/ Chalk-anyone else out there never carry it.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Ann S on 27 Jun 2013
Purely out of idle curiosity was wondering how many others on here never use/carry chalk. As a sub VS leader I have never carried it and never felt the need to. The hardest I have seconded would be the odd short 5b sections with a tight rope from above, such as Whits End Direct where progress might have been slightly easier with a quick dab on the slab below the overhang but below 5b, whether leading or seconding I have never thought 'Strewth-wish I had a chalk bag.'

Just wondered if any one else operating in the same grade range has the same approach or am I an oddball?
Blue Straggler - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

My friend who has exceptionally dry skin never uses it, and climbs around your level. This person doesn't eat much oily food, nor really sweat much even during proper intense exercise.
It doesn't make them, or you, any better a person. Nor an oddball :-)
Dave Wearing - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

I have never used chalk in over 40 years climbing or a cam for that matter.

Old school?
Ava Adore - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

I suspect the vast majority of people climbing at that level don't NEED chalk. It's part of a reassuring routine though - get ready to climb, clean shoes, get chalk. Difficult move to do - chalk up.
davidbeynon - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

Not often outside. Sometimes indoors when it's sweaty.
Caralynh - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

I used to, more out of "convention" and habit than need. I don't carry it anymore. Then again, I used to lead harder stuff than now, and now mainly stick to mountain routes which a) don't get as polished and b) look even more unsightly than roadside venues when daubed with the white stuff.
nniff - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

I have a friend who hardly sweats and doesn't vere feel the need for chalk. He climbs at around E2.

Back in the early 80's, Troll accepted that chalk wasn't going to go away and produced a chalk bag, which they called the 'Troll 6a Chalk Bag' on the basis that you should not be using chalk below that grade (UK grades, none of that continental malarkey). I was actually asked when I bought one!

Jonny2vests - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

I was a VS climber for 10 years and couldn't see the point of chalk. For me it became relevant at HVS and beyond and I would be royally screwed without it now.
shantaram - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S: I find it very useful at certain indoor walls which feel hot and sweaty and also climbing at hot rock destinations eg Costa Blanc and Kalymnos. I still use it for UK trad but like most mid grade climbers I really don't need to and shouldn't. I climb HVS/E1 and tend to dip into the bag almost as a nervous habit to help me compose myself before a difficult move or a run out section. I suspect that the majority of UK chalk use is totally unnecessary unless operating at the upper grades on very small holds.
xplorer on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

It's all down to personal choice at the end of the day, and it's as simple as that.

My hands tend be become sweaty when climbing all day in summer and I definitely need to use chalk.

I don't see why there are endless threads and debates about the white stuff....
Gazlynn - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

Never used it outside but don't climb hard.

cheers

Gaz
Big Z on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S: I climb around a 6bish and have never used chalk because i just don't need it. My hands get tacky when i climb, rather than sweaty, so it actually makes things worse/harder for me.

On the other hand, i have a buddy who climbs the exact same grades as me and he couldn't live without the stuff. I mean, if he even thinks about climbing his palms sweat profusely. Without it he would just slip off of every hold!
Ann S on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

Interesting replies, especially the Troll 6a chalk bag! No debate intended -just idle curiosity as I said. As the French nearly say, ' a chalkun son gout.'
SCrossley on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Dave Wearing: No you haven`t but you must admit, a cam takes the sting out of Hopkinsons Gully ;-) and would you consider using Grapefruit, if it was good enough for George, must be good enough for you :-)
ElBarto - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:
The hardest I lead is VS and about 6a / 6a+ sport outdoors and there have been three times when I've used chalk (that includes indoor climbs) and it has been when the route was greasy.

Even those times I used someone else's chalk as mine was still in the bag as I never use it.
the power - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S: I uses loads of the stuff since starting work in a chip shop
Lew13 - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

I get sweaty hands so I do use chalk.

I guess this makes me a cheat ;)
GridNorth - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to the power: Blimey, remind me not to get a fish supper from there. :-)
EeeByGum - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S: I have a chalkbag with several empty chalk balls. It is used entirely for psychological advantage and for me, works perfectly!
GridNorth - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to EeeByGum: I have to be honest and say that chalk is more of a psychological aid than something to absorb sweat as my hands don't really sweat. I keep meaning to cut down. Perhaps you can get something like those artificial nicotine thingies to help with the withdrawal symptoms.
The Pylon King on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

I dont use it on my hands but use it to draw big knobs on the rock face.
John Gresty - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:
Last used half way up La Demande in the Verdon Gorge, in the middle of the summer, about 30 years ago. Then the water bottle I was carrying started to leak, filled the chalk bag, and just left a soggy mmess. Finished the climb clean handed and never used the stuff since.

The Ivanator - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to The Pylon King: Brilliant, I'll keep my eyes peeled for your creative works.
Jack B on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

I bought a chalk bag with my harness and shoes when starting out, but lost it a few months later. Leading 6b indoors and VS out, I just don't find it necessary.

The exception is the very occasional comp I go to, when critical holds get sweated up before you get there, or if I'm repeatedly falling off a route that's beyond my ability.

<rant>
I don't mind people using it for a bit for fiction, but it seems over the top when people are leaving clearly-defined hand prints all over the route. Or bashing the chalk ball against a hold so they can see where it is. IMO if people insist on doing this, they should brush it off before they leave. At a small sea stack near me, someone's even chalked up a whole 'problem', including FF next to the 'last' hold!
</rant>
In reply to Ann: I was thinking about you yesterday!

I use chalk because my hands sweat.
In reply to Jack B:
> (In reply to Ann S)

> I don't mind people using it for a bit for fiction,

You're out of date - the top boys are using typewriters and even computers now...

In reply to The Pylon King:
> (In reply to Ann S)
>
> I dont use it on my hands but use it to draw big knobs on the rock face.

I find it washes off too quickly, so I use spray paint instead.
The Pylon King on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Submit to Gravity:
> (In reply to The Pylon King)
> [...]
>
> I find it washes off too quickly, so I use spray paint instead.

I only do it below overhangs.
cb294 - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

I don´t use chalk most of the time. Banned in the Elbe sandstone, which means it is not in my bag when I desperately need it on plastic.

CB
Ann S on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Submit to Gravity:
> (In reply to Ann) I was thinking about you yesterday!
>
> I use chalk because my hands sweat.

Only good thoughts I hope!!
ads.ukclimbing.com
JIMBO on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S: I don't use chalk and neither does my wife.
Only ever used it to dry my rockboots and the odd seepage streak on quarried limestone.
Personally I regard it as graffiti and the perpetrators should be shot and dragged through baths of acid until all trace of chalk is removed from their skinny withered, broccoli eating, hippy, circus dwelling body.
pamph - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:
> Purely out of idle curiosity was wondering how many others on here never use/carry chalk. As a sub VS leader I have never carried it and never felt the need to. The hardest I have seconded would be the odd short 5b sections with a tight rope from above, such as Whits End Direct where progress might have been slightly easier with a quick dab on the slab below the overhang but below 5b, whether leading or seconding I have never thought 'Strewth-wish I had a chalk bag.'
>
> Just wondered if any one else operating in the same grade range has the same approach or am I an oddball?

The great Pat Littlejohn was (is?) a rabid anti-chalkist, and I can pesonally vouch for his standards as I was winched up a new route on Lower Sharpnose (Break On Through) at E4 5c by him in the mid-eighties. No chalk. I think he climbed up to 6a without chalk? And a thouroughly nice bloke to boot.

I use chalk above VS I'm afraid to say as I have sweaty hands. On the other hand I don't climb much now, so maybe that makes it not so heinous.
Ann S on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to JIMBO:

Oh dear, Jim. If I ever do use it I'd better carry it surreptiously in a pocket disguised in a Beechams powder wrapper.
Kafoozalem - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to JIMBO:
> (In reply to Ann S) I don't use chalk

Really Jimbo? So what is that bag hanging from your waist in many of your gallery images - and in Dec/Jan ... tut tut!

Personally I find it makes a huge difference since I am both sweaty and weak. I forgot it whilst working a V4 recently and was finding it totally nails. Then some mates turned up with chalk and I sent it first time.
minexplorer - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S: never bothered with the stuff the first year.only started because a mate gave me a chalk bag.useful if hands get sweaty i find,tho used to just wipe on t shirt before.or a hold is very polished it helps a bit
JIMBO on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Kafoozalem: sorry, I was all overcome with pointless ranty b#llox! I think some bad habits have rubbed off on me from reading other recent threads.

Chalk is brilliant. Makes climbing so much better. People who don't use it should be dragged into the street and shot before being dragged through acid and then a huge mound of chalk until it fizzles in their veins!
Bruce Hooker - on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

> wondering how many others on here never use/carry chalk.

I never have and never will, if I'm not able to do something I try something else within my limits. Messy stuff, it has completely changed the colour of the rocks at Fontainebleau... even though theoretically it's prohibited there.
Kafoozalem - on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to JIMBO:

:-) That's more like it!
knighty - on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to Submit to Gravity:
> (In reply to Jack B)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> You're out of date - the top boys are using typewriters and even computers now.

You have made my week! :)
Ann S on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

Many thanks for all the interesting and amusing replies. Far more people not using than I imagined. From starting out as an idle thought it has forced me to think more carefully about my approach. I know I will never use it for my own leading but would its use be a courtesy to a stronger leader who might need to put less effort into anchor hauling me up harder lines. Hmmm! Pause for thought.
Mike Stretford - on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:
> (In reply to Ann S)
> I know I will never use it for my own leading but would its use be a courtesy to a stronger leader who might need to put less effort into anchor hauling me up harder lines. Hmmm! Pause for thought.

If the leader's used chalk there'll still be some left on the holds so you'll probably get away with wiping your hands on your trousers (or a dry flannel if your trouser materials doesn't absorb).
Toerag - on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S: Since starting to use liquid chalk at the start of a session and misplacing my chalkbag for a couple of months I find my self using a lot less. If I find a hold getting sweaty I know it's time to man up and go for the move.
krikoman - on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S: I don't use it, though for some unknown reason have 3 chalk bags!!

Sometime "borrow" chalk from friends, but it's only a dip and can't remember doing it outside.
Goucho on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S: The use of chalk on low to mid grade routes is actually laughable, and the 'I have sweaty hands" argument in the UK, is equally funny.

However, the biggest problem with chalk, is the ludicrous overuse of it - go on, next time you're out on the crag, watch how many times people dip on each move, without actually moving - it's become crag based OCD.

Mind you, it does have the advantage - especially on grit - of reducing the risk of getting lost on routes, which used to be a major problem pre-chalk, where it was a regular occurrence, and there was one instance of a party of 4 reported missing on Central Trinity at Stanage for 3 days.
UrbanSteve - on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to Ann S:

I don't use chalk nor would I ever..... Ethics, morals, old school.
Also, I am definitely more middle class than you! blah blah blah. Bored.
xplorer on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to Goucho:

"In reply to Ann S: The use of chalk on low to mid grade routes is actually laughable, and the 'I have sweaty hands" argument in the UK, is equally funny."


Impossible to get sweaty hands in England?
Goucho on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
>
> Impossible to get sweaty hands in England?

No, but on Froggatt in November???

Rosco P Coltrane - on 29 Jun 2013
In reply to UrbanSteve:

^^

+1

Can't imagine where rock climbing gets its reputation for being full of cliquey, purist, "wasn't like that it my day" hot air blowers from.

Bruce Hooker - on 29 Jun 2013
In reply to Rosco P Coltrane:
> (In reply to UrbanSteve)
>
> ^^
>
> +1
>
> Can't imagine where rock climbing gets its reputation for being full of cliquey, purist, "wasn't like that it my day" hot air blowers from.

What's "purist" about not dipping your hands in chalk powder if you don't need it?

Muel - on 29 Jun 2013
In reply to Goucho:

It's not November, it's June.


I never carry chalk in winter as my hands stay dry. Today however, the rock will probably be a bit damp and it's very warm, so my hands will be sweaty, so I probably will use chalk on anything from v.diff upwards. I'm still yet to see a compelling argument against using it apart from it's ugly if you use too much (which I don't).

It's worth pointing out that, as a big fat sod, S 4B is as hard as I can climb, so takes as much effort for me to do as any decent climber on HVS or above.
Rosco P Coltrane - on 29 Jun 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Not much Bruce. However, along with all the other snide comments some climbers make about other climbers doing things differently to them it kind of all adds up. Some examples of stuff that regularly sees people getting their knickers in a twist:

Cams vs nuts
Boulderer's hats
Top ropes
Young people
Terminology
Indoor climbing not being climbing
Dogs (im guily of this one)
Dry tooling
Bolting
Grades
Helmets
Crowds
Groups
Clipping gear to outside of rucksack for the walk in
Not seeing that much of Titchmarsh on tv anymore
The rocketing price of Werthers
BAdhoc - on 29 Jun 2013
In reply to EeeByGum:
> (In reply to Ann S) I have a chalkbag with several empty chalk balls. It is used entirely for psychological advantage and for me, works perfectly!


I agree, totally psychological, have to use it more indoor more so tho because of all the sweaty children/men.
Bruce Hooker - on 29 Jun 2013
In reply to Rosco P Coltrane:

You forgot quite a few but isn't that what forums are for? No one is dragged screaming to their keyboard.
Cruty Rammers - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S:

Indoors, all the time as I seem to only sweat through my fingers. Outdoors, I don't think I ever have yet.
Lukem6 - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: I never use chalk, haven't for 7 months. Quit and never looked back.... I'm now climbing Hvs and eyeing up my third E1. Climb any rock at vs, grit at HVS, and indoors at notts 5c the odd 6a. (british tech grade). Don't even feel the urge any more, chalk is simply not part of climbing, even abroad in 30 degrees centigrade.
Lukem6 - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to lm610: My opinion is its over used, particularly on real rock where it becomes a sweaty paste on a humid day. I tend to reach around until I find the unchalked jug next to the sweaty sloper. Most skin moisture mid way through a days climbing is due to skin wear and tear...

Soft moist skin is stronger, and dry skin tears and weathers easier resulting in moisture being released to repair skin. This is common knowledge amongst beauticians,and a Ripleys: Believe it or Not, fact amongst climbers.
Offwidth - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to lm610: Are you for real? Clean jugs next to chalked slopers and skin moisture not due to sweat and beautician tips for climbers? I'm amazed with this ability to uncover secrets that you are you not leading way harder??
jkarran - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S:

If you don't sweat much and/or don't want to climb harder than last time you went out... Chalk probably doesn't do much for you.

If on the other hand you do and you... Chalk helps.

jk
jkarran - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

> The use of chalk on low to mid grade routes is actually laughable, and the 'I have sweaty hands" argument in the UK, is equally funny.

Only if you don't have sweaty hands or the capacity to empathise.

jk
Jonny2vests - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to lm610) Are you for real? Clean jugs next to chalked slopers and skin moisture not due to sweat and beautician tips for climbers? I'm amazed with this ability to uncover secrets that you are you not leading way harder??

Yes, i don't know why using chalk means I cant see all these unchalked jugs. The thing that impresses me most is Notts 6a without chalk.
Neil Adams - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: I'm a sweaty bugger. Without chalk, I'd definitely be a sub-VS leader too!
Goucho on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
> [...]
>
> Only if you don't have sweaty hands or the capacity to empathise.
>
> jk

I'm afraid I can't empathise with people who don't know why they use it, other than a herd mentality.

And, just because you might need it on a few 'small' holds, doesn't mean you should plaster huge jugs in it!

