October 10, 2022

The Alternatives You Can Use Instead of Climbing Chalk

by Bernice

Sweat can reduce friction during wall climbing.

Chalk is an excellent material to enhance friction caused by sweaty hands.

Magnesium Chloride is part of most climbing chalks.

Climbing chalk is not the only thing to enhance friction during climbing.

There are chalk alternatives you can use instead of climbing chalk.

Some reasons may force you to use these options.

  • Forget to bring chalk to the climbing gym
  • Trying to protect the environment
  • Allergies from chalk constituents

Table of Contents
Alternatives You Can Use Instead of Climbing Chalk
Alternatives You Can Use Instead of Climbing Chalk

The following five items are suitable alternatives to use instead of climbing chalk

  1. Slightly Soapy Water and a Towel
  2. Metolius Eco Ball
  3. Dry Dirt or Sand
  4. Antiperspirant
  5. Crushed Dry Leaves

We need to understand the working mechanism of the climbing chalk first.

It will help us identify the aspects we need to copy to improve our climbing.

What Makes Chalk Good for Climbing?

Climbing chalk does not work the way people think.

It does not increase the resistance between your hands and the rocks directly.

Many climbers will remove extra power from their hands before attempting to climb the wall.

It is due to the resistance reduction effect of the chalk.

If you have extra chalk on your hand, your hands will not hold the boulders on the wall.

Many companies use power to reduce friction between surfaces.

It is hard to understand why climbers use chalk when climbing reduces friction.

Chalk works by absorbing sweat from your hands and making them dry.

Chalk has little ability to reduce friction. Water has more resistance reduction abilities.

It is better to keep powder on your hand instead of sweat.

Clean hands without sweat or powder will provide a better grip.

We can find some ways to avoid sweat production on our hands.

These chalk alternatives will help enhance your climbing experience.

5 Climbing Chalk Alternatives

You can get hundreds of chalk alternatives because many things can reduce sweat or enhance your grip on the holds.

We are giving only five alternatives because you cannot use other materials in the climbing gyms.

Two factors can prevent you from using most types of materials as an alternative to climbing chalk.

Most materials can stick to the holds.

It makes it hard for the other climbers to climb the same wall.

Sticky materials can also damage the boulder surface sometimes.

International organizations prevent the use of hold enhancers.

If you use a hold enhancer material, they will kick you out of the competition.

Using these materials is a way of cheating in competitions.

Dried pine resin is also known as the POF.

You put some resin on your hands to enhance your grip and prevent the effects of sweat.

Using this material is cheating. Using it will disqualify you from the competition.

These five products will not produce a mess and do not lead to disqualification.

1. Slightly Soapy Water and a Towel

Soap water and a towel will work for you when you are bouldering because you need to climb the bouldering wall in a short time.

It does not work better for the top roping because it is a short fix.

You can put some soap water on your hand and rub it for some time.

You can remove the solution from your hand with a towel to make the hands dry.

It will remove most oil and dirt from your hands, making them excellent for climbing.

It will not prevent more sweat from coming to your hands when climbing.

It is a temporary fix and does not work for people climbing long walls.

It is better to keep the dry towel with you all the time.

Little moisture on the hands will reduce friction. 

2. Metolius Eco Ball

Metolius Eco Ball
1 Reviews
Metolius Eco Ball
  • A highly absorbent and eco-friendly alternative to chalk that leaves no trace on the rock.

Last update on 2022-12-08 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

If you do not want to leave chalk on the climbing path to preserve the natural beauty, you can use the Metolius eco ball.

It is a ball of fabric full of powder material.

It is one of the few products that feel similar to chalk.

Putting chalk in the sock can produce the same effects as this product.

When you hold the eco ball, it will absorb most of the sweat from your hands.

There is no need to use this ball many times because its effects last for a long time.

You need to take some precautions when using this product.

It has a strong drying effect and absorbs most of the moisture from your hands.

Dry hands can make cracks on your skin.

You can prevent it by using moisturizers regularly.

You can apply moisturizer at the end of the climbing session.

People with cracked skin due to dryness should not use this alternative.

3. Dry Dirt or Sand

You can use sand or dirt to remove moisture from your hands if you do not have any other alternative.

Dirt is available almost everywhere.

You can also use a pinch of sand if you are near the beach.

These alternatives will not work the same way as the climbing powder because they do not have high moisture-absorbing abilities.

It is better to keep a towel with you when you are using this alternative.

You can use the towel to remove extra dirt from your hand.

Dirt accumulation can also reduce friction on your hands.

You cannot use this method in rainy weather because dirt can have a lot of moisture in the rain.

4. Antiperspirant

Your regular deodorant does not give enough antiperspirant effect.

It is due to less quantity of the active compound in the deodorant.

People do not use them because applying deodorant on your hands looks weird before climbing the wall.

Antiperspirant is available in the form of solution or powder.

You can apply it to your hands before climbing the wall and give it some time.

It will prevent sweat on your hands by stopping the sweat glands from secreting.

You can get them in many forms.

It is better to use the instructions on the packaging to use the product correctly.

Proper use of this product will prevent injury and gives the best anti-sweating effect.

5. Crushed Dry Leaves

Dried levels can work the same way as the dirt because they have high water-absorbing abilities.

There is no need to pull leaves from the trees because they will not work for you.

Leaves on the trees have high moisture content.

They will not absorb moisture and sweat from your hands.

Getting leaves from the ground is better because they do not have a lot of moisture content.

A brittle leaf can absorb more moisture because it has low water content.

You may not find many dried leaves in some seasons.

Autumn and winter are better for collecting leaves for hand-drying.

Rainy water can also make this method ineffective. 

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About the author 

Bernice

Bernice often jokes that she is better at climbing than walking. With avid parents of climbing, her first encounter with the high vertical rock walls was at the age of one. Her favorite style of climbing is bouldering.

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