How To Deal With Rock Climbing Flappers (Definitive Guide)

If you’ve ever had climbing flappers, you’ll know it’s not a good experience for a climber. The flapper is an enemy of rock climbing and a painful sore that afflicts climbers. Some have it pretty often, others rarely have it.

If flappers are common to rock climbing, is there any preventive measure that can be taken to avoid them? The good news is that there’s a way to circumvent this ugly experience and have a less painful climb.

What Are Flappers?

Climbing flappers usually result from blisters of torn calluses. It is also believed that you can get a flapper from popping blisters on your hand. Some result from accidents while others — in most cases are due to negligence. No matter the case, they are not always planned for.

Climbing flappers

Ranging from the size of the flapper to its cause, different determining factors cause your wound to be peculiar to you. Having all of these in mind, it is sacrosanct for you to deeply understand the basic cause of flappers and how to prevent them.

Effective Ways To Prevent Flappers

Luckily for rock climbers, when it all comes down to experiencing flappers, it’s not the end of the world. Although this experience may be one of many other unavoidable rock climbing side effects, there are however certain ways you can deal with it to reduce the pain and possibly eradicate it. Do well to keep in mind however that the more often you go rock climbing, the more your chances of developing rock climbing flappers.

Effective Ways To Prevent Rock Climbing Flappers

This way you can conclude that flappers are an inseparable part of consistent rock climbing, but shouldn’t be accepted without questions. Let’s discuss ways to effectively prevent rock climbing flappers.

Use Enough Moisture

Well-moisturized hands stand at a lesser risk of getting flappers as they are effective in cutting down the possibilities of developing rock climbing flappers. There are unique products manufactured for the special event of rock climbing. Products like Antihydral will go a long way in ensuring that your hands are dry, making it easier to climb.

As much as having dry hands will help improve your climb, you must ensure that you’re not overdoing it as totally dry skin can make you prone to deep injuries. In a bid to strike a good balance when using Antihydral, some climbers supplement it with moisturizers like lotions.

You may however not find this combination helpful for you as every skin reacts differently to the mixture of Antihydral and lotion. It is therefore good that you develop a proper skincare routine.

Chalks Would Come In Handy

Chalks should be applied correctly before climbing (whether liquid or regular) to avoid having flappers. This will not just enhance your grip but also reduce your chances of getting involved in an accident that would result in a flapper.

Once you feel your hands are getting sweaty, chalks would come in handy to help restore the needed dryness to complete the climb without having to overdo it.

Drink Sufficient Water

One of the rudiments of keeping healthy skin is taking in the right amount of water. If you’re climbing in the morning, it is okay to start the day with at least 2 glasses of water, followed by intermittent drinking water during the day. This will keep your hands healthy for the day’s climb

What if after trying everything you know to do, somehow you still managed to get rock climbing flappers? Well, there are similar cases of climbers who still developed flappers, even after spending much to prevent it. This will lead us to examine different steps to take carefully — even more accurately dealing with flappers, kicking off with one of the most common techniques.

How To Deal With Rock Climbing Flappers

Tape The Flapper

Having a flapper while rock climbing could be quite challenging because you can do little to attend to it while you’re up there.

This is why it is recommended that you bring a tape along with your climbing gear when planning to do long-route rock climbing plus you may not be in an advantaged position to stop all you’re doing to attend to a flapper, but you can always find your tape whenever it’s stayed to bind the flapper and complete your climb. Having said that, it is therefore important for you to note that this is a form of first-aid treatment and not the real thing.

The Truth About Taping a Flapper

For amateur rock climbers, tapping a flapper on the go could sound like the best idea but you shouldn’t be apt to do so. You should take time to clean up the affected hand before applying the tape. This will reduce your chances of infection due to the dirt accumulated during your climb.

Do a “Surgery”

Taping your hand is not the only way to treat a flapper. In the climbing community, the word “surgery” is referred to as a process whereby climbers cut off the hanging skin immediately to allow it to heal physiologically.

The Truth about “Surgery”

Although this method works, it is very painful and dangerous as you’re getting rid of the protective layer of your hand, increasing your exposure to bacterial infection. Some climbers would prefer to apply chalk on the flapper and continue climbing. This is not advisable as it comes with pain.

To be much safer, you can simply opt for the taping method to help prevent further contamination. You can then proceed to take proper care of the flapper when you complete your climb.


Flappers are indeed inevitable and one of the cruel aspects of rock climbing. With little but conscious effort, you can prevent, or even ward off this painful experience from your climbing adventure. Before you develop rock climbing flappers, you should be on the lookout for signs on your palms to be sure if you’ll be needing prior treatment.

Always ensure your hands are relatively dry (not too dry) and don’t forget to clean up your hand before applying a tape. Keeping your wound well sanitized will protect you from infection and help your hand heal quickly and get prepared to face the rocks again.

Calvin Rivers

Hey, I’m Calvin Rivers, a climbing veteran with 10+ years on crags and walls around the world. I can’t wait for you to explore our site and fall in love with the outdoors just like I have.

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