How are you chalking up?

By Nora Maklad
RCF Supervisor

What kind of chalk do you use? How much? When do you really need it? Does it really help? Let’s chalk up and get right into it. 

There are plenty of different chalk options from loose to solid and even liquid. 

Chalk blocks have been pretty popular over the years over different types sports. They come individually wrapped and at a lower cost than most other chalk types.  

Loose chalk is exactly what it sounds like. Chalk already crushed up for you. Most loose chalks are specifically formulated for climbers to increase hand dryness and improve grip. Some loose chalks even come in a what climbers call a “chalk sock”. A small ball, usually refillable, that is squeezed around a chalk bag to disperse an adequate amount of chalk. Chalk socks are great for saving chalk and minimizing giant chalk spills that our staff tirelessly clean up on a daily basis. 

Mammut's Liquid Chalk Photo:

Mammut's Liquid Chalk

Liquid chalk is a product specially designed for us climbers with a mixture of magnesium carbonate and alcohol. Liquid Chalk comes in a small bottle that is easy to apply on hands. It provides a nice base layer of drying chalk while also lessening the amount of times a climber actually needs to dip into their chalk bag. 

The magnesium carbonate in chalk helps dry up any moisture (i.e. hand sweat). When applying chalk, it’s very important to keep the mess to a minimum. Keep all your chalk in your chalk bag or chalk bucket. Rub your hands inside the chalk bag or give your chalk sock a squeeze when it’s still inside your chalk bag. Never chalk up outside the chalk bag!! 

When should you apply chalk? Every climber is different and every climber’s body produces moisture very differently. Generally, most climbers will apply a layer of chalk immediately before a climb, before or during a difficult move. Or simply whenever they feel that they’re sweating or slipping too much. The more you climb and the more you chalk, the better feel you’ll get of how much chalk you actually need. A little bit is always better than a lot of chalk. You’ll actually slip more with a thick layer of chalk. 

Coach UK Chris’ Chalk Pick:
Black Diamond White Gold - available in the RCF Pro Shop. Members always save 10% on pro shop purchases.