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Barefoot climbing, Is it gross??!?!!?


M Sprague · · New England · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 4,989

Thnks for the reminder that ringworm and athletes foot are the same. I was thinking of another kind of worm. Doesn't athletes foot thrive in warm most environments. Most gym holds would seem to be a dry environment wouldn't they? I refrain from climbing in the gym bare foot as much as I would like just because I know some people are grossed out by it and some gyms do have explicit rules against it. I can understand and live by that. Usually I would do it the last climb or two of the evening, when everybody is clearing out anyway. I do think for the most part people over react to bare feet though. Since I have started climbing barefoot, I don't think I have had athletes foot at all, or other foot problems, unlike when I kept them in shoes all the time. Only a moron or very inconsiderate person would go to the gym with any infection.

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425
M Sprague wrote:I do think for the most part people over react to bare feet though
Maybe, but I've known some people that I wouldn't be to pumped to climb after them. Their feet are JACKED up...

To me it's like someone putting their bare feet up on a table when you're eating..just not really cool overall. Some people dig feet, some people don't. I just don't really dig some stranger's funk. I know I'm a clean person, but others? Dunno...I don't know where your feet have been before you came to the gym.

But then again if I see you picking your nose and ass I won't want to climb after you either.
Erik Werner · · Boulder, CO · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 305

To add some fuel to the fire - several of my lady friends have complained about catching warts on their feet over the past couple years and they each, independently, have attributed it to their yoga classes. It's a real problem, it seems.

JPVallone · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 195

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!

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425
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.
Rick Shull · · Arcata, CA & Dyer,NV · Joined Sep 2006 · Points: 2,890

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. mountainproject.com/v/calif…

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425
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.
M Dudley · · Central Rockies · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 30

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.

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425

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

M Dudley · · Central Rockies · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 30

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.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,365

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.

Phil Lauffen · · The Bubble · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 2,370

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/Athle…

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.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,365

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...

Evan S · · Erie, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 510
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!!!!!!!!!!!!
Choss Chasin' · · Torrance, CA · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 25

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.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,365

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".

Phil Lauffen · · The Bubble · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 2,370

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.

M Sprague · · New England · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 4,989

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.

James Arnold · · Chattanooga · Joined Dec 2008 · Points: 55
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...

theuiaa.org/medical_advice.…

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...

rockandice.com/latest-issue…-

Little brother is an infectious diseases specialist and general badass, but doesn't climb...surf punk...
Francisco Di Poi · · Boulder, CO · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 20

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!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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