Crazy Shit Climbers Do: Electrocution


In their never-ending quest to improve friction some climbers have started to electrocute their hands. Iontoporesis is a known treatment for patients suffering from a condition called hyperhidrosis. The disease is characterised by excessive sweating and electrocution treatment under medical supervision helps these people to sweat less. The treatment is not too complicated, it consists of running an electrical current through your skin & it’s no wonder then that climbers have started to do this at home.

You can buy your own Iontoporesis machine commercially, but these are not exactly cheap & climbers wouldn’t be climbers if they didn’t come up with DIY solutions. I’m not going to get into details here, Google is your friend. It’s safe as long as you don’t do something stupid like crank up the voltage too much or do it with medical contraindications. You need a couple of 6V batteries, electrodes & buckets for you hands. That’s it! The difficulty seems to be developing a treatment protocol that works for you.

The essence of it is that every coupe of days you submerge your hands in salt water, let the current flow through the water, you grit your teeth for 20 minutes or so while you resist the tingling electrical current and then soon after the results will start to show.

The iontophoresis treatment has been said to reduce sweating, resulting in dryer skin and less need for chalk while climbing. You obviously don’t want to do this if you already have dry skin because excessively dry skin is actually counter-productive in climbing. You’ll just end up with cracks and tears.

Keep in mind that less than 5% of the general population suffers from hyperhidrosis, so Iontophoresis really is a last-resort solution for climbers who really do sweat too much. Far simpler solutions to keep your hands exist for regular climbers.

Photo by Salman Hossain Saif

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