It's nothing more than a psychological aid - a placebo - for 80% of climbers.
GridNorth - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to jkarran)
> [...]
>
> It's nothing more than a psychological aid - a placebo - for 80% of climbers.

I agree totally and plead guilty as charged but I am determined to kick the habit especially outdoors.
Offwidth - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

Do you know 80% of statistics are made up?
Jonny2vests - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to jkarran)
> [...]
>
> It's nothing more than a psychological aid - a placebo - for 80% of climbers.

Surely you mean it's placebo for 80% of moves?
Ramblin dave - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Ann S)
>
> Messy stuff, it has completely changed the colour of the rocks at Fontainebleau... even though theoretically it's prohibited there.

Yeah, it's shocking, you can barely see the pof on some problems these days.

For my part, I try to use it sparingly. I'd like to say that I only use it when I need more friction on small holds or slopers on hot days (while noting that you still get small holds and slopers on stuff below VS), but in practice I probably do a bit of psychological dipping. I try to keep the habit in check by leaving the chalk bag on the ground if I'm bouldering (indoors or out) and not fetching it unless I feel like I'm greasing off something.
Goucho on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to Goucho)
> [...]
>
> Surely you mean it's placebo for 80% of moves?

Both :-)
Goucho on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
> Do you know 80% of statistics are made up?

So are 80% of the excuses for using chalk on VS's :-)
Offwidth - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

And 80% of the complaints from old timers who used to climb hard? If it makes a difference to you, why not for someone less talented??

I am 100% with those who think chalk is over-used of course and despair of the morons who think it's for coating their hands (or the rock) rather than removing sweat.
Ramblin dave - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
> And 80% of the complaints from old timers who used to climb hard? If it makes a difference to you, why not for someone less talented??

Yeah, I can respect people who just don't use chalk at all and think it's straight up unnecessary / unethical / cheating, but I've got less time for people who think that chalk is useful and justifiable on whatever grade they personally find hard but pointless and unjustifiable on the lower grades that they personally find easy...
Bruce Hooker - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
> [...]
>
> Yes, i don't know why using chalk means I cant see all these unchalked jugs. The thing that impresses me most is Notts 6a without chalk.

Probably due to the chalk in your eyes? As for leading 6a without chalk, even an oldie like me has been known to do that... what do you think people did before chalk came along from over the Atlantic? Stuck to V Diffs?

Bruce Hooker - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> Yeah, it's shocking, you can barely see the pof on some problems these days.

Prize for idiotic post of the day! Why do Brits always bring pof up when chalk is criticized? Resin is invisible, chalk isn't and anyway not using chalk doesn't imply using pof, there's no magic relationship which means not using the one forces you to use the other, neither are necessary but only chalk is prohibited by the ONF, for aesthetic (it's messy) and ecological (chalk changes the ph, resin doesn't, it drips off pine trees) reasons I suppose. It's on all the ONF notice boards.

Goucho on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
> [...]
>
> Yeah, I can respect people who just don't use chalk at all and think it's straight up unnecessary / unethical / cheating, but I've got less time for people who think that chalk is useful and justifiable on whatever grade they personally find hard but pointless and unjustifiable on the lower grades that they personally find easy...

Think of why chalk started to be used in the first place - to increase friction on the tiny holds found on increasingly 'hard' new routes.

Of course it's since been retro applied to routes of all grades under a completely misguided argument - using it on lower grade routes is the equivalent of wearing full F1 race gear to drive a Nissan Micra to the corner shop.
Goucho on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
> And 80% of the complaints from old timers who used to climb hard? If it makes a difference to you, why not for someone less talented??
>
I have a personal ethic (not perfect by any means) of never using it on anything below E3 5c - because it wasn't needed, the holds are big enough not to - and even then, only on the hard moves (I've never climbed an E3 5c where every move was 5c, have you?) and then, only a small amount. The irony is, that the more you chalk a hold, the more you cancel out it's friction advantage.

All this bollocks about sweaty hands, is just a smoke screen - being in denial - of the fact people know it's a bollocks argument, but have no other remotely rational argument to justify it - because there isn't one.

xplorer on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

See I don't climb at particular hard grades consistantly, but I have noticed that on slopers, if my hands are sweaty I can't keep the grip.

It's a fact that some people do sweat a little more than others. A friend of myself had a rather nasty operation to remove a sweat gland it bothered that much. And he still uses chalk haha
davidalcock - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: reading this thread has made my fingertips start sweating. My personal view? Keep it to a minimum.
martinph78 on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: I just wipe my hands on my trousers if they are sweaty, but usually because it is dirty/dusty where I climb.

I've also seen people using chalk for drying wet rock. Just makes things worse in my opinion.



Jonny2vests - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
> [...]
>
> Probably due to the chalk in your eyes? As for leading 6a without chalk, even an oldie like me has been known to do that...

That'll be English 6a of course. Nottingham Wall English 6a, which has a category of its own in terms of thinness.
Jonny2vests - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Martin1978:
> (In reply to Ann S)
> I've also seen people using chalk for drying wet rock. Just makes things worse in my opinion.

Well it depends how much wetness. If its just a bit clammy, it can make all the difference.
jkarran - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

> All this bollocks about sweaty hands, is just a smoke screen - being in denial - of the fact people know it's a bollocks argument, but have no other remotely rational argument to justify it - because there isn't one.

So basically: "My hands don't sweat and I climb quite hard without it therefore everyone else must be a bunch of pussies making it up as an excuse for some finger painting..."

I sweat like a pig, it drips off me when I climb. Are you going to call a liar or say I'm making up 'bollocks'?

Chalk dries sweat better and faster than anything else I've tried but I'm open to suggestions. There's no moral dimension to this, chalk is a useful tool, more useful to some than others.

jk
Ramblin dave - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
> [...]
>
> Think of why chalk started to be used in the first place - to increase friction on the tiny holds found on increasingly 'hard' new routes.

Yes, I know. But were those routes are actually impossible without chalk, or just harder?
Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
>
> Chalk dries sweat better and faster than anything else I've tried but I'm open to suggestions. There's no moral dimension to this, chalk is a useful tool, more useful to some than others.
>
> jk

But do you use it to dry sweat on the odd move, and leave a light dusting, or do you cake it on every bloody hold like a bricklayer building a wall?

i've witnessed some people using more chalk on a grit V Diff, than I've used in 2 months in Yoesmite in summer!
Blue Straggler - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
>
> That'll be English 6a of course. Nottingham Wall English 6a, which has a category of its own in terms of thinness.

Aren't the lead routes French graded now at NCC?
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

So make your mind up, does it make a difference to grip when used properly or doesn't it (and if not, why do you use it)? No experienced climber I know condones excessive chalk use, so your example is just illustrating we have some ignoramouses in our midst that need educating. If you climbed E5/6 at best and only used it sparingly on an E3 and above whats the difference to someone who climbs E1 at best and only uses it sparingly for VS and above?
Lukem6 - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler: nope, NCC is still British tech grade.
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

The real problem was for bouldering grades which now get font grades as well. NCC 6a was infamous. I actually did one once after trying very hard on a problem that was perfect for me and it was unusually soft graded. Outdoors we are normally talking F6a-F6b for UK 6a routes, at NCC some were F7c+.
mcdougal - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

If using some chalk helps me grip any hold a little bit better then I, like nearly everybody else, will use it. Admittedly this has led to me chalking-up where I don't need chalk purely out of habit. I'll be chalking-up before warming up on the V1s at the wall tonight for the simple reason that it's part of my ritual and it does no-one any harm. I can deal with a chalky layer of dust over everything at the wall and I'm not offended by chalked holds at the crag. I'm pretty sure that I share these opinions with every climber that I know.
To suggest that chalk is only necessary at E3 5c is rather fatuous isn't it? Why not E2 5c? Don't you understand the grading system or did you mean only necessary at 5c?
Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth: It makes a difference on small holds - eg the kind of small holds you get on 5c and above (thats British 5c for all the indoor wall/sport bred climbers), you don't need it on the 'big' holds you get on VS's.

Of course, if people used it sensibly and sparingly, I wouldn't be so anal about it, but they don't, and I personally find it a bloody eyesore.

And for the record, i've done E5's where i've only used it lightly on a few moves.
Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to mcdougal:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
> To suggest that chalk is only necessary at E3 5c is rather fatuous isn't it? Why not E2 5c? Don't you understand the grading system or did you mean only necessary at 5c?

Because E2 5c's rarely have more than one (two at most) 5c moves, usually sandwiched between easier moves. But if it makes you feel better, I'll agree that i should have said just 5c.


Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to mcdougal:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
I can deal with a chalky layer of dust over everything at the wall and I'm not offended by chalked holds at the crag. I'm pretty sure that I share these opinions with every climber that I know.

This is probably because it means you don't have to work out the moves for yourself - just follow the chalk dots - just like the pretty coloured holds on a climbing wall.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Bruce Hooker - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to jkarran:

> I sweat like a pig, it drips off me when I climb. Are you going to call a liar or say I'm making up 'bollocks'?

This is often said on chalk threads but are you really saying that if you had been born say 20 or 30 years earlier and started climbing in the 60s or 70s, before chalk wended its evil way from across the Atlantic, then you would have been incapable of progressing to higher grades because of what you describe a being something of a genetic infirmity? I find this hard to believe.
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

I've used small crimps on a S and nothing but good holds on an extreme roof. So yes its better to say 5c moves on small crimpy or slopy holds. How do we educate people when the problem isn't even clear? I just don't see any better way to explain things other than advise people to try not to use it unless they think its most likley they need to; and when they do use it to understand that its for drying hands to improve friction, so apply then brush off any excess. Coating the rock actually reduces friction if your hands are dry and it's unsightly and can add unwanted beta.
Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to jkarran)
>
> [...]
>
> This is often said on chalk threads but are you really saying that if you had been born say 20 or 30 years earlier and started climbing in the 60s or 70s, before chalk wended its evil way from across the Atlantic, then you would have been incapable of progressing to higher grades because of what you describe a being something of a genetic infirmity? I find this hard to believe.

All I can say Bruce, is there are an awful lot of sweaty buggers climbing these days, and most of them should avoid Verdon or Yosemite in the summer, because by the sounds of it, they'd have to airlift in 600 tons of the stuff.
Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
I just don't see any better way to explain things other than advise people to try not to use it unless they think its most likley they need to; and when they do use it to understand that its for drying hands to improve friction, so apply then brush off any excess. Coating the rock actually reduces friction if your hands are dry and it's unsightly and can add unwanted beta.

The trouble is, they don't want to understand, or change their approach to it - its too big a comfort blanket for the delicate little things, in the same way that an alcoholic doesn't really want to stop drinking - its become a bloody addiction for most people!

Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Again like Goucho if you spout irrelevant information people will ignore you. Your anti-chalk stance makes the 'font problem' worse as the main message to avoid it's use where possible and use sparingly if you must, is drowned out by pointless argument. I've used chalk on a polished F2 as I was going to significantly increase the risk of falling off from high up if I didn't because my fingers were slipping on a poor hold; I have also declined it's use in climbing a F6b (way harder than my normal grade) as it wasn't needed.
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

Many addicts get cured, but not by people ranting at them.
Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
> Many addicts get cured, but not by people ranting at them.

Only if they want to be cured in the first place!

Bruce Hooker - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

Maybe the truth is that there were loads of people with sweaty hands in the pre-chalk era who were actually prevented from climbing, all they could do was look on jealously as unafflicted people went rock-climbing, then buy a pair of red socks and head off head off hiking? Maybe in my self-centred callousness I just never noticed these poor b*ggers sweating up the hills giving their forlorn looks over their shoulders? So I won't go to climbers heaven after all... :-(

My case is a bit peculiar though as I stopped climbing more or less entirely in 1975 and only started again around 2000 so I'd never hardly seen chalk or bolts... for me Fontainebleau boulders were yellow brown not whitish grey, deep cracks were black and manky not off-white and slimy... just as French cliffs had scattered pegs and sundry ironware, not closely parallel lines of shiny bolts and clanking chains at the top glistening in the sun. All very Rip Van Winkleish.
Bruce Hooker - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

> Your anti-chalk stance makes the 'font problem' worse as the main message to avoid it's use where possible and use sparingly if you must, is drowned out by pointless argument.

Why is it so hard to respect the ONF rules and simply climb at a lower grade, if chalk really does help? I've no idea if it does as I've never used any, my impression is that in places it makes things worst but it seems that it does make things easier judging by the number of posters who say it does.

PS. I don't have any pof either, I don't really worry about what colour I can get up.
Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: I can remember carrying an old beer mat on my harness. Worked for mucky feet, sweaty hands, and damp patches.

Mind you, if we'd used chalk on anything other than a real hard new 'test-piece', we'd have had so much piss taken out of us, we wouldn't have needed to use a toilet for about 6 months.

I remember one poor sod using it on Cenotaph Corner in about 78' and he was ridiculed to such a degree, that he was almost in tears - quite rightly of course :-)

Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Yor really are a child sometime Bruce. Affected ability is not the same as being completely unable and if you want to lampoon the over-users you could at least try and be funny. Even most of the french locals use chalk these days (but I have witnessed them try and educate at least).

The ONF have their heads in the sand so they dont help educate either (even if I can see some areas becoming banned soon)

I don't care what colour I get up either but I do care about falling off uncontrolled from 4m+ when I can't easily reverse.
Robert Durran - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
> Maybe the truth is that there were loads of people with sweaty hands in the pre-chalk era who were actually prevented from climbing, all they could do was look on jealously as unafflicted people went rock-climbing, then buy a pair of red socks and head off head off hiking?

No, they just didn't climb as hard grades. Lack of chalk, being only one reason along with lack of sticky rubber, cams etc. etc.

As for Goucho's absurd idea that chalk is not necessary up to a particular arbitrary grade (decided on by him!), well it's just laughable. Chalk improves grip on all holds of all sizes and as such I shall continue to use it on all holds of all sizes. The feeling of insecurity from not using it just makes climbing (for me) much less enjoyable; I might struggle up an E1 without it, but I certainly wouldn't choose to do so. I woudn't solo anything above V.Diff without it. I wouldn't criticise anyone for using it on any route of any grade.
Ramblin dave - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
> I've used small crimps on a S and nothing but good holds on an extreme roof.

Yeah, exactly. And Goucho could reasonably tell you that if you're worried about greasing off the small holds on a severe you need to sort out your technique to put less weight on the crucial hold or grip it more cleanly or whatever, but I suspect that someone like Johny Dawes could say the same thing to Goucho on his E2 5c. Which is why it comes off as "on stuff I find hard it's useful, on stuff other people find hard it's unnecessary"
Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
> [...]
>
> Yeah, exactly. And Goucho could reasonably tell you that if you're worried about greasing off the small holds on a severe you need to sort out your technique to put less weight on the crucial hold or grip it more cleanly or whatever, but I suspect that someone like Johny Dawes could say the same thing to Goucho on his E2 5c. Which is why it comes off as "on stuff I find hard it's useful, on stuff other people find hard it's unnecessary"

I completely agree with you, and maybe if we had more 'negative' peer pressure on the use of chalk - aimed at everyone, including myself - then maybe, we might get the seismic shift in attitudes we need.
Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: You onsight E5, yet use chalk to solo a V Diff!!!!!

Does that actually make sense to you Robert?
Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
>
> No, they just didn't climb as hard grades. Lack of chalk, being only one reason along with lack of sticky rubber, cams etc. etc.
>
They climbed a damn sight harder than VS Robert, so what does that tell us?
GridNorth - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: Going of at a slight tangent. Does anyone have experience with liquid chalk. Is it as affective, is it better for the environment etc.
Robert Durran - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) You onsight E5, yet use chalk to solo a V Diff!!!!!
>
> Does that actually make sense to you Robert?

