Onsight Rock Gym

5335 Western Avenue

Knoxville, TN 37921

(865) 888-9123

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5335 Western Avenue
Knoxville, TN, 37921


Onsight Rock Gym is a brand new, world-class indoor rock climbing gym in Knoxville. Featuring over 12,000 sq feet of climbing surface and walls that soar over 50 feet tall, we are Knoxville's largest and tallest rock climbing gym. Onsight offers top rope/lead climbing and bouldering for all ages and abilities as well as a wide array of programming for adults and youth. Onsight even has a separate climbing room for private parties and events. We are proud to be a part of Knoxville's community! 


Onsight Rock Gym's blog. Stay updated on news and events!

Climb On Lotion Bar vs. Rhino Repair Cream

Yolanda Chen

Gear Review - Climb On Lotion Bar vs. Rhino Repair Cream

Climbing inside or outside puts a beating on your skin that requires proactive rejuvenation effort in order to get back on the rocks ASAP. I repeat: proactive rejuvenation effort. If you aren’t hip to this jive, then you are missing the boat, my friend. Take care of your skin and it will take care of you! There are a number of options out there for finger tip repair, and Onsight Rock Gym carries two different but equally valuable products products.

ClimbOn Lotion Bar

The ClimbOn lotion bar has been on the market for many years and has earned a constant place in the front pockets of many climbers. During the storied 2015 first free ascent of The Dawn Wall on Yosemite’s El Capitan, Kevin Jorgeson famously used ClimbOn to recover his skin enough to finally succeed on the crimpy traverse of pitch 15. Slightly less worthy of national news, I have used ClimbOn for nearly 18 years of post-climbing skin farming and I have no doubt that the stuff can be traced through my DNA.

ClimbOn is a lotion bar with beeswax as its principle ingredient, So it does leave a waxy, somewhat greasy layer on your skin for a few minutes after application. This side-effect bothers some people and, if you just can’t handle it, then ClimbOn may not be the product for you. But I will have you know that the greasiness you feel is the product working by creating an occlusive environment that brings rapid healing to your worn-out tips and creases. When using ClimbOn, I am simply careful not to touch anything for a couple of minutes after application. No biggie.

One of the main advantages of ClimbOn as a lotion bar is that the bar can easily be applied to specific areas of need. If you have a split crease in your finger, a particularly raw fingertip, or one of those super-painful skin-to-fingernail separations (ouch!), you can hit that puppy with the focus using the ClimbOn lotion bar. Not as fun-and-easy with a cream.

Rhino Skin Solutions Repair Cream

Rhino Skin Solutions is the new kid on the climber skin care block, but many top climbers have already adopted it as their preferred brand for an entire array skin solution products. Rhino’s Repair cream offers a non-greasy skin repair solution. Repair is water-based instead of wax-based, so it does not leave a waxy residue on your skin. Whereas I need to wait a few minutes before touching things after applying ClimbOn, I need to wait about thirty seconds to do so after slapping on some Repair cream. This makes Repair especially convenient to use in a number of situations when you don’t have time just to stare at your beat up hands.

One of the aspects of Repair that many people rave about is the smell. Whereas ClimbOn has a pleasant but subdued odor, Repair comes with a menthol fragrance strong enough to clean out your sinuses while also healing your tips. The menthol in Repair goes beyond just smelling nice, though, as this ingredient does have an anti-inflammatory effect. In this way, Repair goes somewhat above and beyond being a skin care product to being a whole-hand-healing-helper.

My Choice

As I mentioned earlier, I am a long-time ClimbOn user who has learned how to integrate ClimbOn application in such a way that my hands aren’t slipping and sliding through daily life. I did use Rhino Repair cream exclusively for about a month and found it to be effective in promoting skin recovery, but not as effective as ClimbOn. There just seems to be a correlation between the amount of time the product stays on your fingertips (i.e. greasy fingertips) and the effectiveness of the product in healing your fingertips. Thus, you will usually find me with a tin of ClimbOn easily within arm’s reach. As ClimbOn’s slogan says, “Never be far from the bar!”

However, I have also continued to use Rhino Repair cream on occasion due its speedy-drying capabilities and its anti-inflammatory properties. If you are someone who wants to repair skin but also use your hands almost immediately, Rhino Repair cream is a great way to strike that balance. If you are someone who’s hands become particularly swollen and/or inflamed after a taxing climbing session, then Rhino Repair cream may help to alleviate some swelling and soreness.

A final key variable in this equation is the climber’s skin which is certainly different from one climber to the next. You may try Rhino Repair cream and decide that it is much more effective for you than ClimbOn. While ClimbOn has worked best for me, your different skin my yield a different outcome. Therefore, I would certainly recommend testing each option for yourself to see which works best for you.

-- Jonathan Carter (Facility Manager and Head Coach)

The Rise of Geometric Assisted Braking Devices

Yolanda Chen

When you hear “assisted braking device” in the climbing world, many people’s minds automatically wander to the GriGri. The GriGri, a mechanical assisted braking device, was a revolution in belay device technology and, alongside standard tube-style belay devices, it is arguably one of the most commonly used belay devices available on the market today. However, a new contender: tube style assisted (or geometric assisted) braking devices, has the potential to give the GriGri (and other mechanical assisted braking devices) a run for its money. Examples of this new(er) style of belay device include the Mammut Smart Alpine, the Edelrid Mega Jul, and the Black Diamond ATC Pilot. These devices have risen in popularity over the last decade for several reasons.

