The one with chalk is a little bit of an abusive relationship: there’s really nothing to love about it, but we cannot do without. Chalk is definitely one of the worst things you can do to your hands and skin, but at the end of the day, if you wanna climb, you need it. Sweat, moisture, sun block and even the soap you used to wash your hands can make your palms too slick, especially when climbing outdoors. And if you’re one of those gifted with extreme sensitive sweat and all it takes for your pores to open like shower is a few accelerated steps, you will need to make chalk your BF whether you like it or not.
Beside the obvious practical use, there’s something else to consider: the ethernal battle between powder or liquid. What is the difference? How does it affect your performance? And mostly, is one better than the other?
Difference The main difference between the two is the ingredients. Traditional ‘chalk’ is actually made from Calcium Carbonate whereas the main ingredient of liquid chalk is Magnesium Carbonate.
Why choose Liquid Chalk
First thing that comes to mind is that’s easier to apply: with liquid chalk all it takes is a small quantity to rub eavely on your palms and that’s it. You can also target more precisely certain areas.
It’s less messy: how many times we’ve cursed against our chalk bag that always seems to be closed just not well enough? Especially if you are climbing after work or have a change of clothes in the bag. It’s also far more portable, just stick it in a side pocket.
It washes off easily with water as well as stops you from inhaling chalk and looking like scarface.
Why choose Powder Chalk
First off, it does not contain rosin which may cause allergies. Rosin is a form of resin that is obtained from pine trees. Especially if you suffer from eczema, you want to stay away from liquid chalk.
If you climb high walls, power chalk is probably much better as it’s easily accessible for a quick refill while you’re hanging on it. You are not going to be opening a bottle and squeezing it on your palms when you’re 30 meters and you need need to nail the next crimp
It doesn’t perish when exposed to air. If you drop a bit (or like me, A LOT) by accident, you can still save it and use it. If you leave liquid chalk open or spill it somewhere that’s not your hands, you can say goodbye forever.
Why choose… both?
So if you are anything like Garon and sweat like a greased pig, he uses both when it is hot outside. The alcohol dries your hands very well to give a dry base then chalk as usual throughout the climb. He finds that this helps a bit without having to go to the extremes of antihydral (basically a German doping cream for foosball…) It’s not perfect, it is hard on his hands but it definitely helps with a excessive sweat on hot days through the first part of the pitch.