Yes it does. I also use sticky rock boots on V.Diffs. I could probably manage in trainers, but the feeling of insecurity in my footwork would make it less enjoyable.



Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

You must be less of a man in some eyes to use chalk, sticky boots and not have a 20kg sack on your back in the rain on your VD solos. I'm sure you can deal with that though ;-)
Robert Durran - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> They climbed a damn sight harder than VS Robert, so what does that tell us?

I meant (I think obviously) that any given climber was climbing lower grades than they would have been with chalk, cams, sticky rubber etc.
Didn't Joe Brown climb harder grades as a pensioner than in his prime?

Robert Durran - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> You must be less of a man in some eyes to use chalk, sticky boots and not have a 20kg sack on your back in the rain on your VD solos. I'm sure you can deal with that though ;-)

Very easily.

jkarran - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> This is often said on chalk threads but are you really saying that if you had been born say 20 or 30 years earlier and started climbing in the 60s or 70s, before chalk wended its evil way from across the Atlantic, then you would have been incapable of progressing to higher grades because of what you describe a being something of a genetic infirmity? I find this hard to believe.

How could I know that? Born in a different time I'd have been a different man. I might have got hooked on grassy ledge shuffles in the mountains, who knows? I very much doubt I'd have been able to do a fraction of the climbing I have done over the years if I couldn't quickly and effectively dry my hands on route. Towels and wiping them on T-shirts aren't bad but they saturate quickly and are far less effective.

And it's not a genetic infirmity, I'm not ill nor am I especially unfit, it's not abnormal but I do sweat a lot. It's just one of those human things like hair colour, we're all different. Frankly while it doesn't surprise me I couldn't care less whether you find that hard to believe, you can either take it at face value or assume I'm a liar or being a drama queen. Take your pick. I have no trouble understanding and accepting others don't sweat so much, some sweat more. It's not weird, it's normal variation. What I do have trouble with is being told by people entirely lacking in empathy that I should make do with wet hands and a substandard experience because that was once the norm.

jk
Motown - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: I think I read somewhere that Pat Littlejohn didn't start using chalk until the mid-eighties. What converted him?
Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Will Cat: Ask him.

ism@alpin-ism.com
jkarran - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

> ...maybe if we had more 'negative' peer pressure on the use of chalk - aimed at everyone, including myself - then maybe, we might get the seismic shift in attitudes we need.

Why do we need a seismic shift in attitudes? Away from a handful of roadside honeypots and perma-dry crags chalk use is pretty much a complete non-issue. Ok, so the odd problem occasionally gets plastered in chalk and donkey marks but then it rains or gets brushed and normality returns.

If you rally want less hammered looking crags then encouraging people to spread out a bit makes far more sense than blathering on about chalk and how you were too good to need it back in the good old days.

jk
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to jkarran:

It's a mess and a live access issue across font. A few dim climbers will cover their hands in chalk and pat the rock with chalk before they start especially to minimise friction and annoy the locals.
antique_al - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to jkarran:
As a climber of 'mature' years I have never used chalk although admittedly never having progressed beyond VS leading. Whilst having sympathy with those who suffer from excessively sweaty hands I do take issue with the mess that excessive use of the stuff makes of our crags. Personally I find that a film of chalk over the holds (indoors or out)makes them more slippery. If people must use it maybe it should be the norm to clean the stuff off the crag/climbing wall afterwards much the same as the expectation that you 'take your litter home'?
pork pie girl - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: you're definately not odd for not using chalk.. if oyu don;t feel the need to use it then it's noty a problrm

me on the other hand... i'm constantly ferreting away and dipping...part of my habits to prepare and calm myself... i have started using loose chalk now as i like my entire hands covered .. that way i don't rechalk my hands as frequently.. i also like slapping my thighs with chalked up hands.. sort of helps get me going!!!

i love chalk!!!
Paula Hamilton-Gibson - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: I never carry chalk and only once have I had to borrow a bag, that was at Cathedral Ledge in New Hampshire, the humidity was so high that we were soaked in perspiration within a couple of minutes of getting out of our car, the temperature was about 80F. I found using the bag awkward and distracting.

Whilst I can understand how some people who sweat a lot may have need for it and how it can help a lot on a polished crimp, it is really greatly over used and not necessary on many routes. I have always found that using my t shirt or trousers for a quick wipe of the fingers enough and never felt held back from climbing better because of it.

To risk opening another can of worms, I have never understood the need for forcing your feet into shoe's 1-2 sizes too small. I have always climbed in rockshoes that are comfortable with a pair of thin socks and that I can wear all day without the need to remove them and this did not stop me from leading up to E4 6a.

Power to you Ann!
pork pie girl - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho: i'm addicted.. i admit it.. i can't even wash the clothes i climb in until i have ticked my next project because i like the accumulation of grime,chalk, sweat and grease .. sort of makes me feel like i'm wearing lucky pants!

pity my next project has taken me 10 week sso far ;o)
ads.ukclimbing.com
jkarran - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

> It's a mess and a live access issue across font. A few dim climbers will cover their hands in chalk and pat the rock with chalk before they start especially to minimise friction and annoy the locals.

Bits of Font look tired because, like here people flock to honeypots and guidebook writers flock to the flocks making matters worse. Add to that the huge number of holiday climbers on short trips climbing while it's hot, climbing while it's damp and yeah, it gets hammered and chalky. That's the price of being a busy international destination, you can't have pristine forest and the crowds. I'm not saying individuals couldn't handle themselves better but nobody sets out to make a mess. The idea that it's done to spite the locals is risible!

For what it's worth, the chalk in the forest is *way* below the piles of turd lurking behind many a rock on my list of issues!

jk
Morgan P - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Big Z:
> On the other hand, i have a buddy who climbs the exact same grades as me and he couldn't live without the stuff. I mean, if he even thinks about climbing his palms sweat profusely. Without it he would just slip off of every hold!

I'm the same, not quite that bad but my hands just get sweaty thinking about climbing let alone actually doing it. Although I do also reach for the chalk bag before a difficult move for the psychological edge

Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Paula Hamilton-Gibson: I think we are in the minority here - chalk is now the equivalent of junk food in the states.

I used to like wearing a nice pair of thick socks in my old EB's - even when accompanied by shorts :-)
Jonny2vests - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> I used to like wearing a nice pair of thick socks in my old EB's - even when accompanied by shorts :-)

And you still do in my mental picture of what you look like.
Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to Goucho)
> [...]
>
> And you still do in my mental picture of what you look like.

Why thank you JCM
Jonny2vests - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
> [...]
>
> Why thank you JCM

Gosh. Is your mental picture of me JCM? Now I'm scared.
Goucho on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to Goucho)
> [...]
>
> Gosh. Is your mental picture of me JCM? Now I'm scared.

Whoops - now that is old age Jonny - now where did I put my slippers and pipe :-)
Bruce Hooker - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

> Yor really are a child sometime Bruce.

I'll take that as a compliment.

I know that many French climbers use chalk, but there are also those who it drives mad - especially when they put their hand in a shady pocket that used to hold but won't anymore because of the slime. The COSIROC says on their posters, chalk is like a drug, the more you use the more you need (link to text below) - it wouldn't matter so much but Fontainebleau is so popular that anyone who doesn't want to use it can be scuppered by the caked muck and either has to change boulders or add a layer.

As you say the ONF could take action, especially as climbers are no longer represented in the user committee apparently... artists from the Barbizon school used to paint the boulders, seen as an example of unspoilt nature... they'd need to change their pallets to capture the scenes now :-)

http://www.windmillweb.info/various/no_chalk_at_bleau.doc
Bruce Hooker - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

> along with lack of sticky rubber, cams etc. etc.

Why didn't they buy a pair of EBs or PAs then, they were available at the time and little different in terms of grip. As for cams it didn't seem to stop some very very hard routes getting done. As far as the average keen climber was concerned I don't think the levels climbed were that different, and all without chalk.
Bruce Hooker - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I might struggle up an E1 without it, but I certainly wouldn't choose to do so. I woudn't solo anything above V.Diff without it. I wouldn't criticise anyone for using it on any route of any grade.

No offense meant but you have a serious confidence issue by the sound of it, how do you manage in the rain or in the mountains?
In reply to pork pie girl:
> (In reply to Goucho) i'm addicted.. i admit it.. i can't even wash the clothes i climb in until i have ticked my next project because i like the accumulation of grime,chalk, sweat and grease .. sort of makes me feel like i'm wearing lucky pants!
>
> pity my next project has taken me 10 week sso far ;o)

Does that make it your current project?
Bruce Hooker - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to jkarran:

> I couldn't care less whether you find that hard to believe

I didn't mean I thought you were a liar, I don't at all, I meant I find it hard to believe that you wouldn't have done like everyone did, and probably better than me, and climb perfectly well without chalk.

Again, the proof of the pudding is that in the rain I can't see how chalk can be of use and I imagine it happens to people today to climb in the rain - the climate hasn't changed that much.
metal arms on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to jkarran)
>
> [...]
>
> Again, the proof of the pudding is that in the rain I can't see how chalk can be of use and I imagine it happens to people today to climb in the rain - the climate hasn't changed that much.

Rain = Pub

The only use for chalk in the pub is by the snooker/pool table. But I'd guess you wouldn't use it on your cue. Which conversely makes the end of the cue worse for the next people to play. Hope that helps.

Bruce Hooker - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to metal arms:

On a billiard cue is about the only good place to use chalk, I'd say, that and in the classroom. So even with metal arms you don't climb in the rain? I suppose rust could be a problem :-)
Ann S on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Paula Hamilton-Gibson:

Thanks Paula- I'm with you on the comfy shoes thing as well. The only occasion when sweaty hands became a real problem for me resulted in a leader fall at Birchen in which I broke my wrist. I had been wiping my hands on my shirt and pants with increasing frequency as the morning progressed but failed to do so before a crux move which required a full flat palm down pressure move. The hand slipped irrecoverably, a peanut which I knew was marginal failed though the rest held and I'd booked my place in A&E. My mistake on the day was not in failing to use chalk for the climb but in heading to a grit venue on what was the hottest day of that summer.
Enty - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S:

When it's 30° and I'm trying to flash a 7a at St Leger everyone moves out of the way because it's like it's snowing anywhere 5m either side of the route I'm on.

E
Gerry_Doncaster - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: Never touched the stuff and never will. I have soloed 5a and seconded 5b without it so I don't think I'm missing out by not using it.
thebigfriendlymoose - on 02 Jul 2013
I cover myself in chalk because I have a morbid fear of acid rain. And to those who think it doesn't enhance performance, well, I was the second toughest in the infants and once met Mr T.
Robert Durran - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> No offense meant but you have a serious confidence issue by the sound of it, how do you manage in the rain or in the mountains?

I drop my grade if I choose to climb in the rain just as I would drop my grade if forced to climb without chalk. No idea what point you are making (as is often the case!). And what relevence mountains are I also have absolutely no idea.

Robert Durran - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Why didn't they buy a pair of EBs or PAs then, they were available at the time and little different in terms of grip. As for cams it didn't seem to stop some very very hard routes getting done. As far as the average keen climber was concerned I don't think the levels climbed were that different, and all without chalk.

If you are trying to tell me that cams, sticky modern boots and chalk have not in general made climbs easier and therefore made them within the capabilities of more climbers then you are clearly talking bollocks. And if you agree they have made climbs easier then I reat my case.


Bruce Hooker - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

Modern rock shoes are little better than the old ones, I've used both, have you? As for cams, how do they make climbing easier? All the routes done before cams came along were done without them, obviously, a few may have been hard to protect but how many such climbs were mainstream? A lot of people imagine there has been a major change in such things since the 70s but there hasn't... people have been persuaded to fork out far more cash and are both richer and more gullible, but for the majority of climbs and climbers there has been little objective change.

That's a fact, ask a few who are a bit older than you are.

The mountain remark was because I don't think you'll be using chalk in the Alps or bigger, unless you are really cutting-edge, and even then not on snow, ice, wet rock or mixed climbs, which is why I think it is better to get used to doing without when cragging.
Robert Durran - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Modern rock shoes are little better than the old ones, I've used both, have you?

My Anasazis are significantly better than the non-sticky EB's I used when starting out in the early eighties.

> As for cams, how do they make climbing easier?

They make many routes much less bold and therefore easier (ie effectively a lower adjectival grade). Obviously not technically easier. Did that really need explaining....?

> All the routes done before cams came along were done without them, obviously, a few may have been hard to protect but how many such climbs were mainstream?

Perhaps you would like to ask yourself why many of them have become mainstream.

> A lot of people imagine there has been a major change in such things since the 70s but there hasn't...

This is simply rubbish. There was a major change with the advent of cams, chalk and sticky rubber in the early eighties and things have been further refined since then.

> The mountain remark was because I don't think you'll be using chalk in the Alps......

I have often used chalk to good effect in the Alps on big routes (S Ridge of Noire, Red Pillar of Brouillard for instance)

> ..... unless you are really cutting-edge...

And I'm not nor ever have been.

> .....and even then not on snow, ice, wet rock or mixed climbs

Talk of stating the irelevant obvious!

> .....which is why I think it is better to get used to doing without when cragging.

Do you really believe that things havn't moved on from the time when cragging was considered purely practice for the Alps?
jfmchivall - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: I've been climbing since 1997. I used chalk for about the first year or two, but not since then apart from the very occasional dab indoors in a sweaty wall. All my hardest climbs have been without chalk - 7a indoors, V7 indoors, V5/6 outdoors, E3 outdoors.

I find that chalk on routes (I mostly climb trad) removes the interest and sense of adventure somewhat, particularly when onsighting at my limit. A layer of chalk on holds is also horribly slippery, particularly in damp/humid conditions. And, most importantly, it's unsightly - especially when chalk leached by rainwater from overchalked holds leads to a pale streak where lichen has been killed and the rock discoloured.

Boulderers are the worst for leaving chalk on the rock (and then so vigourously brushing to remove previous deposits that the holds change shape - I noticed this on a recent visit to Caley after a decade away from the crag. Some old favourite holds had been brushed much bigger, to comfortable first joint rather than thin crimp, and slopers had become dished)

I also like wearing comfy climbing shoes rather than cripplingly tight foot-crushing achilles-severing torture implements, If I climbed steep bolted limestone I'm sure I might change my footwear, but for mountain crag E1 5bs there's no point suffering.
Ann S on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S:

Thanks for the huge response to this thread which has been very interesting with far more people stating they do not use chalk than I had thought there would be.
Robert Durran - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S

> ......far more people stating they do not use chalk than I had thought there would be.

But visit any crag and I think you will find they are a tiny minority; obviously a thread like this brings them crawlingb out of the woodwork.

Blue Straggler - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S:
> (In reply to Ann S)
>
> Thanks for the huge response to this thread which has been very interesting

As Robert says, it was a predictable response.
I had hoped to nip the whole thing in the bud with my early reply. Failed on that one.
Jonny2vests - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
>
> My Anasazis are significantly better...

Good job there Robert. People are onsighting E8 FFS, I can't believe he thinks nothing's moved on since the 70s.
Bruce Hooker - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

> This is simply rubbish. There was a major change with the advent of cams, chalk and sticky rubber in the early eighties and things have been further refined since then.

Keeping on stating this does not change reality. The last major improvement concerning rock-climbing was the generalisation of Kernmantle ropes after plaited nylon replaced hemp... the rest is just detail, a grade or so for most climbers. Numerous threads have shown that the average grades for average climbers hasn't advanced that much. At the technical level there are still many high thin problems at Fontainebleau dating from the pre-chalk era that get very few ascents - the lichen on them is proof enough.

