The Climb Stopper

My Experience with Medial Epicondylitis

For anyone who has ever experienced tendon pain caused by climbing they know the feeling: the trademark dull ache that raises eyebrows and worsens without intervention. I have experienced the many ups and downs of medial epicondylitis (AKA golfer’s elbow).

The first piece of advice I can give is: be patient. Look online and educate yourself. Many health practitioners are eager to call the condition tendonitis. They will tell you to ice it, rest, take anti-inflammatory meds , and send you packing. The truth is you probably don’t have inflammation in your elbow. Therefore, you don’t have tendonitis. If you have a burning fire like sensation in the joint then you many have tendonitis, and what is mentioned above is good advice. If you have a persistent dull ache while warming up, during, or after climbing then you more than likely have a form of tendonosis.

Whether your ache is on the inside or the outside of the elbow makes a difference of what exercises to perform. If your pain is on the inner part of the elbow with your palm up then you have golfer’s elbow, and this is most commonly seen in climbers. If your pain is on the outside of the elbow (tennis elbow) this can be irritated by climbing, but probably it is not the cause. The cause may be manual labor, or working on the computer long hours. From here on out I will focus on golfer’s elbow because that seems to be the most common problem for climbers.

The root cause of tendonosis is debatable. Imagine that every time you climb your tendon gets stressed and micro-tears. This phenomenon is much like soreness in muscles, but the tendon is a slow healer. Once a tendon is torn it forms patchy and mangled repairs much like scar tissue. Unlike scar tissue this repair is not strong and it will tear again during further climbing making the ache return. Also, the forearm muscles are strengthened and adapting to climbing much faster than the common flexor tendon. The muscles get strong and pull on the tendon that has not caught up strength wise. If ignored the condition worsens and makes climbing not pleasurable.

So you have tendonisis and you want to reverse it?

Eccentric Exercises:

Eccentric exercise is the phase of movement in which the muscle lengthens. In a bicep curl the eccentric phase the part of the exercise where the weight is being lowered (the bicep is lengthening). Eccentric wrist curls and eccentric pronation are the exercises of choice to aide your tendonosis.

See this article for the most comprehensive breakdown of the exercise protocol:

The angled position, volume (number of reps), and intensity (weight) is a trial and error dilemma. I have found personal success with high volume, and moderate intensity.

3 sets 15 reps (2x per day morning and night every day)

Some people find success in 3 sets 8 reps (2x per day morning and night every other day) as mentioned in the article.

What I will advise is to get an adjustable weight set. You will want this to help you hone in on the amount of weight needed for both exercises. You want to feel some pain while performing these exercises. Contrary to most other situations let pain be your guide. Make it hurt, but not to a miserable extent.

You will be sore after doing this and your ache may ramp up for up to 4 weeks. If your elbow feels miserable adjust the volume and or intensity accordingly.


Perform basic forearm stretches daily. Be sure to stretch your forearms right after climbing while your muscles and tendons are very warm. Doing so will gain flexibility and make everything less tight.

See this article for a few stretches:

I like to stretch multiple times a day for 35-45 seconds. After climbing hold longer for a thorough stretch.

Proper Warm Up:

Hopping on easy problems or routes, in my opinion, is not a proper warm up. Do a dynamic warm up that target the muscles you will work climbing. The best one I have come across is:

The warm up above is efficient quick and very useful. Warm ups aren’t fun, but they are necessary. You won’t look like a hot shot doing them but it will keep you less prone to injury.


Much of what I have read about climber’s elbow recommends rest and eccentric exercises. A revolutionary idea to me was active recovery. Dave Macleod touches on this a lot in his book Make or Break: Don’t Let Climbing Injuries Dictate Your Success. This is the only book I have ever seen in particular relation to climbing injuries. Before reading this book, which I recommend 100 percent, I took 2 months off of climbing and performed only eccentric exercises for my forearms. This time was absolutely miserable. Not climbing is awful for you and anyone who sees you miserable daily. I didn’t do any upper body workouts. Not doing so hurt me mentally, and later I found out physically.

You can and should do very light climbing in conjunction with an eccentric/stretching program. You do not want to have weakness in the tendons and muscles. Once you get back into climbing after a break the chances of injury are higher due to eagerness to get back to the level you climbed at before. Also light climbing brings blood flow to the injury and helps facilitate healing.

Light climbing is not pushing your limits. You have to go into a light climbing session with the idea that you are trying to heal, not crush. This is very hard to do. Very ,very hard to do if you push yourself like most climbers. If there is pain, stop. Cut back significantly on the amount of time in the gym, and the grade you are climbing. Otherwise, you will cause further damage and you will be worse off for a longer period of time.

