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Friction Labs


Original Post
Luke Pace · · Arkansas · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 70

Hey can somebody explain what is so good about friction labs chalk to pay double the price of most other chalk brands. I really honestly am curious.. seems like it might pair nicely with my gucci chalk bag eh?

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

nothing. it is to market the chalk as if it is coffee quite fine pyramid scheme style for the hipsterzzz desperate to send one grade harder thinking the most expensive shoes and chalk imaginable would be making the difference. do you prefer the chalk of prancing pony style or crushing gorilla squeezing off the head of smaller animal style?

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240

It is all a mental thing. I got friends that swear by it but to me it is all the same.

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,346
Luke Pace wrote:

Hey can somebody explain what is so good about friction labs chalk to pay double the price of most other chalk brands. 

The exact same reason why anything is priced what it is priced--because some people are willing to pay for it. They would probably charge $100 a gram if they thought people would pay it. Contrary to popular belief, spending more doesnet always get you more, it just gets someone else more.

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20

My wife thinks it is better than the usual stuff I buy, one of my fellow climbers thinks that all chalk is aid.

Your Opinion May Vary.

Baba Fats · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

It’s probably a mental thing.  Plus a personal preference thing.  I used to use the unicorn dust, but switched to gorilla grip due to the texture.  But either way, the marketing ploy that it lasts longer is crap.  I still need to chalk up before every attempt like I do with the black diamond chalk I started out using.  

If you’re willing to pay for a slightly different textured chalk, go for it.  But the differences are very subtle.  The only chalk I’d stay away from is j-tree’s scented chalks.  More-so because they are obnoxious to use in a gym with other people around 

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,360

This whole chalk thing is way out of hand and Friction Labs is proof. People use so much chalk that it reduces friction. Chalk is simply for keeping hands dry.and all you need is a fine layer, this "cake" meathod is bullshit. I can't tell you how many times some punter is flailing, then I walk up scrub the holds, then we all send. Don't even get me started on loose chalk...

Doug Chism · · Arlington VA · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0
Tradiban wrote:

This whole chalk thing is way out of hand and Friction Labs is proof. People use so much chalk that it reduces friction. Chalk is simply for keeping hands dry.and all you need is a fine layer, this "cake" meathod is bullshit. I can't tell you how many times some punter is flailing, then I walk up scrub the holds, then we all send. Don't even get me started on loose chalk...

There is something more going on than just keeping your hands dry. When I hung my hangboard, my friend and I tried to see how long we could dead hang on the slopers and we were really humbled. We then tried chalking up and found we could hang on about 5x as long. 

Michael Palmer · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 25

My completely unscientific and baseless theory is that the last bit of your old climbing chalk doesn't work as well because its absorbed so much ambient moisture sitting in your closet and sitting in your chalk bag where you keep sticking your sweaty paws.  Then you buy some fancy expensive chalk and compare it to the last dregs of the cheap stuff and you really notice the difference. 


 Is that difference because its expensive chalk or simply because its new chalk that has had the moisture baked out and hasn't had a chance to absorb any h2o?

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,360
Doug Chism wrote:

There is something more going on than just keeping your hands dry. When I hung my hangboard, my friend and I tried to see how long we could dead hang on the slopers and we were really humbled. We then tried chalking up and found we could hang on about 5x as long. 

So first no chalk and then chalk and you could hang for 5x longer? Yes, that's just keeping your hands free of moisture. Plus other factors at play, how much rest was taken? Was this on the same day? What was the humidity? After round one you were then warmed up and could therefore hang longer?

Doug Chism · · Arlington VA · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0
Tradiban wrote:

So first no chalk and then chalk and you could hang for 5x longer? Yes, that's just keeping your hands free of moisture. Plus other factors at play, how much rest was taken? Was this on the same day? What was the humidity? After round one you were then warmed up and could therefore hang longer?

