I keep banging my knees

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mack

Trad climber
vermont
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 25, 2007 - 03:11pm PT
I'm not sure what my problem is. I'm hoping some of you out there with more experience can give me some advice. Both rock and ice but especially ice climbing, I bang my knees. Both of my knees are covered with bruises in varying shades of black/blue/green/yellow. I'm headed to the Carribean in a couple weeks and will be exposing my knees in all their bruised glory. Is it too late to fix my technique or should I quit climbing (Oh horrors) till I go? Please advise.
Mack
Mimi

climber
Feb 25, 2007 - 03:30pm PT
Might be a footwork issue. Try turning your feet outwards to get your knee out of the way when you step up. On vertical ice, you shouldn't be bumping your knees unless you're stepping straight up. I've done it on rock, but it's usually when careless or in a hurry and not paying proper attention to my footwork. Sure does hurt.
mack

Trad climber
vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2007 - 03:36pm PT
Mimi,
Maybe if I start thinking about my knees instead of my feet? Or perhaps figuring knees into the equation along with hands,feet and balance. The ice I've been climbing is pretty verticle. What about knee pads? Is that dorky?
Mack
Mimi

climber
Feb 25, 2007 - 03:46pm PT
Not in my opinion if you've got a chronic knee banging problem. Why care what other climbers think about your attire anyway?

If it's not your footwork, you could be standing too close to the rock/ice. Stay out from it more so when you step up, you've got more clearance.
maldaly

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Feb 25, 2007 - 03:49pm PT
This is a cross post from another thread but it's appropriate to the topic:

Mal
Mimi

climber
Feb 25, 2007 - 03:52pm PT
Ouch Bob! Kneepads wouldn't have gone well with the shorts that day.
mack

Trad climber
vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2007 - 03:54pm PT
Hmm, when ice climbing I try to swing my tools as high as I can, so I move faster with fewer placements but as a result I am pretty close to the ice. I think I'll try shortening my swing a little. Thanks.
Mack

edit - fortunately they are just bruises (for the most part)
mack

Trad climber
vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2007 - 03:55pm PT
A Crowley, are you an ice climber?
Mack
WBraun

climber
Feb 25, 2007 - 03:56pm PT
I've banged my knees hundreds of times and drew blood.

So what! Big f'ckin deal.

Why are you so concerned about this? It's normal.
mack

Trad climber
vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2007 - 03:59pm PT
Werner...your a guy, it doesn't matter if your all bashed up. Guys like scars (battle wounds).
Mack is a little vain.
L

climber
The City of Lost Angels
Feb 25, 2007 - 03:59pm PT
Mack,

If you're climbing ice you'll have long pants on--no one will see the kneepads beneath and you'll save yourself a lot of bruising. Also, having the pads on will perhaps make you more conscious of your knees, and you might adjust your climbing to protect them more. Those long throws are probably the culprit.
Indianclimber

climber
Las Vegas
Feb 25, 2007 - 04:04pm PT
Sew pot holders inside your climbing pants at your knee level
works for me
Gives some padding and other than a circle of stitching nobody can see them
mack

Trad climber
vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2007 - 04:05pm PT
L,
Most excellent idea. I'll wear the knee pads at least till I leave on my vacation, after that it won't matter so much anymore.
Heck, in Vermont it rarely ever gets warm enough to wear shorts (at least for me). Right now, I kid you not, my left knee is so bruised it hurts to cross my leg over it.
Mack

edit - Indian Climber...Pot holders..great idea! Keep em coming gang.
Mimi

climber
Feb 25, 2007 - 04:21pm PT
Check out Jello's ice climbing videos. Pay attention to the monkey hang technique. This time-honored technique should help.

On rock, ice, or in the gym, try to move smoothly and deliberately. This way you won't lose track of your knees and elbows or prematurely lift your heels when in cramps. The key, as usual, is to relax. I know that's been my issue with banging parts. But like Werner says, it's normal, WTF! LOL!

Falling is another matter!
mack

Trad climber
vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2007 - 04:30pm PT
Mimi,
Yeah, I've seen Jello's video, a couple of times and I definately use some of his tips (Jeff is my hero). Monkey hang, nice solid triangles, I could go on and on.
Mack
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Feb 25, 2007 - 04:36pm PT
Read "Apes or Ballerinas" by Tom Patey. It has some useful insights into this subject.
d-know

Trad climber
electric lady land
Feb 25, 2007 - 04:38pm PT
quit being less than graceful.
mack

Trad climber
vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2007 - 04:39pm PT
We did this little number on TR the other day and I kept thinking WWJD (what would Jeff do)? It was crazy hard.

Mimi

climber
Feb 25, 2007 - 04:42pm PT
Very cool looking formation. And scary.

Where is Jello anyway? What say you Jello?
divad

Trad climber
wmass
Feb 25, 2007 - 05:17pm PT
When do you bang your knee, on the kick or when you move up? Is your boot perpendicular to the ice on the kick and do your frontpoints extend far enough from the boot? They probably are adjustable.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
New York, NY
Feb 25, 2007 - 05:24pm PT
I have a climbing partner who wears kneepads because she bruises very easily. She swears by them. It's certainly a better alternative that going cold turkey on climbing for a trip! What on earth possessed you to even consider such a drastic step!!??
mack

Trad climber
vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2007 - 05:27pm PT
I think it happens when I'm lifting my leg, before I actually kick in my front points. This climb convinced me to go to mono points. I have Grivel g-14 crampons and I switched them over to mono but I haven't been out climbing since, maybe tomorrow. The mono point does extend a bit further out than the dual points did.
Mack

edit - Happi - I'm headed to the beach and I'm....well you know.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Feb 25, 2007 - 05:29pm PT
OK, checking in and read this. Sorry about your bruises, Mack. On vertical, straight-forward ice you might try rolling your torso toward the pick placement you're going to pull up on. Then work your feet like you're liebacking the edge of a crack. You can backstep with the inside foot for a stable stance for removing the unweighted tool and placing it higher, in a staggered fashion. Then roll into that placement, etc. If you do this right, you'll conserve a lot of energy and your knees will never touch the ice. AAANNNDD...you'll look elegant and gracefull!

