Climbing chalk is important. Climbers rely on friction between their hands and the surface they are trying not to fall from. Climbing is hard, and climbers sweat. Having the right chalk can mean the difference between hitting the highpoint and hitting the ground. Climbing chalk comes in a wide variety of different forms including liquid chalk, loose chalk (also comes in several different varieties), chalk blocks, chalk balls, chalk cream, scented chalk, eco chalk, and colored chalk, to name a few. Then there are the different suppliers from the best (Chalk Cartel) to the not so best (Crayola), and everything in between.
Aside from the extra friction and hand drying agents, chalk also provides a magnesium carbonate security blanket. Climbers are nothing if not habitual. Before every send you can watch the ceremony of plopping hands into a chalk bag or chalk bucket. Hands in, hands out, rub, clap, blow, climb on! Watch sport climbers just before and just after every fall. Hands in, hands out, rub, clap, blow, climb on!
I’d say half of the time I chalk up it’s for the mental security rather than the actual need of chalk.
Chalk is by far the most common climbing purchase. Most climbing gear lasts for a decent period of time. Shoes, ropes, harnesses, chalk bags all have a relatively long shelf life, but climber’s blast through chalk like it was TP after a night at White Castle. And that can get expensive. Some high-end chalks can run up to $25 per bag, but who has that kind of money lying around?
You know what is lying around? Piles of chalk! Floor Chalk!
We’ve all been there. Out of chalk, on our knees, patting the pile of fresh white sprinkle from the floor, just to coat our hands for one more send. Grabbing that chunk, that fell from your rivals’ bag as they bite the dust on that overhanging crux. Pulling out what you pray are beard hairs from the mini-mound of powder that you were able scoop into the palm of your hand.
Floor chalk is a
cheap free alternative when you are trying to save money for that road trip to The Red, or trying to pay off the parking tickets from that time you thought #Vanlife meant you could overnight it in the parking lot at Red Rocks.
Floor Chalk is priced to move, but is it worth it?
If it’s a day when you’re low on chalk, and strapped for cash, then by all means hit the floor and start pattin’. If you’ve made arrangements with the climbing gym floor staff to have them empty the vacuum into your chalk bag at the end of their shift, then I might vote NO.
No matter how much money you save, the dead skin to chalk ratio in floor chalk will never be low enough to justify the savings. No matter how much money you save, the ‘beard hair vs. pubic hair’ conundrum will never be evidenced enough to justify the savings. No matter how much money you save, the vomit inducing modified chalk ceremony of ‘hands in, hands out, remove random toenail clipping, rub, clap, blow, climb on!’ will never be justified by the savings.
If you’re a climber that’s living the floor chalk life, or if you are thinking of trying floor chalk for the first time, then I wish you well. Just remember that despite the cost, everything has a price in one way or another.
Recommendation: All Skill Levels
Specs: MgCO3, Skin, Body Hair, Dust, Toe Nails
MSPR = $0.00
*For more from Carrot and theDIHEDRAL crew check out theDIHEDRAL Podcast found on most podcast sites including iTunes and Spotify. Feel free to subscribe and comment, if you enjoy what you hear!
**For our favorite chalk, check out the good stuff from our friends at Chalk Cartel.