Just because a few stars have gone higher doesn't change the reality for Mr or Mrs Average. The other change has been the spread of bolts which is a different subject altogether as it allows a technical level of climbing on cliffs that would have been too dangerous for most without such security, a different debate though.

PS. EB rubber was much the same, I think you may be mistaking your own technical improvement with that of your shoes. I've had several modern pairs of shoes which don't make the same climbs seem easier - you may say I'm mistaking my own technical decline for this though :-)
Jonny2vests - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

What do you have to support this hypothesis Bruce? A warm feeling or something more substantial?

Surely if 'a few stars' have gone higher, why would they operate outside of your implied constraints that affect the rest of us? Surely their success is indicative of a more general upwards trend for the rest of the population.

My warm feeling is that when I started climbing in the 80s, seeing someone tick an E5 was rare. There are more climbers now, but regardless of that, E5 is just way more accessible.
Goucho on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> In reply to Ann S
>
obviously a thread like this brings them crawlingb out of the woodwork.

We do people who are against the ludicrous - yes ludicrous (Red Pillar of the Brouillard Robert - that must have been an unseasonably hot year!!!) - over use of chalk, deserve to be classed as 'crawling' out of the woodwork.

Or is that just how you describe anyone who has a different opinion to you on anything.

ads.ukclimbing.com
davo - on 03 Jul 2013
I have been trying desperately not to reply to this thread as the last time there was a "chalk" thread on UKC I ended up in some endless debate with Bruce. Seems like I have nothing better to do today so...

Firstly the idea that EBs, cams, lighter ropes etc... have not made a massive difference to climbing is madness. I am not quite old enough to have used EBs in anger but I did wear a pair briefly as a youngster and my memory is that they were terrible. In my own times the difference between the rockboots of the late 80s and early 90s and now is massive, evidence for this comes from a friend who recently bought a pair of Boreal Lasers from the net unused. His memory was that they were amazing, it turns out that in fact in comparison to today's rubber they are terrible and he can barely use them even for training in!

As to average grades and average climbers I don't do much trad nowadays so can't really comment but sport climbing wise there has been a massive change since even the early 90s. 20 years ago if you did an 8a at any UK sport crag you would have been considered a bit of a wad nowadays no one would even care or notice and often people are surprised if you haven't done 8a already. Obviously this depends on the crag you go to and is massively affected by the numbers of people climbing but still my recollection is that standards are significantly higher for your average sport climber in the UK.

If someone new to climbing read this thread then they would assume that most people did not use chalk and would then be shocked that when they went outside every one uses it (well apart from a few oddballs!).

Chalk certainly improves friction for climbing and has undoubtedly made a big difference to grades. I really don't think that point is worth arguing, it has been talked about loads and really is just a basic fact for 99% of people who climb. You only have to do a quick test yourself on the rock with one chalked hand holding something close to your maximum and then repeat with out any chalk on your hand. People use it a lot because it makes a huge difference, if it didn't they wouldn't. I use it because with chalked fingers my grip is significantly improved and without I can barely hang on. I don't have particularly sweaty skin, it just simply removes any moisture on my tips and improves the friction. If it doesn't improve somebody's climbing grade on this thread then I can only really suggest that you aren't pulling on small enough holds on steep enough ground. Obviously on a vdiff it really isn't going t be make or break however on an 8a on some small edges it makes a difference for me and most other people.

I agree that sometimes it is overused and there are occasional bad examples of overbrushing, huge tick marks etc. However these in my experience are a small minority and quite rare. Also to be fair the enxt time it rains (hardly a long time between showers in this country!) it generally washes off. To cure the problem of overuse and bad tick marks is just a question of education for people, simply the next time you see someone ticking up a problem and then they leave it like that ask them if they wouldn't mind cleaning it up. Yes you might get a bad look but I reckon most people will do as they are asked and then think about it a bit later on and realise that it wasn't acceptable.

The font example that Bruce wheels out every time is just nonsense. 99% of climbers French and foreign use chalk in Font. Pof is worse and is the major reason for glassy footholds there. The Cosiroc/ONF banning of chalk is a joke and no one observes it - as someone earlier up mentioned they are just burying their heads in the sand.

Dave
krikoman - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: Whatever you say about how good chalk is. I can tell you that it, sometimes, spoils my climbing experience. In the same way I don't like people telling me "there a hand hold round the corner". Shut the f*ck up and let me find it myself!!

I like having to grope around and find the holds, it's part of the fun for me, pulling up on a piece of crap only to find that another inch away was a massive jug only makes me enjoy the route more.

A lot of the time when I'm climbing it a matter of follow the chalk, it's like indoor climbing outside.

It's habit most of the time and unnecessary most of the time.

We had a slab at our local wall and set up a problem, "see how high you can climb without using your hands". Nearly everyone who tried it, who uses chalk, chalked up before attempting it!! Work that one out.

Goucho on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to davo:

>
> Chalk certainly improves friction for climbing and has undoubtedly made a big difference to grades. I really don't think that point is worth arguing, it has been talked about loads and really is just a basic fact for 99% of people who climb. You only have to do a quick test yourself on the rock with one chalked hand holding something close to your maximum and then repeat with out any chalk on your hand. People use it a lot because it makes a huge difference, if it didn't they wouldn't. I use it because with chalked fingers my grip is significantly improved and without I can barely hang on. I don't have particularly sweaty skin, it just simply removes any moisture on my tips and improves the friction. If it doesn't improve somebody's climbing grade on this thread then I can only really suggest that you aren't pulling on small enough holds on steep enough ground. Obviously on a vdiff it really isn't going t be make or break however on an 8a on some small edges it makes a difference for me and most other people.
>
Bearing in mind the above, could you now provide an equally detailed and reasoned argument as to its use on grades of VS and below?

I'm really looking forward to how you are going to use the 'small enough holds on steep enough ground' rationale for a V Diff ????

Ramblin dave - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
Because "small" and "steep" are relative to the climber? What I find small and steep you'd probably find juggy and easy angled, what you find small and steep, Adam Ondra would probably find juggy and easy angled.

So either we accept that people can make their own decision about whether chalk will help or not (and encourage them to be sensible), or we can just say that noone should use it anywhere, or we can hypocritically try to adopt the moral high ground while still getting the benefit for ourselves by pretending that chalk is somehow essential on the grades that we find it useful on, but stupid and redundant on the grades that other people find it useful on.
davo - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to davo)
>
> [...]
> Bearing in mind the above, could you now provide an equally detailed and reasoned argument as to its use on grades of VS and below?
>
> I'm really looking forward to how you are going to use the 'small enough holds on steep enough ground' rationale for a V Diff ????

I think Ramblindave has answered this pretty well to be honest.

In all honesty I think yours is the weakest argument on the thread. The idea that below a certain grade people shouldn't use chalk really doesn't work because as has been stated earlier:

Something that is easy for me and on which I can probably get away without chalk will be desperate for you and something that you need chalk on. However something that is easy for Ondra or another amazing climber (probably 8b!) and on which he doesn't need chalk will be the living end for me! So it is all relative to the climber and it seems pretty illogical that you have decided that English 5c is the line in the sand and think everyone using it below that grade is a pussy whereas personally I might draw it at 6a and think that you are a pussy for using it and say you should get out and train a bit more and stop chalking those jugs up etc...

To be fair here I agree that it certainly isn't going to be as critical on a route where 99% of the weight is on your feet as it is on a route/boulder problem where most of the weight is on your fingers.

I just don't see that you can draw some arbitrary grade division and say okay above this grade and bad below. I thik as has been mentioned earlier that it is better just to educate people about good and responsible use of chalk.

Dave
Ann S on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Ann S)
> [...]
>
> As Robert says, it was a predictable response.
> I had hoped to nip the whole thing in the bud with my early reply. Failed on that one.

Oh dear. Memo to self. Email BS privately for his approval prior to commencing any new thread on Rocktalk.
Robert Durran - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> Keeping on stating this does not change reality.

And nor does you stating the opposite change the fact that you are, quite frankly, laughably and tediously wrong.

> The last major improvement concerning rock-climbing was the generalisation of Kernmantle ropes after plaited nylon replaced hemp... the rest is just detail.

Suggesting that modern passive protection let alone cams is just detail is ridiculous.

> Numerous threads have shown that the average grades for average climbers hasn't advanced that much.

If this is really the case (mean, median or mode?), then there could be many other reasons for it. Perhaps the very existence of modern gear means that more people climb at all (no need to be a gnarly hero to participate) and are happy to potter at low grades, but this would not, of course, prevent dedicated and more ambitious climbers using modern gear to push their grade; the net affect being no significant change in mean grade and possibly, in fact, a drop in the median.

> The other change has been the spread of bolts which is a different subject altogether.

Indeed. The increase in sport grades over the last twenty years has probably been mostly down to training (and a bit to do with footwear) - bolts and chalk use have not changed.

> EB rubber was much the same.

But simply not as sticky. Having said that, the precision of modern boots has perhaps made as much difference as the rubber (EB's were like wellies compared to my Ananasazis

Robert Durran - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> I'm really looking forward to how you are going to use the 'small enough holds on steep enough ground' rationale for a V Diff ????

Personally I don't buy this small hold thing. Chalk improves friction on all holds, however big. No, I'm not likely to actually fall off a jug, but the improved friction means it takes less effort to hang on and the increased passivity can reduce pump significantly over the course of a route - I might chalk up several times on a good shake out.

And, quite frankly, feeling secure on holds just makes climbing more enjoyable!

Robert Durran - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> We do people who are against the ludicrous - yes ludicrous (Red Pillar of the Brouillard Robert - that must have been an unseasonably hot year!!!)

I'd actually got the impression that you were an experienced enough alpinist to understand that thrutching up cracks and chimneys on smooth granite with a heavy sack in the midday sun can be a very hot and sweaty affair even at 4000m with a relatively low air temperature.
Goucho on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Goucho)
> [...]
>
> I'd actually got the impression that you were an experienced enough alpinist to understand that thrutching up cracks and chimneys on smooth granite with a heavy sack in the midday sun can be a very hot and sweaty affair even at 4000m with a relatively low air temperature.

I'm always to busy thrutching and climbing to think about chalk on an alpine route - must admit, it's never once crossed my mind. Having said that, when i did all my reasonably hard alpine climbing, I always wore big boots too, so chalk would have seemed doubly out of place for me.

Maybe when it comes to alpine climbing, I'm just old fashioned!
Goucho on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Goucho)
> [...]
No, I'm not likely to actually fall off a jug, but the improved friction means it takes less effort to hang on and the increased passivity can reduce pump significantly over the course of a route - I might chalk up several times on a good shake out.
>
I'm struggling to believe that someone of your obvious climbing ability and experience, is going to get 'pumped' on a VS Robert.

I think it is testimony to the fact that your use of chalk is very much psychological a great deal of the time.

Robert Durran - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> I'm struggling to believe that someone of your obvious climbing ability and experience, is going to get 'pumped' on a VS Robert.

No, but, as I said, I just like to feel secure on the holds - it's more enjoyable.

> I think it is testimony to the fact that your use of chalk is very much psychological a great deal of the time.

If enjoyment is psychological, then yes.

Goucho on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to davo: As i've said earlier, I've done E5's using very little - cool conditions, and certainly not on every move, and when i do use it, i use it very sparingly.

There is this attitude - even on harder routes - I find puzzling (maybe at the end of the day it's me!!!!) where because a route has some hard climbing on it, the default setting amongst people is to still use it on every move.

Maybe at the end of the day, i'm just an old dinosaur (I can still crank 7b onsight on a good day though) who's out of touch with modern day climbing attitudes, and should just accept it!
pork pie girl - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Submit to Gravity: yes... sorry.. course it does :o) (only chalk up on it about three or four times over 25m of 7c+ because i'm not strong enough to hold on for long enough to chalk up any more)
i.munro - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

>
> No, but, as I said, I just like to feel secure on the holds - it's more enjoyable.
>


But your whole argument stems from your blind assumption that more chalk = more grip, under all conditions & for all people. If any part of that is wrong (& I'd bet good money that it is ) then this argument is nonsense as you may be making it less secure/harder.

biscuit - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:
> (In reply to Ann S) Never touched the stuff and never will. I have soloed 5a and seconded 5b without it so I don't think I'm missing out by not using it.

What about all the quality 5b routes you could be soloing and all the 5c routes you could be seconding ?

That's what you're missing out on.

Unless you're saying you're not bothered about grades ( fair enough ) but then why mention the grades ?
Bruce Hooker - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Perhaps the very existence of modern gear means that more people climb at all (no need to be a gnarly hero to participate)

All this is so cloud cuckoo land as to be a joke - you didn't need to be gnarly or a hero, nuts, slings, pitons in some areas, existed in the late sixties and seventies... most routes in popular areas could already be well protected with what was available - I had tiny wedges or hexes, as small as a couple of mm too - not belay material, the wires were too thin, but usable for runners... You really are exaggerating enormously, which is normal as you were only 7 in 1970 and so you must be basing your opinion on what some drunken bullshitter has told you in the pub in Llanberis... probably just after a beer, don't be so gullible :-)

As for EBs lacking precision, you must be a really technical climber to notice the difference! Obviously manufacturers claim every shoe is the best thing since sliced bread but it's a bit like OMO ads, if each change of formula really washed whiter, just how white can you get?

None of which has much to do with the subject, if you really have such a strong need to "tick" climbs you aren't really able to do without chalk then at a pinch why not on really hard climbs but how on earth can you justify using chalk on an easy climb with jugs and positive footholds?
metal arms on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> None of which has much to do with the subject, if you really have such a strong need to "tick" climbs you aren't really able to do without chalk then at a pinch why not on really hard climbs but how on earth can you justify using chalk on an easy climb with jugs and positive footholds?

I think enjoyment was the previous justification (not that Robert needs to justify it to anyone). Which seems reasonable in a sport that is about personal achievement and has no rules .

As an aside Bruce, what kind of grades were you getting up without any 'modern' gear in the 70's?
Bruce Hooker - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to metal arms:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
>
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> I think enjoyment was the previous justification (not that Robert needs to justify it to anyone). Which seems reasonable in a sport that is about personal achievement and has no rules .
>
> As an aside Bruce, what kind of grades were you getting up without any 'modern' gear in the 70's?

I had modern gear in the 70s, as I've said several times. I started in 1968 and got up to HVS and starting Extreme, which was fair enough back then. Apparently I shouldn't have been able to do it without chalk, cams and new rubber... and yet.

Coming back to today's reality, take a look at comments on Little Brown Jug, you'll see that it's still subject of respect even today - in about 69 or 70 when I did it it was considered an excellent climb and by no means a pushover - nothing has changed according to those doing it today - several even want to upgrade it to HVS. By the logic of some posters here it should be a doddle for a lady with "modern gear"!
metal arms on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to metal arms)
> [...]
>
> I had modern gear in the 70s, as I've said several times. I started in 1968 and got up to HVS and starting Extreme, which was fair enough back then. Apparently I shouldn't have been able to do it without chalk, cams and new rubber... and yet.
>
OK I should have said EB's and no Cams. I was just curious really.

> Coming back to today's reality, take a look at comments on Little Brown Jug, you'll see that it's still subject of respect even today - in about 69 or 70 when I did it it was considered an excellent climb and by no means a pushover - nothing has changed according to those doing it today - several even want to upgrade it to HVS. By the logic of some posters here it should be a doddle for a lady with "modern gear"!

