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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

Poll Option Votes Graph
Yes I use chalk 126
No I don't use chalk 28

 Page 3 of 12. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 80 | 81 to 100 | 101 to 120 | 121 to 140 | 141 to 160 | 161 to 180 | 181 to 200 | 201 to 220 | 221 to 227
To Chalk or not to Chalk
12:45:56 PM
chalk sucks, think about it guys, all you have to do is look at the gallery or something like that to see how much of a mess it makes, its pathetic that people want to make the beautiful red and orange rock dotted with white, maybe chalk helps sweat, but look at the mess it makes, its sickening. just think what would happen if aboriginals kicked up a fuss about it? or parks victoria? we need to look after what we have, not grafitti it with foreign substances, you wouldnt spray paint your house or public buildings like people use chalk. at least try and get that chalk thats brown, or something like that that doesnt discolour the rock!! com on people, its childish!! i have climbe since i was 5, i'm now 17, havent used chalk, i havent died without it, i dont need it, whats the big fuss, i think chalk users should look at what a mess they are making, dont get hung up about my anger, thats jus my point of view. besides, how much energy do you waste hanging around dipping chalk, whilst in the middle of the crux of a climb?
i'll use chalk in gyms, thatss because its not discolouring natural rock, and its so damdn hot in the tops of the gyms, and the holds get so sweaty, why not just wipe your sweaty hands on your pants, thats all i do!
Real climbers dont use chalk, chalk is for little girls who play hopscotch!!!!!!

12:48:34 PM
On 1/04/2005 Nick Kaz wrote:
>An alternative?
>"Tite-Grip is a non-slip antiperspirant hand lotion that dries clear and
>will not stain clothes."

I will try anything once! I just ordered some off their website.
12:48:41 PM
I think in the lower grades (up to low 20's), unless there a specific conditional requirement (full sun, hot day etc) is over used and for the most part unecessary due to the size and shape of the holds. On harder climbs its use or lack thereof does impact performance.

12:52:20 PM
if you look at it long term as well, chalk can make it harder to climb. i know it is an extreme example, but on tannin the caked up chalk actually makes it harder to climb, as the hold become more slippery. this is because of the granuales of chalk gradually getting compacted to form a smoother surface then the original rock.

aardvark is another climb like this, with a few very solid underclings that you would have to have to be a very poor climber to fall off because of your hands (no offense meant to anyone who has fallen off that...) but are so caked up with chalk they are slippery.

12:54:31 PM
On 1/04/2005 dalai wrote:
>(snip) does impact performance.
Cutting edge performance maybe?, ... and that may be a grade 15 for a grade 12 bumbly??

I wonder if the Huber brothers and other heroes use it on all day hot sun epic feats in Yosemite etc?

12:54:32 PM
I am actually quite suprised at the poll results. I had no idea there was so much of a backlash against chalk.

1:00:51 PM
I think the grade is less a factor than the nature of the rock and the conditions. Grampians slopers and well-traveled Araps sandstone can be easy to grease off. If chalk has been overused in the past it can also increase the need for chalk. On a nice cool morning the need for chalk decreases dramatically. Climbing somewhere like Buffalo also requires less chalk because of the different rock.
I'd find it hard to climb without chalk on some climbs (and even harder on a hot day) but I don't think it is directly related to the grade.
A lot of chalk use is habit. Hanging on a bucket, scoping the crux moves and nervously digging around in my chalk bag is a common scenario. The result is more chalk on the bucket than on the crux moves themselves.

1:05:34 PM
On 1/04/2005 oweng wrote:
>.. I would think that any discouloration of the rock due
> to lichen loss is so minimal to be reletively insignificant.

There must be a sub-set of society that is well stoked about moss. Up here in the technological backwaters of Central Victoria we were hoping to dispense with carrier pigeons to get the news having heard tell of something called "digital television". Unfortunately there is (apparently) "issues" with some rare native lichen that is delaying a tower upgrade on Mt Alexander (among other issues). The upshot of this being that a few feet of moss will contribute to delaying our awakening from the ice age until at least the end of the year.

1:06:28 PM
On 1/04/2005 Rocky wrote:

>Real climbers dont use chalk, chalk is for little girls who play hopscotch!!!!!!

very true rocky, but slightly more violent then i might have put it. i happen to like hopscotch... but i'll take that hit.

1:19:46 PM
Hmm, Rocky, son of Noddy. Must be in the genes.

I tried chalk once; but I didn't inhale and I didn't have sexual relations with it either.

Also from the good old days (the Noddy Era?), Roland Pauligk and Tim Beaman never used chalk either. I climbed a lot with Smiley (Allan Hope) who never took his chalk bag on climbs graded below 16 and seldom used it on climbs over 16. Bangla (Peter Watling) has never even tried it.

Rock has published letters about the use of chalk but I remember seeing Baxter chalking up his climbing boots before heading up a new route on Rosea once. I can remember seeing Andrew Thomson (the bloke who put Tannin) leading Swinging (it may have been the FA) who dipped into his chalk bag at the crux AND then dusted his hands on his pants to get rid of the excess chalk. I've seen climbers who are chalked up past their wrists getting ready for some Araps crimpers (just how big were those holds?). I've also climbed with experienced people whose hands have started sweating just talking about climbing.

