Everybody Chalk Down
Everybody Chalk Down
- Posted by Kaleigh
- On December 3, 2019
Chalk is a necessary part of climbing – it combats the sweaty effects that genetics, nervousness or stoke has on your mitts for a better grip on those tougher holds, and we would never dare try to take that white powder away from you lest we lose a finger.
But! Chalking up is not a consequence–free luxury and it presents a serious problem when abused, particularly indoors. While, admittedly, it feels kind of cool to dip into your chalk pot and get your hands good and dirty, bring them out and clap them up to create a pre-send cloud of glory – you’re actually just contributing unnecessarily to indoor air pollution. At its best it is really irritating, and at its worst can lead to equipment failure and pissed off Front members.
We aren’t saying don’t use chalk – that’s like saying don’t use climbing shoes, amiright? But better awareness and reasonable chalk use can reduce indoor air pollution better than any other solution. So, in the name of cleaner air, grip-able climbing holds and happy climbers, we’ve created a list of pointers as a guide to pursue the path of chalk enlightenment. Use it as a reference each time you feel the insurmountable urge to dive bomb your chalk bag.
Resist Chalking Before Warmups
For most climbers, warming up means hauling up routes with big ol’ jugs. You know what we’re talking about: Those bulky holds that are easy to grab with your entire hand. They require the least amount of strength. However, chalk is most helpful when gripping tiny crimps that you’d otherwise slip off due to having sweaty digits.
Big jugs require little, if any, chalk. Just think – do you need chalk to pick up that jug of milk at the store?? (If you do, we are not poking fun at your disability.) Wait for your try-hard before you chalk up and reduce your chalk emission by at least 25%.
Our setters are awesome, but they don’t need your chalky standing ovation every time your buddy climbs one of their routes or when you’re getting hyped for your own attempt! Your neighbor will appreciate not suffocating on your chalk cloud, too. Like they tell us in grade school: Keep your hands to your sides, kids.
Chalk Less Between Clips
How fast do you normally get pumped out while on the sharp end? Within 10 feet? 20? 30? Now, how often do you chalk up while leading? Every 10 feet? 20? 30? … Do you see the correlation?
And During Rest Periods, Too!
Chalking feels good on our fingers and gives us a sense of confidence. But do you need to chalk your hands four or five times between attempts? Chalk up once, or maybe a good ol’ wipe of the hands on the pants will work just as fine, too!
Just chalk the tips
Remember how you don’t need chalk on those juggy warm-up holds? Well, you probably do on those tough crimps! But how often do you need it on your palms? Probably rarely. Check out the beta on your route before you load up on the powder, and if you don’t need your whole paw, chalk accordingly.
Feeling inspired to use less chalk? Sweet! But you don’t need to suffer, either. Try liquid chalk! For some, it can replace powder completely. For others, it acts as a great base layer that can reduce the frequency of chalking up!
All in all, air quality can suck, but you don’t have to! Just like local smog, the only guaranteed way to make a change for the better is through recognizing our personal impact and adjusting our behavior accordingly. Like a coffee or sugar addiction, our reliance on chalk can be hard to kick, but we are here to support you!