Based on what you climb, you could use unique footwear, a unique rope, even a unique companion. But your climbing chalk is the a single aspect of topping out that remains continual. Picking your chalk is a commitment. And with this in thoughts, I set out to discover the ideal climbing chalk for your warm ups, projects, and every little thing in among.

Appear no additional than FrictionLabs Unicorn Dust. It stops sweaty palms without having more than-drying your hands. Tons of athletes, from Daniel Woods to Alex Puccio, swear by itin all probability due to the fact FL pays them to. They have however to send me a verify, so I can genuinely say their item lives up to the hype.   

Shopping for chalk is sort of like shopping for toothpaste. It is essential, but you are not going to gleefully unwrap a fresh bag of chalk and shake with excitement. No a single is providing you chalk for your birthday—unless your good friends are boring or your substantial other is the sensible form. But have you ever felt your hands ache when you watch new climbers head up the wall chalk-totally free? Or want you brought your chalk bag with you any time you see a film with Alex Honnold?

Chalk is generally the underdog of climbing gear. No a single is stoked on it, no a single talks about it, but at the finish of the day, we all have to give thanks for its aspect in our sends and adventures. So this critique is for you, chalk, the unsung hero of the climbing planet.

Chalk is that magical white dust that athletes, from weightlifters to gymnasts, use to absorb sweat from their hands. It is specifically essential in rock climbing, as you can envision lowering sweat, rising friction, and frequently creating issues significantly less slippery is fairly vital when you are a couple of hundred feet off the ground—probably even additional vital at 15 feet, for that matter. It is what’s covering Margo Hayes’s face in what could be a single of the most endearing and inspiring pictures of all time.

It is normally sold in bulk or in bags at your regional climbing fitness center, but you can also discover climbing chalk on the internet or at virtually any outside retailer. It is a single of these issues you do not consider about till you are operating low—and then you genuinely consider about it. Climbers even use chalk as a mental crutch, as if finding your footwear so tight they’re generally fused to your feet and finding your hands covered in chalk will be the excellent mixture that’ll aid you lastly send your project.

What Is Climbing Chalk?

Climbing chalk is a essential evil. It is a bit smelly, and it is surely messy—it will get on your clothing and your face, and leave marks on what ever you are climbing. Till they invent an invisible, odorless, synthetic version of magnesium carbonate that functions just as properly (seeking at you, Shark Tank) or we lastly adapt to quit sweating profusely on our hands (seeking at you, middle college version of myself on a initial date), chalk is what we have to operate with. So why not purchase the ideal, longest lasting, and purest item on the market place?

Loose Chalk

You have a couple of alternatives when it comes to the type your chalk requires. You can go with loose chalk, which is a preferred solution as it provides the satisfaction of feeling your hands coated in the stuff. It is by far the messiest selection, which it is why it is banned at some gyms. It is what accounts for the white haze normally noticed on the horizon, and the significant white spots on the floor. But mentally, spiritually, physically, literally—it functions.

Chalk Socks

The second selection is a chalk sock. Some providers offer you reusable chalk socks that you can refill with loose chalk to avert more than-use, operating out sooner, and frequently becoming wasteful. You can also purchase less expensive chalk socks that are ordinarily stapled with each other and do not let you to reuse them. They will not give you that oh-so-great feeling of loose chalk on your hands, but they will quit you from your personal wastefulness and avert you from asphyxiating the people today about you in a cloud of white powder.  

Liquid Chalk

The third solution is liquid chalk. Not as normally made use of, liquid chalk combines frequent chalk with alcohol so you can rub it on your hands in liquid type. The alcohol dries, leaving your hands with a base layer of chalk that is absorbed into your skin. Once more, it does not give you the exact same invincible feeling of your hands becoming coated in loose chalk, and most people today use some type of frequent chalk on prime of their liquid chalk (liquid chalk + chalk sock + loose chalk = Holy Trinity of sweat-totally free extremities).

Liquid chalk also does not let you to be the obnoxious buddy who has to do the Lebron James at every single session (perhaps this is a optimistic?). But it does avert you from unintentionally seeking like a geisha. A lot more importantly, the alcohol assists sanitize your hands, and the base layer will avert you from wasting that higher-good quality chalk you decided to invest in.

