There comes a time in the life of every climber’s hands where they outgrow the soft palms of the world outside the crag. Here enter flappers, calloused digits, raw finger pads. It should come as no surprise that equally as important as our hands themselves is hand/finger maintenance. I mention this because it did come as a surprise to me. After months of lockdown and prod callouses dwindling, the comeback gave my hands a real beating. A large flapper at the base of my right ring finger put me in a situation I had yet to encounter.
It was then that my boyfriend mentioned Buttermilks– A small, California based company appropriately named after the well-known and well-loved bouldering area in Bishop, CA. Their website advertises a handmade, vegan climbing balm designed to soothe worked hands as well as eliminate the trouble of lingering grease other salves seem to create. They offer five different variations of the balm all priced at $9 with a detailed description of ingredients and instructions.
The recommendation mingled with the desperation to heal my hands as quickly as possible, I ordered two “Balm Ba Balm”s and received them 4 days later. My flapper was on the mend but my hands still ached. I was thrilled to open the box and discover not only my two balms, but a third (“Afternoon Delight”) added in as a thank you for supporting the growing company. Not to mention the stickers that have since been slapped onto any piece of gear I can get them on.
The balms are tiny but mighty. A little goes a long way, and the sandpaper wrapping is a thoughtful design trait for getting rid of dead skin or filing down rapidly mounding calluses. I applied the balm that night and woke up the next morning floored at how relieved my palms and finger pads felt. It really felt too good to be true. I applied it the following night, too, after using the sandpaper packaging to work off some small tears from that day’s sesh.
The consistency was smooth and the perfect layer comes off the rounded, push-up pop of balm. There was no flaking or chipping away around the edges of the product itself and the sandpaper has stayed on perfectly. If you’re not a fan of citrus, I wouldn’t recommend Morning Delight, but I for one love it, and found it adding to the entire using experience. The menthol scent of Balm da Balm was great, too.
I haven’t used it consistently every day, nor would I recommend doing so unless your hands have been seriously beat after a long trip or multiple days at a crag, but on the days my hands are hurting the most Buttermilks Climbing Balm has been a lifesaver (or, should I say hand-saver?).
The company is small, but growing, and I’ll be ordering again without a doubt. This balm deservers all the love it can get; I’m excited to test out the rest of the varieties offered as well!
Final words of Wisdom: Don’t let size fool you, the price can’t be beat for the quality you receive. If you’re hesitant about the buy, hesitate no further; Buttermilks is doing it right!
Adventure On (and take care of those hands!),