Read Dave Macleod’s book. Seriously:

Make or Break: Don't Let Climbing Injuries Dictate Your Success

It costs a pretty penny. But I overnighted it to myself one day while very frustrated and upset. It costed me, but I do not regret that decision one bit. I go back to the book all the time, and it has helped me through many emotional setbacks from injury.

Other Things I Have Tried:

  • Theraband Flexbar: I have the strongest one (blue). It isn’t enough to work my tendons. I know use it as a warm up before climbing.
  • Elbow Revive Supplement: This product contains cissus quadrangularis. Many body builders and climbers recommend it. Does it work? Maybe. I’ve use it and it doesn’t hurt to try. I have seen results in recovery time. Who knows, it could be placebo effect. But the cost has significantly raised on this product. Consequently I stopped using it.

Take Away Message:

You need patience. This is a chronic condition, and it will probably re-occur. Am I fully recovered? Sometimes… Once I ramp up my climbing volume or intensity I have small bouts of tendonosis ache. The cure I have found is increasing the eccentric exercises. When I have no pain I do them every other day in the morning and at night except on training days. When I have pain I do them daily and the ache surprisingly subsides. The only true cure in your condition is going to come from patience and customization of a plan. The truth hurts in this case, but accept your condition and strengthen yourself out of it.

-James Verhague (B.S. Kinesiology, CSUF)


We’re Engaged!

It all happened after a day of rock climbing at the South Ridge boulders. James insisted on a hike to suicide rock.

This hike is awesome, but after exerting myself I wanted to relax and frankly— drink a beer.

James bought me an energy drink saying that we should really go and do this hike, and I huffed and puffed about it. That was until James bought beer to bring on the trail! Shh… Don’t tell anyone.

Once James and I reached the magnificent peak of suicide rock, I wandered around a bit to take pictures. He was asking me to hurry and come to this “special” rock. He was being pushy! And I’ll never forget how after slipping down the rocks to get to James, we faced each other and it felt like he needed to tell me something.

Once he was down on his knee I knew what was going on and I immediately felt shocked (in a good way) and smiled like a goober the entire time he was talking. I said YES, of course! 

The fact that this man had taken out a turquoise ring, put in on my finger, brought me to our love mountain, and asked me to be his wife still gives me butterflies (also in a good way).

4 Months later, our engagement party is underway, so here is some info that I will undeniably be relevant throughout this journey toward matrimony.

When is the wedding? October 2017

Where is the wedding? Idyllwild California. We have been here over 20 times together in the passed two years and it is safe to say… We fell in love here!

How long have you been dating? We were engaged at 1 year and a half. It will be two years in August.

Religious Wedding? I want a secular wedding although I am religious, I am not part of a religion with traditional wedding practices like Christianity. Short answer: No. 

Small or big? Small! My family and friends are so important to me. I believe having a small wedding bonds the family together.

Wedding Court? Not exactly. I intended to have no one in the bridal party because I personally do not like bridesmaids and putting them through the cost-machine. However, I made one exception to my best friend, Paige, and she is the maid of honor. It was a no brainer! She is my sister from another mister. Furthermore, My mother, my sister Victoria, and my other best friends all know that they are people I could not live without. they are still my support team for wedding stuff, I think they appreciate my decision to just have one “official” Maid. 

Wedding tag: WildVerhagueWedding 

Why the weird ring? Ok so, no one has said my ring is weird. I am ascribing that characteristic to it because that’s why I love it! Im a philosophy major. I’ve focused my ideas on understanding women, ethics, and race politics. While doing research on Native Women and our colonization, I developed a profound connection with tribal law, philosophy, and tradition. My ring was handmade by a genuine Navajo inlay jeweler. Wearing this ring is spiritually stimulating for me. I love it. 

One major thing I want to brag about is how James and I share many friends. This has made an intimate wedding possible! All of our friends have known each other for years, some as young as kindergarten, and I am forever grateful for his circle of guys and their support in our happiness. My girlfriends are pretty close with James, too.  My bestfriend Stephanie calls James her new bestfriend. I love what this wedding represents: not only the joining of two lives, but dozens of lives! As we mesh the family, it gets bigger and stronger. We could not enjoy life without love from others. Thank you friends and family for being there for us! We love you. 

Stay updated Via the subscription box on the home page. Our party is 7.30.16, and I will be sharing photos soon!

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Kansas City 35mm

The gangs all here! Took a trip to Kansas City Misouri to meet the rest of the Verhague family.

After this trip, some of James’ personality traits were identified to be “in the blood”. A full head of hair, and a charming sense of humor must run in the family!

Here are some of our favorite 35mm Kodak Portra shots. Enjoy, and hopefully this inspires some of those to go visit the beautiful Midwest.

