Magnesium carbonate, a white mineral, is known as Gym Chalk or Climbing Chalk, due to its use in activities like weightlifting, rock climbing, athletics, and gymnastics.
Rock climbing is one enthralling adventure activity that requires immense strength and endurance. Climbers often have to rely on their grip and arm strength to overcome a difficult climb. Subsequently, a climber wouldn’t want sweaty palms, which might weaken his/her grip. Here, chalk comes to the rescue and acts as a drying agent to prevent hands from getting sweaty and slipping off the rock surface. Moreover, application of chalk provides a stronger grip to hold on to a crack or crevice.
The use of normal chalk creates a lot of dust and requires frequent re-chalking. Thus, the necessity of using liquid chalk was born. Buying liquid chalk every time can prove costly. So, here is a better and cheaper option of making it at home, whenever and in whatever quantities you may require.
Chalk powder or gym chalk (blocks)
Rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol)
An airtight bottle
A cup (or any measuring unit)
– Take a bowl or a container and add the fine chalk powder into the bowl.
– Pour some alcohol into the powder and start stirring it.
– Keep stirring the mixture with a stirrer and keep adding alcohol until all the powder becomes one with the liquid.
– Make sure it becomes really smooth, like the consistency of yogurt. (you can add another splash of alcohol, if needed)
– Now, once it is ready, fill it in an airtight container or bottle.
The proportion of chalk and spirit should be 2:1. So, if you take 2 cups of chalk powder, it would need around 1 cup of alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is basically used as an antiseptic. It is denatured alcohol that can be perfumed too. The purpose behind using alcohol in making liquid chalk is that it evaporates fast. Thus, while choosing rubbing alcohol, get a 70% (by volume) Isopropyl alcohol. Lesser than that will dry up the mix fast.
It is easier to use ready-made powdered chalk, but if you have blocks of chalk, then you need to crush them neatly. Ensure that the powder is very fine, almost dust-like; you can strain it carefully using a fine screen or filter.
You may use a squirt bottle or a small squeeze bottle for storage. Also, avoid preparing large quantities of liquid chalk as it may dry up eventually.
Using Liquid Chalk
Squeeze out only a little coin-shaped liquid chalk on your palm, because, if you squeeze out extra, it cannot be applied elsewhere like a lotion. Rub the chalk in your palms. Your hands will start feeling cold as the liquid chalk forms a layer over your skin, and the alcohol in the chalk begins to evaporate. You hands would then appear white, with a nice layer of chalk filling in all the cracks on your skin. You are now good to begin your ascent!
Advantages of Liquid Chalk
– It provides a better and longer grip than chalk powder or blocks.
– Liquid chalk is beneficial during difficult climbs where it may not be possible to dip the hands in the chalk bag frequently.
– Using it also proves advantageous in competitions where frequent re-chalking may affect your scores.
– The residue that is left behind due to liquid chalk on rocks or indoor climbing walls is lesser than chalk powder. Thus, it is more environment friendly.
– Besides being easy-to-use, it does not form any dust, like chalk powder, which is harmful for the lungs.
Therefore, keeping a homemade bottle of liquid chalk handy can prove beneficial to any rock climber. Liquid chalk is available in lotion as well as liquid spray form. This, however, is mostly used at gyms.