With the support of our fans, we’ve improved our understanding of chalk and we continue to bring more innovative chalk products to climbers and athletes around the world. Some things have definitely changed, so here’s the updated edition of our essential guide for how to use chalk distilled down to a few convenient bullet points:
The difference between good and bad chalk comes down to how it feels on your hands, how long it lasts, and how healthy it is for your skin.
Your hands can tell the difference:
Chalk comes in a few different forms depending on personal preference:
For best results, we recommend you apply liquid chalk to clean, dry hands as a base layer. Once it’s dry, add a bit of loose chalk or squeeze a chalk ball as required to keep your hands and fingertips dry. A good liquid chalk base layer will make the loose chalk and/or chalk ball last longer.
Everyone’s body produces moisture differently, so some people need to re-apply more than others. Before you re-apply, we recommend rubbing your hands together to see if you can get some of the chalk from other areas of your hands (like your palms) onto your fingertips.
It is possible to have too much chalk on your hands—what you’re looking for is a fine layer of chalk covering your fingers, but not a bunch of loose or caked chalk sitting on there.
If you are using loose chalk or a chalk ball out of a chalk bag/bucket, put one or both hands in the bag, grab some chalk, spread it from your palm to your fingertips, then let the excess pour back into the bag and pull your hands out. Try not to make a mess by pulling out too much chalk that isn’t already rubbed into your hands. At this point you should have a bunch of chalk on your hands and they should be out of the bag/bucket. If you still see loose particles, blow away the excess. You should now have a smooth, uniform layer of chalk covering your fingers, but minimal loose particles since you blew them off. Now get climbing before new moisture starts to eat away at the chalk!
Over time, you’ll find your sweet spot for the amount of chalk you like on your hands. You’ll get a feel for when you need more based on what your fingers look like and how moist/dry they feel.
That’s it! Now that you know how to put it on, get some chalk for yourself. Or, if you really want to get smart on chalk, check out the follow up to this piece: How NOT to Use Rock Climbing Chalk.
At FrictionLabs, we spend a lot of time thinking about chalk, so we hope this guide is helpful to clearing up any confusion. Do you have a different method for applying chalk? Wondering about something we didn’t discuss? Leave a comment!
Thumbnail image by Stefan Kuerzi