Climbing chalk is pretty benign stuff, right? Sort of. It’s only ingredient, magnesium carbonate, is a naturally occurring, nontoxic salt—the same stuff most antacids are made from. How it’s typically acquired—via mining—is where things get troubling.
Enter Black Diamond’s new ECO Gold Chalk, which sidesteps the traditional environmental impacts of climbing chalk production by making use of the byproducts of water desalination. And because desalination plays a critical role in improving access to freshwater around the world as climate change threatens those resources, this new production process has a social justice upside, too. A 2017 report co-sponsored by UNICEF and the World Health Organization found that ⅓ of people worldwide (that’s 2.2 billion people) don’t have access to safe drinking water. Translation: Supporting desalination initiatives through the purchase of products like ECO Gold means you’re getting your chalk without actively damaging the planet—while also helping to promote research that makes desalination more affordable and practical.
Those are benefits most climbers can get on board with (plus the 100% compostable packaging). But is the chalk any good for, you know, climbing? ECO Gold is 100% pure magnesium carbonate—just like the mined stuff—and the drying power and grip enhancement you get with this chalk is top-of-the-line. Olympic athlete Adam Ondra vouches for it’s functionality saying, “It’s dry and raw and makes my fingers really sticky, it’s the best chalk I’ve ever had”. It’s a win-win-win.
As an added bonus, a portion of all proceeds from the 514g “Honnold Edition” of ECO Gold go to the Honnold Foundation which works to reduce environmental impact and address inequality by supporting solar energy initiatives worldwide.