How we dealt with rain in Big Sur

    For campers and tourists visiting Big Sur or another part of Monterrey County, sunny skies are idyllic. But you can’t control the weather, and sometimes you must reserve a Big Sur campsite well-before you can check the weather for that weekend.

So do not fret, get prepared and make the most of it! James and I hit the road in Orange County and did not see rain until we hit Ventura, we were aware that the weather in Big Sur was really a toss-up because coastal atmospheres fluctuate. But even with a chance of sunshine we came prepared. I highly recommend bringing ponchos so you can frolic around without worrying about the “wet”. That said, bring your adventurous spirit and have fun!

camp beers, rainy bridge, rainbow, James

I made a Pinterest board of (less obvious) things to bring outdoors during a rainy weekend. I’ve learned the hard way so that you don’t have to.
When James and I got to Carmel (we went up and around, instead of straight through Highway 1) we noticed the rain had let up, so we decided to skip putting up camp and went straight to Point Lobos State Reserve to take advantage of the sun.

We were right in doing that because once we got to camp, the wind and some sprinkles started again.

Here are our photos of Point Lobos:

After Point Lobos State Reserve, we set up camp. Which involved a battle with an easy-up, a windy fire starting, and then finally, we enjoyed an ice cold beer (or several) while listening to Deathcab for Cutie. 

This is where the E-Z Up comes in! Protect your campsite with one of these badboys, and be smart about securing it using bungee chords or heavy objects on the base of each leg. In conditions such as wind and rain, an E-Z Up can topple over your site. Lame!

The fire was hard to light due to the moisture so I also reccommend some lighter fluid. A fire can be lit without it but spare yourself the task if you’re cold, just get to warm in’ up.


We went searching the surrounding woodlands for a waterfall amongst the trees…Found it! Julia Pfieffer Burns SP has many easy to moderate hikes near camp. 

Ragged point + Sam Simeon on the way home 

There’s a trail down the bluffs to Ragged Point, it’s easy to find via Googlemaps. In the parking you will see some shops and a café, keep walking until you hit a sign that says “hiking trail” “coastal access” and make your down to the BEAUTIFUL WATERFALL! I loved this spot because it’s a river that leads to the ocean, the place where the forest and the coast are in direct contact. 

All in all, shoobiez gotta eat and seize shoobie-photo opportunities! I will always remember this trip as that time James hacked his ankle with an ax and managed to muscle through to enjoy a marvelous weekend with me! Scars are just testimates to a life well-lived, right? 

I may include a separate post with some film photos of the central coast- more to come!

Grey Day by the Bay

Hello friends,

Ruby here – enjoying a lovely Sunday morning. School is [still] taking over my life. I’m writing report after report, essay after essay so its lovely for me to write freely about our day trip to Little Corona Beach.
James and I have some news that I posted to Instagram, but for the sake of chronological accuracy, I’m going to catch up on our adventure-posts. So, late in the winter, James and I went to little Corona del Mar, which we have been to before – its about 30 minutes away.
However, this time it was gloomy yet bright, and it made for some AWESOME photography.
I love watching James explore the tide pools and rocks, so while I followed him I snapped some photos
that captured his playful spirit. We have lots of fun on days like this…
To anyone reading and looking for a spot that is some-what private and free from
shooby activity, this is a perfect spot. Be aware that there is a reason for that:
Wild life conservation is strictly enforced here, you will see tide pools and a nearby marsh that
is imperative to a healthy ocean-ecosystem.
So show it love, you know the drill.
Here are some of my favorite photos from that day: read the caption if you’re
interested in what is included in the frame.
Thanks for reading, —– Ruby

Beautiful Arches of the Sea

Beautiful Arches of the Sea

Exploring the Tide Pools

Exploring the Tide Pools

Grey+Blue Waters

Grey+Blue Waters

Sun Peering In

Sun Peering In

Climber's Feet

Climber’s Feet



Sitting on the Rocks

Sitting on the Rocks

Human Seal

Human Seal

The Other Side of the Beach

The Other Side of the Beach




Brought my Baby, Rose.

Brought my Baby, Rose.



Beautiful Gloom

Beautiful Gloom

There is no betta’ way to beat the gloom, grab someone you love and get out there!

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading!

Desert Holiday

Feet View

Anasazi View

Unnamed, Lonely Stones 2 Boulders


Just wanted to do a quick-post from our trip to Joshua Tree. James is the avid climber, but I love coming along for the ride and taking pictures; exploring

 However, since I take most of the photos, I’m posting today.
Also, in regards to being -about- five trips behind, I really regret it! I love posting and sharing our trips, but I have come upon busy times; being heavily involved in my studies and at my job. However, I found some extra time so here it is!


