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sticky_fingers


Mar 15, 2004, 12:34 PM
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I've never understood this...
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Why is it that when it's cool/cold outside, you supposedly have more friction between your shoes and the rock? Wouldn't your shoes get softer/stickier when it's hotter?

Two reasons why I think this:
1. When I used to skateboard down a street in the summertime, if it hit a patch of blacktop sealer, I'd go flying off my board
2. Drag race cars "burnout" before they race to heat up their tires, to make them stickier, and to lay down a fresh patch of sticky rubber.

Wouldn't the same hold true for climbing rubber? Personally, I've never felt a significant difference, but maybe I haven't climbed at enough extreme temperatures (I've climbed between ~35F - 90F)


neeshman


Mar 15, 2004, 12:55 PM
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Why is it that when it's cool/cold outside, you supposedly have more friction between your shoes and the rock?

Where did you hear that??? Indeed It is true that the temp outside can affect the rubber on the bottom of your shoes but I have never experienced THAT much differenece. I have been climbing in St. George Utah for 3 years now and I have not seen a difference in performance between the 30-120 degree temps that we get here.

But if indeed the temps can affect your climbing that much I would have to agree with what you are saying about the cold decreasing your "friction power".

Sweet!


jammin


Mar 15, 2004, 12:58 PM
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I'm from Quebec. In my ten years of climbing outdoors I've never had a positive experience with rock climbing in the cold. Maybe the rubber sticks but just TRY... JUST TRY putting on shoes when they're frozen rock solid! :evil: And maybe shoes stick more but the hands definately don't! In fact, they stick less. So that kinda negates any positive friction from the shoes.

But , what do I know...


jcinco


Mar 15, 2004, 12:59 PM
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Why is it that when it's cool/cold outside, you supposedly have more friction between your shoes and the rock? Wouldn't your shoes get softer/stickier when it's hotter?

I've never heard of there being a difference in friction. The main problem with heat is that it makes you sweat. Precise footwork on small edges or smearing can be made very difficult if your feet are swimming around in your shoes.


sbaclimber


Mar 15, 2004, 1:08 PM
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I have been climbing with a fairly stiff shoe (5.10 Hueco) for the past 6-7 years, and although I haven't noticed much difference in friction I do have the definite feeling that the stiffness of the shoe changes (or maybe it is just my toes that become that stiff when it is cold).


collegekid


Mar 15, 2004, 1:10 PM
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In my experience, my hands stick a lot better in the cold (since my hands don't sweat as much). Also, humidity levels are affected by temperature--colder temp=lower humidity=dryer hands=better friction. Also, I've noticed my Madrocks stick better in the cold, probably due to lower humidity; but possibly due to fact that the rubber is super soft as it is, so that when it is cold they stiffen up to the point that they edge better.

However, I've also noticed that at lower temps (below 40-50 F) the cold rock combined with my fear makes my fingers so cold that I can't feel them well enough to climb (this is a problem on rock that faces away from the sun).


sticky_fingers


Mar 15, 2004, 1:12 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Why is it that when it's cool/cold outside, you supposedly have more friction between your shoes and the rock? Wouldn't your shoes get softer/stickier when it's hotter?

I've never heard of there being a difference in friction. The main problem with heat is that it makes you sweat. Precise footwork on small edges or smearing can be made very difficult if your feet are swimming around in your shoes.

That's the only reason I can think of why warmer temps wouldn't be as good to climb in than cooler temps in terms of friction. But then in that case, the heat isn't the problem, it's sweating.


Partner angry


Mar 15, 2004, 1:16 PM
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The idea is that hot rubber is softer, so it is more likely to roll off a hold. Ever been standing on something(nothing) and just oozed off. That's the idea.

As you have all said, unless you are on the sick hard stuff, it really doesn't matter. I like climbng in 45-50 degrees for comfort, I really don't care about the properties of rubber though.


Partner j_ung


Mar 15, 2004, 1:17 PM
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In reply to:
In my experience, my hands stick a lot better in the cold (since my hands don't sweat as much). Also, humidity levels are affected by temperature--colder temp=lower humidity=dryer hands=better friction.

I have heard various reports of stucky rubber effectiveness related to temps, but I've heard that there's an effective range. Within that range, they're sticky. Below or above and shoes lose effectiveness. However, I too think that humidity affects stickiness far more often than temps do.


superdiamonddave


Mar 15, 2004, 1:23 PM
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One of the shoe manufacturer's did a study on temperature and the rubber's friction properties. It was suggested that 40 degrees is the ideal temp. for optimum climbing performance. However, I don't climb well in 40 deg. temps because my fingers get too cold.

Please don't ask me where I read this data, but I remember it being from a reliable source. One thing is for sure, on a steep slab on hot, sun-baked rock, none of my shoes do well at all.


roc-dude
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Mar 15, 2004, 1:40 PM
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I have noticed that on hot Texas days my shoe rubber does feel softer and does not grip as well. It is like the rubber gives too much and rolls off of holds. Now I am talking about days where you are in the sun and your feet feel like they are frying in the black rubber. 95 + degrees. Buy the way, I have heard that rubber is better in coolier/cold temps from one of the Mags.


yomomma


Mar 15, 2004, 2:13 PM
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OK, I can tell you from experience that the friction of shoe rubber decreases in the cold. Try climbing a slab on a winter morning before the sun has had a chance to warm the rock. Try the same slab a couple hours after the sun's been on it -- you'll stick much better.


galt


Mar 15, 2004, 2:16 PM
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If friction does increase with higher temps DO NOT TELL GYMS THIS INFO! Knowing the gyms I've climbed in they'd turn off the fans in the middle of the summer and tell us it was for our own good.


sspssp


Mar 15, 2004, 2:30 PM
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While the rubber may make some difference. I think it is that some people climb better in the cold because their hands are less sweaty. Since they climb better, they think the shoes are sticking better.

Rubber can be made to be "optimal" at different temperatures. I have thought before that the shoe rubber people would offer rubber optimized for either high, med, or low temperatures. Nobody has, yet. Maybe it just doesn't make that much difference.


boulderqt


Mar 15, 2004, 2:35 PM
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humm...i've heard that somewhere before but i agree that the cold doesn't cause more friction.. :roll:


littlebilly


Mar 15, 2004, 3:26 PM
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I think that the rubber doesnít oxidize, that is does not get that smooth, hard, non-sticky feel, as quickly in cold temps. And also your hands donít sweat.
It may be that since you canít feel your hands your brain can spend more time on foot placement.
:)


chronicle


Mar 15, 2004, 3:34 PM
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I've climbed in 30 degree temps and I've climbed in 90 degree temps with high humidity. I think the difference is definitely in sweating/humidity. The only difference in my shoes is that they are super stiff in cold temps (and hurt to put on).


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