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Has colored chalk come of age?


Original Post
Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 579

BITD colored chalk was awful. Greasy and unpleasant on the hands.
So when I ran into the crew from Climbing Addicts at the crag, I was not too enthusiastic about their product.
But they gave me a bag of the tan variety, so I gave it a try.

Big surprise. It's powdery and silky on the hands. Even softer than unicorn dust.
In fact, I was kind of wishing it had a few chunks.

Couldn't really tell if it was less obtrusive on the rock.
Even white chalk isn't noticeable in small quantities, so a little tan chalk is going to be invisible.

IIRC, the old pigments sometime stained the underlying rock.
I don't know if that's still an issue or not.

I'm not ready to switch from white, but it doesn't seem impossible anymore.
And if I'm at a crag where the land manager insists on colored chalk, I'd be happy using this stuff.
If you want color, this is it.

Price seems a little less than Friction Labs, if I did the math correctly.
https://climbingaddicts.com​​​m

Max H · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 40

If you want something chunkier, Onsight Gear's colored dhalk (onsightgear.com/collections…) will do you justice. Personally, I prefer the chalk from Climbing Addicts because it coats my hands better and longer than the other stuff, but at the end of the day... chalk is chalk... and chalk is aid ;)  

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 137

Whether it stains the rock seems like a big concern, given that would be the entire point IMO.

Cortney LeNeave · · Golden, CO · Joined May 2015 · Points: 6

I use climbing addicts chalk exclusively now when I'm climbing outside (in the gym, who cares). It is like a very fine powder and I also wish it was a bit chunkier, but the fact that I'm not contributing to the ugliness that is white chalk stains makes me able to deal w. the lack of chunks.

EDIT - not sure on whether or not it actually stains the rock, but from my experience it blends in well enough that any staining is sort of a non-issue in my opinion.

Nick B · · Anchorage, AK · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 61

Liquid chalk is also a good option for keeping visual impact low.  It stays on your hands and works better than regular chalk.  Much less marking on the walls.  The constant gob of chalk I see some people use is likely acting as a dry lubricant rather than increasing grip.   I would bet greater than 50% of chalk use is purely for placebo effect anyways.

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 0

Just use alcohol instead of chalk. You can drink it and it can dry your hands off.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 526

Colored chalk does nothing for caking on often-used holds and doesn't work for rock, eg the Gunks, where there are three different colors.

Liquid chalk for a base and a chalk sock for touch-ups would, if it the combination ever became popular, massively reduce chalk deposits on the rock.

Most climbers don't care enough to be bothered.

Everett · · Nevada · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 25
Daddy Long Legs wrote: Chalk is aid.

I wish; it's lighter than other aid gear.

Laralyn M. · · SF is home (but I live in NYC) · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 55
rgold wrote:Liquid chalk for a base and a chalk sock for touch-ups would, if it the combination ever became popular, massively reduce chalk deposits on the rock.
Most climbers don't care enough to be bothered.

I think there are still a lot of people who just don't realize there are alternatives to basic white chalk. Liquid as a base coat is my go-to. In addition to being cleaner, it also seems to make powder chalk last longer (possibly all in my head, but that's what my experience has been). I can't tell you how many times someone's asked "what's that" as I've been applying some liquid Edelweiss—and then the next time I see them, they've got a bottle. Maybe the next big thing in climbing?

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 137
rgold wrote: Liquid chalk for a base and a chalk sock for touch-ups would, if it the combination ever became popular, massively reduce chalk deposits on the rock.

This is a good idea that I hadn't thought of. I tried liquid chalk for a bit, but I ran into two problems:

  1. I'd forget to chalk up on the ground, and then get in trouble (might improve if I used the liquid chalk longer).
  2. The chalk would eventually run out (the chalk ball solves this).
The chalk ball never got enough chalk on my hands to touch my sweating, but maybe with a liquid chalk base it would work better.
Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 579

I wonder how the colored chalk would work as liquid chalk?
I’ll mix some up in a week or two and report back.
The powdery nature would simplify mixing. 

axelman Axelrod · · Lafayette, CO · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 0

