Coarse and Buggy loomed overhead. I nervously took one last glance at the aesthetic line. I had been climbing for only a few years, but my raw excitement drove me to long hours of training and I thought I was ready for this classic J-Tree test-piece.
I tightened my harness, chalked up, and delicately stemmed across the open-book dihedral, which was split by a razor-thin crack. Gripping each hold like my life depended on it, I slowly made my way up the dihedral. At the top of the climb, I reached an awkward exit move where I had to pull myself around a small roof. I looked down to a micronut 10 feet below me. As my legs started to shake, I wondered if the psychological pro would hold a fall. I took a deep breath and cranked hard. Pop! In a single motion, I tore a pulley ligament in my finger and injured the rotator cuff muscles in my shoulder. Somehow, I stuck the move and made it to the anchor, but my injuries sidelined me from climbing for many months.
During this time, I was completing my Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy. Since I couldn’t climb for a while, and out of my own curiosity, I sat down and mapped out all the different movement patterns of climbing. From this, I developed new techniques and climbing-specific exercises, supported by the latest research, to prevent common overuse injuries.
If I had known then what I know now, I likely could have prevented my finger and shoulder injuries from occurring. So, I made it a goal to share my knowledge with other climbers. I created The Rock Rehab Pyramid—a science-based system that all climbers could learn, understand, and use on their own to prevent injuries and rehabilitate.