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Here a post about the Liquid Chalk and generally about Chalk!

Introduction

After I found that I have pretty sweaty hands I started to search different ways to bypass this bad effect. While searching I got stuck into so called liquid chalk. A friend of mine told me he knows how some people are preparing it for themselves, but never tried himself. Although it seemed to be too easy to be true, I gave it a try and it worked out!

Tutorial

So yes - it is that easy:

1. Put colophony in spirit!
* normal colophony you use for soldering (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colophony , shop.ebay.de/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3984.m38.l1311&_nkw=Kolophonium&_sacat=See-All-Categories)
* 99% spirit (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol , just bought that one cgi.ebay.de/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=160405503294&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT)

Here I was asked, how much colophony you'll need. I've never saw it precise, but I took a photo with the ingredients and you can see by yourself approximately how much. And usually I fill about 2/3 of the bottle with spirit, but in the beginning it would be better to put a little less to be able to "work" (to shake good, to see your own recipe, to refill if you put too much chalk).


The ingredients: Spirit, Fine Chalk, Colophony and all bottle to put all in :)


2. Put fine chalk until you are satisfied!
* fine chalk with no corns (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnesium_carbonate, I use cgi.ebay.de/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=400097830021&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT)

3. The bonus step I intended to hide in the video just because I was curios if someone is interested, was to put the tube into a really warm water to let it all melt perfectly together. It doesn't bring that much, but it's a good tuning so it's worth mentioning :)

4. You may put some aroma if you like!

This is my short liquid chalk "tutorial" based on the short clip I made couple of years ago with my phone while making the liquid chalk before start bouldering.

So try to make yourself liquid chalk! Already 1500 people watched my video in vimeo, which makes me think that the people are interested in it!

On the flow

You may think of the "fair climbing industry", which is selling this product for ~10 EUR for 100ml. For my "recipe" you'll need a 2 minutes making time plus couple of minutes "ebaying" - all for a price of ~0.5 EUR for 100ml!

So this opens also the question about the normal chalk and its variations:

"Is it worth of it to buy the hyper super mega ultra chalk?"

And my answer is - "NO!" :)

This is just one of the simple tricks to sell you something basic for much more money :) (the chalk I buy costs 22 EUR for 2.5 kilo and some random hyper super mega ultra chalk costs around 20 EUR for 425 grams (~22 for half kilo), so yeah 5 times more expensive!) All the industry does it and the "fair green alternative climbing industry" actually makes no exception. The strange is that there idiots to buy this shit and think they'll have better performance by doing so and even further - if such happens, they explain it with the new hyper mega ultra chalk (or whatever accessories) they bought. Surprisingly this happens with all sports and not only sports and climbing is no single case.

"just" chalk

In general there are two types of normal chalk - with or without corns. Of course the size of the corns and the amount of the corns differ between the different chalks. Usually people tend to dislike chalk without any corns. People like to grab something or crush something while they are chalking (or at least they told me that), while personally I like to grab something soft :) Most of the people explain their choice also by the performance difference, and actually there is some little difference. I'll say that the corny chalk is a little better for gym climbing. So indeed when they say "here - check it out it's better", it is really better and it holds a little more, but only indoors. Outside when it's cold and you are about to do some performance stuff with glassy fingers, that corny chalk doesn't stick to the fingers at all, while the powder chalk really find it way and sticks to your skin much better in my opinion.

So make your tests by yourself! Don't let the price or the advertise or other people or opinions (mine included) to make up your mind! For me, as I don't care much about performance in the gym I've chosen the low price powder chalk and I found myself with best performance outdoors!

Introducing You

In this article I would like to talk about something that every top climber uses. And I don't doubt some of the top climbers are missing it (or at least not in the hot seasons). “The secret to success” as Daniel Woods pointed out is called Antihydral [1]. Usually this medicament was related to people having hyperhidrosis or related conditions, but over the past decade is used increasingly by performance climbers to avoid hand sweating. More and more people drop some words or share some advices of its usage, some of them kinda incognito like the Austrian Harald Berger that red-pointed a six pitches route in Switzerland called Antihydral (8b).

Antihydral tube

One tube of this fine shit will last for years! (you can see also the main ingredient is Methenamin)

Thoughts:

Anyway, although being one of the most used substance you'll never see it on video. I have 220 gb with climbing videos and never saw it in any movie. Not a single frame, not a single word. You'll see a plenty of shit like madly drunken and stoned "athletes" being "psyched" and later on giving their "pro tips" having awful headache, or the usual stupid "training" clips displaying trivial stuff and exercises, but none of them saying some real words. No-one says what you should eat and when to eat to recover fast and to be able to do more and longer sessions. No-one says how to take care of your skin to be always in good conditions to survive over all sessions without forcing you to take more rest days then planned. No-one tells you how to take care of your other important body parts like joints, tendons and muscles, besides the trivial "take a rest - as long as you need son!" (bullshit). The only important book that reveals some secrets is "So weit die Haende greifen..." (click) and discusses climbing injuries and some ways to prevent them. And I didn't checked all the books but some of them and read dozens of forum and blog posts.

