Tech Tip #46
You have to look after your feet if you’re climbing, doubly so if you’re mountaineering, and for long multi-month trips, they are the things that will transport you from the start to the end. One way to keep your feet in good condition is to stop them from picking up all sorts of foot rot, from athletes foot to fungal nail. One place you’ll pick this up from is communal showers, especially where they are not cleaned as regularly as they should (I’m thinking Curry Village here). It might sound OCD, but don’t walk around such places in your bare feet, both the locker room and the shower itself. Get a pair of cheap flip flops, ones that weigh nothing, and wear them both walking around and in the shower. Shower stalls with a raised mesh flooring a little better than just bare tile, but even here you can probably pick up foot junk. When away on long trips, wash your feet regularly with soap, paying close attention between the toes. Once washed, use an anti-fungal powder on them. In any expedition first aid kit, always carry fungal cream for athletes foot, but if you don’t have that, then I find TeaTree oil seems to work as well. There is a fine line between athletes foot and trench foot, and often having your toes compressed, or damp (when wearing VBL socks), can cause you serious problems. Again, the way to avoid this is to carry out constant care of your feet and TLC. If your socks are limited, but you’re out for a long time, then VBL socks allow you to use one pair for months a time, but if that’s not an option, then have a clean pair you put on after washing, and then with into your dirty pair for the day. Wet socks have to be dried overnight, and this is best done by laying them flat against your thighs, stomach, or armpits. If that’s too grim, you can wear them as gloves, but ever try and dry them on your feet.