1 A lot more Choice

Your fourth solution is no chalk. Just kidding. This is not an solution. Unless you are this guy. I’m guessing not, even though, bring about that guy surely does not study guidance or gear critiques on the online.


Not to brag, but I chose my quick list of the ideal climbing chalk merchandise soon after a complete lot of testing. (Does this make me a “professional” climber? I consider perhaps. Yes. I consider yes.). I tested every item on a assortment of terrain, from indoor to outside, bouldering issues to longer routes. And I kept a couple of issues in thoughts when figuring out the ideal climbing chalk:

  • Expense:  Everyone knows that sketchy guy who’s generally “borrowing” everyone’s chalk or choosing up scrap chalk nuggets from the floor. He’s lowering his effect, living just, on the road, whatever—we get it. On the vibrant side, chalk is somewhat cheap. We took expense in thoughts, but also, do not be this guy.
  • Form: Regardless of whether you like chalk socks, loose chalk, or liquid chalk genuinely comes down to private preference. We looked at all kinds of climbing chalk to figure out the ideal in every category.
  • Purity: We sought out the good, pure, magic white powder that is not reduce with also a great deal calcium carbonate or calcium sulfate. You know, the great stuff.
  • Efficacy: We want chalk that lasts longer so you do not have to chalk up as normally all through the route, or, worse, really feel your hands slipping at the prime of your boulder trouble. If you want to chalk up unnecessarily to rest and shake off nerves, do not worry—we will not judge you (we do it also!).
  • Texture: This, once again, comes down to private preference. I like my peanut butter crunchy and my climbing chalk smooth, but that is just me. Some people today use the pebbles in their chalk to draw tick marks on the wall, or for the meditative feeling of crushing chalk among their fingers.

What Specifically Is Climbing Chalk?

Brief answer: Magnesium carbonate (or MgCothree), which is a non-toxic, inorganic salt. It is made use of to dry athletes’ palms, but is also made use of in toothpaste, cosmetics, flooring, fire extinguishers, and as a laxative in higher doses. Facts is enjoyable!

How and When Do I Use Chalk?

If you are a new climber, you could really feel intimidated by all the people today about you chalking up like they came out of the womb with white hands. Do not worry—there’s no suitable way to do it. Just place a small chalk on your hands ahead of you climb.

If you are bouldering, people today frequently chalk up ahead of every boulder trouble (therefore the significant chalk buckets that keep on the ground). If you are finding on ropes, it is ideal to have a chalk bag that wraps about your waist so you can chalk up ahead of and throughout the climb.

Genuinely, climbing can be scary—but not due to the fact you should really be intimidated by other climbers. My attitude: chalk up in the locker rooms if you want!

There Have to Be Some Sort of Etiquette I Can Mess Up Right here, Proper?

The a single way you can mess up is by leaving “tick marks,” or the tiny lines produced with chalk to point out hand or foot holds when climbing outdoors. With a couple of (normally debated) exceptions, all tick marks should really be rubbed off at the finish of a session.

RAVE Recommends

Okay, you have discovered your favourite climbing chalk. Your hands are dry and you are prepared to get out there. Verify out these merchandise to aid you hold your chalk and shield your skin!

  • Black Diamond Mojo Zip Chalk Bag: This chalk bag options a classic design and style and colour selections you will not get sick of. What’s additional, it even consists of a zipper pocket for your keys or smartphone.
  • prAna Pranzo Bucket Bag: This chalk bucket is constructed to final, and with 3 exterior pockets and lots of loops for your brushes, it is the excellent container for all that sweet, sweet loose chalk.
  • Joshua Tree Organic Climbing Salve: If you have ever climbed at Joshua Tree, you know the burning sensation of your hands becoming regularly rubbed on what feels like a gravel driveway on fire. Use a tiny quantity of this salve, produced from a blend of organic important oils, to moisturize your hands soon after a extended day and shield your skin for future adventures.
  • Climbskin Double-Sided Hand and Finger File: Use this to file down your calluses and avert flappers. It comes with two unique textures and an orange string so it will not get lost.
  • Climbing Brush: Use this boar’s hair brush to get all the grease and excess chalk off holds and enhance friction. It comes with a lifetime warranty and a secret compartment in the deal with for your “tiny valuables.”