We were basically sliding off the hangboard, it wasnt a measure of finger strength or warming up, it was purely a friction issue. Mind you, it was brand spanking new. Im not going to spend a bunch of time arguing with you as to what might have been the reason, we feel it was the chalk, the difference was shocking. I made my wife try a couple weeks later it to prove chalk helps, she never used it when climbing. It profoundly convinced her. You can form your own opinion on the matter or try it yourself. 

Chris Blatchley · · Somerville, MA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

overchalking is a travesty. i hate belaying and chalk raining down on my into my eyes. i wish everybody used chalk balls or liquid chalk. i think people use it way beyond what is necessary.

also, i know its just part of the sport, but seeing classic lines absolutely covered in white paste sucks.

Chris Blatchley · · Somerville, MA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0
Nick Niebuhr · · Santa Fe, NM · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 465

I’ve only used friction labs from a friend a couple times bouldering, but my hands did stay dryer, which meant I had to chalk up less, which meant less chalk on the holds. 

My criteria was that since it’s 2 or 3 times the price of metolius or black diamond, it would have to last 2 or 3 times longer to be worth the price. I think it’s close to that but I haven’t bought any yet... 

ive also asked a semi pro climber who’s sponsored by themif he thinks it’s worth the price and he said definitely not. But he likes using it because they give it to him!

Ian McAfee · · Concord, NH · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 80

Absolutely not worth the price and their online astro-turfing every thread talking about them is exhausting and manipulative. Their partner program or whatever their 'sponsorship' thing is is also a sham.



Tylerpratt · · Litchfield, Connecticut · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 35
Chris Blatchley wrote:

Have you used that chalk before? Just curious of the quality. Sometimes gym chalk just isn't ground as fine or something and its more granular and doesn't absorb as much moisture it seems. 

Mark Says · · Aspen, CO · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 395
Doug Chism wrote:

We were basically sliding off the hangboard, it wasnt a measure of finger strength or warming up, it was purely a friction issue. Mind you, it was brand spanking new. Im not going to spend a bunch of time arguing with you as to what might have been the reason, we feel it was the chalk, the difference was shocking. I made my wife try a couple weeks later it to prove chalk helps, she never used it when climbing. It profoundly convinced her. You can form your own opinion on the matter or try it yourself. 

It's science plain and simple, you can argue all the anecdotal evidence you wish. Chalk does not increase friction, in excess it greatly reduces it. It does however dry your hands quite well. I can hang off of the slopers on my hangboard much longer with chalk as well, thank you science.

Chris Blatchley · · Somerville, MA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0
Tylerpratt wrote:

Have you used that chalk before? Just curious of the quality. Sometimes gym chalk just isn't ground as fine or something and its more granular and doesn't absorb as much moisture it seems. 

i use it now. you can throw it in a blade coffee grinder and grind it up more yourself if it floats your boat. i just stuff it in a chalk ball and crush it up. works for me...

it's all the same compound, and anybody saying otherwise is selling something. all magnesium carbonate absorbs moisture just the same.

reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 125

Like everything else, try it yourself. It really doesn't matter what other people or the science say. My hands hardly sweats, but it has a stickier texture (especially on more finely textured rock or wood) for my skin than the el cheapo stuff. Before FL I swore by Mammut chalk.

I know people who either can't tell the difference or the difference feels detrimental to them. If you belong in that group, don't buy it. Simple.

That said, if you don't climb very hard, I doubt you'll notice the difference, just like you probably wouldn't know what to do w/ a pair of high performance climbing shoes.

Mark Says · · Aspen, CO · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 395
reboot wrote:

That said, if you don't climb very hard, I doubt you'll notice the difference, just like you probably wouldn't know what to do w/ a pair of high performance climbing shoes.

Oh, see I knew there was a reason calcium carbonate worked differently for me. I'm not crushing it hard enough. It's quite simple, the chemical reaction of climbing 5.hard obviously makes the calcium carbonate in Friction Labs somehow entirely different than the calcium carbonate in ... you know, every chalk ever.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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