I am back with another lifestyle/climbing post, and this time I will try and give my two cents one the whole chalk/no chalk debate.
I am no master by any means, and chalk is something I learned to use when I first started, and have continued to use when trying harder, and harder routs. However many rock climbers with far more experience then me find it to be a way of “cheating”, and are critical to the use as it ends up leaving “marks” in certain climbing areas where magnesium can end up damaging more softer rock. The reason why we as rock climbers use chalk in the first place is because dryer hands leads to less friction, and makes your hold a lot stronger, and i many ways “easier”. That is why when I climb chalk it can be liquid or dry it something I use in order to hold my grip for longer, and possible stay on the rock far easier then I could without it.
What is chalk:
In terms of chemistry, climbing chalk is almost always some form of Magnesium Carbonate (MgCO3), although some climbing-specific manufacturers add other drying supplements to their recipes. Just in case you’re wondering, climbing chalk is NOT the same chemically as blackboard chalk, which nowadays is usually some form of the mineral gypsum (Calcium Sulfate). It is also not the same as the mineral called “chalk” that makes up iconic formations like England’s White Cliffs of Dover, which is Calcium Carbonate.
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