I thought it was piss. Maybe if you used chalk it would have been easier!
*Removes tongue from cheek*
Offwidth - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Less of the sexism please. LBJ is a doddle now compeared to what it was in your day. Thats all 70's hidden grade creep as they didn't downgrade VS climbs as they became protectable. Plus you are talking rot about new rubber just like you are about chalk. Modern climbing equipment makes life much easier and safer.
Bruce Hooker - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

> Modern climbing equipment makes life much easier and safer.

How do you know, you weren't around? According to the comments on the ukc data base entry for LBJ (I mention it because I had been looking at it) people don't find it particularly easy for VS, several want to upgrade it to HVS! It was quite protectable then, I remember it well enough, the move with the little jug itself was good value, it was a good VS... nothing has changed. Why pretend it has?

A lot of you seem to be confusing the 70s with WW1... Look at the photos on my gallery, they are dated, you can see the gear we had... it's proof, a lot of you are only surmising. I don't see why.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=21008
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=21010

PS. As for being safer a man was killed not long ago falling off LBJ, there were a couple of threads about it.
GridNorth - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: There was talk of changing the grade of LBJ because the situ peg is no longer there.

The 70's is when protection and gear in general seemed to improve dramatically but that is not the whole story. I started in the 60's and although there were rumours of nuts for protection there wasn't really anywhere to get hold of them so most of us fabricated our own. I seem to remember this being the case well into the 70's.
Ramblin dave - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
Hang on, when was "the generalisation of Kernmantle ropes after plaited nylon replaced hemp"? I thought they came in rather earlier than the 70s?

As to Little Brown Jug, maybe the people who find it hard now aren't very good climbers compared to the people who found it hard in the 70's? The people who think it's a doddle with sticky rubber and a rack of cams are probably off climbing Suicide Wall or something...
Postmanpat on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
>
> As to Little Brown Jug, maybe the people who find it hard now aren't very good climbers compared to the people who found it hard in the 70's? The people who think it's a doddle with sticky rubber and a rack of cams are probably off climbing Suicide Wall or something...
>
I'm just pleased to know that the reason I can climb harder grades now than when I was 20 is because is simply because I'm fitter, stronger and have better technique and bigger balls (maybe the latter is why I'm a stone heavier...:-)


Ramblin dave - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
Yeah, maybe I should stop arguing that my generation are actually a bunch of softies who can only get up anything at all because we've got mountains of space-age gear to kill off any hint of danger or adventure...
Bruce Hooker - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

> I started in the 60's and although there were rumours of nuts for protection there wasn't really anywhere to get hold of them so most of us fabricated our own. I seem to remember this being the case well into the 70's.

As I said, I started in Autumn of 1968 and nuts were already common in our university club in London. Most of us made our own nuts, or got some from others who had a vice and a file but this was more a question of money. Aluminium nuts were available from Moac, Peck and others. I bought some second hand stuff with a few Peck crackers, a Moac (the old rounded wedge sort, best nut ever made IMO) and various bits and pieces, so as this was 1969 the seller must have got them before. From then on all sorts of nuts started becoming available - in London at least, in the YHA shop and elsewhere so I can't see why they wouldn't have been available in the rest of the country.

Combined with threads, chockstones with slings, spikes and in some areas a few pegs most routes were pretty well protected. If they weren't they were known as chop routes and you wouldn't have tried them unless you were sure of yourself.

I mentioned Kernmamtle as this was replacing braided nylon by then but both provided the protection for a leader which hemp didn't. We used them double most of the time, I never saw any hemp rope, except as a waist belt, it was common to use several turns of 3/4 inch hemp round the waist as a primitive sort of climbing belt. I got a Troll waist harness, second hand again, fairly soon, more for hanging gear on and artificial climbing than any safety aspect.

It was the advent of nylon which allowed for a safe leader fall that I would say was the most important innovation as far as rock climbing is concerned, along with rock shoes and nuts. Since then there has been steady progress but no other quantum leaps IMO, despite what gear salesmen would have us believe.
GridNorth - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Back in those days I wasn't a member of any clubs so perhaps I was little sheltered from what was going on. I also worked what were called continental shifts so didn't get to climb at weekends all that often so these things combined probably explain quite a lot with regard to my exposure to the general climbing community which back then if I recall was very "University centric". Perhaps I was a year or two behind developments. I do recall Moacs but can't think when I first bought one, probably late 60's. I have it in my desk as we speak. My first waist "harness" was a hemp cord, my second was the one made by Tanky Stokes in Sheffield, then a little later the Troll one. I agree with you about kernmantle ropes but I also think Friends were another siesmic event.

What always baffles me is why we, as in me and my peers, didn't see the logical development to make drilled out engineering nuts into what we see today.
Bruce Hooker - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

> but I also think Friends were another siesmic event

Living in France it's all bolted, so I haven't got any cams at all. I climbed in the Alps with a friend who is more in touch than me and he had a couple but I only stuck one in a hole as if it was a normal nut once so my experience is seriously limited. I can imagine that some new routes become doable safely with a friend but what do they add to existing routes that were already protected with ordinary nuts?

I just couldn't see myself spending fifty quid on one bit of gear :-)
Rob Davies - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Bruce,

I'm only a touch younger than you (I remember a bloke called Bruce Hooker who liked to talk a lot at IC). My visits to France are only occasional, at most. Cams (Friends as we old folk think of them) make a huge difference on trad routes in the UK. So much easier than hanging around to fiddle in nuts, especially as you get older and arm strength wanes.

ads.ukclimbing.com
krikoman - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> Yeah, maybe I should stop arguing that my generation are actually a bunch of softies who can only get up anything at all because we've got mountains of space-age gear to kill off any hint of danger or adventure...

Good idea
Jonny2vests - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Rob Davies:

That's not really his argument Rob, he agrees things are easier, but not that standards have improved in kind. He has nothing whatsoever to substantiate that, other than some UKC comments on LBJ, which is comically inadequate.
Bruce Hooker - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Rob Davies:

A voice from the past! I imagine there must be some reason why people spend the price of a second hand car on climbing gear but even the way you explain it is only a quantitative change, hardly world changing. I just don't remember that protecting climbs with the gear we had being a problem, nor PAs being sliding death traps not sweaty fingers being an issue.... and I don't think it was because most people, let alone the IC lot, were "gnarly" as someone has suggested above. I remember a group of average climbers having weekends of fun, as much in the pub as on the hills.
Bruce Hooker - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

> That's not really his argument Rob, he agrees things are easier,

Do I? What is easier?

> but not that standards have improved in kind.

Of course the top levels have improved and probably there are more people climbing technically a bit better but that's because there are more climbers and a lot of them take it all very seriously - they "train" even. But how does that mean using chalk is necessary or desirable?

In the last part of the thread I've been arguing against what I think is a myth that there has been a sea change in terms of gear since the 70s. There has been a gradual improvement but nothing more IMO. On the other hand, where there has been a major change is in ice-climbing, from step cutting and using a single straight pick axe to modern ice gear is a different world, but we were discussing rock-climbing.
Postmanpat on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to GridNorth)
>
> [...]
>
> Living in France it's all bolted, so I haven't got any cams at all. I climbed in the Alps with a friend who is more in touch than me and he had a couple but I only stuck one in a hole as if it was a normal nut once so my experience is seriously limited.
>
So you've helpfully clarified that your views on cams are based on virtually no experience of them. How about chalk?
Jonny2vests - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
>
> [...]
>
> Do I? What is easier?
>
Surely even you agree that we have things easier than climbers did in the 70s? You said yourself that rubber had improved (a little). Cams make it easier to protect routes. Kit is well made and light. Surely we don't need to debate that do we? Because if we do then you truly are the outlier of outliers.

> Of course the top levels have improved and probably there are more people climbing technically a bit better but that's because there are more climbers and a lot of them take it all very seriously - they "train" even. But how does that mean using chalk is necessary or desirable?

> In the last part of the thread I've been arguing against what I think is a myth that there has been a sea change in terms of gear since the 70s. There has been a gradual improvement but nothing more IMO. On the other hand, where there has been a major change is in ice-climbing, from step cutting and using a single straight pick axe to modern ice gear is a different world, but we were discussing rock-climbing.

Well you gave me the impression you were now discussing that DESPITE advances in gear, we weren't climbing any harder / better etc. Hence talking about LBJ comments, people finding it tough etc.
Bruce Hooker - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
> So you've helpfully clarified that your views on cams are based on virtually no experience of them. How about chalk?

Your usual unhelpful sort of post... my experience of rape is very limited too but I don't think this prevents me from having an opinion on it. I don't need chalk and I think it is an eyesaw as well as being detrimental to other climbers - all the reasons given above on this and other threads, and as for cams I don't need them, which is all the information I need to have to not spend the small fortune they cost. Why should I justify not using them? I don't tell others not to use them and haven't said there was anything wrong with them, do yopu have shares in the company that makes them or what?
Bruce Hooker - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

No, that's not what I meant, I used the LBJ example, something I'd come accross the day before, to show that at least some people, those who'd left comments, seemed to be saying much the same about this well known climb as was said 40 years ago, even some were calling for an upgrade. I take this as an example which shows that average climbers are still around, and climbing much the same kind of climbs with similar sentiments. There have been a few threads which tended to show that average levels weren't as high as some people say... which is hardly surprising as it's usually the keener, competitive climbers who will mention there achievements, not those who see it more as a fun hobby and don't "tick" anything, except perhaps their shopping lists in super-markets.
Bruce Hooker - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

> Surely even you agree that we have things easier than climbers did in the 70s?

Easier? It's as easy as you make it, more crowded, more expensive, what's easier? And at least we didn't have to listen to endless sterile arguments about the best knots to tie in with, which crab was lightest and whether titanium walking sticks with gas filled dubries in them were better than some other ridiculous bit of junk considered to be a "must have".

In many ways it's harder now.
AJM - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

I don't think he was saying that everyone has to use cams or that you have to justify not using them. It does put a certain slant on your novel assertation that gear hasn't improved since the 70s though - it gives useful context when you explain you've never actually used cams for their intended purpose (they're not just very expensive nuts).
jkarran - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> As I said, I started in Autumn of 1968 and nuts were already common in our university club in London. Most of us made our own nuts, or got some from others who had a vice and a file but this was more a question of money. Aluminium nuts were available from Moac, Peck and others. I bought some second hand stuff with a few Peck crackers, a Moac (the old rounded wedge sort, best nut ever made IMO) and various bits and pieces, so as this was 1969 the seller must have got them before. From then on all sorts of nuts started becoming available - in London at least, in the YHA shop and elsewhere so I can't see why they wouldn't have been available in the rest of the country.
> I mentioned Kernmamtle as this was replacing braided nylon by then but both provided the protection for a leader which hemp didn't. We used them double most of the time, I never saw any hemp rope, except as a waist belt, it was common to use several turns of 3/4 inch hemp round the waist as a primitive sort of climbing belt. I got a Troll waist harness, second hand again, fairly soon, more for hanging gear on and artificial climbing than any safety aspect.

Interesting bit of history there Bruce, thanks.

> It was the advent of nylon which allowed for a safe leader fall that I would say was the most important innovation as far as rock climbing is concerned, along with rock shoes and nuts. Since then there has been steady progress but no other quantum leaps IMO, despite what gear salesmen would have us believe.

Out of curiosity, do you still climb in your old kit or have you bought a new set. I'm just puzzled because cams clearly were a 'quantum leap' opening up protection possibilities that simply didn't exist before unless people were busily banging bongs in wherever they liked.

Other modern kit while clearly sharing a heritage with your drilled out nuts and MOACs has come on so far, albeit in incremental steps that it's worlds apart in usability. I can easily make old school climbing kit for next to no cost at home but I wouldn't dream of it, times have changed.

Shoes are the same, you're kidding yourself if you think an old pair of EBs are comparable to a modern shoe, they're clearly related but evolution has been very effective. I have a pair here in my size, in good nick that a colleague gave me. I'll try them side by side with my Whites for direct comparison.

jk
Postmanpat on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> Your usual unhelpful sort of post... my experience of rape is very limited too but I don't think this prevents me from having an opinion on it. I don't need chalk and I think it is an eyesaw as well as being detrimental to other climbers - all the reasons given above on this and other threads, and as for cams I don't need them, which is all the information I need to have to not spend the small fortune they cost. Why should I justify not using them? I don't tell others not to use them and haven't said there was anything wrong with them, do yopu have shares in the company that makes them or what?

>
You don't need them for what? You might be leading E9 with a couple of cams and a bit of chalk. (that's a joke, by the way)
Did I ask you to justify using or not using them? No, so stop pretending I did.
But thanks, you've given me an excuse for using a favourite movie quote:

TV Anchorman: Sonny, you could give up.
Sonny Wortzik: Give up? Right. Have you ever been in prison?
TV Anchorman: No!
Sonny Wortzik: No! Well let's talk about something you f*cking know about, okay?

(Dog Day Afternoon)

davo - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

I really don't have any stats about average climbers now and back then (in the 70s) but my experience of sport climbing since the early 1990s (okay this is anecdotal) shows a huge jump in grades for your average UK sport climber.

As I said earlier back then 8a was a big deal and now it really isn't. You could say the same about bouldering grades - about 10 years ago the number of people having done V11/8A in the UK was low (I think there was a thread on UKb estimating under a hundred - although I could be wrong). Nowadays there are a lot (hundreds) who have done this grade.

Twenty years ago in the UK if you did 8c (sport) you would be amongst an extremely small elite (less than 10?) nowadays this would not be the case and you will only get a mention on UKC if you are very old or very young (for example Buster Martin recently did Bat Route at 16yrs at Malham).

I agree that a lot of this is the effect of good training methods and wider distribution of information on how to get better. However lighter gear, stickier rubber, thinner robes and better fitting climbing shoes have all played their part. To argue otherwise is just arguing for the sake of it.

To just concentrate on climbing shoes as an example - twenty years ago shoes such as lasers, ninjas and vectors from boreal were state of the art. Nowadays the rubber on those things is laughable in terms of grip in comparison to what is worn now. I can't honestly see that anyone who has worn both and still climbs would seriously argue otherwise - okay I can look back with nostalgia at the ninjas but I certainly wouldn't swap them for a pair of 5.10 dragons now! I don't really have much experience of EBs but the little I have only convinces me that there is a big difference between then and now. Yes some people climbed extremely hard things in them however nowadays some people climb much harder things in better equipment and the rest of us climb a little bit harder.

I don't do much trad and have only ever experienced it with cams/friends, however I simply can't imagine that they weren't a quantum leap in protection of a large number of routes. They are an amazing invention and made a whole host of routes well protected that would otherwise have been very dangerous.

Dave

Bruce Hooker - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to jkarran:

> Out of curiosity, do you still climb in your old kit or have you bought a new set.

Of course, although as it's France I've bought a few quickdraws. As for nuts I also made a few hexes from hexagonal section ally bar, found a few and maybe bought one tiny wire, but back in the 70s. I didn't climb at all between 75/76 and 2000 so they aren't worn out. I bought a harness though after a trying descent off the Géant, hanging free for three abs in a twisted sling persuaded me, plus I bought a belay device but more to reassure my French brother-in-law who wasn't keen on me using a waist belay. I'm very modern really...

Do a test with the shoes as seriously I don't find the new ones any better. I noticed a slight improvement after a resoling but a few weeks later the advantage had gone - mostly used at Fontainebleau. I dislike the low cut shoes they sell now as they don't protect thankles. I paid about 90 Euros for my present pair and I've had to before since I restarted so I don't think I've just bought duff models.
Bruce Hooker - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to jkarran:

> Out of curiosity, do you still climb in your old kit or have you bought a new set.

