AC Separation Recovery: Dog Bone™ Button Technique (Arthrex)

15 02 2018

Hey guys,

After 5 months without rock climbing I though maybe there is some other unfortunate climber,  out there, with an acromioclavicular (AC) separation, and who needs some information on what to expect from his/her recovery.

Making a long story short, I fell during a road bicycle ride and got an AC separation (Grade 3). See the video below to add some color to the story, if you want.

I am now six month on my recovery, post crash & surgery and here are some key milestones of this journey:

If this is useful for you and you want some extra info on my recovery let me know. I’ll be glad to help!

About the dog bone procedure… if you don’t value shoulder aesthetics and carrying a backpack is not common, it is probably a good technique.



Climbing prodigies: 8b apples or 8b oranges

16 12 2017

Climbing grades are a subjective proposition about how hard it is for the common person to succeed, in doing a particular climb. It’s subjective because, no algorithm exists that allows us to grade a climb and because the difficulty itself is dependent on the particular biomechanics of each individual.

If things are done correctly, grading should be first a proposal – by its first successful climber – and, afterwords, a sort of average of all existent reports, regarding its difficulty – from those who have succeeded, in doing so. Of course, this average will probably be better weighted by the climbers experience and honesty, but this is another subject all together.

As an average construed by individuals, with different bodies & biomechanics, it has its problems and limitations! Namely, what is very hard (or even impossible) for a short individual, may be very easy for a tall one. Nothing new here!

Off course, if the only climber that has done the climb is 2 meters tall and the first repeater is 1,55m… one can expect a major disagreement, but, as more climbers repeat it – and the average height & reach of the successful climber becomes closer to the average height & reach of the majority of climbers – and the climb’s grade gets fine-tuned,  such major disagreements tend to fade or become less frequent. Therefore, differences are usually not that great and grading still makes sense.

When someone succeeds in a climb, this is not enough to claim evidence of a superior climbing ability (in general) over those who did not. It is however evidence of a superior biomechanical, or mental, ability to do that specific climb. Therefore, in theory no climb, on its own, would define you in your climbing level, but yet it does! Everyone, has met those guys (and they are, usually, guys) that, before wanting to know your name, are already thinking about asking you the number and letter that defines you (i.e. your hardest climb). And let us face it, due to the process of grading (described above), this number will tend to be a valid (though unreliable) proxy for inter-personal comparisons. But is it so for small children?

Would it be fair to say that a young child is not a good climber because it cannot climb a 6a (graded by and for adults) with very reachy moves ? No one, in its right mind, would suggest that 6a defines the child’s difficulty to successfully perform such climb!

Now, what if this child was able to accomplish a very hard climb, where the crux consists of very small hand and footholds (for grown-ups) and if the child is able to place its feet in much bigger footholds, closer to the hands, is able to use different handholds and/or if, using the same handholds, its fingers are twice as much into the hold?

Why are we so fast to concede that the child’s accomplishment equals that of a grown-up, in terms of biomechanical difficulty? The child did the climb? Yes, no question here! But did it do the number/difficulty? Is it a valid measure of superior climbing abilities? I don’t think so.

The appeal of finding a climbing prodigy is intuitive. Like in any other sport, we all like the idea of someone, being so gifted, that even in a very precocious age it is already able to do what grown-ups cannot, despite years and years of hard work, and how this prodigy may drive the sport to unimaginable new heights, a few years later. But not all sportive achievements can be communicated in a simplified way. Climbing is different!

If a ten-year-old child runs a marathon close to the current world record, as set by an adult, that says a lot! If child does an 8b boulder, I’m sorry, but that says very little! So… why do we keep comparing apples and oranges? Let us focus more on movements, climbs, ethics, stories, etc. and less on numbers and their wannabe heroes.


Can route-setters decide competitions?

31 05 2017

Here is a short bio-mechanics type of analysis base on a video by Climbing TV. Decide for yourself:

Tip: As a general principal, the more stretched you are, in an overhanging climb, the less weight (and thus grip) you are able to have on your feet and, therefore, the more stress you will have on your fingers and arms.

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The cited video:


I have all the sympathy for the route-setters who try their best to avoid being the protagonists. It’s far from easy, I know! But be honest and try, will you!?

Both Alex and Adam are excellent competitors and rock climbers, and this video should not lead to the conclusion of one being better than the other. Although it could have been intend to do so. 😀


– Always have, at least, two DIFFERENT route-setters trying the route/boulder before you say it’s done.

