Skip to content

Climber hand care – a comprehensive guide

I only recently learned how to take care of my hands, and it has made a huge difference in my climbing. Maybe everyone else already knew this… but I only just got it sussed out. Here's what I've figured out:

  • Anti-hydral. Use as directed. You can of course find more links to its use. I use less than shown in these pictures, about once or twice a week, not more. Hopefully it's not giving me cancer or altering my DNA. If so, I would like climbing related superpowers, like gecko hands. And super-intelligence. And prescience. Though neither of those seem to make people happy.
  • Hand cream. Lots of different kinds. I like Climb-on, and Elizabeth Arden, and other people like JT hand salve. Several times a day.
  • Sandpaper sponge. Or pumice stone, but the pumice stone grit is highly variable, and I find that I never know what I'll get. Coarse is good for feet. Medium is good for hands. Fine is not abrasive enough for my hands. I got sandpaper blocks at Home Depot, 100 grit, but something like this probably works too.
  • Sharp scissors or fingernail clippers for trimming edges before they turn into flappers. I like these, though they are way expensive. They are way better than the kind you get at the drugstore for a dollar, though it's not clear that they are 18x better.
  • Rubber gloves for dishwashing, cleaning paintbrushes, any water intensive task. Don't let your skin get wrinkled.

That's it. Seems to put an end to the skin pain, and somewhat minimize flappers. It's daily maintenance, like shaving and brushing your teeth.

Update: I just climbed eight days out of twelve (2 on, 1 off, 2 on, 2 off, 2 on, 1 off, 2 on), and skin pain was not an issue. Endurance and lack of bouldering power, on the other hand… So to speak. Where's the easy solution to that? Anyway, Hillbilly Limestone is off the tick list. Done.