/ Why WHITE chalk?

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mountbeckworth 27 Oct 2019

When I see videos of climbers leaving WHITE "snail trails" in Utah (no rain to wash the chalk off), and here in Australia leaving chalk trails in areas under threat of bans (such as the Grampians), I wonder why manufacturers don't dye the chalk an appropriate colour. As a climber I am embarrassed by caves in the area near Arapiles being "littered" by WHITE chalk; if I was a traditional owner I would be offended by a cave used by my ancestors for thousands of years being left in that state.

1
Mark Collins 27 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

Excellent point.

I've done a quick Google and there is at least one manufacturer of coloured chalk in the states but adding uk to the search equalled nowt as far as I could see. Perhaps nows the time for this. It certainly when you think about it, makes a mockery of the leave no trace ethic but at least we've got plenty of rain here to wash most of it off.

Presley Whippet 27 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

Hmm, 

Climb the orange cave, pulling onto the grey head wall with difficulty. Sharp holds lead to a steep black tufa which is easier than it looks. 

Gonna need a lot of chalk bags. 

15
Big Steve 27 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

you used to be able to buy a black / dark grey chalk, don't know if you still can though. It was supposed to be less visible on grindstone. I never tried it though so can't comment on its visibility

Post edited at 07:17
Ron Rees Davies 27 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

Adding a dye just adds another chemical that's polluting the environment and may well stain the rock. 

jezb1 27 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

Metolius do or at least did. It was crap though.

Andy Farnell 27 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

Because magnesium carbonate is.... White! 

Andy F 

Andy Hardy 27 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

Is it 1977 again already?

AlanLittle 27 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

It’s been tried. Turns out rock isn’t all the same colour, and the wrong shade of grey or orangey-brown was hardly any less visually obtrusive than white.

gravy 27 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

Why white chalk? because chalk is white, adding an artificial colour may reduce the visual impact but it may actually increase other environmental impacts (because no one cleans the chalk because it can't be seen, quality of the holds and the impact of the additives). 

There is a case where there is a significant concern about the visual impact but not otherwise where it equates to "can't see it so it must be ok, ignore".

ChrisBrooke 27 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

For what it’s worth I sympathise with the sentiment. I boulder in the Peak quite a lot and sometimes I’m pretty disgusted with the state of some of the rocks. Sometimes I feel like the only fool in the Peak with a brush! Not that I’m perfect, but spots like the Egg boulder at Cratcliffe..... and just about everywhere else.... are pretty gross. 

ColdWill 27 Oct 2019
In reply to ChrisBrooke:

Doesn't help when you see people spooning chalk onto the holds, I always thought it was meant for your hands. Do they think it's magic dust?

Pay Attention 27 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

The climax of the 1992 film "Last of the Mohicans" starring Daniel Day Lewis takes place on a cliff high in the Appalachians.  

The white handholds on the cliff face undermine the authenticity of the drama.

capoap 27 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

I can remember when it 1st came out, a solid white line up Crackstone Rib that you could clearly see from the road, its an easy S  FFS

mrphilipoldham 27 Oct 2019
In reply to ChrisBrooke:

I was disappointed to find the huge jugs on Viaduct Wall Traverse (f5) completely caked in chalk the other week, so much so that I actually spent a good 20 minutes scrubbing them. They've obviously got some embedded white now given how long they've been used for but there was an actual layer of the stuff on them, and the 6 inches of wall surrounding them. What goes through climbers' minds sometimes, I'd love to know. The proliferation of laziness is becoming a big problem though.

rgold 28 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

Over the years I've tried half a dozen or so colored chalks.  Every one of them was less effective at its primary purpose, which is to keep hands dry and grease from being deposited on the holds. 

I don't think there is anything to be done about the visual degradation, at least until authorities start banning climbing (which has started to happen...) By far the best approach (but only if widely adopted) is the chalk sock.  The point is that climbers use way too much chalk; so much that they may even be decreasing their adherence.  The chalk sock gives a much thinner dusting that barely transfers to the rock if at all.  A problem is that more applications are needed.

Toerag 28 Oct 2019
In reply to rgold:

>  By far the best approach (but only if widely adopted) is the chalk sock.  The point is that climbers use way too much chalk; so much that they may even be decreasing their adherence.  The chalk sock gives a much thinner dusting that barely transfers to the rock if at all.  A problem is that more applications are needed.

If people's skin can cope with it then the ideal solution is a base of liquid chalk and using a sock/ball 'on top'. I guess even more ideal is anti-sweating injections, but that's extreme.

1
Slarti B 28 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

Maybe change the question to "Why chalk"??

2
tjekel 28 Oct 2019
In reply to AlanLittle:

That's why you need fifty shades of grey instead of one. 

HakanT 28 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

Maybe get some chalk from The Grey Cliffs of Dover...

mountbeckworth 29 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

Mountbeckworth; thanks for the responses. Dipping into your chalkbag repeatedly at each handhold seems to be a method of focusing, like tennis players blowing on their fingers. Maybe pick a different focus. But I can see it is a complicated issue...I just hope some bureaucratic non-climbers don't ban some climbing areas because of the white stains.

Pay Attention 29 Oct 2019
In reply to mountbeckworth:

There ought to be research into this question.  Surely somebody will produce a questionnaire on this topic with multiple choice questions and tutor supervision.


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