Of course, although as it's France I've bought a few extra quickdraws. As for nuts I also made a few hexes from hexagonal section ally bar, found a few and maybe bought one tiny wire, but back in the 70s. I didn't climb at all between 75/76 and 2000 so they aren't worn out. I bought a harness though after a trying descent off the Géant, hanging free for three abs in a twisted sling persuaded me, plus I bought a belay device but more to reassure my French brother-in-law who wasn't keen on me using a waist belay. I'm very modern really...

Do a test with the shoes as seriously I don't find the new ones any better. I noticed a slight improvement after a resoling but a few weeks later the advantage had gone - mostly used at Fontainebleau. I dislike the low cut shoes they sell now as they don't protect the ankles. I paid about 90 Euros for my present pair and I've had two before since I restarted so I don't think I've just bought duff models.
Bruce Hooker - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to AJM:

But as most climbs existed when I climbed with ordinary nuts and most of us were satisfied by the protection how can cams be said to have made any major change on such climbs? There may be some where the protection was a bit iffy and now it isn't but to say that is a major change is absurd... that I don't use them doesn't change a thing.

There are new climbs which they have enabled to be done safely but frankly what proportion of climbs are involved? You tell me... there aren't any in France where I've climbed as everything is bolted here, which is another problem but one that is irreversible I'm afraid. Can you name a few mid grade climbs in Llanberis Pass for which cams are essential as they are unprotectable without?
Goucho on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to davo: I don't think the gear in the 70's was quite as prehistoric as people make out.

We had plenty of gear, which was more than adequate even for most 'hard' routes, and although EB's were a bit clumsy compared to modern stickies, in all honestly we're probably talking about a 20% improvement (IMHO) not a footwear 'revolution' .

Cams were undoubtably the big development, but I think more in terms of making placing gear quicker and less strenuous, as opposed to suddenly making chop routes bomb-proof (with obvious exceptions) but personally, I've never liked stitching pitches anyway - breaks up the flow of the climbing :-).

The biggest difference I noticed was on grit, where you no longer had to contrive opposing nut placements in horizontal breaks.

I think we were possibly a bit more inventive and sophisticated in both our gear placements and our footwork in the 70's, compared to today, and possibly, we were a bit more adventurous and bolder?

But then again, we didn't know any different at the time, so we are all products of our era's, and they all have their good points and bad points.

Except the use of chalk nowadays :-)
GridNorth - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: From an engineering/design perspective cams are revolutionary but to some extent what you say is true. I can't bring any routes to mind in North Wales but Hargreaves Original at Stanage can now be protected quite well, previously it was essentially a solo. Paradoxically it has not gone down a grade but up.

Your analagy with rape is however ridiculas. I started climbing in 1964 but I am often glad that I have a set of cams. You really shouldn't judge without trying first.
Jonny2vests - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
>
> [...]
>
> Easier? It's as easy as you make it, more crowded, more expensive, what's easier?

Protecting a route.

I think the disparity here is in some part due to the fact you live in the wrong country.
Bruce Hooker - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]

> I think the disparity here is in some part due to the fact you live in the wrong country.

Yes, I agree and in the Alps most pegs are in place on the sort of stuff I've done the last times. I think gritstone could be made easier to protect but I never climbed there much, never liked it. If had been in Britain these last years I may have bought a cam or two, but I can't say protection has ever been a problem for me, with a guide book you know what to expect and where there is no guide book I would never push things anyway.

I still wouldn't have get any chalk though :-)
Rob Davies - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Well, a collection of small changes adds up to a big change overall. For example, another innovation (late 70s?) was small wires which made a big difference on stuff that could only be protected previously by pegs.

I tend to agree on chalk usage - though I cheerfully admit to using it myself - it is mainly a psychological prop unless you're climbing at UK 6a technical grades or above. Basically if you're strong enogh to hang arond on a crux, take one arm off and dip it into a chalk-bag, you probably don't need it in the first place.

Somewhere you mention low cut, floppy modern rock shoes. These are mostly aimed at hot-shots doing really hard stuff but I think everybody else uses them because they want to look cool. (Nobody else will agree with me on this one, I know.) A good alternative for oldsters brought up on PAs/EBs is Boreal Ballet Golds which are quite stiff with a reasonably high ankle. You can get them in the UK (Joe Brown) and in the US (Neptune) but I don't know about France - they are made in Spain.

AMJ098 - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: I climb VS and under and always carry it but never use it. Needed it once on the last pitch of lands end long climb (Apparently a VDiff) after getting super sweaty. Turns out I'd forgotten to get put it on! Just about got up!
rgold - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

I've got 56 years of climbing experience. I started with soft iron pitons, progressed to chromemolly pitons, acquired and made first ascents with a set of fifteen nuts from Joe Brown in (I think) 1968, and have followed and eventually adopted all the improvements and inventions since then.

Just a few days ago, I did a moderate route (5.7 or 5.8, VS or maybe HVS?) which, however, would have been a solo without modern gear. All the protection was either opposed tiny wired stoppers, microcams (blue Alien, grey C3), and Ballnuts, with two 1/2" cams for the "big" pieces. The placements were primarily in shallow and slightly flared horizontal cracks---not even a prayer of getting a 1970's nut to hold up a carabiner, much less hold a fall, and I say that as someone who has climbed extensively with 1970's gear and am very expert in using it.

This is just a single example of the fact that, at least here in the U.S., there are thousands of climbs most climbers wouldn't want to even get off the ground on with a 1970 nut collection. The protection revolution has been absolutely enormous, a true paradigm shift. It has made death routes into trade routes, hard pumpy climbs far easier to lead, runout cimbs well-protected, has enabled a generation or two of climbers to casually approach routes that were once very serious, and has opened entire areas, like Indian Creek, to extensive development, where almost none would have been possible with 1970's equipment. The idea that these sea-changes are a matter of small details simply misunderstands what has happened generally in the last forty years and can only come, I imagine, from a very limited rock-perspective.

As for chalk, it is clear that, no matter what the proportions look like here, an overwhelming majority of climbers find it useful and effective. I agree that it is terribly overdone, and subject to reflexive use, and hate the "connect the dots" effect that it has. The climb I mentioned above had no chalk on it, and deciding which collection of small insecure holds to use was one of the primary challenges, with the possibility that a wrong choice might add multiple grades to the difficulty and even lead to a dead end. Having a line of chalked holds to follow would have avoided much up and down and side-to-side exploration and would have made the route an entirely different and much easier and less stressful undertaking. I did the climb on a fairly typical Eastern summer day with temperatures near 90 and very high humidity. I had sweat pouring down my face and afterwards was able to wring out my sweatband like a saturated wet washrag. Chalk was, for me, an essential aid.

Although it seems unlikely to ever catch on in an important way, the use of a chalk sock enormously decreases the adverse visual impacts of chalk while providing almost all of the benefits. Looking up at the route after I led it, you couldn't make out any of the handholds, for example, because the chalk sock deposits just a thin layer and little of that transfers to the rock.

There is also an aspect about chalk that hasn't been mentioned: it mitigates the transfer of hand oils and grease to the rock. If no one used chalk on popular routes, I suspect some of them would become horribly greasy, worse as far as gripping than the overchalked holds encountered now.

Pouf is another matter. I don't know what it does or doesn't do on the hands, it always made mine feel slipperier whenever I tried it, but its primary negative effect is to transfer black rubber stains from shoes to footholds. These ugly stains seem to be quite permanent, and are a feature of many boulder problems in Fontainbleau from the days when climbers regularly pouf-ed their shoes before starting up a problem.
rgold - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to rgold:

I forgot to mention sticky rubber. It has engendered a major change in climbing technique, so there too I wouldn't call its effects incremental. (However, it is possible not to notice this if one hasn't learned any of the new techniques that have evolved.) The older rubbers would not tolerate foot motion on a hold, the instant you moved your foot it was off. Sticky rubber, in combination with modern shoe construction, conforms to holds far better and so allows one to pivot on a weighted foot. This in turn has given birth to the entire spectrum of flagging and backstepping techniques that have, I think, revolutionized steep climbing. I regularly see people doing things I know would have caused their feet to pop in PA's, EB's, RD's, or whatever was used in the seventies, and I have (with some resistance) managed to learn to do these things myself, although I am always just a bit surprised that I can get away with them.
Jonny2vests - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to rgold:

Thank you for some overdue sanity.
Jonny2vests - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Rob Davies:

> Somewhere you mention low cut, floppy modern rock shoes. These are mostly aimed at hot-shots doing really hard stuff but I think everybody else uses them because they want to look cool. (Nobody else will agree with me on this one, I know.)

Yes, that is patently ridiculous and implies that the type of technical precision footwork offered by modern cut shoes is only required on really hard routes. Just get on a 5.10 Squamish slab and you'll see how much it matters.
Bruce Hooker - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Rob Davies:

> another innovation (late 70s?) was small wires which made a big difference on stuff that could only be protected previously by pegs.

I had tiny wires when I was at IC so in 69 and 70, latest 71 as I left that year.

I spent time looking for high shoes and couldn't find any. I just had a look and my first "new" shoes when I restarted in the 2000s were Boreal (green, low-cut and cheap), resoled once (or twice?) and this was supposed to be aircraft tyre rubber, so I suppose that is "sticky"? It seemed to stick for a week or two anyway, then Red Chilis which I didn't like much and then Sportiva Mythos when I was looking for a more comfortable shoes for longer routes. They all work but looking at a near brand new pair of EBs that I bought for my wife in the early 80s (she never liked climbing) the rubber looks pretty much identical... Maybe some independent "scientist" has done some tests to prove objectively what the "improvement" has been? Personally I bet it's more adman spin than major difference.

Anyway at 64 it is becoming more of an academic question for me, the spirit is willing but the flesh (and bones) are weak :-)
AlanLittle - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to rgold:
>
> Sticky rubber ... allows one to pivot on a weighted foot. This in turn has given birth to the entire spectrum of flagging and backstepping techniques that have, I think, revolutionized steep climbing.

See the patent Ondra 180 Swivel from a full egyptian/backstep facing one way to a full egyptian/backstep facing the other way. Often with one or both feet considerably above hip height.

Even without learning any steep rock technique, I remember buying my first pair of Fires and immediately going out and succeeding on several boulder problems that I hadn't been able to do in EBs.

Bruce Hooker - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to rgold:

That VS sounds good value! Hardly standard everyday climbing, wouldn't you say? I don't deny that new gear has allowed routes to be climbed that weren't protectable before, I said it above, I just question the necessity of cams for average routes by average climbers. Most such routes in N Wales, the Lakes, and so on were put up before even artificial nuts were in common use.

Again for chalk, some may need it in exceptional conditions for very hot, hard, thin routes but that's not the same as it being a necessity for the average climb... and the negative aspects that you mention, and are even worse on highly frequented areas like Fontainebleau, outweigh it IMO. You didn't mention climbing areas in the USA where the Rangers have banned chalk use altogether... Why do they do this in your opinion?

As for sticky rubber... again you'd make a good adman :-) but how many climbers on a VS of HVS do your sort of soft shoe shuffles? I realise that everyone has to eat and new "miracle" gear keeps workers in a job but it's all still very much the consumer society, and frankly gear freakery can get a bit anal at times.

Each to his own though, as long as it doesn't harm others, which is certainly the case for new protection gadgets and shoes but I'd argue is not for chalk use, coming back to the subject of the thread.
GridNorth - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: I agree with you pretty much but personally I find cams indispensible in certain venues and modern shoes much better than EB's. For me, and I accept that this is very much a personal bar, they become to all intents and purposes essential items after E1 5b. I am about to try out liquid chalk as an alternative because chalk is messy and I don't think it's doing my skin a lot of good. Indoors I often find that I can feel it getting on to the surface of my throat. There will come a time when I think walls will ban it in much the same way as many weight lifing gyms have done.
Postmanpat on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to rgold:

Great posts. Game, set and match........
davo - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> They all work but looking at a near brand new pair of EBs that I bought for my wife in the early 80s (she never liked climbing) the rubber looks pretty much identical... Maybe some independent "scientist" has done some tests to prove objectively what the "improvement" has been? Personally I bet it's more adman spin than major difference.
>

It really isn't just "adman spin"! Lots of people on this thread have stated fairly conclusively that they are a massive jump in performance. Not only is the rubber incredibly different but also the sensitivity and feel that they offer is massively improved. The difference between a pair of Fires and a pair of modern shoes is huge let alone the difference between EBs and modern shoes.

To be fair they will hardly make the difference between success and failure on an average VS but on a slabby insecure move they will certainly make it easier. Possibly for people for whom this is the limit that increased security will make the difference between success and failure?

Anyway shouldn't you be trying to convince everyone that chalk is bad and makes no difference to friction and that it is banned in Font?

Dave
Bruce Hooker - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to rgold)
>
> Great posts. Game, set and match........

I dream of the day when you will post something on a climbing related thread that actually advances the debate! I'm an eternal optimist I suppose.
Bruce Hooker - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to davo:

> Anyway shouldn't you be trying to convince everyone that chalk is bad and makes no difference to friction and that it is banned in Font?

I don't need to convince anyone that chalk is banned at Fontainebleau, they only need to read the ONF notice boards at any car park... I should be trying to convince them to respect the ban, I suppose, but it seems a waste of time as most people are so egocentric and anti-social! The ironical thing is that many climbers probably consider themselves to be ecologically aware... there's none queerer than folk :-)
Postmanpat on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> I dream of the day when you will post something on a climbing related thread that actually advances the debate! I'm an eternal optimist I suppose.
>
You'd misconstrue it if I did! It may involve personal experience and evidence.
nogoodgrice - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: Never do, and never have. When folk started using it quite a bit on grit in the 70s I vowed to leave it alone until I was doing a lot of stuff at HVS and up. That never happened and to this day if I onsight a VS I'm having a good day. (Didn't buy my first EBs 'til I'd led a VS in plimsolls, either). FWIW I think chalk on easy routes looks a bit naff and sticky boots seem over time to polish holds on popular routes to the point at which wearing anything else poses a risk.
In case you were wondering I don't go about in plus-fours and a Norfolk jacket. Honestly.
davo - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
>
> I don't need to convince anyone that chalk is banned at Fontainebleau, they only need to read the ONF notice boards at any car park... I should be trying to convince them to respect the ban, I suppose, but it seems a waste of time as most people are so egocentric and anti-social! The ironical thing is that many climbers probably consider themselves to be ecologically aware... there's none queerer than folk :-)

As I've said before keep banging that tired drum about a ban on chalk in Font that virtually no one observes or believes is valid. Perhaps you should consider more carefully your own attitudes rather than assuming everyone else is egocentric and anti-social!

In some circles it is seen as anti-social to try a boulder problem without chalk when others are trying the same problem with chalk. Some would say that you would be making the holds greasy.

Dave
Rob Davies - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests: A lot of people operating at lower grades have truly terrible footwork because you can get away with it in modern shoes - anything but precise. If they acquired the habit of placing feet more precisely using stiffer shoes they might be able to get the benefit of more technical shoes on harder stuff. Even on climbing walls you see people wearing ultra-precision shoes when 99.9% of the time they're of no extra benefit whatsoever as the footholds are so unsubtle.

I have led 5.10 slabs in N America (though not at Squamish) in my relatively clumpy shoes and they work fine - I find that the extra comfort allows me to stand around a lot longer. I have also occasionally found 5.9 slabs in Colorado that seemed utterly impossible but that's not down to what I had on my feet!
Mike Stretford - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to davo)
>
> [...]
>
> I don't need to convince anyone that chalk is banned at Fontainebleau, they only need to read the ONF notice boards at any car park... I should be trying to convince them to respect the ban, I suppose, but it seems a waste of time as most people are so egocentric and anti-social! The ironical thing is that many climbers probably consider themselves to be ecologically aware... there's none queerer than folk :-)

I respect you stance on chalk but just want to clarify this 'ban' or otherwise.

