Our Story

My path to formulating food-grade skincare began in the late 1980s when I owned a medical transcription business and worked closely with a group of Filipino doctors who became dear friends.  They shared different therapies and beliefs that opened my eyes to so many new things.  I became fascinated with the human mind and body and began studying Eastern healing modalities.  I studied herbal medicine, aromatherapy, reiki, and energy medicine.  I created herbal teas, sachets, and other natural gifts.  I also attended craft shows and offered workshops on how to make products.

In the summer of 1995, my home burned to the ground.  I felt confused, worried, and sad, and yet also felt a sense of a new beginning on the horizon.  I felt both encouraged and at peace with taking my hobby of creating herbal products and actually turning it into a business.

Polly Glasse making climbOn

The next year I was visiting my sister and her boyfriend in Colorado when one afternoon they returned from rock climbing.  They asked me to create something to help heal their hands from the abuse they took on the rocks.  I walked straight into the kitchen and created something that would help their rock-ravaged skin.  It was the first version of what ultimately became the climbOn Lotion Bar.

By 2000 I decided to focus more on this lotion bar and the future skincare line I could create with it under a brand called climbOn.  The next year I got a call from someone in England who became our first international distributor.  A couple years after that our U.S. distributor gained distribution for climbOn in REI Co-Op stores.

Polly Glasse climbOn Founder

Over the years it continues to amaze me how a lotion bar made from plants and beeswax is a staple in the lives of so many people, covering all skin types, skin colors, skin ages, and skin issues.  Everybody needs healthy skin.  After all, it’s the largest organ in the body!  I constantly receive emails about how climbOn works when nothing else will.

Gradually I created other skincare products to add to the climbOn line, including lip balm, crème, hand sanitizer, soap, muscle balm, and insect repellant.  And there are many more to come!  Formulation ideas come to my mind constantly. I also continue to hear from others asking me to make something for a specific injury or emotional need.

Tommy Caldwell on the Dawn Wall

One example happened in the fall of 2013.  Professional rock climber Tommy Caldwell asked me to help him with the challenges of his skin in cold, dry altitude conditions. I immediately went to work on a formulation made 100% from plants that would increase circulation and speed healing of skin as well as help keep the skin warmer. I took a different approach from most muscle balms and leveraged Chinese medicine principles to create what was later named RIDICULOUS! Paste.   Tommy loved it and has used it regularly along with the original climbOn lotion bar.  In the winter of 2014-2015 when Tommy was attempting the first successful free climb of the famous Dawn Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, he set his alarm every 45 minutes during the night to apply RIDICULOUS! Paste to help speed recovery of his skin during that epic climb, which he successfully completed in January 2015.

Each product at climbOn is formulated with 100% of you in mind.  We use essential oils for their physical and mental therapeutic properties.  We use only food-grade butters, fruit and vegetable oils, plant waxes, and raw beeswax for what they can do for our skin.  We know nature keeps us balanced.  This is one reason we are dedicated to using nature at its best in our products: unrefined, not processed, organic, beautiful alive ingredients. 

In 2018 at the Outdoor Retailer trade show I met the leaders of an outdoor products company called Clarus.  Over time the conversation progressed, the relationship of trust strengthened, and they agreed to purchase and invest in our business to grow the climbOn brand and help us achieve our mission at a faster pace.  They have been very supportive partners lending resources I just didn’t have access to in the past.  I remain fully involved and continue working daily on exciting new products that we plan to launch soon.

Over the years I’ve heard from so many of you on how climbOn has helped you with your skin and provided a boost for a variety of physical and emotional needs.  My passion and commitment to the mission for this brand remain as focused as ever.  I want to continue to make products that help people repair physically and mentally.  It feels as if we are all running on empty nowadays.  We all have to dig deep, know our truth and be patient with ourselves and one another.  climbOn helps us climb on, over, down any obstacle we may encounter whether it's running an obstacle course or running after your kids.  It's always safe for you, your kids, your pets, and our planet.  You have my commitment that every day I will work to keep climbOn true to its core mission and values.  Forever. 

A huge thank you and much love to all of you that have supported me in this path.  We’ve made amazing impact together, and the best is yet to come.

Polly Glasse
Creator & Founder

Polly Glasse climbOn Story