Prosthesis adventures – Part 2: climbing a steep overhang

Prosthesis adventures – Part 2: climbing a steep overhang

It didn’t take me very long to bring my “hook” into climbing action. Here are my very first attempts:

I had to make the elbow strap tighter after my arm slipped out of the prosthesis the first time, so I was actually relying a lot on the elbow strap while climbing. Except for one slip, the hook also stayed quite well in position. Taking it out of the holds (and also placing it in them) needs still a bit of fine tuning. At first, I was a bit hesitant to let almost my whole body weight hang on it, but I’m carefully getting used to it. I judge the risk of injury to be still a bit higher than climbing without the hook.

However, I’m super excited about how easy the hook makes the steep overhang feel! A bit of taste how it might be to climb with two hands… I was not yet able to climb this route without the hook (though I actually climbed it with the hook on the first day it was set), and even if I manage, I imagine, it will be 10 times more exhausting.

All this makes me want to climb more overhangs with the hook! And maybe try it on ice-climbing in the winter! 

Finally, I want to thank René-Paul Eustache for inspiring me to also get a trianing/climbing (?) prosthesis! And of course, the team at Hempel (particularly Karsten Müller), who made it a reality.


3 thoughts on “Prosthesis adventures – Part 2: climbing a steep overhang

  1. Hi Melinda,
    thank you and congatulations!

    May I ask you if you have some wrist pronosupination mouvement with your prosthesis? You manage very well various holds orientations with only one hook!

    From my side I need to use 2 or 3 hooks with different orientations depending on the holds orientation,.I need especially a specific hook to manage inversed holds.

    About the risk of injury you are right this need to be reduced in the future. From my side I use only one point in order to attach the hook to the prosthesis. This is enough and when you fall the free hook rotation around its attachment axis give you a kind of security to avoid damageable torsional or leverage efforts onto your stump…

    Good luck and happy to see your very fast progresses with your new device!!

    1. Hi René-Paul, I can move my left wrist 90 degrees inward and about 70 degrees outward. That way I am able to move the hook. But I still need to think about the optimal shape of the hook, and I was told that we need to rethink the attachment of the elbow strap if I want to use the prosthesis for climbing. I’m quite excited about the prosthesis though. I can use it for far more than I expected (also outside of climbing). I look forward to the developments also in your prosthesis. Best, Melinda

  2. Hi Melinda,

    about the elbow strap:

    From my side I have a sligtly larger strap than your, especially behind the elbow. This can increase the confort during one arm suspensions. I have also coated the strap inside with a grip (kind of grip used to cover the handle of a tennis racquet). The grip is very efficient especially when sweating, and has reduced a lot for me older possibilities of strap glidings. I have implemented also two addionnal straps linking the main strap to the prosthesis, and located on each sides of my elbow. Theses straps are very usefful when my arm is bent fat 90° for my prosthesis attachment. The main strap is also tightly fixed with some buckles to have a good attachment. A big drawback of my today attchment system is to prevent any limited pronosupination I could have.

    Another possibility that I have not tested but which seems interesting should be to have a controled vaccum system to attach the prosthesis (see John sedor device)…

    I will inform you about the progesses on my personnal device..Up to date unfortunately this is going very slowly….

    All my best


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