Chalk & Chalk Bags

Chalk & Chalk Bags

Chalk is used by climbers to keep hands dry and holds more secure. It helps to dry sweat and moisture from your hands and fingers, especially when climbing on warm days. Chalk is magnesium carbonate (MgCO3) and is available as a fine powder, compressed into friable blocks, as cloth enclosed “chalkballs” and even as a liquid.

Chalk blocks usually are made from pure magnesium carbonate without additives. They’re readily crushed into powder

Powdered chalk is either pure magnesium carbonate, or may contain additives such as drying agents that are added to make the chalk more effective and longer lasting. Some climbers find these can cause irritation so if you are having problems with chalk, check whether the brand you are using contains them.

Chalkballs consist of a porous textile outer filled with loose chalk. They’re convenient, economical in chalk use and are often the only form of chalk allowed in indoor climbing walls since they greatly reduce the amount of dust around.

Liquid chalk is a mixture of magnesium carbonate, alcohol plus a thickener and scent. Squirt small quantities on your palm and spread it over your fingers. The alcohol quickly evaporates off and you’re ready to go. Liquid chalk is easy to apply and can last longer than “dry” chalk.

Chalk Bags

Chalk bags come in a range of sizes, from minimalist to massive. 

Small and medium sized bags are usually cylindrical, so it’s easy to put your hand inside, or have a flat side that fits flush against the climber’s body. These are generally worn around the waist either attached to the harness or using a dedicated chalk-bag belt, typically lightweight webbing. Many bags have a fleece lining to better hold the chalk. Small pockets can hold car keys, a toothbrush for cleaning holds or other essentials.

The larger bucket style bags are handy for bouldering and group use. These are not worn, but placed on the ground near the route, indoor wall or boulder.

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