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Barefoot climbing, Is it gross??!?!!?
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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Oct 16, 2010
Bocan

JPVallone wrote:
You have no idea where my hands have been and then you put your hands on the same holds I put my hands on, thats gross!


Lets say you go to a public shower...do they advise you wear shower shoes/sandals?? Yes! Why? To avoid the spread of fungus etc.

You don't need to wear gloves walking around any where. Most you catch is a cold.


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By Rick Shull
Administrator
From Arcata, CA & Dyer,NV
Oct 16, 2010
Grip strength training, Nevada style.

Gyms may harbor stuff that is a lot worse than foot funk...there's always that one dude/chick that smells really funky. I always thought climbing barefoot was good style, especially without chalk. www.mountainproject.com/v/california/san_bernardino_mountain>>>


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Oct 16, 2010
Bocan

Rick Shull wrote:
Gyms may harbor stuff that is a lot worse than foot funk...there's always that one dude/chick that smells really funky. I always thought climbing barefoot was good style, especially without chalk.


They soooo do. I've seen guys at the BRC that clear the whole bouldering area.

Now THAT is why I disagree with BFC (barefoot climbing!) in the gym. Outside is pretty badass, Henry Barber doing 5.11 barefoot is sweet. Stinky gym guy...not the sweet I like.


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By M Dudley
From Central Rockies
Oct 16, 2010

I'm really glad that someone has addressed this issue.
I've really been worried lately about alien obduction or perhaps a giant meteor destoying the earth. Now I have something to REALLY worry about.


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Oct 16, 2010
Bocan

So this hasn't been on your mind????


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By M Dudley
From Central Rockies
Oct 16, 2010

Sarcasm; remarks that mean the opposite of what they seem to say, and are intended to mock or deride.
I,ve been climbing all day and going out for a cold one. goodnight all. Have fun.


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By Tradoholic
Oct 17, 2010

A selection from the comments that prompted me to post this question in the forum:

"Traditionally climbers aren't a bunch of pussies that are afraid to get their hands (or feet) a little dirty".

Yea, feet are dirty, so are hands, and dirt outside is really dirty. Likelihood of some sort of infection on your hands from someone barefoot climbing is probably extremely low, even in the gym I would say.

Google this: Incidences of allergies are probably on the rise because people are TOO clean!

If you have some sort of problem with barefoot climbing you should probably lock yourself in a bubble and stay there.

++++ to Carl's post about peoples weak feet. I've been barefoot running for awhile and my feet are noticeably stronger. Everyone should try it.

BTW, I wear socks in my climbing shoes so that they never stink. CRAZY, I know.


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Oct 17, 2010
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

Hey Nick, are you climbing barefoot indoors, or outdoors?

I think there is a large difference. Poo-pooing people who can cite lists of possible infections/diseases that can be contracted from climbing barefoot indoors as being silly is ignorant. A modern human's foot, does not get washed nearly as often as hands, and is kept in a warm, moist environment, perfect breeding grounds for infections. A fungal infection, such as athlete's foot, is easily communicable in warm, moist environments (i.e. sweaty holds indoors).
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athlete%27s_foot

This may not be such an issue outdooors where sunlight and oxygen kill off pathogens more rapidly than a sweaty indoor gym.

I have heard many cases of people contracting Hep C from indoor cracks! Gross! Hep C is a virus and therefore requires a host cell to survive. If a virus can survive long enough in someone's congealed blood in an indoor climbing gym crack to infect someone, imagine how easy it is to spread athlete's foot.

This isn't about being "inside of a bubble" or being a pussy. This is about basic sanitation practices.


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By Tradoholic
Oct 17, 2010

Specifically this thread is pertaining to outdoor climbing.

I will concede that it would be appropriate for a climbing gym to ban barefoot climbing although it doesn't bother me indoors either. I can see a gym doing that for legal and sanitary reasons.

What I'm saying here is that people are over-exaggerating the risks.

After I'm done getting my hands in shit, indoor, outdoor, where-ever I wash them, especially in the climbing gym where little or no barefoot climbing occurs.

Being outdoors is dirty, life is dirty, wash your hands before you eat and you won't get sick.

BTW, I eat with my nut-tool.

The Pussification of America continues...


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By Evan S
From Erie, CO
Oct 17, 2010
Me, of course

Nick Rhoads wrote:
The Pussification of America continues...


I do kinda feel like a pussy for not dieing of typhoid fever, staph, rubella, or polio yet.

Damn you modern sanitation practices!!!!!!!!!!!!


