Here are some tips for our beloved equipment.
The mountain sports with its various disciplines is one of the more material-intensive sports. But you don’t have to be a gear fetishist to get the most out of your equipment. With technical skills you can easily improve some components.
The small 1x1 of the shoe workshop
To repair climbing shoes you need three special glues to fix any defects: Kövulfix, AllStarGum black and ShoeGoo.
Kövulfix is a glue from the shoemaking, and lets leather and rubber permanently stick together. It glues rubber edges, which are separated from the upper (synthetic or leather), perfectly and permanently together.
AllStarGum black and ShoeGoo are special adhesive that were developed for the repair of Skateboard shoes, where you often have to deal with worn through material and wide-open spots. You can fix small holes in the rubber (for example at the toe) perfectly with AllStarGum black. Holes in the upper can be fixed with ShoeGoo.
» Unfortunately, none of the three glues can be replaced by another. The investment is worth it anyway, because with the right glue the lifetime of climbing shoes can be extended considerably.
Adjust Climbing Shoes – Customizing
There are a few effective tricks to adjust tight climbing shoes faster to the foot. In general, the problems are limited to the toe limb area between elementary and middle limb. The old housewife rule to widen the shoe with the broom handle, is counter-productive for a climbing shoe, because you don’t want your shoe to be extended. Only the pressure points should be smoothend. This works best with heat and moisture. So immediately before climbing, soak the climbing shoe on the appropriate places with hot water and then climb. Thus, the pressure point areas get the required space, which they will get sooner or later even without treatment. This way we only accelerate the adjustment process. After the climbing session we allow the shoes to dry, so that the new form now stabilizes permanently. Finished. In Boulder shoes where the toe box is made entirely of rubber, the pressure points may be slightly treated from the outside with a smooth rasp, thus the toe limbs don’t require as much force to expand (due to production, at these points the rubber is usually too thick).
» Treat your climbing shoes only at the painful pressure points, without changing the length of the shoe. If possible, work in small areas, and don’t wide the shoe unnecessarily. During the whole process make sure that the wet area (where the abrasion is very high) doesn’t get into contact with the wall while climbing.
Climbing shoe constructions and usage
In his series “Road to Tokyo” Adam Ondra demonstrates in video #17 the different climbing shoe constructions and shows their respective usage. You can learn some important information here, if you haven’t heard of terms such as downsizing, downturn, pre-tensioning, asymmetry, flat or bent toe box. One more note on the recommended sizes in the video: These are always individual and apart from habit/pain tolerance, numerous other factors such as the usage, duration of use, season/temperature and previous damage to the feet play an important role.
Crack climbing is great fun. But it can also cost quite a lot of skin, if you climb in cold temperatures (then the skin is brittle) or if you don’t master the technique very well (then you slide down faster). To protect the skin, you can tape your hands. How this works, is shown in a video of Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker:
» Sometimes you can’t avoid taping your hand – either prophylactically before climbing or outpatient basis thereafter.
Sharpen of ice tools, ice screws and crampons
This old video with Michi Wärthl shows the essence of rasping and sharpening the right way, and is therefore still up-to-date:
Hydation systems along the way
For day trips – whether alpine climbing tour or mountaineering – it is crucial to drink enough for a continuous endurance performance. And because it often gets a stormy affair during these activities, breaks get easily forgotten. The results of this are bonks (empty carbohydrate reserves), dehydration and – critical in winter – a reduced blood circulation in fingers and toes, caused by insufficient liquid. For those who don’t drink enough this is a sensitive issue.
For me, the Source Convertube in combination with a CamelBak mouthpiece is the best. Advantages: No hydration bladder that must be laboriously cleaned and dried – instead, one or two light PET or Platypus plastic bottles in exchange. By the way, this gives you a better overview of your water supply. The CamelBak mouthpiece are the best on the market and also fit to source hoses. Adapters are available for Sigg, Nalgene and Evian bottles.