Roanoke travel nurses teach wilderness medicine to fellow rock climbers

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Bryan Simon climbs across a rock wall, mixing his passion and profession.

He and his wife, Deb Simon, are nurses by day and rock climbers in their free time. Now they're using their extensive knowledge to help other adventurers avoid accidents.

"It happens to everybody and the better prepared you are, the better things are going to be for you," Mr. Simon said.

The Simons, who met on Mt. Kilimanjaro, have climbed around the world. They're using their jobs as Aya Healthcare travel nurses to be in Roanoke, closer to Bryan's native West Virginia.

"I appreciate the fact that there are people out here who love the outdoors as much as what Bryan and I do, and they want to do it in a manner that makes it more safe," Deb Simon said.

The two know so much about wilderness medicine, they wrote the book on it -- literally. Their wilderness guide Vertical Aid was published in April. They also teach climbing medicine at River Walk Climbing.

"What we teach a lot is preventative things: how to warm your fingers up, how to prevent pulley injuries, which is something that's common for rock climbers specifically," Bryan Simon said.

They acknowledge it's a hobby with risks, but Deb says it's one she loves.

"You have to do it to understand why you like it, but -- for me -- it is like physical chess," Deb Simon said.

The Simons have a book release and signing event Thursday, May 11 at The River Rock from 6:30 to 8 p.m.