However, in this article I am not about to discuss further the different accents in the "climbing community". So I'm gonna start talking about how I found it. It was couple of years ago when I realized, that I am sweating like a monster. Not a just little bit - much more. So I've started searching for some different substances like doing my own liquid chalk, and I was really fine with that. Time went by and I started climbing harder, so breaking the flow for chalking, while bouldering on my limit was just impossible. I got so many times frustrated about being unable to match hard moves in the end because of sweated fingers, and even worse - falling of easy top out after doing the crux! All of this while reading some head news for people flashing and onsighting 8c or 8c+ routes in the middle of the summer with 40 degrees of temperatures on brutal humid places like on the beach of Kalymnos!!! How brutal is that?! I know some guys that are really gifted with good skin, one of them using 2-3 times softening creme daily and sweats on +15 degree less then me in -15 degree!

Firstly some rumors told me about the so called Botox but it seemed too brutal for me, however I heard and read that some people checked it out. Anyway I decided to let it go... Later on I heard some rumors here and there, when I finally stuck onto the blog post of Marc about Antihydral (click) and though I better give it a go. So in the beginning I kinda made all of the mistakes that everyone did while using it - split fingers, glass dry skin, slow skin regeneration... Later on when I checked google and found couple of topics in ukbouldering forum (click 1 and click 2) I just laughed how the people repeated my history, or better said I repeated theirs, also Marc's and all other anonymous climbers. In the forums you can find some pretty useful tips, but usually you are too annoyed by the typical local jokes there, which seem for the foreign checker, that seeks for something specific, just a shit talk. In the blog posts you might find more useful information, but you wouldn't tend to understand it before you try it yourself and find your own way (this here is no exception).

Bouldering Usage:

There is no general formula of usage! Great! Try it by yourself! Cool huh? Anyway, I'll tell you what I usually do:

1. Couple of days before your trip use Antihydral couple of times on your whole palms. (You may skip this step)

2. If you boulder above 7A you might need only to "antihydralize" the finger tips or at most to your second joint. Do this the night before and sleep well with it on your fingers! Don't apply it to your joints - you'll suffer ugly cuts if you do this mistake!

antihydral amount for the fingertips only in bouldering

Amount for both hands fingertips (thumbs included)

antihydral for the fingertips only in bouldering

How it looks like :)

3. You may do this the morning before you climb and let your fingers to dry for a little while.

Example of usage avoiding the joints (the main part is on the top of the fingers and the rest on the second level)

4. Important step! Whereever you see signs of dead skin (yellow) tear it down! By doing this you'll avoid very nasty cuts and flappers that are the side effects of very dry skin!

5. Don't overuse! The effect is not immediate so don't abuse! Wait and see!

Further tips:

  • You might combine antihydral with different regeneration cremes that retain the skin dry like Calendumed or ClimbOn.
  • Be busy as a bee with your scratch paper.
  • Try to locate the exact sweat places and be precise as painter!
  • I'll amplify again - don't touch the joints!
  • Try out your schedule!
  • For different rocks you need to tune your skin differently! ("growing" fat skin is cool for crimping, but bad for slopers, also on granite you would like to have more skin than on sandstone)
  • Same goes for different times of the year.
  • For plastic climbing Antihydral is generally bad, but if you use less then usual it's better for you then nothing, if you sweat too much. The problem here is you may dry-fire off the holds, having glassy fingers and no grip to the plastic. In the gyms it's usually splashy and warm so it's pretty sweaty, thus you should find your formula for indoor climbing, if you care anyway (I don't care that much for the gyms).
  • Aah, and read the instructions as well! Like, that one that you are not supposed to use it if you are allergic to formaldehyde (click).
  • Be careful, choose your sources and avoid a misleading information that can lead you to fucked up skin (like http://dave.scottishclimbs.com/2010/12/04/drying-out/). Some people just write articles for something they have no clue, just applied once or read here and there about, but actually have no clue what's up!

Further Read:

1. http://eveningsends.com/2011/07/review-antihydral/

2. http://www.rokblog.de/2007/02/17/antihydral/

3. http://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,11714.0.html

4. http://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,2640.0.html

5. http://www.epharmapedia.com/medicine/profile/127053/Antihydral.html?lang=en

Further Usage:

In Boxing you can enjoy an absolute solid feeling when having gloves on. Normally in amateur boxing you box often gloves that aren't yours and are already used that day. So take a good care to dry them at least a little bit with some paper before putting on. Squeeze them also a bit to refresh the air at least for a while. Put some longer bands than you usually use. All of this helps a lot. Having a non sweaty hands or at least a less sweaty hands changes the feeling of a gloves. You'll feel much more solid when punching and like a rock when guarding. So remember - having water gloves just sucks and having it all dry and perfectly fit is just a new dimension.