Greetings all, My name is Shawn and I am one of the founders of Climbing Addicts. It's a family business and we are all climbers. Colored chalk has been a controversial issue and I knew it was going to be a challenge when we started almost 3 years ago. I rarely read the comments when it comes to press and social media but Mark(the author of this post) sent me the link so I decided to check it out. My family and I climb together and we often meet fellow climbers, like Mark at the cliff and spark up some conversation. As a result, we grow our community and often convert a fellow climber. We prefer to grow organically rather than pay Google for our sales. This has been a passion of mine since the 80's but all the colored chalk I've tried sucked so I set out to develop some that worked.
People express concern about staining the rock and it's a valid one. I mean white chalk seems to stain, doesn't it? Well yes and no. Essential chalk is water soluble so it can wash away. My goal was to use environmentally sound manufacturing processes and products(chalk comes from strip mining so....). Our products are water soluble and do not appear to stain the rock. I can't lay claim to zero impact since chalk is difficult to remove 100% without some form of scrubbing. With that being said, how is it possible to not leave marks behind once a route has been climbed with chalk? Many people do not agree with colored chalk and that's fine, there was huge resistance to recycling when it started back in the 90's and now it's a normal part of life. My family and I manufacture, package and ship everything we sell, we do not buy prepackaged products from China. In a time when everything seems to come from overseas, we refuse to go down this path. As a result, our chalk costs more since we hope to make more than 10 cents a day. The chalk we use comes from France and we know the source mine so we can continually monitor its quality.
Now onto some product specifics. 
We do not have chunky chalk due to the fact that it would require significant amounts of water and electricity to create. I suggest using a chalk ball, it really helps distribute and reduce the amount of chalk needed.
Liquid chalk - we make it for Tom Randall, he uses it as a base product before he climbs. We want to go to market with it sometime in the future but liquid chalk requires some special equipment to package and it's not in the shoestring budget at this time.
Thanks and safe climbing. 

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 579

So I mixed up some liquid chalk with the tan version of Climbing Addicts chalk.
Not surprisingly it mixes really well since it's so finely ground.
Looks like chocolate pudding.
Works as well as regular liquid chalk.
I may switch to this since I thinker's cheaper than Friction Labs.
But will still use regular white chalk in the bag.

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175
Nick B wrote: Liquid chalk is also a good option for keeping visual impact low.  It stays on your hands and works better than regular chalk.  Much less marking on the walls.  The constant gob of chalk I see some people use is likely acting as a dry lubricant rather than increasing grip.   I would bet greater than 50% of chalk use is purely for placebo effect anyways.

climbing friend,

research it demonstrates that in excess of 78% of statistics are made up on the spot
Greg R · · Durango CO · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 0
Mark E Dixon wrote: So I mixed up some liquid chalk with the tan version of Climbing Addicts chalk.
Not surprisingly it mixes really well since it's so finely ground.
Looks like chocolate pudding.
Works as well as regular liquid chalk.
I may switch to this since I thinker's cheaper than Friction Labs.
But will still use regular white chalk in the bag.

I’m interested in this process. How do you mix your powdered chalk into liquid form? 

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 579
Greg R wrote:

I’m interested in this process. How do you mix your powdered chalk into liquid form? 


Run regular powdered chalk through a sieve to get rid of chunks.
Add isopropyl alcohol to the desired consistency.
Put in a container of some kind.
 
Super easy.

You don't need to sieve the Climbing Addicts chalk, it's already fine enough.

Couple more tips-
don't bother with "pharmaceutical grade" magnesium carbonate. It doesn't work. Stick to climbing chalk, the more powdery the better.
Consider having a second container (maybe even a small spray bottle) filled with isopropyl to also take to the crag.
Homemade liquid chalk seems to dry out on me and if I have some isopropyl on hand I can just add it to the liquid chalk and get it back to a consistency I like.

I use one of these bottles for the chalk.
GoToob​​​
Nick B · · Anchorage, AK · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 61

If you have chunky chalk imo the best way is put your chalk in a blender and grind to a fluff.  Then add 70% percent isopropyl alcohol with blender on low until desired consistency.  You need less than you think so go slow.  

Greg R · · Durango CO · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 0
Nick B wrote: If you have chunky chalk imo the best way is put your chalk in a blender and grind to a fluff.  Then add 70% percent isopropyl alcohol with blender on low until desired consistency.  You need less than you think so go slow.  

I think I’ll try it without the blender, I’m still hearing about the ski wax all over the clothes iron. 

Ben Schuldt · · Bowling Green, KY · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 85

I just made some using Metolius Super Chalk. The coverage is pretty good. I'll need to wait until tomorrow to see what effects it has on my regular chalk usage as I sweat like a MoFo.

If you don't want to use the blender, a mortar and pestle for spices works quite well too but just takes longer.

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

climbing friend,


the postscript - it is quite offensive yes you calling your chalk "colored?"
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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