideration than the distance of the fall. Since you ended fairly close to the ground, I'd say that's a pretty big fall factor fall. You fell 10m and ended up 5m off the ground, which means you were 5m above your bolt, and 15m above ground (totally ignoring rope stretch and belayer lift). That's a 0.67 fall factor fall, which is pretty high in my opinion.
Also, when you're really going for a move, often you can't control how you fall. I've fallen upside down once when I was desperately trying to hold a heelhook around an arete. No rope behind the leg, the way I peeled off the wall simply rotated me upside down. So maybe when you fell you were rotating backwards, and the catch hyperextended your back. It's really hard to say what you can do in this situation, my suggestion would be, try not to fall close to the ground. Personally, I'm more willing to "go for it" when the crux is high up on a route with clean falls; when I'm close to the ground, I'm more likely to take instead.
Last Edit: Nov 12, 2017 22:58:38 GMT -7 by aikibujin
Post by jetjackson on Nov 12, 2017 23:19:47 GMT -7
Yeah, That's true, I didn't think about that. The other thing to consider is that I took a couple of smaller falls on the end of that rope before restarting the fall - the main crux is at the start... so it probably lost some of it's dynamic stretch on those falls.
I think the gym catch practice is a good idea (once you're healthy).
Belaying is considered a simple, boring, mundane chore. But in reality it's very complex and becoming a skilled belayer takes a lot of practice and attention. A belayer needs to be aware of the weight difference between himself and the leader, and then constantly be calculating what the fall looks like. He needs to know if he'll be taking in a shot of rope (because hitting something, including the ground, is a likely) or if he'll be jumping with the catch (to give a softer catch because it's safe to do so), and the weight difference matters here. On trad leads the belayer should be considering quality of gear and thinking about the fall if a piece pulls as well.
In my first year of climbing my leader was on Butterballs (Nabisco Wall, Yosemite) and took a 25' fall, pulling me off the belay ledge for a soft catch. But I was very rattled being shot up in to the air so high off the ground that the next time, I anchored myself down to the belay ledge. I didn't realize this would make the catch much harder, but of course it did (since I couldn't be launched up), and the next time he took that fall he sprained his ankle pretty badly.
Post by jetjackson on Nov 27, 2017 15:23:00 GMT -7
Went to the physio for this about a week and a half after the injury. It probably would have been milder and recovered faster if the rest of my life stuff had not been so hectic.
She thought it was mechanical - so no disc injury or anything. She thinks I've just compressed/bruised some of the tissue between two the 'spinous process' and that the rest of my back muscles have tightened up to stabalize it.
Been doing some light bouldering and easier climbing, should be back at it fully in another 2 weeks.
Bit down about losing two thirds of my performance peak though. One of these days I'll get a full performance phase with no issues.
Can't you just TR something really hard while you're at a peak? I know the "standard" is to lead, but hey, if you want to push yourself and see what you can do without risking a whipper, why not just TR instead of wasting it?!