Antihydral might be used on your feet as well. I haven't tried, but I can imagine it helping a lot. I usually put a big fat sweat absorbing socks with having my feet fitting optimally to my shoes. I make all nice and tight. Remember - everything must be perfect. Slipping feet in the boxing shoes is the last thing you wanna have. In boxing every punch or move is so important, that you can think of giving you last go to a boulder in the last day of your climbing trip. However if you never used Antihydral, try to be very careful and check our the instructions in the article above!

In Grappling sweaty hand will always be your handicap. You'll never have the decent grip on your opponent with sweaty hands. Grapplers usually eat food like garlic just to sweat more than usual and make it difficult for the opponent to wrestle them, so if you have sweaty hands you have a double problem. And remember - small things are making the big difference. That's why the smart people are emphasizing those small things.

While shopping today some little stuff I encountered an excellent quote on a hand trainer by black diamond, apparently done by some stoners using their copy of some english book! How great is that?! Nevertheless:

"As bouldering culture spreads and takes root globally, creativity is exploding. As more people breathe in bouldering’s eclectic blend of tribalism and sweet, pure intensity, the focus of our collective energies results in a truly new ascending philosophy: new places to go, new ways to train physically and mentally, and new ways of attempting to crack the age-old bottom-to-top code. Our language is universal and it’s not about words, it’s about movements going into motion. After all, you gotta free your mind if you want to do the problem. It really is as simple as that."

Video still of me doing Ramazzotti in Pfalz / Wartenberg - today banned area!

This great quote just reminded me of the best bouldering times I had and the struggles to do some hard stuff and the relief after, the beautiful and the nasty boulders, all the good and bad times, cold and hot times, good and bad weather, best and worst friction, all the psyche and frustration, all the pain and joy, the hangover and the muscle soreness, all the friends and strangers, the never-ending indoor and outdoor sessions, the time lost and found, the broken walls and the opened horizons, ... :-)

So Merry Christmas and have an awesome New Year and let the season officially begin!

Well, finally for first time I met the alps! Won't bother you with an article but, here are some nice photos and short video:


Mello Compton


our lightman!

Val di Mello


this was some endurance stuff!

session again :)


Magic Wood / Supernova



Technique @ Gollum / Magic Wood

Heyo, it's been a while I haven't wrote anything in my website, so I found some time to put in words my personal experience using some climbing shoe models! So first of all, I'll present some models, that I used by myself for long time. Although most of these models doesn't exist anymore you can think of their successors having similar capabilities:

  • MadRock Super Loko *****:

My all time favorite climbing shoe - yeah! Being a hook-master, these shoes are the best for this purpose! For indoor climbing the shoes can be called even H0 shoes!!! They are stretching very fast so buy around 3 sizes smaller, than you usually wear. (I wear 44.5 - 45 and have Super Lokos at 41.5 - 42).


Here to mention, that almost all of the last models suffer from bad rubber. Friend of mine, Martin, spoke about that issue in a blog post in German language: http://www.boulderholics.de/blog/index.php?/archives/11-Testbericht-Mad-Rock-Contact-im-Test.html

Successors: Climbx E-Motion (having worst toehook, than super loko, also the velcro gets fucked up in the first day!), Mad Rock Demon 2.0 (won't think the heel hook is that good as it is in super loko)

  • FiveTen Team *****:

Edited! Time ago while trying I found nothing special in this model and wasn't used to the perform good with this shoe. An online offer for 84 euros changed all of this and I bought 2 pairs mainly for training in the gym. It turned out to be a very good climbing shoe and it definitely deserves five stars for its performance outside. It gives you superb feeling on placing hooks (all kind of) combined with very sharp edge feeling that is perfect for steep and roof climbing! A small drawbacks are that in the gym it's not that good (maybe because the shoes are very well rounded and the typical gym holds are very edgy), also the heel hook gets wide with the time, which makes it worse. Another drawback for others and positive side for me is the smell of the shoes! Yeah, you can provoke respect in the gym just by taking your team pair out of the bag!

No Successors.

  • MadRock Hooker and Conflict ***:

Cheaper version of Super Loko that I used, cause bought cheaper online. Was good to do some training with pretty decent shoes.

Successors: Worn both Climbx RockIt and Mad Rock Conflict 2.0. They aren't better than the previous model in my opinion, but are good as it gets for the money!

