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Mammut Liquid Chalk

I liken Mammut’s new Liquid Chalk to the introduction of sticky rubber shoes—it works so well you think you can’t climb without it.

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Mammut Liquid Chalk $9.95 www.mammut.com
4½ Stars

I liken Mammut’s new Liquid Chalk to the introduction of sticky rubber shoes—it works so well you think you can’t climb without it. That’s how I felt and so did all of my friends, who made all sorts of conniving plans to take my Precious away from me. The power of this product manipulated our brains in dark ways—in primordial praise of the Liquid Chalk, we referred to it as the “Hot Fire,” as in, “Dude, I’m not climbing until I spit some of the Hot Fire on my hands. [Grunt, grunt.] Where? Give it to me!”

After tying in and putting on your shoes—just before you touch rock—plop a dime-sized dollop of the Hot Fire on your palm. It’s a grey, watery substance that smells like really bad gin. Rub it into your hands, especially working it into your fingertip grooves. Blow on your hands and the alcohol evaporates, turning your skin bone-white and leaving behind a super-dry, chalky base layer. Now, dip your hands in chalk and work a light layer of the loose stuff into your palms.

Mammut has really hit the nail on the head, and perfected the blend of alcohol and chalk. I’ve used other liquid chalks and none work as well as this one. Other brands have left my hands dry, to be sure, but often feeling glassy; they also haven’t lasted the entire route, a bummer when you don’t have time (strength) to stop and dip. Mammut’s Liquid Chalk, on the other hand, has staying power—it creates a significant dryness, which means less time hanging around chalking, less chalk on the rock and a slightly greater chance that you will send your project (every bit helps, eh?).

—Andrew Bisharat