In this documents it just says 'limit the use of pof and magnesia'.

http://www.fontainebleau-tourisme.com/images/fontainebleau-tourisme/pdf/Foret/brochure%20escalade.pd...

Is the wording on the noticeboards different?
Bruce Hooker - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to davo:

The forest is a publicly owned one, and a protected zone. Climbers are minority users. The body that owns it have recently ousted representatives of climbers from an advisory committee, which gives an idea of where their priorities are... It's up to climbers whether they respect the chalk ban or not but there is a precedent; there was a well known approved campsite near the Cuvier Chatillon, rules were posted by the ONF about length of stay, hygiene concerns, number of campers etc. They were ignored. They were reposted in French, English and German, again ignored... Now the area is fenced off, the water supply cut and no one can camp there anymore. Draw the conclusion you like.

Why should the population of Ile de France for whom Fontainebleau Forest is an amazing asset put up with a group of forest users who refuse to respect a simple rule decided by the administration appointed by the state to look after the forest with respect to all users?

It's a bit sick that the only argument that some climbers will even listen to is when their own self-interest is threatened... by climbing restrictions - how come respect for other people using the public asset is just a non-issue, especially when those concerned are a minority who have an visibly detrimental effect on the very same public asset that we should all be protecting?
Bruce Hooker - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Papillon:

> Is the wording on the noticeboards different?

Yes, the notices simply say no, "magnesie, pitons, wire brushing".

Clearly a contradiction!
davo - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to davo)
>
> The forest is a publicly owned one, and a protected zone. Climbers are minority users. The body that owns it have recently ousted representatives of climbers from an advisory committee, which gives an idea of where their priorities are... It's up to climbers whether they respect the chalk ban or not but there is a precedent; there was a well known approved campsite near the Cuvier Chatillon, rules were posted by the ONF about length of stay, hygiene concerns, number of campers etc. They were ignored. They were reposted in French, English and German, again ignored... Now the area is fenced off, the water supply cut and no one can camp there anymore. Draw the conclusion you like.
>


This really has little to do with the argument about chalk use at Font. This kind of thing happens everywhere (which is no excuse) especially in hugely popular areas like Font. It is reasonable that the authorities and local council etc need to manage where people stay and how they go the toilet in areas like this. In this case a reasonable request by the authorities has been ignored (one which most climbers support) and a privilige has been taken away.

My conclusion from this is that people need to take responsibility for where they go the toilet and how long they park their campervans in certain areas. I don't draw the conclusion that a complete joke of a ban on chalk should be observed by climbers who bring a great deal of money to the area and have been climbing in the forest for a long time.


For rules and bans to work they have to have support from the people who are involved - in this case a large group of forest users called climbers. I don't buy the argument that we are a tiny minority. I think a quick visit to the Cul de Chien on a Sunday might put paid to that one! Bans around littering, toilet use etc... are all well supported by the climbing community. An outright ban on chalk (and pof) is not - moderating chalk use, cleaning up tick marks afterwards and making sure the areas are left clean would be supported.

I wonder if the ONF are as concerned about the dogging at Bas Cuvier (not the barking kind!) and the condoms that litter the area? What about the prostitutes that stand by the side of the road all day long waiting for the truckers? Possibly those are more important issues than chalk use in the forest by a group of by and large responsible users of the environment.

Dave
Bruce Hooker - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to davo:

> I don't draw the conclusion that a complete joke of a ban on chalk should be observed by climbers who bring a great deal of money to the area and have been climbing in the forest for a long time.

A lot of money? You're kidding... as for climbing there a long time, that's truish, since just before the war, but they didn't use chalk and there weren't that many of them. They left a few pitons though!

As for the prostitution that's not the ONF it's the police who clearly tolerate this nowadays and that probably comes from high up. I agree it's disgraceful. It's relatively recent and, apparently, it's a decision to move these people out of the town.

As for moderation, have you been to the popular areas lately? I've seen people tipping chalk down a climb to get it to stick on footholds, moderation for these posers is harder than banning it... the rocks have really changed colour.
Mike Stretford - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Papillon)
>
> Clearly a contradiction!

Merci!
Jonny2vests - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Rob Davies:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests) A lot of people operating at lower grades have truly terrible footwork because you can get away with it in modern shoes...

Yes, but I'm not talking about lower grades so much (Squamish Slabs aside - and they are not typical of N America). What about your E3 to E5 climber / F7a to F7c, can we get away with sloppy footwork? I'm not a sponsored superhero, so according to you I might as well be wearing EBs. Now I started in EBs so I know what utter bollocks that is.
ripper - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to xplorer)
> [...]
>
> No, but on Froggatt in November???

Don't know about you but I climb through the summer months too, probably more than I do in November tbh, and yes my hands very definitely sweat.
Goucho on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to ripper:
> (In reply to Goucho)
> [...]
>
> Don't know about you but I climb through the summer months too, probably more than I do in November tbh, and yes my hands very definitely sweat.

Yes, but all i can say, is that if your hands also sweat profusely on Froggatt in November, then with that kind of a circulation, a future in high altitude climbing beckons!

And we've all seen people dipping away in their little pouches of courage when it's been cold enough to freeze the tits off a moose, so where does your sweat argument come into play then?
davo - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

I don't have figures for this but I would say that yes climbers bring in a fair amount of cash to the many Gites, hotels, cafes and bars/restaurants. I would guess that a fair few businesses would suffer if climbers did not climb at Font.

The prostitution and dogging isn't exactly that recent, certainly been going on at least 10 years.

Dave
Bruce Hooker - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to davo:

Yes at least 10 years, which is recent for me as I've lived in Seine et Marne for over 30 years and another 10 in Paris before that. Apparently there have been changes of laws in the last few decades which have resulted in the peculiar transfer of prostitution to woods and forests, it's not just Fontainebleau.

I'm not saying climbers should be banned but don't forget that if restrictions were applied it would only be at the demand of other forest users and so one user group would replace another economically - there are very few campsites near the forest as many threads witness. I would suggest that an ideal solution would be for all users to accept compromise.

Another threatened user group is mountain bikers who insist on cycling on the rocky blue hiking paths despite the notices and regulations limiting us to tracks of 4 metres wide. Again common sense should prevail but it doesn't always seem to be going that way.
Offwidth - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Compromise implies both sides moving to an agreement (not giving in to arbitrary unenforcable rules).
Al Evans on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: A probably totally irrelevant article n chalk use.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=99374
Ann S on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

Ha ha. Very good. Though I am disappointed to see Crowley did not use powdered Rhyolite hammered from the Devils Kitchen.
xplorer on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

"Yes, but all i can say, is that if your hands also sweat profusely on Froggatt in November, then with that kind of a circulation, a future in high altitude climbing beckons!

And we've all seen people dipping away in their little pouches of courage when it's been cold enough to freeze the tits off a moose, so where does your sweat argument come into play then? "

Hands sweat! Chalk dries them! Get over it.
Bruce Hooker - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:

> Hands sweat! Chalk dries them! Get over it.

That's really macho line, wot a man!
xplorer on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Listen, you and a few others are consistent in you're rants about chalk. Yes there is a basis to you're argument, and I'm sure pretty much everyone who uses chalk agrees there are "problems" with using it. But without being rude, what are you going to do about it?

Can't you just live with it? Do you really care?
xplorer on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

I hope you have been consistent with you're views when climbing with partners using chalk, and told them exactly how you feel.

I'm pretty sure you didn't!
xplorer on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

"Hyperhidrosis can either be generalized or localized to specific parts of the body. Hands, feet, armpits, and the groin area are among the most active regions of perspiration due to the relatively high concentration of sweat glands. When excessive sweating is localized it is referred to as primary or focal hyperhidrosis. "
PopShot on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: Chalk should be banned from all crags. There is truly nothing more disgusting and unsightly than a route covered in white dabs. I personally never use the stuff.
Bruce Hooker - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:

Of course we have to "live with it", just as we have to live with litter, graffiti and many other manifestations of inconsiderate human beings, but on a thread about the use and misuse of chalk I'm afraid you are just going to have to live with people posting things you don't agree with.
Bruce Hooker - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
>
> I hope you have been consistent with you're views when climbing with partners using chalk, and told them exactly how you feel.
>
> I'm pretty sure you didn't!

Well as I have never climbed with anyone using chalk that is another of your certainties that hits the dust.

Jon Stewart - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to PopShot:
> (In reply to Ann S) Chalk should be banned from all crags. There is truly nothing more disgusting and unsightly than a route covered in white dabs. I personally never use the stuff.

I don't think any of that is true.
xplorer on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

"I'm afraid you are just going to have to live with people posting things you don't agree with."

I completely agree with you, I hope you take abit of you're own advice.

Climbers are a funny old bunch, can't we all just get on with climbing, instead of continually criticising others.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the majority of users against chalk use are of the old variety. And I'm not being rude, just an observation.
xplorer on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

"Well as I have never climbed with anyone using chalk that is another of your certainties that hits the dust."

Don't talk rubbish! May I remind you to take a quick look through you're pictures
xplorer on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to PopShot:

"In reply to Ann S: Chalk should be banned from all crags. There is truly nothing more disgusting and unsightly than a route covered in white dabs. I personally never use the stuff."

You seriously need to take you're head for a wobble!

Is this you http://mydavidcameron.com/images/nix1.jpg
xplorer on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to PopShot:

"In reply to Ann S: Chalk should be banned from all crags. There is truly nothing more disgusting and unsightly than a route covered in white dabs. I personally never use the stuff."

And what about a route covered in people, stoping wild life and plant life developing. I don't care personally either way.

Quails eggs
Bruce Hooker - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:

You show me a picture where I'm using chalk or with someone using it then - most were taken before chalk use had even started in climbing... That white stuff is called "snow" if that's what's confusing you!
xplorer on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

"You show me a picture where I'm using chalk or with someone using it then - most were taken before chalk use had even started in climbing... That white stuff is called "snow" if that's what's confusing you!"

What do you're friends carry in that small little bag tied onto their harness then?

Foie gras
Ann S on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Just checked out your piccies Bruce. Some stunning shots. What's the climb on the Mot dated 69?
Ann S on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S:

Just thought-is it Direct route?
Bruce Hooker - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:

If you mean this one:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=74855

He's my brother-in-law and one of the most anti-chalk climbers I know. It's true it does look like a bag of some sort but I just had a look at the originals and there's no sign of chalk on his hands. I'll have to ask him. He doesn't even like pof, despite being French and a Fontainebleau regular. Whatever, it doesn't change my views on chalk.. why should it?

Why do you chalkies have such a need for support? Can't you just accept that not everyone shares your unnatural habits?
Goucho on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
> Hands sweat! Chalk dries them! Get over it.

Tough words from a hard climber eh!

Bruce Hooker - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S:

I was just trying to find it and it seems most likely "Direct Route", the hand traverse on pitch 3. I couldn't remember the name so I've been trawling through the ukc routes list. I remember the move but not the name. No chalk to be seen though as it was 1969. Funny how no one sweat back then :-)
3 Names - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Yeah also no one climbed 9b back then
Bruce Hooker - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Vince McNally:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
>
> Yeah also no one climbed 9b back then

Neither are most of the people posting on this thread, but they still use chalk!

Personally if 9a can only be climbed by using artificial aids then I can't see any merit in it... What's the point fundamentally?

3 Names - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Well thats fine Bruce, you dont have to use it.

More for me!
Lukem6 - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Vince McNally:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
>
>" Yeah also no one climbed 9b back then," also insinuates that most chalk climb 9a, explains why I only managed vs in this heat without chalk.... Wasn't really trying hard enough though, maybe when I try to push the E numbers again. I'll have to let you know, time will tell after all.

On one side it shows sponsorship and marketing really works. How long before we hear No one climbed 9c until Gatorade, with added Grit

Blue Straggler - on 08 Jul 2013
Maybe Alan James can add chalk as an option on the UKC logbooks.
"Onsight without chalk" vs "Onsight with chalk" etc.
Lukem6 - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler: that would possibly have a weird ripple effect, like onsight then another pull down list Handicapps.

no Chalk
In rain
Barefoot
one handed
up side down
in clown outfit
with Hemp rope

Blue Straggler - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to lm610:

Have you seen the amount of people who like to add "in big boots" to their logbook entries?
Liam Brown - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to lm610:

One footed.

Naked (most noteworthy for full body jamming).

Drunk.

Dressed as a banana.

Using Stubai Hornets (for winter harder than grade IV).

Goucho on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: I think I've worked out the sweaty hands argument - doesn't fear induce increased perspiration?

The sweaty hand brigade are obviously crapping themselves every time they go near rock, therefore I apologise for criticising them - it has shown a lack of understanding of a genuine psychological issue.
xplorer on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

If all else fails, lets talk grades. Because that's exactly how debates are solved on UKC.

Would you make fun of you're grandchildren because you're better at reading. You're a old man for Christ sake, grow up.
xplorer on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

"In reply to Bruce Hooker: I think I've worked out the sweaty hands argument - doesn't fear induce increased perspiration?

The sweaty hand brigade are obviously crapping themselves every time they go near rock, therefore I apologise for criticising them - it has shown a lack of understanding of a genuine psychological issue. "

Is love to hear the reason why you don't like chalk. I think you just love to pretend you're a harder climber. And it annoys you that you can't climb anymore.

Whatever you say and do, will never stop climbers using chalk.
Al Evans on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker) There was talk of changing the grade of LBJ because the situ peg is no longer there.
>
> The 70's is when protection and gear in general seemed to improve dramatically but that is not the whole story. I started in the 60's and although there were rumours of nuts for protection there wasn't really anywhere to get hold of them so most of us fabricated our own. I seem to remember this being the case well into the 70's.

You mean like these!

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=88657
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=102511
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=131176
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=155507
Goucho on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>"
>
> Is love to hear the reason why you don't like chalk. I think you just love to pretend you're a harder climber. And it annoys you that you can't climb anymore.

I still manage to wobble my way up E4 and F7b onsight sonny boy!
>
> Whatever you say and do, will never stop climbers using chalk.

And I am NOT against chalk, just the ridiculous overuse of it - especially on routes where it isn't even needed.

Goucho on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
> If all else fails, lets talk grades. Because that's exactly how debates are solved on UKC.
>
> Would you make fun of you're grandchildren because you're better at reading. You're a old man for Christ sake, grow up.

So you are comparing yourself to my grandchildren? I couldn't have put it better myself.



xplorer on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
"So you are comparing yourself to my grandchildren? I couldn't have put it better myself."

I'm talking about you're lack of social awareness. You're as bad as popshot
Goucho on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Goucho)
> "So you are comparing yourself to my grandchildren? I couldn't have put it better myself."
>
> I'm talking about you're lack of social awareness. You're as bad as popshot

Pray tell me what social awareness has got to do with over use of chalk - i'll get me bucket of popcorn for this one!

Bruce Hooker - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:

> I'm talking about you're lack of social awareness.

Could you explain what you mean here? What has climbing, with or without chalk got to do with "social awareness"?

xplorer on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

I think this is more todo with grumpy old men, not liking abit of change.
Goucho on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
>
> I think this is more todo with grumpy old men, not liking abit of change.

The voice of experience speaks again - do carry on, it takes me back to when my kids were petulant 13 year olds again.
Juicefree - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: My apologies in advance if I'm misunderstanding this issue?