  • MadRock Mugen ***:

Perfect shoe for training. I had one pair of those and used them always to do endurance training in the boulder gym or in the climbing gym, also sometimes in combination with weights. Easy to take off also to take on, which makes them comfortable. Due to their flat design they are good for beginners too. Of course, on roof climbing they don't perform that well, but I used them on vertical climbing outside and they were perfect! Also due to the typical mad rock hook, they are good for traverses as well.

Successors: New Mugen, Mugen Tech, Mugen 2.0 ...

  • FiveTen Anasazi ****:

For slab masters! You'll fell glued to the wall with those! These are also my walk-around shoes. I mean when I have them I don't need to take them off for hours! (so buy around 1 size or half size smaller than you usually wear).

No Successors: Perfection doesn't need successors :)

  • Rock Pillars Top Gun ****:

a.k.a. the cheaper Super Loko :) I wrote some short article about the shoes in german language couple of years ago (http://www.boulderholics.de/blog/index.php?/archives/42-Rock-Pillars-Top-Gun-im-Test.html). Anyway will write down here in english the essence of what I wrote there. I bought the shoes, cause they were in a cheap offer, but it turned out to be a pretty decent model. Almost performing that well like the Super Loko, but being cheaper too. Indoors werent the best shoes you can use, but outdoors when I needed to hook somewhere without ledges (clean wall) I preffered them over the Super Loko! Especially at the end of their "life", when they were good worn off, the performance was at top level! There is the problem as well that the velcro gets fucked up very fast from toe-hooks! Ah, yeah and buy 2-3 sizes smaller than you usually wear and expect red feets every time :)

No Successors, however should have been optimized once in a while :)

  • Rock Pillars Zion ***:

Not bad for newbies! My first shoe, and it didn't disappointed me!

No Successors, should also evolve with time :)

  • Evolv Pontas *:

Well this shoe sucks at full! I am pretty sure if Chris Sharma used other shoes we would have climbed grade harder! The rubber is the most fucked rubber I have ever worn, together with the Boreal shit. The hooks sucked at full. The design is also fucked up and doesn't fits me and my friends. The only good is that you would be able to wear those pretty long time compared to other shoes...

  • Boreal Q-X:

Cheap training shit, I bought and felt sorry! No friction at all, slippery inside too, also the velcro won't stand 10 toe hooks one after another... So be aware - this is very fucked up model! Now, since I've worn this shoes for year I can tell, they are pretty durable and easy to repair by yourself! Mostly used them to train on easy boulders with weight vest.

No Successors - better so :)

  • WildClimb Spider *:

Full of shit... But may be not that bad for newcomers, also not that bad to walk around with, without taking them out.

No Successors :)

Now few words about shoes I did some hard boulders with, or some hard sessions outside:

  • La Sportiva Solution *****:

This is the real shit! Unfortunately this shoe fits to my feet not that good! Anyway, did some boulders with this one and felt all solid. All friends are telling the same! For this model take 2-3 sizes smaller than you usually wear.

No Successors -> perfection!

  • La Sportiva Muira ****:

Wall climbing at another level! Superb for vertical routes and good for bouldering as well! And don't forget - take 2-3 sizes smaller!

  • Scarpa Booster ****:

Also a real shit, that fits me not very good :( So be aware this master piece shoe may not fit your feet, but if it does - this is a nice shit to consider buying!!!

No Successors.

  • FiveTen Jet7 ***:

Very good climbing shoe, but didn't found anything special with that one too... Was in no way better then the Rock Pillars Top Gun model, only the price was much bigger! Also to mention, that indoors this shoe sux badly, but outdoors it's pretty good!

No Successors.

  • FiveTen Dragon *****:

This is the 45` Killer! E.g. for ~45 degree walls this is maybe the best shoe you can have! Like big number of Frankenjura crimp boulder pieces in system wall style :) It is also important to mention that you need to get accustomed to wear this shoes - they are for real advanced climbers. You need to have some strong toes, but it pays all off! To make a good suffer take 3 sizes smaller :)

No Successors -> perfection!

OK, this was what I've got to tell. Now a few words about some general shoe problems that may happen to some shoe models:

  • Rubber Tear Off, Velcro / Cords fucked up - your toe hook is not a weapon anymore?! This happens to Mad Rock Super Loko, La Sportiva Solution, All FiveTen shoes withouth the team shoe, but it sux anyway, happens actually to all shoes with glued rubber toe hook! Your heel hook is fucked up too?! This happens to all shoes with partial heel like FiveTen Anasazi, Evolv, Rock Pillars! Velcro fucked up is also an issue to ClimbX, Boreal... And all of these problems just few days after buy?!

  • Red Feet - pretty fucked up problem when you cannot take a shower for couple of days... happens to Rock Pillars, some Mad Rock models as far as I know. FiveTen in contrast are smelling especially bad :)

  • Holes in the rubber - don't tell me you are using Mad Rocks shoes to climb in the gym on vertical walls or for climbing with rope at all?!