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Colored chalk

Original Post
Jake G. · · Maryland · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0

With the rise in the popularity of climbing (especially bouldering) it seems like pieces of stone everywhere are becoming covered in white chalk. Just think about how that makes us look to hikers and other users we share space with. I bought some gray chalk from climbing addicts last winter to try it out and I will tell you, I projected one problem for a few months that you couldn't even see from the chalk marks on from the trail 30ft away by the time I was done with it. WHY IS THIS NOT THE NORM? 

M Sprague · · New England · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 5,054

Colored chalk ends up staining the rock. It is a nice idea that ends up being worse

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Kevin Mokracek · · Burbank · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 290

Do I need a chalk bag for every type of rock that corresponds to the color of the rock?   Colored chalk is rarely the same color as the rock and it ends up looking like someone painted over graffiti. 

Greg Kosinski · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined May 2015 · Points: 46

I've talked with some other people that are users of some pristine areas (BWCA in MN), where I would assume people would care most about being able to see chalk, if they care anywhere. They seemed to think that white chalk on the rock was a relativly small intrusion to the wilderness there, and that as long as people were following leave no trace ethics and not putting bolts into the rock, it was pretty much a non issue, and one of the smaller consequences of a user group in an area. They pointed to the fact that many user groups in areas leave a much bigger or more noticeable impact (eg. running across a blood trail from dragging a dead deer for miles), and that there are small nusiances we must deal with from other user groups. I'm not sure if I've just missed it, but I've never heard hikers or user groups complaining about the chalk in an area, mostly just portable speakers, unruly dogs, and large groups creating a bit too much of a ruckus in a multi use area.

Justin B · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Aug 2018 · Points: 20

Lol. Think there's more pressing things to worry about than inconsequential chalk marks.

DRusso · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2014 · Points: 825

I like when people talk about the impact climber's chalk makes for other outdoor users like hikers.

Because you know using machinery to clear forests to build mountain bike trails, putting chairlifts on the side of mountains, paving roads to the top of mountains with lodges and vending machines, horseback riders beating up muddy trails and dog walkers leaving poop bags everywhere are no problem at all.

Its all the chalk in the forest that ruins it for everyone...

Jake G. · · Maryland · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0

I'm sensing most of you are not for this lol

Jake G. · · Maryland · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0
M Sprague wrote: Colored chalk ends up staining the rock. It is a nice idea that ends up being worse

Do you mean to imply that it stains the rock permanently? If so have you ever seen an actual example of this happening? The manufacturers claim this is no longer the case as with older attempts at colored chalk. It doesn't stain my hands or clothes. 

Jake G. · · Maryland · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0
Justin B wrote: Lol. Think there's more pressing things to worry about than inconsequential chalk marks.

Your right, but to me this one seems so easy. It requires you to change literally nothing about how you climb. It's less effort than bending over and picking up your piece of tape. 

Redyns · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 60

sounds racist.  

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Justin B wrote: Lol. Think there's more pressing things to worry about than inconsequential chalk marks.

A lot of land managers don't think it's so inconsequential.

M Sprague · · New England · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 5,054
Jake G. wrote:

Do you mean to imply that it stains the rock permanently? If so have you ever seen an actual example of this happening? The manufacturers claim this is no longer the case as with older attempts at colored chalk. It doesn't stain my hands or clothes. 

Permanent is relative. I honestly haven't tried the modern version. I don't tend to use a ton of chalk or tick things up a lot, and brush it off when I do, especially anywhere none climbers are going to be seeing it. 

I have also, surprisingly, never run into any non climber who has had an issue with chalk, including managers, unless they were first worked up about it by an anti-chalk climber. I think  Iam more bothered aesthetically by excessive chalk than most hikers

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
M Sprague wrote:

I have also, surprisingly, never run into any non climber who has had an issue with chalk, including managers, unless they were first worked up about it by an anti-chalk climber.

In the Gunks in the 80's & 90's it was a regular complaint to the Preserve. Dunno about the last 20 years.
M Sprague · · New England · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 5,054
Marc801 C wrote: In the Gunks in the 80's & 90's it was a regular complaint to the Preserve. Dunno about the last 20 years.

Who was doing the complaining?

Jeffrey Constine · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 674

just scoop some local dirt up and use that.

M Sprague · · New England · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 5,054
Jeffrey Constine wrote: just scoop some local dirt up and use that.

That would likely end up polishing the holds more and also grind in organic matter

Jon Nelson · · Redmond, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 5,205
Jake G. wrote: With the rise in the popularity of climbing (especially bouldering) it seems like pieces of stone everywhere are becoming covered in white chalk. Just think about how that makes us look to hikers and other users we share space with. I bought some gray chalk from climbing addicts last winter to try it out and I will tell you, I projected one problem for a few months that you couldn't even see from the chalk marks on from the trail 30ft away by the time I was done with it. WHY IS THIS NOT THE NORM? 


I imagine that many climbers could easily go without chalk and find out they don't need it.
Way back when I was just starting out, chalk was widely thought of as more as a distraction--if one is nervous, then chalk up. So, I used to chalk up constantly, but then found that I tended to climb faster without chalk. It is nice now to not need a chalk bag. 

If instead, one is projecting something or bouldering, then chalk can help both to keep the hold from greasing and to mark the hold. But the latter might not work so well if the chalk blends in well to the rock color.
J T · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2018 · Points: 0

Friction labs doesn't make colored chalk....soooooo...that's a no for me dawg   

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Marc801 C wrote: 
In the Gunks in the 80's & 90's it was a regular complaint to the Preserve. Dunno about the last 20 years. 

M Sprague wrote: 

Who was doing the complaining?

Non-climbing Preserve members, who, at that time, outnumbered climbing members by about 3:1. Many of them were large donors as well. It was they who managed to get the Preserve to install  the original 5 bolted anchors because of the visual blight of the tat on the previous anchors.

Racechinees . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 0

I just don't chalk. Not indoors, not outdoors. Don't own chalk.

If you do chalk, please read the topo if it's allowed or not. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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