Surely this Post can best be answered by asking yourself; am I a WAD or am I a PUNTER.

PUNTERS don't use chalk ... WADS do use chalk

Punters don't really possess a valid opinion on climbing topics and exist purely as a source of white noise whilst WADS discuss valid topics.

If you don't currently use chalk you may wish to re-eveluate your status in the climbing community and buy a chalk bag and chalk. As a helpful tip when buying your first chalk bag I would advise a "bucket" bag as this holds the most quantity of chalk.

Equally; buying a bucket bag allows you to casually leave this sufficiently far enough away from where you're actually climbing that you can choose not to use chalk, thereby elevating your status to SUPER-WAD!
Nik Jennings - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to anyone:
Ha ha, this is brilliant. Well done, I had half an hour to kill this morning...

Here's a few suggestions for topics you might like to discuss:

"I don't like beans, could people please stop eating them?"
"I live close enough to walk to work, why do people still insist on driving to their place's of work?"
"I don't wear glasses, lets lock-up the speccy genetic abberations and throw away the key."


Absolutely flapjack, bravo.
xplorer on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

"The voice of experience speaks again - do carry on, it takes me back to when my kids were petulant 13 year olds again."

Glad to hear you brought you're children up that well.
Lukem6 - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer: I'm unsure what chalk has to do with age, grumpy old men or petulant Youth.

I'm 29 and chose to change to not using chalk just over 7 months ago and never looked back. I feel fashion has more to do with chalk use than age affecting peoples choice to use chalk or not.

I semi agree with the fear comment above, I almost called out for chalk recently when I got flustered under a roof on a hot sweaty day. I retried with a more relaxed mindset and had no problems. Would chalk have helped, not really able to tell. I would've probably wasted time chalking up and getting further pumped or maybe I would've climbed on with dry hands.

Either way I stopped using chalk for multiple reasons, but mainly to stop me wasting time chalking up. It used to go mover above gear and get nervous-> Chalk up -> try to place wrong piece gear -> get pumped and sweaty -> re chalk -> try another piece of gear and repeat until fail.

That was most likely to inexperience and crap climbing. But since stopping chalk I have learnt a lot about how hard to grip and how to relax or rest on a route. It's not that I wont use chalk but when I do next need it I will know the exact reason I need it instead of just diving in and over using.
Al Evans on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to lm610: After it's final acceptance in climbing, I got so hooked on the stuff I couldn't do the hoovering without chalking up first.



Al Evans on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to Al Evans: Actually before it was brought into the UK from the US we used to rub our hands in the limestone dust on Windy Ledge before attempting one of the hard routes at Stoney.
irish paul - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: Is it me or are there a couple of crossed arguments on this thread?

Does chalk dry hands?
Do some climbers use too much?

Id say yes to both and reckon beyond these two questions you're onto personal preference at which point i'm happy to live and let live, its not exactly a big deal.
i.munro - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to irish paul:

I'd say it's much more complex than that.

Does chalk dry hands? Yes
Do dry hands give improved grip ? Not known

If dry hands improve grip is chalk better at drying hands than alternatives??

Does chalk reduce grip beyond some minimun quantity ? Clearly.

What is that minimum quantity?

Does chalk reduce grip of shoe rubber? (presumably)

i.munro - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to i.munro:

Without answers to those questions or even the awareness that they are questions any 'debate'
is as pointless as arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
irish paul - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to i.munro: You're right about the lack of awareness over the questions, the whole debate (and your opinion on it) likely lies with where on the spectrum you view the problem starts.

For instance, I feel (based on my own experience ) that dry hands give better grip and a such feel that chalk used modestly does help. So my opinion forms on this, but I think Bruce for instance would disagree with both (? ) these points (Bruce, apologies for singling you out but you've been quite vocal on this thread! ). It'd be interesting to see just where the split in opinion is?
r0x0r.wolfo - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to i.munro:
> (In reply to irish paul)
>
> I'd say it's much more complex than that.
>
> Does chalk dry hands? Yes
> Do dry hands give improved grip ? Not known
>
> If dry hands improve grip is chalk better at drying hands than alternatives??
>
> Does chalk reduce grip beyond some minimun quantity ? Clearly.
>
> What is that minimum quantity?
>
> Does chalk reduce grip of shoe rubber? (presumably)

I guess the minimum quantity by your definition is under that which reduces your grip (which could quite a bit).

Do dry hands improve grip? Hmm, I can't think of much that becomes grippier in the wet. I think anyone who's climbed in the wet would probably say that dry hands/rock have more grip.

Lukem6 - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo: Again depends on the rock Limestone in the wet is a different beast to grit in the wet...then my hands stick better to wet grit than they do on that humid chalky first pitch of Valkyrie at Roaches

But wet limestone can be harder to hold when wet
Bruce Hooker - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to irish paul:

I've never used any because I've never had any... a bit like hash really, I wouldn't know where to buy it. Once I was struggling topping out on a highish, rounded boulder at Fontainebleau and a Dutch bloke offered me some but I turned him down with a shocked, disdainful expression... You have to keep up appearances, don't you :-)

Can't remember if I fell off.
r0x0r.wolfo - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to lm610: Ugh, yes that is a bit slippery, but I think it's a bit of a untypical case. Do you think in general your hands stick better to wet grit than dry? (but not the overly chalked humid greasy stuff).
Lukem6 - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo: never found wet effect too much...I was thinking about doing 3 pebble slab sometime soon. I'll try it wet to be sure. although I have found a my moist(not wet) skin holds better than dry. but then I always have been an odd ball
richparry - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S:

We went on the Snowdon horseshoe today and there was chalk on the scrambling bits of crib goch!!
I've never seen chalk used on hill walks before, even those with a bit of easy scrambling.
Skip - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to irish paul:
> (In reply to i.munro)
>
> For instance, I feel (based on my own experience ) that dry hands give better grip and a such feel that chalk used modestly does help.>

Used modestly is the key IMO. I sometimes give my hands a light dusting at the start of a climb (if sweaty) and maybe during the climb. Never understood the need for, or benefit of plastering holds with layers of chalk.
Loads of "perma-chalk" on bouldering routes lokks ugly IMO.Maybe some boulderers could enlighten me as to the benefits of such behaviour.

xplorer on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to richparry:

I'm going to give you the UKC treatment and call you a MASSIVE TROLL
xplorer on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to Skip:

The majority of the big name climbers around today use chalk. If it didn't help they wouldn't use it. They are professionals at the top end, and they will obviously know when something is helping or not.
richparry - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:

Not a troll. Go and have a look tomorrow. Chalk on the steeper scrambling bit leading to the main ridge when approaching from the pyg track.
Skip - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Skip)
>
> The majority of the big name climbers around today use chalk. If it didn't help they wouldn't use it. They are professionals at the top end, and they will obviously know when something is helping or not.

Not denying it helps, just don't understand plastering loads of it on your hands and/or holds.

I use it myself, but a few months ago recognised a psychological aspect to my use and as a result am experimenting on cutting back.
xplorer on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to richparry:

Come on, lighten up about the chalk. Who are you? the powder police
Goucho on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Skip)
>
> The majority of the big name climbers around today use chalk. If it didn't help they wouldn't use it. They are professionals at the top end, and they will obviously know when something is helping or not.

When you've got a bit more experience, you'll realise there is a world of difference between big E number routes, and Diffs.

No doubt if the top climbers of the day, started wearing lampshades on their heads, you would be one of the hordes of climbing wannabees queuing up at M&S within a few weeks!

The excessive use of chalk is just another example of the 'herd' mentality of so many climbers.
xplorer on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

Don't talk rubbish, so you have 30 years experience and the chalk subject. Come on its hardly rocket science. If you're hands sweat a lot, then you're going to use chalk, simple.

So you agree that chalk is useful, sorry you're confusing me with your views now. But it's only for pros.

And trust me I don't follow the masses when it comes to climbing, obviously you haven't had the pleasure of seeing my previous posts on other threads.

You don't like chalk, I get that.
xplorer on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:

I have never met anyone at the crag, wall etc etc who has mentioned their hate for chalk.

Only on UKC do you chalk haters rear you're old grumpy heads.

I don't see many old grumpy people out climbing either, or old grumpy men eating a twix......
Bruce Hooker - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to richparry:

What are you on about? A lot of people have very sweaty soles you know, without chalk Grib Goch would be a death trap!
Lukem6 - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer: as far as only on UKC goes Rock and Ice and mountain project also have discussions about chalk. They don't seem to get soo much of the "grumpy old men" kinda comments either. I have had many a Conversation at crags about chalk, the conversations never get as heated as on here though. Ah well cant judge the majority by the few.
xplorer on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to lm610:

I can make an observation if I want too. That's all it is an observation, and an obvious one at that. This may not ring true in general, but on this thread and previous threads regarding other delicate subjects it is definitely the case.

Obviously on Internet forums people express their concerns and anger a lot more than when face to face.

I just don't think it's a massive issue, chalk wether you like it or not, is widely used by the majority, on easy routes aswell as harder routes. Wether it's purely a placebo or because some one sweats its excepted by a lot of climbers.

I personally only use when I need to, the reasons to use are for myself to decide, unless there's a rule on a particular crag.

Skip - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S:

Still not understanding the benefit of plastering holds on bouldering routes.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Goucho on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to Skip:
> (In reply to Ann S)
>
> Still not understanding the benefit of plastering holds on bouldering routes.

Plastering holds in chalk has completely the opposite effect that it was intended to have - it actually reduces friction!!!!!

However, many climbers are either to stubborn, too thick, or to busy impersonating sheep to realise this!

Goucho on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to richparry)
>
> What are you on about? A lot of people have very sweaty soles you know, without chalk Grib Goch would be a death trap!

To be honest, if it's universally accepted that chalk is ok irrespective of the grade (or quantity), which judging by most folk on UKC, it is, then using it on Crib Goch (or Striding Edge, or even to get over a stile on the Pennine Way) must be perfectly OK too.
GridNorth - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho: I'm trying to kick the habit and accordingly bought some liquid chalk. I've only used it the once so far but I found it hard to not dip. I may compromise and use a combination of liquid chalk and a chalk ball just for the ends of the fingers where the liquid chalk wears off first.
Goucho on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to Goucho) I'm trying to kick the habit and accordingly bought some liquid chalk. I've only used it the once so far but I found it hard to not dip. I may compromise and use a combination of liquid chalk and a chalk ball just for the ends of the fingers where the liquid chalk wears off first.

Thats another thing, have you noticed that even when you only need a small amount on your fingertips, people still plaster it half way up their forearms - it's an addiction - I use to have a friend with same problem, though his white powder went up his nose :-)
Ramblin dave - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
>
> To be honest, if it's universally accepted that chalk is ok irrespective of the grade (or quantity), which judging by most folk on UKC, it is,

I don't think anyone on this thread has said that.

I think that what people have mostly disagreed with you on is your random assertion that the point where chalk use becomes useful and acceptable is (conveniently) approximately the sort of route that you personally find hard, thereby allowing you to use chalk if you want it on an E3 while still occupying the moral high ground relative to a wimpy punter who uses it on the massive jugs that plaster every E1...
GridNorth - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to Goucho: Yes and I am guilty myself of over-use although I don't plaster it all over the rock, at least not intentionally. At least with the liquid it only goes on the palm where you need it but that doesn't satisfy the physcological requirement. For me taking one hand off and dipping while I contemplate the next move is part of that process.
Goucho on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to Goucho) Yes and I am guilty myself of over-use although I don't plaster it all over the rock, at least not intentionally. At least with the liquid it only goes on the palm where you need it but that doesn't satisfy the physcological requirement. For me taking one hand off and dipping while I contemplate the next move is part of that process.

I have a pebble - it's about 2 decades old now, - and has a wonderfully soothing feel to it, so I find having just a small amount of chalk in the bag and my pebble, gives me something to 'fondle' while contemplating the next move, without leaving the route looking like Rolf Harris and a roller covered in white emulsion has recently visited.

I remember about 15 years ago, being at Mother Carey's, and after getting down to the bottom of Mother Night, realised i'd left my chalk bag in the car.

So I just did it anyway, and whilst it wasn't a particularly hot day, it was still warm, and I hardly noticed the difference - a few wipes on the arse every now and then did the trick. What i did notice was how much smoother and quicker I climbed without the obligatory 'dip' ritual getting in the way.

Goucho on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Goucho)
> [...]
>
> I don't think anyone on this thread has said that.
>
> I think that what people have mostly disagreed with you on is your random assertion that the point where chalk use becomes useful and acceptable is (conveniently) approximately the sort of route that you personally find hard, thereby allowing you to use chalk if you want it on an E3 while still occupying the moral high ground relative to a wimpy punter who uses it on the massive jugs that plaster every E1...

I think you'll find most of my criticism was of people using it on mid grade routes and below, and my comment about E3/5c was stating my own personal self imposed guidelines - i've actually done E5's without using it, and even on E6, i still didn't use it on every move.

I am not anti chalk - i've been using it since before many folks on UKC were even a tingle in their daddy's loins, I'm just anti the use of it on routes which plainly don't need it, and the general complete overuse and plastering of it all over the show.

If that makes me a grumpy old hypocritical dinosaur, then I can live with that :-)

barneylewis on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: I have never used it either as a sub vs leader or as a second on HVS including on a damp Cloggy in winter on Piggots and Longlands
or on South Face Direct on Arran on a very hot day or even at Harrisons..Is it really necessary sub VS and what is the effect on the plant life below when it washes off--Project for a Botany scholar?
Ann S on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S:

Just out of interest could someone with a bigger brain than me explain why, when my elderly mother asks me to open a new jar of honey or Branston pickle, I will always breathe heavily on my hand before applying my puny grip to open it? Why does that very slightly damp hand give me better grip?
xplorer on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S:

Maybe you just think it helps, abit like chalk.......
Jonny2vests - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S:
> (In reply to Ann S)
>
> Just out of interest could someone with a bigger brain than me explain why, when my elderly mother asks me to open a new jar of honey or Branston pickle, I will always breathe heavily on my hand before applying my puny grip to open it? Why does that very slightly damp hand give me better grip?

I used to enter the odd competition. I found that the best friction I could possibly get was with not quite dry hands, just after washing (after which I would chalk up of course).
Skip - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to barneylewis:
.>Is it really necessary sub VS>

Am i missing the point of chalk? I understood that it is used to dry your hands if sweaty, so why the distinction between <VS and >VS ?

Lukem6 - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Skip: its people excuses for when they need it. the truth is at your limit you sweat you may wanna use it... I feel the main problem is over use and placing chalk on the rock rather than your hands
Lukem6 - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S:
Like or +1 or whatever
Ann S on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Lukem6:

Got your email Luke with the article. Many thanks and will enjoy digesting it.
Ann S on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Ann S)
>
> Maybe you just think it helps, abit like chalk.......

Well my dear, you may have a grip that can crush a billiard ball to powder but I do not. Dampness helps.
Skip - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Lukem6:
> (In reply to Skip) I feel the main problem is over use and placing chalk on the rock rather than your hands>

Totally agree. This is why i have asked why boulderers layer loads of chalk on holds,often pre-climb. I can't see the benefit at all.

stemill - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Ann S: Sticky wet definitely exists although I am yet to pin down what creates the effect! I resisted using chalk for a long time and think that 90% of the time its use is unwarranted - just wipe your hands on your pants for christ sakes! However I think it does come into its own to help prevent transferring greasyness to holds - essential when repeatedly falling off boulder problems. For trad when you're (hopefully) just passing through I reckon it's largely pointless

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