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Liquid and Solid: Finding Chalk That Works

You’ve probably heard the saying “everything must come to an end” at some point in your life. Well, that phrase also applies to the chalk I’ve been using.

Earlier this summer, I somehow lost my chalkbag with the chalkball in it. I looked everywhere but didn’t find it. I don’t know if someone accidentally grabbed it, thinking the bag was theirs, but it doesn’t matter because it’s gone. Thankfully, I bought the Friction Labs Gorilla Grip chalk and Secret Stuff liquid chalk before the chalkbag went missing. At least I had some chalk to use for climbing.

Back to the Liquid

Pouring out Secret Stuff onto my hand.

Between the two chalk types, I decided to try the Secret Stuff chalk again. The reason why I started using the Secret Stuff over the Gorilla Grip is that I wanted to see if it did hold up. Also, it’s because I hadn’t used that chalk since I wrote the Chalking Up: Keeping Your Hands Dry article.

The first thing I didn’t like about the Secret Stuff was I couldn’t attach the liquid chalk to my harness when I climbed routes. There was no way to clip or fasten the tube to it. I like having chalk close by for routes, that’s another thing I missed about having the chalkball while using Secret Stuff. My old chalkbag had a strap to wear around my waist. I could reach behind me and grab more chalk while resting if I needed it.

There were times where I did try to leave the tube in my pocket, but it would fall out. Or I accidentally wore pants that didn’t have pockets. So, I had to resort to leaving it on the mat. On the other hand, it was fine for bouldering.

Back to the Solid

New chalkbag with Crab Eyes design from Static Climbing

Eventually, I did run out of the liquid chalk and started using the Gorilla Grip. Going back to the loose chalk meant I would need to buy a chalkbag to carry it around it. So, I did.

Climb UP has chalkbags with a cool design of Crab Eyes from the Wichita Mountains from Static Climbing. I’ve been eyeing those for a while, so recently I went ahead and bought it. However, the chalkbag doesn’t come with a waist strap. I didn’t notice that when buying it. Without the strap, this means I’ll have to clip the bag to my harness to carry it with me. Luckily, I have a small non-climbing carabiner I can use to make it work.

One thing I’m keeping in mind while using the Gorilla Grip is it’s messier than the Secret Stuff. As you may recall, it’s a chunky and loose chalk. Consequently, I need to make sure it won’t spill anywhere. Right now, the chalk is still in its original packaging inside of my chalkbag because I’m concerned it will spill out either in the gym or inside my backpack. It won’t be fun to clean up if it happens.

The Great Chalk Decision

I plan to use the Gorilla Grip until I run out. After that, I’ll either go back to using a chalkball or continue buying loose chalk. Why would I pick those two? Here’s my thinking:

Pouring out the Gorilla Grip chalk onto my hand.

When I’m at the climbing gym, I try to split my sessions in half; where I climb with ropes first then boulder after. Having the chalk on me while I’m on the routes is helpful, especially when my hands get sweaty.

Potentially, I could wear a chalkbag also when I’m bouldering. However, I don’t recommend it. If I fall, I could land on it which won’t feel good. Plus, there’s a good possibility of chalk flying in every direction once I land. There will be a big mess to clean up, and I don’t want to do that.

There is the chance I could change my mind about which type of chalk I’ll get next. However, I’m strongly leaning towards one of those two kinds of chalk. We shall see.

In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out what to add to my chalkbag to differentiate it from others. I don’t want to cover up too much of the design, but I don’t want it to be mistaken for someone else’s. I hope to come up with something soon.

So, there you have it. That’s been my experience with climbing chalk up to this point. When the time comes to get more chalk, I’ll update you on which one I’ll buy. Until next time, happy bouldering!