Vail for the 10th time

Vail for the 10th time

It never gets boring

It was the 10th time for me in Vail and it never gets boring. The routine of the Austrian Climbing Team starts with two days in Boulder, Colorado.
In the bouldering gym we gather with many athletes from all over the world to train one or two more times before heading to the higher grounds of Vail.

The quiet before the storm
Once we are in our amazing Lodge Tower Apartment Room 199 it’s treatment time. I prepare/treat/massage the team members.

The next day usually feels like the quiet before the storm. If not necessary I don’t treat. Athletes go out and explore Vail and the Mountain Games.
I usually walk to the beautiful rivers or ponds for fly fishing which is nice and calm.

The storm after the quiet

From that moment on when the Iso for the qualification opens, time is slipping away. After this round I have to treat: Athletes who qualified for the semis always come first, except there is an injured athlete.

And that is not an exception in Vail. I don’t know why, but every year I see injured athletes:
Kilian Fischhuber, Anna Stöhr, Katharina Saurwein, Johanna Ernst – all of them got injured in Vail.

Climbing injuries

So far I have experienced the following injuries in Vail: broken toe, asthmatic breathing problem (due to the very dry air), broken cruciate ligament, twisted ankle (two times), various knee issues, and so on…

Johanna got injured

This time Austrian athlete Johanna Färber injured her knee. Until now it looks like a meniscus damage, an injury which seems to occur more often in our sport. The procedure with an accident like this is clearly cooling and compressing instantly.
An anti-swelling procedure including lymphatic drainage can be seen as the standard.

One day later we had to leave Vail. For the long distance flight you have to be prepared. The main goal is to reduce the risk of a thrombosis.
Therefore treatments and preparation (compression) before and during the flight are essential.


Header photo © Eddie Fowke


Severe case and fun times in Vail

Severe case and fun times in Vail

It is already a pleasant routine to fly to Denver, to train one day in Boulder before heading up to the town of Vail. On this trip we missed Anna Stöhr, who decided to do the asian tour and skip the comp in Vail and the next one in Mumbai. But two others had their tenth anniversary of being here in Vail – climber Katharina Saurwein and coach Heiko Wilhelm!

With the first daylight and a jetlag we went fishing at 5am to serve the team with breakfast before 8am. No fish unfortunately but the coffee and donut afterwards were a known reward 🙂
For me it was again an inspiration to see how motivated the young crew of climbers is whom we are traveling with.

Medical view

The town of Vail is situated at around 2500m altitude, the air is very dry and with the sun out it can be very hot. All this, the jetlag and quite a high bouldering wall result in special conditions. So Vail seems to be one of the physically most challenging competitions around the season.

Severe case?

This time one of our climbers described severe stomach ache right after the qualification round. She had problems with walking, pain and described shortness of breathing at the same time. Back in the hotel I did a brief check on her. In the meantime her symptoms were:
Strong back pain and stomach ache, dry lips, she felt sick and was nearly vomiting. The stomach ache was described as “cramping”. It got worse as we did some steps together. Breathing was still a problem.
These symptoms could seldomly but possibly result from cardiovascular system problems. If this would be the case, I as an osteopath can not provide the right medical support. I have to make sure that she gets the best care, which means bring her to a hospital (know your limits!).

In her history there was a medical check up earlier due to partly similar symptoms, the result showed no limitations on her health. Nevertheless I was already asking for a transport to the local hospital in Vail to get urgent care.
At the same time I treated her in order to get the balance Sympathicus – Parasympathicus reaction.
And I made her drink a sugary soda. After that I worked slowly on both of her psoas muscles to calm them down.

The treatment worked out. We did not have to go to the hospital.

My diagnose

A cramping psoas syndrome and a strong sympathic reaction, both things could be a possible result of the competition circumstances (see above).

One other very positive thing changed in Vail. I see an increasing number of physiotherapists, kinesiologists, chiropractors traveling with climbing teams. It is about time! Maybe this is also one of the first olympic greetings!?