Taping your tips

A brief post about a lesson learned from a good friend (Jean Spencer), specifically about taping your finger tips…

I just left Squamish after nearly a month and a half there.  Maybe at the risk of over-training a bit, I was climbing 4-5 days a week, if not more.  Often this meant that the skin on my finger tips was nearly always at the edge of extinction.  While days off are certainly one way to deal with raw skin on your tips, another way to handle the situation is to use just a bit of climbing tape to cover sensitive skin.

I, among many others, have attempted to wrap tape around my finger tips to solve the problem this way.  Usually, if I am lucky, the taping techniques employed are durable to last a pitch or two, before rolling or sliding off (and hopefully not being lost as trash).

Jean showed me how to wrap my tips a few months back, and I have been trying to nail down the procedure ever since. I’ve narrowed down my approach to that detailed below, which isn’t rocket science but seems to work pretty darn well.  It lasts me the whole day without much effort!

Taping your finger tips:


  1. Start a small tear in the roll of tape, such that the thickness of the strip is about a 1/4″ or thinner.
  2. Start wrapping in the middle of your finger nail, and continuing around your finger.
  3. With each wrap, you should be overlapping the previous one by about half the width of the strip.
  4. Wrap the finger until you pass the first knuckle.  Be sure to keep it very loose – apply no tension to the roll during the wrapping process

I find that steps 3 and 4 are particular important if you want a to avoid shredding the wrap after a few pitches of climbing.

While the wrapping pattern above provides a very durable tape job, using the right tape is important.  Use high quality climbing tape, rather than cheap athletic tape from the sporting goods store, or even worse, the weak stuff that comes in a medical kit.

Hope this helps those of you who want a few more days on!  Here is a photo of my tape job after 14 or so pitches!

My hands after Borderline -> Angel's Crest -> High Planes Drifter
My hands after Borderline -> Angel’s Crest -> High Planes Drifter

One thought on “Taping your tips

  1. George Shafer

    Hey Chris–love the blog. I’m not a climber but I make sure to tape my tips regularly. I think you should put an email subscription feature on your homepage, as I had to look around a bit to find out how I could get automatic updates when you post new content. Keep up the good work.

    The Ocho

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