Category Archives: Rock Climbing

Poor Position, Distracted, Fall On Rock

On April 2nd I was climbing an overhung 5.10 sport route at the Stone Gardens Bellevue gym. The crux of the problem is a series of reachy moves over the roof of the overhang and up the next overhung face to the top of the route (5’ above the roof of the overhang). I positioned my body as statically as possible at the roof to prepare for the start of the crux. I knew that the remaining series of moves required a continuous sequence were dynamic and reachy. As I reached for the first hold above the roof with a dynamic move, my left hand impacted a horn on the roof with great force. The force and surprise of the impact caused me to fall briefly onto the rope. I quickly regrouped and completed the sequence of moves. As I was being lowered by my partner, I noticed focal pain in the left pinky finger with minor swelling. At the time I believed the finger may have been broken, buddy taped it to it’s neighbor as a precaution, and stopped climbing for the night.

Subsequent investigation by Group Health Cooperative diagnosed a non-displaced avulsion fracture of the left 5th finger at the proximal interphalangeal joint.



I had climbed that route on the previous trip to the gym and knew that the crux was a series of reachy moves which required the body to be positioned closed to the wall. The preceding day at work had been especially stressful, and I was finding it difficult to remain completely focused on climbing – my mind drifted back to the events at work. I was clearly distracted as I started the sequence of moves, and the combination of the distraction, reaching for the move and “throwing myself into it” to vent frustration I unintentionally slammed my left hand into the roof of the overhang: breaking my left pinky finger.