– If in doubt, add an extra foot hold or a different variation to the climb – making sure that difficulty does not change considerably. Different solutions to a climb will only make seeing the competition more interesting!

– The route-setter can be an artist. Some are and that’s great! But let that not interfere with finding the best climbers.

– It would be nice that someone would come-up with an illustrated manual, for beginner route-setters, on classic reachy moves to avoid. Example: Crucifixion move with big feet, reachy move to an undercling, etc.

Let me know your thoughts,

Ricardo Belchior


2020 the year when sport climbing will be in the Olympic Games

6 08 2016

Hey there,

I’m thinking about it, but feel free to stop me and add something:

Will I see the climbing events in the Olympics?
– Sure! I already love the Event and now even more so!

Would I like to participate?
– Most certainly!! Social recognition is a plague from which I’m also not free. Even without participating, I’ll be, in the eyes of others, a better sportsman. Just because some will now know it. Who knows, maybe in the future I can celebrate with my coworkers my first 8c and they will publish the accomplishment in the institution journal and family will call to congratulate me… ok, ok, I’ll stop here.

Am I so pleased to the point of not being upset by the eventual massification of my rock climbing spots?
– No, I am not! I’m not indifferent about climbing in silence in the nature or climbing in an “outdoor climbing gym”. If the latter was the norm I’m not sure if I would climb. And this is not just a wild guess. In 1993 I started surfing, it was a pleasure to find someone also surfing in my local beach, nowadays, the overcrowded beaches promote an aggressive competitiveness that I despise and think I lost the possibility of doing one of my favorite sports (as I like it) on a regular basis due to its massification.

Do I think the new money entering the sport will develop the sport that I love?
– No, I don’t. It will develop competitions, infrastructures and raise sponsorship – which I like – but it comes with a collateral damage for climbing in the nature – which I love.

Will climbers be better?
– Most possibly, yes!

Will the IFSC management and personnel benefit?
– I’m pretty sure! I infere this because, if this benefit would not be so straightforward I guess there would have been a call for opinions and a public discussion of the subject.

Do our best climbers deserve the recognition?
– Yes, I’m pretty confident that they are no better and no worst than all other athletes there (except for golf, of course). Ahaha
Will I became more skeptical about top performances?
– Yes! I’m not sure I’ll continue to give the benefit of the doubt to self-reports of ascents and climbing styles and doping.

What about the 2020 initiative from the IFSC: “Hey guys show some support for climbing in the Olympics!”?
– Before the politics, I would have appreciated to know the arguments of why this is important for us climbers? I would have appreciated to ear climbers who support giving their arguments, rather than showing a 2020 in their hands. Who knows, I might be convinced by them. The “let’s say yes approach” followed by a “YES” just feels short from what I know about mountain people.

(Work in progress – Let me know your thoughts if you agree/disagree or have something to add)

For another similar (more eloquent) take on the subject refer to:



Had a flashback when looking forward

25 02 2016


Looking forward… probably my 2016 climbing project 😉



How safe are you with a sling in a belay station?

9 06 2015

Very important video!

Thanks ŽIGA JANEŽ and DMM!


Places to go for indoor climbing (boulder) in Lisbon

9 11 2014

Hey there!

For those who don’t know, this year (2014), two new public places opened their doors for indoor training. These are specially designed for bouldering, and came to address a long-term unfufilled need of a place to train when the weather or the free time are incompatible to go rock climbing.

We still need a proper place to train for sport climbing with a rope (…anyone? 😉 ), but after such a long time without any public place to go for and train, I’m not going to complain too much. 🙂

I’m not going to stress the pro’s and con’s of each place as these are both very worthwhile a visit and they are both managed by friends (and I want to keep this status quo 😉 ).

Were goes the free publicity:

Vertical Wall

Rua de Angola, Edifício Lobo, 1º Frente 2620-036 Olival Do Basto, Lisboa
Address for the GPS: Rua Heróis de Chaimite, Olival Do Basto, Lisboa
Telm: +351 92 682 8307


Address: Avenida Infante Dom Henrique, Edifício Beira Rio, Fracção S, 1950-408 Lisboa
GPS: N38º44´22,3´´ W9º 6´8´´
Telm: +351 96 789 01 79

See you there! Cheers.