 Black Diamond ATC Pilot

Black Diamond ATC Pilot

 Mammut Smart Alpine

Mammut Smart Alpine

 Edelrid Mega Jul

Edelrid Mega Jul

First is ease of use. Although GriGri’s are becoming more prevalent, many new climbers still learn to belay on standard tube style belay devices. Since these new assisted braking devices load and take in slack in the same way as a standard tube style, the initial transition is easier. Due to its tube style nature, these new assisted braking devices are also ambidextrous, allowing the belayer to confidently and competently use the left or right hand as a brake hand without having to learn an awkward and complicated method or switching to the non-dominant hand for the brake hand. Lowering requires manipulating the angle of the device using a thumb-catch and keeping both hands on the brake strand which gives the belayer greater control over the lowering process. Even paying out slack to a leader can be simplified with these devices while still having the comfort of an assisted braking device. To pay out rope on these devices, a belayer (while maintaining control of the brake strand) loops their thumb through the catch, manipulates the angle of the device to allow rope to feed through and pays out slack with the guide hand.

The second advantage of tube style assisted braking devices is the price. The initial cost of climbing gear can create a barrier of entry for new climbers. When buying equipment, most climbers want dependable gear that can be trusted. Due to the added safety associated with a mechanical braking device, many climbers are able to justify the cost. With tube style assisted braking devices minimalist design, prices tend to range between a third ($30 for the Mega Jul) to a half ($45 for ATC Pilot and $50 for Smart Alpine) of the GriGri while carrying a similar assisted braking safety feature. For the safety conscious climber on a budget, these devices offer peace of mind and leave a little something in the wallet!

Finally, these devices excel in versatility as well. I once had a mentor tell me that versatility in climbing gear is a necessity. As climbers we experience a multitude of scenarios in which we need our equipment to perform and protect. If a piece of gear only has one use, why get it? When we take our climbing outside and begin to expand our horizons, we may find that we need our belay devices to perform a myriad of tasks including, but not limited to, belaying from the ground, belaying a second, rappelling, belaying with twin ropes, etc. This is another area in which the tube style assisted braking devices excel. With many models having two tubes, belaying on twin ropes or rappelling becomes a possibility that is not achievable by the GriGri and other mechanical assisted braking devices. Although belaying a second is possible on the GriGri, many of the tube style assisted braking devices have a “guide’ mode, while allows the belayer at the top of a pitch to belay the second with an auto-blocking device.

Different styles of belay devices will find favor with different climbers for a variety of reasons. With the added versatility over mechanical assisted braking devices, lower price points, and easier transition while maintaining the comfort of an assisted braking devices, these new geometric assisted braking devices are sure to find favor across the climbing spectrum. Newer climbers will enjoy the ease of use with the comfort of assisted braking functions while more experienced climbers will appreciate the versatility and lower costs!

-- Hall Melbane (Front Desk Staff, Climbing Instructor)

Gear Review: Dry Pointe Shoe Inserts

Yolanda Chen

Long before your climbing shoes die, they smell dead. You know it, your climbing partner knows it, the cute girl who just scooted away from you in the bouldering cave knows it - your climbing shoes stink! And that stench is a sure sign of a bumping microbial house party happening right where you stick your little piggies every time you shoe up to climb. Stinky and infectious!


But there is hope, my foul-footed friend! Meet Dry Pointe Shoe Inserts, your shoe sanitation solution. Dry Pointe Shoe Inserts are triple-layered mesh balls that contain eco-friendly, wide-pore silica gel particles. The inserts can absorb over 80% of their weight and they can easily and repeatedly be recharged in the microwave after they begin to lose their effectiveness (every 6-8 months or so). Just stick them in the toe box of your shoes and the inserts begin working immediately.

Silica gel is used world-wide for absorbing moisture (think of all those “do not eat” silica packets you get with the products you buy), so it’s not like Dry Pointe is using some unproven, proprietary concoction. The contents of these inserts are sure to dry out your shoes (climbing or otherwise), gym bag, or any other damp area (maybe not your flooded basement!).


I have been using Dry Pointe Shoe Inserts for several weeks and have absolutely noticed the difference. After a hard training session, my shoes go straight from my sweaty feet into my dark, cool gym bag. But with Dry Pointe Shoe Inserts, my shoes come back out bone dry the next day. These dried-out shoes smell better and actually perform better. Since my shoes aren’t damp, they keep their shape and my toes don’t slosh around in the toe box. Please refer to the following infographic:

Dry Shoes → Better Footwork → Greater Confidence & Energy Efficiency → V16 & / or 5.15c

Ipso facto, Dry Pointe Shoe Inserts are a must have for the inside of any climbing shoe!

-- Jonathan Carter, Onsight Facility Manager/Head Youth Coach