Innovation & Performance

Now that the word is out on our new chalk with Upsalite®, it’s time to talk a bit about how we got there. From the very beginning when we started CHALK REBELS, we noticed that in the chalk market there’s a lot of blah blah but very little innovation.

And that is due to the hard fact that magnesium carbonate is a pretty boring material: it’s a cheap and chemically inert commodity product that is used in lots of industries. It’s hard to innovate with a material that besides differences in feel and grain is pretty much the same everywhere.

But nerds are gonna nerd and nerd we did! We looked at pretty much all the scientific literature on chalk use and chalk alternatives. What we were looking for was maximum performance with minimum impact. And magnesium carbonate is not the only chemical you can use to keep your hands dry.

We quickly eliminated methenamine (tricky to apply) and aluminium-hydrochlorates (stains your clothes). For our first alternative, we settled on an aggregate of silica that is commonly used in cosmetics products and developed our Crystal Chalk based on that. This led us to become the first indie climbing brand to bring a climbing-specific beginner-friendly anti-perspirant to market: Crystal Chalk.

But anti-perspirants only work when applied before climbing: they prevent the sweat from forming but don’t actually absorb the sweat that is already on your hands. We still needed a little something extra to boost the performance of our liquid chalk to keep your hands dry while climbing.

We looked at Upsalite® for that little extra boost. It’s a modified mesoporous form of magnesium carbonate invented in Sweden that boosts absorption up to 10X. Currently there is only one other brand using Upsalite® on the climbing market. We were immediately convinced about the performance: you can truly feel the difference. The absorption power is out of this world!

From the very beginning our mission has been to reduce the amount of chalk powder used by climbers. To do that we set out to offer alternatives, to educate, and to simply offer the highest-performing chalk on the market. With Upsalite®, we have achieved the latter: the highest-performing liquid chalk on the market.

And while we were developing our Upsalite®-based chalk, we ran into some really interesting data which suggests that, yes, all sources of mined chalk are pretty much the same, but synthesised chalk commonly used in food-safe products is significantly more pure. So switching to magnesium carbonate synthesised from seawater was a no-brainer.

To summarise, on the way to Upsalite® we innovated in three ways:

  • Bringing the first climbing-specific anti-perspirant to market.
  • Giving you a cleaner form of seawater-based chalk.
  • Boosting performance by switching to Upsalite®-based chalk.

Together, these three innovations lead us to conceive the best method to keep your hands dry while climbing:

  • Apply an anti-perspirant cream before you start to climb.
  • Use clean seawater-based liquid chalk as a base layer.
  • Top up with Upsalite®-based chalk for the best performance.

And of course, after you’re done with climbing for the day it’s time to rehydrate those paws so you can climb another day.

Photo by Disruptive Materials AB

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