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By Choss Chasin'
From Torrance, CA
Oct 17, 2010
Black Mountain

This is also an issue of respect. I can crap in hueco's and piss in pockets cause I like the wind on my bare junk. Does that mean I'm going to, no. Before you guys all poop a brick saying that's a ridiculous comparison, I know it is. However, we should all have enough respect for fellow climbers to not be a dick and do stuff that some people find repulsive. If your outdoors and there is hardly any one around, then do whatever you want. Especially in the gym you need to all consider that there are many people and many children. Would you like it if I gave your kids warts on their hands because I like to climb barefoot?

Before you all call me a "germophobe pussy" you should know I am not. I work construction and crawl under houses and in attics. I get covered in filth and dirt and I'm used to it. The difference is, is that, it's my job and it's necessary for me to do that. When I go climbing I don't wanna see the dirtball stinky climber rubbing his brown filth laden feet all over some sloper because "it feels good". A lot of things feel good but you don't do it around others because of basic respect. And, no, I don't feel the need to respect your want to climb barefoot because it is unnecessary and in many cases unsanitary.


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By Tradoholic
Oct 17, 2010

First, I would like to say that this is all in a light-hearted nature, I'm not taking this too seriously and I hope others aren't as well.

Anyway...
I'm not against "sanitary practices" I just think people are a little too paranoid, ok?

Or...Maybe I'm sick of all the whining in world that something isn't clean, or safe, or fair.

Two words: "Man Up".


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By Chris treggE
Administrator
From Madison, WI
Oct 17, 2010
Teh traverse.  Photo Ian C-B.

Phil Lauffen wrote:
I have heard many cases of people contracting Hep C from indoor cracks!


Umm, no.


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Oct 17, 2010
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

What? I can't just make un-based claims on the intardnet and have them universally accepted? Whats this world coming to... When I can track down some sources I'll let you know. Notice the heard.

Nick: "Two Words: Man up."

Thats fantastic. Try to make people who think barefoot climbing outdoors is gross(which nobody one this thread has claimed so far) back down by questioning their manliness.

Yeah, I've shoved my arms shoulder deep into cracks filled with pigeon shit while outside. But that doesn't make it ok to spread your nasty foot diseases around the climbing gym.


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By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
Oct 17, 2010
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lichen covered look from scrubbing a new route.

OK, I keep reading about hypothetical dirty, smelly, filth covered and diseased bare foot climbers. The few climbers I know who climb bare foot with any regularity are pretty much the opposite of that, less smelly, cleaner and healthier than most. Obviously, climbing in a filthy, diseased and contagious state in a gym or even at the crag with others is inconsiderate, but why should those who are clean and healthy be a problem? Is it legitimate for me to assume all climbers who aren't wearing gloves are all filthy and spreading viruses? Oh wait. They are.


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By James Arnold
From Chattanooga
Oct 18, 2010
Chew toyed

Chris treggE wrote:
Umm, no.


"Climbing holds with blood stains need to be cleaned and brushed, if necessary with antiseptic or disinfectant. They need to dry out before re-use"

You can read the whole pdf (Intended for Physicians and Other Non-medical Interested Persons) here...

www.theuiaa.org/medical_advice.html#Blood_borne_infections_i>>>

Although it seems unlikely to get hep, do remember that once (HBV, HBC) symptoms develop, "antiviraldrugs can only slow down the damage done, not reverse it."

\+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Exactly Sprague...

www.rockandice.com/latest-issue/article/783-its-not-a-spider>>>

Little brother is an infectious diseases specialist and general badass, but doesn't climb...surf punk...


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By Francisco Di Poi
From Boulder, CO
Oct 18, 2010

not that my opinion matters to anyone but me....but I am going to have to side with Nick on this one...I think that the more you stay away from germs the weaker your immune system becomes. Eat off the ground if your food falls! Don't wash your hands every 3 minutes! What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And I would hope a little foot fungus residue on an indoor or outdoor hold isn't going to kill anybody. Rub a little cream on it and it will go away in a few days!


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By Francisco Di Poi
From Boulder, CO
Oct 18, 2010

How many people/climbers do you know that have nasty foot diseases anyway? The few that do probably aren't the ones climbing barefoot anyway.


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By Doug Hemken
Administrator
Oct 18, 2010
On Everleigh Club Crack.  Photo by Burt Lindquist.

You can read the whole pdf (Intended for Physicians and Other Non-medical Interested Persons) here... www.theuiaa.org/upload_area/files/1/UIAA_MedCom_Rec_No_18_Bl>>>

Nice review article.

