Climbing Hand Care by Guest Contributor Justin Fricke
I think it’s safe to say that most everyone wants to keep their skin moist and feelings silky smooth, especially their hands. Think about it, you do so much with your hands and most every situation calls for your hands to be clean and smooth. Whether it’s at a business meeting, the first time you shake hands with someone, even the first time you hold hands with that special someone; you want your hands looking and feeling their best.
That being said, it’s no question that us rock climbers are a breed of our own since we want our hands to be callused up and feeling rough. Believe it or not, rock climbers (including chick climbers) work hard to get calluses on their fingers. It’s sort of a pride think, a sense of accomplishment. When we’re climbing, calluses actually help protect our fingers from getting all cut up and just plain hurting. That’s why we work hard to get them, but most climbers don’t maintain them and overtime end up getting a flapper. That’s pretty much when a sharp hold just rips off that beloved callus and exposes fresh tender skin beneath it. Flappers can even prevent rock climbers from climbing for a couple weeks because they’re so painful and can take a while to heal.
Maintaining “rock climbing hands” is a pretty simple task. I like to wash my hands first, so my skin’s a little softer, after you jump out of the shower works as well. First, take a nail file and lightly rub it against your calluses one at a time. If you don’t have a nail file or simply don’t want to own one because you’re too hard core, some fine grit sandpaper from your local hardware store will work just fine. After a little bit of shaving you probably see some skin flaking up. Whatever you do, don’t pull it off! That just plain hurts. Instead, take some sharp nail clippers (not the ones that have been sitting in your medicine cabinet for 3+ years) and clip off that dead skin.
Now you’re thinking to yourself “What did I just do? My hands look worse than before!” Before you grab the torch and pitchfork in your garage and get the rest of the village to come hunt me down, take your ClimbOn! Bar or crossFIXE and start rubbing it over the areas you’ve been working on. Give it a couple hours and you should see beautiful calluses on your hands and fingers. Instead of being rough, yellow, and just plain gross; they’ll be smaller, smoother, and look a heck of a lot more healthy and presentable.
Do this about once a week or as needed. This will help keep the skin on your hands healthy and will definitely help reduce the amount of flappers you get.