Friday, September 10, 2010

Interview > J Tree

Last year at the True North round of the Tour De Bloc I was talking to one of the Beta Clothing guys, Mark, he was running the Evolv shoe demo and being the (better looking) taller brother of David Smith (the owner of Beta Clothing) I wanted to talk to him about life and the universe (I heard he was sponsored by Black Diamond I kind of wanted to see if I could get a deal on a new harness.. :P)

The harness didn't work out, but as we were talking he handed me this:
15ml of "climbing salve" from a company called Joshua Tree. I'd like to say it was one of those sketchy type of hand offs where he gave me the pot and told me to "check this shit out bro, it'll blow your mind"... but it wasn't, I asked what it was and like a well informed ambassador for any company he told me what it was, how to use it. Aparently it was pretty good on scraped up hands and cuts, which there isn't a shortage of at Climbingholdreview!

This of course begged the question "Is this stuff better than Climb On?", he said he preferred it and we should give it a try.

Time came to pass and we decided to talk to JTree and see what's up with them and what they do. As they're on the road (more often than not) it's taken about 6 months but here's a quick chat with David Lawrence... aka "J-Tree Dave" :)

Name and job
David Lawrence (J-Tree Dave) Owner and Visionary

Explain Joshua Tree Products
Hand Crafted Organic Skin care products tailored to the performance needs of athletes

You're not in J Tree, where are you based and can you therefore explain the name (I believe that the company was originally based in JT)
Company was founded by Jenny Q in Josh. I bought the business from her in 07, and moved it home to Michigan, where I still had a day job

We're pretty big fans of Climb On over here, what do you have for a climber that would compete with their hand balms?
Joshua Tree Climbers Salve

Is it better?
In more ways than one. I often reply to this question in jest with "if climb-on worked, i would have bought that business instead of JTree!"
On a more serious note, here are a couple of points to consider when comparing JTree to climb-on, or any other balm.
1-Less beeswax. Beeswax is the cheapest and least effective ingredient. Using less wax results in a product that actually soaks into your skin to do the healing. You wont wake up in the morning with it still caked on your hands, and smeared all over your pillow! IF your hands feel oily for more than a few minutes, wipe it off, and use a bit less next time.
2- Freshly brewed herbal extracts. We roast our herbs for 2 weeks at a low temperature. this creates a very potent and thorough extract. These herbs are what do the healing... so less beeswax = more of the good stuff!
3- Great packaging. The jar is easy to open (unlike those tins), looks great, and seals up tight.
4- JTree smells awesome! you can smell how potent the herbs are as soon as you open it. there are no aded fragrances.
5- No skin Softeners - helps keep tough skin tough!

What products do you have that cater to climbers?
Salve, sunscreen, lip balms, scented chalks

What is it in the salve that makes it good for climbers hands?
see 1,2,5 above.

15ml of the stuff isn't going to go very far, are there larger tubs available?
our standard jar is 50ml (1.7 oz) it should last an enthusiastic climber a few months, or a hardcore climber a couple weeks.

We see you have "spice powered chalk" care to explain that one to us?
Our Scented Herbal Chalks sound ridiculous, but people absolutely love them! They both have natural sources of menthol to help soothe sore worn out tips. Apparently your olfactory sense is very powerful at controlling your mental state. Chalking up at the crux, and getting a whiff of that familiar smell can really calm your nerves... "I've been here before, i can do this!"
Our chalk is actually made from the scraps at the block chalk factory... so it should have a very familiar feel to it. The chalk gets roasted during our production process, so there is no residual oils or herbals extracts.

Fire Chalk... here
Spice scented... smells like Christmas cookies. this is my chalk of choice

Ice Chalk... What about that?
Minty and fresh... we sell this 2x over the fire.

What's different between the cycling salve and the climbing salve? I've had some pretty nasty stuff on my hands... shouldn't I use the cycling salve?
We learned quickly that we can't sell climbers salve to people who don't climb... so we market about a dozen different versions. Most of them are the same recipe, with the exception of the cycling salve. Cycling salve gets a good dose of eucalyptus oil in order to help fight the bacteria that reside in you chamois, preventing saddle sores from healing.

You guys always seem to be on a road trip somewhere... do you get to climb?
I have been living in an RV since November 09. Trade shows and events set the schedule, but those are usually in places that have a lot of recreation. have been doing an equal bit of climbing, mtn biking, skiing, and surfing on the road.

Favorite place to climb?
I should say Joshua Tree National Park... It is probably the most spectacular place on earth!
I think my honest answer is The Red River Gorge in Kentucky. This has been my home crag for about a decade. Its pretty ironic that after climbing all over out west, at the end of most days, we comment "hell of a view... sure would be nice to be in the Red though!"

Where can people find your products?
Most good climbing shops... if they don't have it... ask em to get it! We sell online through and our webstore at Canadian retailers include Valhalla Pure in Squamish, TI cycles in Gananoque, and Climbers Rock in Burlington.

How is the salve best used?
Based on the skin care regiment of our Canadian crusher chic, Leslie Timms, aka Les-the-Mess:
1-Climb harder than the boys!
2-Wash hands with soap and water... clean heals faster!
3-File down any calluses that are getting too thick. A nail file is great for this.
4-Rinse with rubbing alcohol to clean out all the micro cuts, and toughen the skin.
5-Apply JTree... use enough to cover your hands, not so much as to leave them too greasy to pick up your beer in a few minutes!
6-Reapply JTree before bed.


Vincent said...

Yes! This stuff not only works... but works very well!

Amy Rey, VP said...

If J-Tree worked, Tommy Caldwell would use it.