What do climbers rub on their hands for extra grip?

In the era of the 60s, Pat Ament, the famous Boulder climber and gymnastic sports person, started using gymnasts’ Chalk on his hand during rock climbing. He basically used Chalk to make his both hands sweat-proof. Chalk powder doesn’t offer any extra grip to your hands but makes it sweat-resistant and non-slippery. Now, most climbers chalk up their hands before climbing the rock.

For climbers, it is a major issue to prevent sweat while climbing a narrow rock. That’swhy they keep a chalk ball with them so that they can quickly use the powder when they feel sweaty in their hands. Chalk powders come in different forms, including powder, blocks, and liquid. However, a major number of climbers use chalk powder.

If you’re a rock climber, then this article is for you. Here we’ll discuss the ultimate reason behind using chalk powder and when rock climbers use it.

Read this article for complete information.

Let’s jump into the topic…

The chemical composition of Chalk is Magnesium Carbonate. It makes your hands tacky and keeps your both hands sweat-resistance. However, it may dry out your hands, which helps you climb better. To prevent your hands from getting super dry, use them adequately.

How do you use chalk powder in a precise amount?

Just take less chalk powder in your hands, rub your palms with it, and dust off the excess amount, or else you can twiddle your fingers a little, and you are ready for rock climbing.

You’llget different kinds of Chalk with different chemical compositions, but you need to choose the best one that won’tharm your skin and provides adequate friction for rock-climbing. We recommend you use the Chalk composed of magnesium, Carbonate and lavender essential oils. Lavender oil has a soothing property that keeps the inner layer of hands soft, and the outer layer of the palm remains sweat-proof due to Magnesium Carbonate.

Many beginners often ask about the correct process of using Chalk for rock climbing. Here is the answer.

It is a common myth that only rock climbers use Chalk to increase their holding ability to avoid moisture. The same compound is used by weightlifters, gymnasts, and other athlete professionals. They put Magnesium carbonate powder to enhance their friction and thereby holding capacity. You can use block, lose or liquid, whatever composition you like. There is, as such, no rule; it entirely depends on your personal preference.

Chalks are marketed in three forms: Block Chalk, Loose Chalk, and liquid Chalk.

Block chalk is a compressed form of Chalk, a solid form of Magnesium Carbonate. Climbers break it into small pieces and rub them in their palms. Climbers often carry chalk blocks in their bags while climbing the rock.

Loose Chalk is a form of Chalk that has already been powdered. Powder chalk also comes in a different format, from hardly broken up to chunky to a fine powder. If you search, various brands offer three distinct blends of Chalk. They are not chemically different, but texture-wise, they are different. Use according to your personal texture preference. Loose chalks are generally sold in dust form in a packet, or the complete dust is put into a chalk ball, which is porous, soft and messier. The ball holds the thoroughly dusted chalk particle and protects it from spilling.

You can take a limited amount on your hands. Loose Chalk is easy to use compared to block Chalk. With a chalk ball, you just put it into your bag and don’tneed to think about breaking it up. The disadvantage of powder chalk is you get limited control over the chalk texture, and it can be too fine or not enough fine, according to your preference.

Liquid Chalk is basically the thick mixture of ethanol and Magnesium carbonate. Just rub the mixture onto your palm like a lotion, and then the ethanol dies instantly and leaves behind the chalk residue covering your hand surface. Liquid Chalk is easy to use compared to block and lose Chalk. Liquid Chalk lasts longer than dust and block chalk. But the negative point is that the consisting ethanol may over-dry your skin; also, you get less control over the amount of Chalk on your hand.

After knowing the all available form of Chalk, you need to understand when to use it. Each person sweats differently. If a person sweats much, he has to use and reapply it more frequently than those who sweat less.

Generally, most climbers use the chalk powder before starting their climbing journey and their mid interval, or even before a certain difficult step in the midst of the bouldering. Do not use an excessive amount of chalk powder. Instead, you need only a fine layer of Chalk that should cover the downside of your palm and fingers.

Again, we would remind you that chalk power does not increase your holding ability. Instead, it makes your palms and fingers sweat resistance. However, for rock climbing or bouldering, you need enough gripping strength. You should practice grip strengthening exercises to improve grip strength if you’re a beginner.vAfter three months of regular practice, you’ll see the difference. You will be more confident in rock climbing.

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