For some reason, there seems to be some controversy about whether or not a crack climber should use Hand Jammies or not. I suppose they just don’t mesh well with the whole trad climber machoism… In my own experience, I would say that the jammies work great and should be considered an improvement to hand jamming, much like the invention of the climbing shoe was an improvement to rock climbing. Below are a few of the benefits I feel exist with the Hand Jammies.
Easier To Take On And Off Than Tape
This means less time spent taping up. It also means they are easy to take off! So, rather than taping up and having restricting tape on your hands all day whether you need it or not, you can free your hands from the jammies easily. In fact, you may decide on route that the jammies aren’t necessary (or vice versa) and can easily correct the situation. In fact, because they are easy to take on and off, it is easier to condition your hands to crack climb without any protection. The Jammies work well, and give a lot of confidence. After one run on a hard climb with Jammies, you may decide to do it again without them… an easy choice to make. In my opinion, if you want to eventually condition your hands to not need anything, Jammies are the way to go.
Better Performance Than Tape
When Jammies fit well, the hand does not lose any range of motion. One can easily transition from fist jams to face crimping with Jammies. Jammies that fit well also stay in place. Unlike tape, they will not move, peel or ball up the way tape might. And if you accidently strap them on too tight, it is a quick fix of adjusting the Velcro. It’s not like trying to fix tape or having to start the taping process all over again. The Jammies also have better contact with the rock. The rubber, like climbing shoes, has good contact with rocky surfaces making it easier to feel better purchase off of each hand jam. In addition, there is a thin, lightly padded strip on the inside of the rubber, just against the back of the palm where the fingers and hand join. This little bit of padding takes some of the bruising bite off of jamming, making it easier to campus, or pull all your weight against a jam. Some may say, on lead the pain of jamming doesn’t matter because you are more focused on sending and can block out the pain more effectively. I think this is a fair argument and would agree with it. However, at the end of the day, when you are not on lead anymore and are planning your next climbs, a climber is less likely to have bloody bruises if they projected with Jammies (or maybe with tape).
In my humble opinion, the most common piece of trash left behind by climbers is tape. Whether it is at the foot of the climb, wedged inside a crack or on the approach, bloody pieces of climbing tape are a common site at climbing areas. Perhaps it happens on accident, or no one cared to pick up the tape simply because it is disposable anyway… Whatever the reason, trashed pieces of tape are a commonly seen disposable item in rock climbing. I have yet to see Hand Jammies left behind as litter. The Jammies are also reusable, making them better for the environment. Just be sure to line the seams with some kind of glue or seal to protect the stitching. Do that, and the Jammies will last for ages.
In short, I think the Hand Jammies are a nice invention for crack climbing. As the name implies, they help with hand jams. They do not protect the fingers for thin finger cracks or anything else… Personally, I find that it is enough for me to use the Jammies when crack climbing. Though, at this point, I only put them on when I feel I am up against something that is at (or just past) my limits. Sure, there will be the occasional person out there that’ll give a Hand Jammie user a hard time. For fun, see if they use climbing shoes… or harnesses with leg loops, or climbing tape. Ask them if they have ever used bolts! These were also modified inventions in rock climbing. Why the Jammies specifically get picked on, I don’t know! I will stick with them because when I need them, they work great for me.
Rock climbing guides have a lot of climbing gear- the perks of the job! But having loads of climbing equipment requires a special place to store it. This is the story of our gear closet, and the gear that comes and goes through it.
Welcome to the Gear Closet Chronicles!
Rock Climbing Gear Reviews
15 Aug. 2016
ROCK CLIMBING GUIDES
The Gear Closet Chronicles
Stone Adventures - Rock Climbing Guides in Joshua Tree and International © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 2017.