So what's the answer? There is no obvious single answer, but ... if you just get used to using it for the crux moves that would cut down its usage by a huge amount. After that you might find you only need it on certain climbs or under certain conditions.

I got annoyed quite a few years back after finding Tip Toe Ridge chalked and the descent from the top of the Organ Pipes (getting around into the top of the gully) chalked up and wrote a letter to ARGUS. A reply came back a few months later from someone called 'Angel Black' saying it's use depends on what chemicals had been ingested before "alleged night time ascents". Is that the only excuse for using chalk on easier climbs? Being out of it?

Anyway, enough of me, it's time to get back to the NW Vic guide.

1:29:35 PM
On 1/04/2005 nmonteith wrote:
>On 1/04/2005 Nick Kaz wrote:
>>An alternative?
>>"Tite-Grip is a non-slip antiperspirant hand lotion that dries clear
>>will not stain clothes."
>I will try anything once! I just ordered some off their website.
I'd be interested to know how it goes...
1:30:35 PM
On 1/04/2005 nmonteith wrote:
>I am actually quite suprised at the poll results. I had no idea there was
>so much of a backlash against chalk.

Look at it this way Neil, how may people have you seen at the crags not using chalk. I can think of a grand total of 1 and he hasn't been climbing very long so will no doubt end up realising it's usefullness soon enough.

I love how i seems to be ok to use a bit of chalk on the easier routes but you should be damned to hell if you use it anything steep. Or that it is infered that chalk aiding performance is just a myth and people hardly ever slip off holds anyway, WTF. Sure maybe if you are climbing exclusevely on jugs but get on something a little smaller, a little less positive and see how you fare. Sure there will always be someone out there who can send my projects while sleepwalking in their flip flops wearing mittens but for the vast majority of us climbers, chalk does actually aid in our quest to get to the anchors.

I am like Neil and go through it pretty quickly, training on the woody uses up most of it I guess but my performance on the rock would plummet without it.

Now, I do realise that chalk can be an issue if it is in areas where some fu@#wit tourists that have nothing better to do in their lives sees it and complains to the authorities so sure there is a need to reduce our impact. Like many have said before, chalking up can become a bit of a habit even when you don't need to. Use it only when you need to and take along a brush and give some of the holds a bit of a scrub on the way down.

1:44:45 PM
I love how i seems to be ok to use a bit of chalk on the easier routes but you should be damned to hell if you use it anything steep.
-wtf yourself. no body said that, if anything it was the opposite...

so sorry, but i'm not a 'fu@#wit tourist', and i still think that chalk on rock is a blemish. but the argument i go with is that while i don't think it greatly improves perf. it does to an extent, yet i don't use it for the moral and environmental issues that stem from it. and i may not be climbing on sports bolted, or harder climbs, but i still do some hardish ones that aren't 'jugs' and not using chalk has no effect.
1:47:20 PM
Arapiles is naturally a slippery rock. Chalk has little to do with making it worse. Boot rubber is way worse. Take a look at richmond bridge next time u pass through..

1:53:19 PM
i used it for 3 years and only stopped the start of theis year (and this year is when i began intensively climbing)

but boot thats an interesting one...sandshoes everyone! lol.

1:54:18 PM
Like many people here I feel that chalk is useful if your hands tend to sweat a lot (which mine do) I try to limit my use on easier routes, but when I'm climbing harder stuff I find that not using it limits my ability considerably. This is just a personal thing and every body is entitled to their own opinions (which I'm glad to see everybody is exercising) but let's not get to the point where we end up calling each other F@#$wits etc.

I like Neil and others use quite a bit of chalk (maybe not a block every ttwo weeks) but I use quite a bit. Keep the heated debate up.

Current results indicate that chalk is in high use, in the order of 75% of people.

1:57:28 PM
>Yes I use chalk 35 74%

>No I don't use chalk 12 26%

Hey LittleMac, it seems to me that if you included a couple more catagories in your poll it might prove useful, as the issue is not simply black and white, (and besides my preference does not fit neatly !)
Your call, as the topic has obviously been of interest.

Some suggestions:-

Yes I use chalk ...
- generally but sparingly in quantity
- sometimes but only when necessary (crux move/s)
- on grades < X
- on grades > Y


1:57:38 PM
On 1/04/2005 itchyfingers wrote:
>i used it for 3 years and only stopped the start of theis year (and this
>year is when i began intensively climbing)
>but boot thats an interesting one...sandshoes everyone! lol.

Not trying to be smart here, but sandshoes actually make things worse as you tend to "bicycle" more on holds and polish them. This is why climbing gyms holds tend to get polished quite quickly.

1:59:38 PM
fair enough. it was a weak attempt at a joke anyway...
2:07:23 PM
It's such an old arguement though (and one which has been debated at length on this forum before).

If you take the ethical and environmental approach to stopping chalk use, then I am sorry to say you should quit climbing outdoors. The paths created by walking to the cliff, using descent gullies which can be quite fragile ecosystems, just climbing on the rock, placing and removing traditional protection; even driving in the car to the cliff itself are just a few examples of far greater impact we make as climbers.

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There are 227 messages in this topic.


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