When heading out to climb, many of us do a simple gear check. Helmet, Harness, shoes, rope, draws? Check. But remember, the most essential climbing gear, your chalk bag. Yes, that is right, your chalk bag is the most essential climbing gear pieces you will ever own. Many think of this equipment as a mere fashion accessory and you can definitely tell a lot about a person by their choice of chalk bag. But it is a much more than that.
This essential climbing gear can make or break your success that day. That’s why we’ve partnered with Krieg Climbing to make our very own Chicks Chalkbags. If you attend one of our trips, you’ll walk away with one of these bad ass chalk bags to call your very own. The Krieg Chalkbag is the perfect balance of style, volume and size. Here are a few tips to be sure you are using this piece of gear to it’s fullest potential.
You will notice that most chalk bags are sold with a belt, not a carabiner. The belt is to be used to attach the bag around your waist. There are many advantages to using a belt: 1. The belt allows you to freely move the chalk bag. 2. The belt allows you to slide the chalk bag around if you are in a chimney or an odd stance.
Wearing a chalk bag on a carabiner is not ideal. The carabiner attachment will often position the bag incorrectly on your harness and the carabiner fixes the bag in one place. To be sure to get the maximum efficiency in your systems, wear the bag on a belt.
2. Make sure the bag is open and full of chalk before leaving the ground.
The opening of the bag should be big enough to easily dunk your hand into the chalk. When you are climbing, actually coat your hands in chalk until your palms and fingers are white. Just putting chalk onto your finger tips is not enough. We at Chicks prefer Friction Labs chalk because it is not cakey and the different formulas give us a variety when we are in the gym or on real rock.
On really hot days, I also use liquid chalk as a baselayer to keep away the slimy feeling. Then as I climb, the loose chalk provides the extra that I need to grab the small holds. When you return to the ground, don’t forget to close your chalk bag. This will help you keep the gym and the crag a little cleaner.
3. Chalk wisely.
The act of chalking your hands, is more than simply drying your sweaty palms. Chalking is a time to rest, relax and plan ahead when on a route. Chalking up can be calming and even meditative when trying to keep it together in the crux. I personally find that the more I chalk, the bigger the holds feel.
Feel free to chalk as much as needed, however please remember when you are finished with the route to brush off the holds that you caked with chalk. An old toothbrush works wonders to restore the friction on a hold. Also scrub away any tick marks that you made. This is a courtesy to the next climber and will also keep the route in better shape.
To learn more about the small nuances that will make a huge difference to your climbing, check out a Chicks Rock Clinic this summer. Even if you have been climbing for years, our certified female climbing guides have something to share with you. Climbing is a life time sport, it is impossible to climb everything and learn everything there is to know in a lifetime.