So Chris, the answer is no know transmissions. If one is going to raise this as a bogeyman, use HBV instead of HCV (read the review to understand why)!

As a former HCV patient, this stuff is of concern to me!


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Oct 18, 2010
Bocan

Francisco Di Poi wrote:
How many people/climbers do you know that have nasty foot diseases anyway? The few that do probably aren't the ones climbing barefoot anyway.


Yeah, I'm pretty sure that most folks with bacteria and foot diseases are not letting eveyone know they have them...kinda embarrasing right?

I mean think about it...foot bacteria, open flapper. Why risk it?

And really it's just one of those things when climbing indoors that people shouldn't do. I may want to sit at the dinner table naked, but I'm not going to do it since others may not dig the concept.


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By Chris treggE
Administrator
From Madison, WI
Oct 18, 2010
Teh traverse.  Photo Ian C-B.

Doug Hemken wrote:
So Chris, the answer is no known transmissions.


I figured that too, but on the other hand, if someone knows of a documented case of hep C transmission from a climbing gym, I would like to know about it. It would be hard to prove that it was contracted at the gym though.

HOWEVER this thread isn't really about bloody flappers spreading viral hepatitis, it's about dirty smelly hippy Rhoads feet.

As far as the original thread goes, I would prefer folks to keep their shoes on at the gym. Outdoors, whatever works for ya.


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By Julius Beres
From Boulder, CO
Oct 18, 2010
Rewritten

Wow... I'm surprised people are so hostile against barefoot climbing.

First, I run barefoot all of the time, but haven't tried climbing barefoot much yet. I will say that although my feet are smelly and nasty when in shoes, they do not sweat or get nasty when I am barefoot. I don't see how people can be offended by bare feet... You can just as easily stand in something nasty in your shoes and then get on a climb.

I think there is general consensus by most people that outside you can do whatever you want. However, it seems like a large number of people are opposed to climbing barefoot in the gym, citing health concerns.

Sure, climbing barefoot may increase the spread of some skin disease, but where do we draw the line? I have seen lots of blood and other nasty stuff in the cracks at the gym. Should we require anyone who wants to climb an indoor crack to wear hand jammies? (Personally, I won't climb indoor cracks because I think they are nasty...) What about the ropes that gyms give out for leading? I am sure dozens of people use each rope in the course of the day and I often see people putting the rope in their mouths prior to clipping... They could have all sorts of different sores in their mouths or other nasty germs, but the gyms certainly don't wash the ropes between users.

Obviously if you have a nasty fungal infection or something, you shouldn't climb barefoot in the gym... but one could also argue that if you have a cold you shouldn't be spreading your germs all over the holds as well.

I know lots of people who pretty much go barefoot most of the time and they don't seem to get sick or have more fungal infections or anything else compared to those who wear shoes all the time.

I would like to see some data showing that being barefoot significantly increases the risk of spreading disease.

One final question. Why is there so much outrage about barefoot climbing in the gym yet no one seems to mind that after a person is done climbing, 90% of climbers will rip their tight shoes off and walk around the gym barefoot. If anything, this seems worse to me, since you allow your foot to stew in your nasty smelly shoe, and then you walk around and others walk around barefoot, touching all those scary germs you have deposited.


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Oct 18, 2010
Bocan

Julius Beres wrote:
Why is there so much outrage about barefoot climbing in the gym yet no one seems to mind that after a person is done climbing, 90% of climbers will rip their tight shoes off and walk around the gym barefoot. If anything, this seems worse to me, since you allow your foot to stew in your nasty smelly shoe, and then you walk around and others walk around barefoot, touching all those scary germs you have deposited.


Maybe it's partly a real concern, maybe it's 80% perception, but would you want someone to stand on your kitchen table barefoot? I'm sure the dinner guests hands have way more germs, but it's perception. I'm just not super keen on watching someone climb barefoot(indoors) then following them. It just SEEMS kinda gross, which truthfully is good enough for me.


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By Sean Cobourn
From Gramling, SC
Oct 18, 2010
Caught Up In The Air- photo by Thomas Kelley

www.mountainproject.com/v/general_climbing/barefootin/106601>>>


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By Tradoholic
Oct 18, 2010

Scott McMahon wrote:
...would you want someone to stand on your kitchen table barefoot?...I'm just not super keen on watching someone climb barefoot(indoors) then following them. It just SEEMS kinda gross, which truthfully is good enough for me.


I don't eat off climbing holds, do you?

And if barefoot SEEMS gross perhaps you shouldn't be climbing since it SEEMS dangerous, eh?


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