PS: your heels need to be below the toes. Same as they are when you high-step onto a rock hold. Not much kicking involved, either.
mack

Trad climber
vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2007 - 05:36pm PT
Jello,
OK, I think I've got an idea about what your saying. I'll see if I can put the words into practice. Thanks, I'll let you know how it works.
Mack
divad

Trad climber
wmass
Feb 25, 2007 - 05:43pm PT
Looks like you're getting advice from a better source than I. (Or is it me?) Anywhoo, I promise not to make any jokes about the kneepads.
rhyang

Ice climber
SJC
Feb 25, 2007 - 06:02pm PT
I wear kneepads when ice climbing - got the arcteryx ones, simply because I found them on sale somewhere.

Yes, the way I was taught they should be unnecessary in theory.

However, they have several other advantages :

 protects fragile aging knees against falling ice, which in theory should also "never happen" :)

 additional insulation ! Especially helpful on multipitch belays, where sometimes my posture necessarily gets a little weird.

 sometimes when following I am trying to get a screw or rock gear out of some weird place that my partner deemed appropriate :) And I guess that is where sometimes I bang my knee.

On the other hand, if all I was doing was toproping or single-pitch stuff then I think kneepads would be completely unnecessary.
maldaly

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Feb 26, 2007 - 06:21pm PT
Here's an On Topic but slightly off color story; I was theaching my clininc at the Ouray Ice Festival (Leashless Climbing for the Chickenhearted) last month and had a typical class, 6 people who could climb and one who really hadn't quite made the connection between her brain and her body movements. The poor woman would just climb herself into a ball, couldn't stand on her feet and was tauter than a bowstring. Now I've done a lot of teaching guiding and coaching and I pride myself on my ability to identify a technique problem and verbally help the person get through it, but I was a total failure with this woman.

She'd made it up about 40 feet without falling but looking as painful as you could imagine so I went over to Zoe Hart who was conducting a clinic next door. Zoe is one of those women who kicks ass, colors her hair red and can climb me into the ground when she's hung over, hasfood poisoning and still has her hand in a cast. She also instructs a lot of women's clinics, Chick With Picks, and others so I knew that she must have a secret code or something.

"Zoe. Help me out here" I said. "There doesn't seem to be anything I can say to her that gets her to stand up and relax." So Zoe checks her out for about 10 seconds and asks me her name. "Amy" (Fake name).

"Amy!!!" Zoe hollers up, and Amy looks down from her scrunched up ball and says "Yeah?" Zoe throws both her arms up in the football GOAL! handsignal, throws her hips forward and yells,

"PUSH THE BUSH!!!!"

Damned if Amy doesn't stand right up on her feet in perfect form...

I picked my jaw up off the ground and said, "Zoe, you know damn well that I could never say something like that."

"Honey. That why we have all girls clinics."

Meanwhile Zoe was up there flailing around with her ice tool trying to get a placement when Zoe hollered up,

"SWING LIKE YOU SCREW!!"

Thunk... A perfect stick followed by thunk... another perfect stick.

Then her feet were flailing so Zoe let rip another one:

"KICK LIKE YOU POO!!!"

I'll be damned if she didn't get her feet right in.

So jello, take your Monkeyhang and shove it. From now on when I climb I'm going to:

1) Push the bush
2) Swing like I screw
3) Kick like I poo

See you all on the ice,
Mal
Apocalypsenow

Trad climber
Cali
Feb 26, 2007 - 06:25pm PT
wear knee pads..................
L

climber
The City of Lost Angels
Feb 26, 2007 - 06:30pm PT
Mal--You've made the "leap" to chick-talk. The only one I don't quite understand is swing like you screw. Could you, er, explain that movement to me? (On ice that is.)

Thanks.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Feb 26, 2007 - 06:33pm PT
KickAss story, Mal! Hilarious!
Anastasia

Trad climber
California
Feb 26, 2007 - 06:39pm PT
Swing like you screw...

"Now I get it!!!"
maldaly

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Feb 26, 2007 - 06:40pm PT
L,
I think it has to do with hip movement coordinated with arm movement. I have to be honest and say that I don't really get that one either. Seemed to work well for Amy, though.
Mal
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Feb 26, 2007 - 06:41pm PT
Mal: A wonderful story. I don't get some of the similes - some sort of chick speak, apparently. Different species communicate differently.
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
Jan 13, 2013 - 11:52pm PT
bump for banging knees
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Jan 14, 2013 - 12:04am PT
One of my ice partners was talking about how he went out on a Grade 5 with a very enthusiastic guy who had a broken ankle and had rigged up a sort of knee crampon. Did the route and even led some hard stuff with one foot and one knee.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 14, 2013 - 12:47am PT
While it might be business as usual to go climb with the mentally handicapped you too have to be 'special' to go out with the physically challenged. Unless you don't believe in Natural Selection.
The Larry

climber
Moab, UT
Jan 14, 2013 - 01:00am PT
Who's the Mack?
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