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Using Chalk

By Mike Raine

These days too many people splash chalk around without a care in the world. Here are a few of my tips on how to be a little more conservative and considerate when you use chalk.

Do You Need It?

Using Chalk

Think, do you really need to use it at all?
Chalk became popular in the late seventies to dry sweat on the pads of climbers fingers. When used in moderation for this purpose it is a brilliant aid to rock climbing. If your route is mostly larger holds or a crack line then chalk won't make much difference.
Are you using the chalk as a physical aid or as a psychological aid?
Most people today seem to use it as the latter, can you reduce your dependence?
Do you really need to dip between every move?
If you can't resist a dip, keep your chalk bag nearly empty.

Have You Got The Balls?

Using Chalk

Most indoor climbing centres insist on climbers using chalk balls these days to keep down the amount of dust in the atmosphere. You can also use them outdoors too where they eliminate spillage risk.

Use Your Block!

Using Chalk

Block chalk is brilliant, keep a small chunk in your chalk bag, just big enough to run your finger tips over it, try blowing off any excess.

Get Stoned!

Using Chalk

If, for reasons of economy you are using powdered chalk pop a small stone or pebble in your chalk bag, it will give you something to fondle with your tips and minimise the risk of windblown spillage.

It's Not Good For Your Sole

Using Chalk

Don't bother putting chalk on footholds, this won't increase friction, as there is no sweat to be absorbed all you'll do is reduce the friction on the foothold.

Limited Opening Times

Using Chalk

Whenever, and wherever you can pull the draw cord tight on your chalk bag to close it. Think ahead, on windy days you can close you chalk bag before topping out.


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