Peter Lyons

Nov 12, 2016

Head First

I've been working a lot on my indoor bouldering generally the past several years but in particular the past few months. Shannon and I both have goals of going to the climbing gym a lot so we've been going about four times a week pretty consistently.

I've been taking occasional private lessons from The Spot's head coach Alex Stiger. I've been focusing on breathing, relaxing while climbing, only using strength and tension exactly where necessary then going back to relaxed right away, and general endurance and finger strength training.

Alex set a goal for me to climb 6 problems rated 4+ (The Spot uses a non-standard grading scheme unfortunately) by the end of October. I was able to do 2 but not 6. I made a less ambitious goal to climb 6 problems rated 4-spot in a single session. With the consistent work, I am now able to do that or nearly that every day in the gym.

Haven't done too much work on 4+s lately but when I do I think the volume of training I have been doing on 4s will help a lot.

We got some new problems set last week and on Saturday I was trying a tall, overhung, new 4-spot in the part of the gym called The Beach. As you make the crux move to get onto the headwall, there's a tricky left-hand sloper and a left heel hook is (probably) necessary to make a big move out to a right hand. I tried this as a toe hook, wedging my rock boot into a hold and making a big dynamic move for the next right hand jug. I missed and with my left hand on a sloper was not able to recover the miss, so I fell. But because my heel was wedged into a hold at the time my body inverted. I might have hung by my ankle or hurt it but luckily it dislodged. But of course now I'm totally upside down so when I hit the crash pads I landed directly on my neck, my chest crushing down into my chin. It knocked the wind out of me but luckily I didn't injury my spine or break my neck or anything else that could have been terrible.

It's a weird sensation that my friend Breanna, who rides rodeo, discussed with me: you've just had the wind knocked out of and your friends stand over you asking "Are you OK?" repeatedly. You are, in fact OK, you just can't say so while you're in instinctual survival breathing mode. Anyway I was eventually able to say that I wasn't seriously hurt. My sternum and pecs were sore though I think from my chin crashing into them.

I had to pretty much immediately bike home to get changed for a gig and go play a 3-set private party.

Overall it ended up being not too bad. My sternum area was sore for five or six days but now seems mostly recovered and there was never any trouble in my neck.