Chalk is a Beautiful Thing
In a gym, chalk is a beautiful thing. So live it up – instead of using one of those little fingertip-dipping sport chalk bags, go for a big-mouthed bouldering chalk bag tied to your waist. That way your bag can hold a full pound of chalk and you’ll have a bag that lets you sink your arm in up to the elbow.
Obscure chalk factoids:
- Marble and limestone are both forms of calcium carbonate.
- Calcium permanganate is a kind of rocket fuel.
- Many people eat chalk as a diet supplement; but if you eat too much of it and you’ll get gas (does it poof a white cloud?)
When American climbers first started using chalk decades ago, old-school traditionalists thought they were cheating. Lots of heated arguments broke out about the ethics of chalked vs. no-chalked ascents. They were also justifiably worried about the impact of using chalk on cliffs where it forms big ugly white marks. On steep walls outside that are protected from rain and run-off, years worth of chalk builds up until it actually makes climbing harder—you have to search for the hold under the dusty mounds.
The Access Fund
and lots of concerned local climber groups all over the country have staged cliff clean up days where they scrubbed the chalk stains down and picked up garbage. Consider donating some time or money to their efforts, or at least be judicious with your use of the stuff in areas where it’s not readily going away on its own.
Labels: Access Fund, climbing