Keller: Humidity, Friction and Fans


Friday, 13 November

Martin Keller (43), who just did Unendliche Geschichte 8B+ in Magic Wood, shares some insight in regards humidity, friction and fans which he has learnt from this boulder, and part of it, goes against what most think.

"The "optimal" combo between humidity/temperature/rock/hold and skin-condition is different for every climber. Generally, boulderers are looking for colder and drier conditions as the skin gets harder and doesn’t roll over holds anymore (as is does when its warmer and the skin is soft). However, on certain types of rock (very) hard skin means less friction. The Bruno-block in Magic wood is super polished from the river; it feels like glass/ceramic! Try to hold a glass with super dry/chalked hands; it will slip through your hands. But when the glass is a bit humid/condensated you will suddenly recognize way more friction! That’s exactly what happens at Unendliche Geschichte - it's super slippery and hard when it's dry and you have dry and hard skin... but super grippy when it's humid/condensated. For this reason, spring/summer is best! A cold night with colder rock and then a thunderstorm in the evening (warm/humid air) will bring you best conditions down there ;) otherwise, spray the holds/hands with water helps to, but it never is as good as a thunderstorm and/or some mist ;)

A lot of people have sweaty hands and then colder temps, wind and may some antihydral can help As I suffer from really sweaty fingers antihydral (properly applied) helps me a lot. Still, I have very soft skin which is not an advantage on granite or gneiss. Wind helps a lot, especially in areas like Magic Wood where many blocs are sheltered from the wind. And as wind isn't always "available" I was looking for a way to bring some wind to my projects. That's when I started to bring a ventilator to my projects in 2016.

The picture is from Ninja skills sit 8C/+. When it was super dry and I kept dryfiring from the crux... I did produce some "foggy-conditions" with the fan ;)."

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