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!?

Flatanger: Project Hard with Adam Ondra

Flatanger: Project Hard with Adam Ondra

First I have to say that at the beginning of this year I was looking for another challenge. And I found one. I became the physiotherapist of Adam Ondra and have the honor to help this incredibly strong climber to stay injury-free and improve his climbing, especially to make progress in his 9c project in Norway – called Project Hard.

As Adam and me planned in advance, the climbing in Flatanger would involve some fishing, or was it the other way around? 🙂
Anyway when I arrived there Adam and the rest of the crew had a rest day. So we started with the fishing first. At the end of the day Zuzka and me had to catch the food, because Vojta and Adam had to recover their forearms. 😉

Project Hard

After this nice fishing start it got serious. Adam tried a 9b in the cave but it just should not be. Later on I could watch him trying his Project Hard moves! Crazy, so crazy to see him trying something so incredibly hard and weird, upside down, overhanging and climbing feet first!
Just to be here, enjoying the nature of Norway, climb a bit myself and at the same time watching somebody with endless motivation and commitment … I’m really thankful for that. And all this takes place in the pretty and silent Flatanger region with its beautiful fjords.

Every time Adam and I met before this trip we had certain goals to work on. This time was different. I came to this spot to watch Adam doing the specific moves, right there in his project which I so far only had seen and analyzed in videos. Of course the question raised whether the treatments/exercises pay off or not.
And they did! This time Adam felt much better on certain moves we were working on. I could also show him one little trick in order to save just slightly more energy in the route. We both hope that these little additional things will work and make the difference.

But keep in mind what Adams project really is about: He wants to climb an 8b route, then an 8c boulder, the rest is an 8b boulder, followed by an 8a(+) route all the way up. This is in total about 45 metres of steep climbing.

Below you can watch some videos and photos of this awesome challenge.



Big in Japan!

Big in Japan!

Japan has a very welcoming and friendly culture! I love it 🙂 The hecticness in Tokyo happens in a silent and friendly way, that’s just mindblowing. And the food, sushiiii hmmm, so good. When I’m writing this I’m already on my way home, right now in 12 000 m altitude.

Team Austria did well. After trying to climb sick in China Jakob Schubert climbed really well in finals in Japan, ending up on a good 5th place. In bouldering very little differences can decide whether you’re going to make it into finals or not. Anna Stöhr did very well and showed great effort but her ranking does not reflect her performance at all. Unfortunately Katharina Posch, Berit Schwaiger and Alfons Dornauer didn’t make it into semis. Franziska Sterrer and Georg Parma did a very good job as well and could climb in semis. It was a well organized competition with only friendly and welcoming people around us. And the lightshow before the finals was just amazing!!!

Medical Issues

During the qualification swiss climber Petra Klingler found a tricky beta for the last boulder problem. She pulled hard on a crimp with here left arm. While the forearm was rotated she heard a popping sound and felt pain as well as tingling sensation. It would not be Petra if she would let go at that moment… good or not… After a brief check I knew that the neurological status is ok. By triggering the flexor muscles the tingling sensation could be solved. Later on with more time to examine her it turned out that she had a partial rupture of a side ligament on the elbow. Petra was qualified and very psyched to start in semifinal. Taking the higher risk of damaging the ligamentous structure even more, I prepared her as good as possible. That means applying a tape to support her elbow. Well the story continues. After making it in to finals, it was quite a task for me. Because of course there was no doubt that she wants to climb in finals. It was a tough call. I would never decide in such a situation. But I have to guide in a way. That means, we had another talk, check and an even stronger tape than in the round before. And it worked! I have to say that luckily I know Petra already better than most athletes (if not from Austria) because she has seen me in the Therapierbar (my clinic) a few times already. That made our work together and the whole process much easier. When you look at the pic of her in finals, you don´t see the strong supportive part of the tape because I covered it with some kinesiological tape. This was the tape bandage which supported her joint but allowed her to almost bend and extend normal.

Back to China

Back to China

This year I skipped the World Cup in Chongqing for family reasons. So my asian tour started with Shanghai, a surprisingly clean and silent city. Unfortunately half of the team already was or got ill (fever, headache, flu), similar to the german team. Nevertheless we took a very comfy and fast train (320 km/h) to Nanjing where the comp took place.

Injuries are changing

After treating the athletes of team Austria I was able to help climbers from other countries, as Valeri Kremer (Israel), Sean McColl (Canada), Ievgeniia Kazbekova (Ukraine), Petra Klingler (Swiss), Alannah Yip (Canada) and Rustam Gelmanov (Russia). Seeing it from a medical point of view, Valeri and her fingerpain-problem might become a rare case. In the past two years more and more injuries on big joints occured, instead of finger problems. Finger injuries are becoming a symptom of the outdoor climber, less of a competition climber. The style of the boulders, meaning climbing on big volumes, running and jumping, less crimping etc. is changing the inury behaviour. At this comp I treated minor muscular aching, sore backs, knee problems, finger as well as shoulder problems. We’ll see what the next comp in Tokyo will bring!

Stuck at the airport in Shanghai I used the time to interview swiss climber and Boulder World Champion Petra Klingler. She’s talking about her life after the World Championships 2016. Watch the video below: