LETS TALK CHALK!
Lets start with the basics: Why do we use chalk?
An athletes body is a moisture emitting machine. It is constantly generating and producing sweat, oils, and other sources of moisture through the surface of your skin. As a climber that is not something we want. Just a bit of moisture on your hands can be enough to take your climb from a send to a slip. So, what do we do to prevent that from happening? We use chalk! Chalk will dry out the sweat and other moisture on your hands which will increases friction and improve your grip. Sounds good, right?
Magnesium Carbonate VS Calcium Carbonate
Chalk is basically made up of either Magnesium Carbonate or Calcium Carbonate and moisture attaches itself differently to these two compounds. With Calcium carbonate moisture will sit on top of the chalk which can cause you to feel a slippery or slimy feeling while climbing. On the other hand, with Magnesium Carbonate the sweat and moisture attaches to the inside of the molecular structure which means no layer of slime between you and your climbing terrain. The higher the concentration of Magnesium Carbonate in the chalk the more effective it will be at dying your hands and staying on your hands longer. That is the stuff you want!
Now that we covered the basics, let us introduce you to Friction Labs
Friction Labs is a company from Denver, CO that takes chalk very seriously. They have developed a blend of chalk which has a higher proportion of Magnesium Carbonate and lower levels of Calcium Carbonate. This means that your hands feel drier and have more grip for longer periods of time. This also means you wont have to dip into your chalk bag quite as frequently.
From the Friction Labs Website:
“This is not the same old white-labeled generic chalk climbers are used to. Responsibly refined and stripped of all unnecessary fillers, FrictionLabs chalk gives you unrivaled moisture absorption and skin health. Like a high performance climbing shoe, our high purity Magnesium Carbonate makes a single application far more efficient, giving you the extra edge to focus on sending not slipping.”
Friction Labs Chalk is available in 3 different textures, Bam Bam which is super chunky, Gorilla Grip which is a bit chunky and Unicorn Dust which is the finest. It also comes in 5 different bag sizes.
Now for some VERY scientific testing with Seth
We pulled out all the stops and conducted a very elaborate and scientific experiment here at Climb Nashville. As you can see here our guniea pig Seth carefully opened a bag of Friction Labs and chalked up one hand. The other hand was then chalked up with generic block chalk. Don’t you worry, we made sure to be extremely careful not to cross contaminate specimens in order to ensure that the two chalks did not touch the opposing hands. After a little climbing and a little real life testing we compared the two hands. Yeah, just take a peek at the pictures below and see for yourself which hand has more coverage and remaining chalk. (note/spoiler-alert: the hand with significantly more chalk is the Friction Labs hand)
On a real note - It is safe to say that there is a noticeable difference when comparing Friction Labs Chalk to some of the other brands in the market. It certainly seems to fight off moisture and stay on your hands longer than the competition. Yes, it does cost more, so in the end it is up to you to deicide if it is worth it for you. Luckily, we do have a Friction Labs demo coming up on November 27th and we will be offering free samples to our members and guests who would like to try it out. Come into the gym and find out if Friction Labs chalk is right for you!