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.
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)