slow hands



to me, slow hands means conscious movement. thinking through the most energy conservative, strength effective, and meditative breath muscular engagement, and executing with fine precision. for me, i think of everything like an overdramatic art film, no music, odd angles, lots of close ups…and in climbing, i always think of this opening image of a low pan over a rock with a blurred background, and this clear, pristine hand smacks over with a little cloud of chalk dust…and it always looks weathered and beat.

i can’t stand watching people pick at flappers, bite their calluses, or use those disgusting cardboard nail file. (YOU CANNOT SANITIZE THOSE PEOPLE) even worse, i hate being that person, so i’m not. save the dj, “pew-pew-pew,” noise, i’m not hitting you with the product plug just yet, it’s coming. before you’re ready to know what you need, you should know why.

  • you need calluses.

    • to keep it simple, they make it not hurt so bad when you grab sharp rock.

    • they protect your body from the wear-and-tear of your own equipment. like the rubber on your shoes, or when your rope gets 10-20 clip drag connecting pitches.

    • they’re a good indicator that your skin is healing and reproducing cells like it should anyway.

so, they aren’t the most flattering things, but we need our skin to callus and harden. but that’s not all, folks! you also need to take care of those calluses, keep them smooth so they don’t snag on edges and rip your hand all to hell. (i have this one melodramatic nightmare about gripping something and taking a fall, and instead of a blister or a tiny cut my entire hand gets degloved and Cedar Wright pops out of nowhere and uses a buff to bandage me, “Tis but a flesh wound!” he shouts and magically somehow my skin grows back by the time we get to base camp. BUT THAT’S NOT REAL LIFE!) so, there are precautionary measures to take in preserving your skin for more climbing days!

  1. Clip and trim away excess and flaking skin! It looks gross anyway, and chicks don’t dig it.

  2. File the edges and sides of your pads and key points in your palms! Rule of thumb, if your skin catches over silk, it’s not smooth.

  3. Use a salve after climbing or before bed!

Aside from wanting to be sanitary, think about being environmentally friendly! Get some metal nail clippers that you can dose in EPA and reuse! Put down that nasty little cardboard file and get a get a reusable one! SandBar makes one that has it’s own little case and fits right in your bucket, I’ll even give you a discount code below! Use salves and lotions that have organic ingredients and recyclable containers! In fact, since I’m on the theme of bullet points, here’s a little product drop, and what you will always find in my cute little black case of skin care:

Skin Care Essentials

  • Nail Clippers

    • I’m not sure what they do that makes their clippers so great, but i just got mine from sephora and they have never crapped out on me, and mine are like ten years old. But they’re stainless steal, so I can clean and reuse them!

  • SandBar HandCare

    • this little nugget is bomb. it’s compact enough to toss in my chalk sack, also can be sanitized, and has a 360 design so you can get all those weird angles of your palms! the grit design is more effective than a pumice stone, and you don’t have to replace any of it’s parts! not to mention, you can save yourself some cash by using the code AoM15 at the checkout!

  • BarButter

    • like the name says, it comes in a bar, which is super handy right after climbing. it’s 100% organic, a natural antiseptic, and uses lavender and teetree oil. this comes in a kit with the SandBar, or you can get the B-I-G Bar for lifting days!

Of course, staying hydrated, and taking rest days helps too! But on your active days, look into what you’re using, and how much you’re taking care of yourself! Self-care isn’t just for days off!

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stay positive,


KariDane Matlock