Unnamed, Lonely Stones 2 Boulders

James and I found this BEAUTIFUL set of boulders just after the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park.
We parked and lugged our gear over to the site, using his Wolverine publication of Joshua Tree Bouldering.

Beyond having a great time on the rocks, and enjoying the views from the tops of them, I especially loved our day together outside.


Unnamed, Lonely Stones 2 Boulders

Unnamed, Lonely Stones 2 Boulders

Unnamed, Lonely Stones 2 Boulders

ruby with a jtree

Ruby with a Jtree







Big Sur diary, day 2

For breathtaking views, loud ocean waves, and tide pools teeming with life – go to Garrapata State Beach.

19Mi. North of Pfeiffer State Park, this was the highlight of our trip! The weather was beautiful that day,
we had worried so much about finding the place, that once we finally got there, it was a perfect moment.

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James driving on the highway, here we come!

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What you see after crossing HWY 1, and before entering the SP

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Where the tide pools are. One of my favorite photos of the trip

Ruby boots, look out below!

Big Sur diary, day 3

Day 3, the last day on our excursion, involved a necessary visit to Julia Pfieffer Burns State Beach  (not to be confused with Pfieffer State Park). (this post by the way, is so many months late. I meant to post it back with Day 1 + Day 2 but I never published the post! Oops)

We woke up early, and arrived upon opening, with only three or four cars ahead of us.  There were signs that said “No Climbing” but, for the sake of saving memories – we did just that.

20 Minutes into it, a lot of people started to trickle in – and it was all part of the experience to hear families laughing and taking pictures, seeing couples kissing on the beach, and seeing children smile and run around the beach.

For anyone looking to make the trip, definitely do this one in the morning!

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Big Sur diary, day 1

Winters in Big Sur are the kind of preferred living , that based

exclusively on its beauty, makes a vacation fun. Day one started off dark and cold;

a coffee-pit-stop in Santa Barbra, a food stop in SLO, and a beautiful windy road via Hwy 1.

When we got to our campsite, everything was easy to find

and we were so pleased with the site – its much more developed compared to a yellowpost

site – but we knew it was not a secret spot. There were so many perks to being near everything,

at Pfeiffer campsite.

After meeting the storekeeper at the lodge (which came in handy over and over)

he showed us what he thought to be a guidebook for our adventurous spirit.

We had our sights on getting the most from this trip, and I’d say we succeeded.

Monterey county is a romantic place to go gallivanting, hiking, and sight-seeing!

Day 1 was devoted to familiarizing ourselves with the campsite, buzzards roost hike, and the

requisite photo-Op of McWay Falls.

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McWay Falls. Stood in line, a tourism-must.

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Beautiful pine branches

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Our go-to breakfast: Soyrizo con huevos

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These redwoods were our neighbors at camp!

Nature Girls

Gotta love a girls day!

My very best friend, Stephanie, and I have always been active together- there was a short time where we were party buddies, but we grew from that and she turned into my adventure buddy. (Not to say we don’t enjoy a beer, we just don’t do it in high heels anymore.)

She called me up saying, “Every time I come down people just want to drink or go to Vegas- lets go on a hike! I’ll drive!”

She’s from Carmel Valley, doin’ her own thing. Since she’s moved away from Orange County, she’s flourished and become more accustomed to the mountain-life.

So I suggested something new for her…A walk in the woods of Humber Park, Idyllwild. We packed our yoga gear, I grabbed my climbing shoes and we headed out to get some girls time outside!

Once we got there I had to show her around the town because it is my future home and I really feel comfortable talking to the various friendly faces at the shops, James and I have talked to them before. We grabbed a bite and hit the trail.
Spent a long time on the trail because we did some yoga, hung out on the rocks and set up a spot just for us to relax.

Talking to Stephanie, I realized it was auntumn and we laughed over our past Halloween festivities: carving pumpkins, smashing those pumpkins, watching American Horry Story, and baking love apples.

On this trip I explained to Steph how much I loved her. I told her I was lucky to have a girlfriend to hang out and feel great with. It seems too often girls want to compete with me, and as a result they put me down to level the playing field. I told her,

“I don’t need that from friends. I need to be lifted up so we can do more together! Just like you do to me…”

It’s good to have someone, anyone, by your side throughout your changing life supporting you.

Whether I was singing in the jazz band, or learning to bake, or getting outside more with James- Steph encourages me to keep going.

Anyways, I’m rambling….

We enjoyed the strong mountain winds on this day, it felt very crisp and cool. But the hike back up the trail was blazing because we just wanted to lay down- but, I kept reminding her that a beer was at the end of this rainbow; we walked urgently to the bistro and enjoyed two brews on the patio. It’s a tradition, after all!

Here’s some pictures of the beautiful day,

also there’s some on my Instagram@badmoon.siren



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