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Friction Labs Chalk



Climbing Chalk and Secret Stuff from Friction Labs

Steve Crowe and Karin Magog

Friction Labs have joined the battle to offer the best high performance climbing chalk. It's a crowded market place so to be known as the best climbers chalk is not going to be easy but Friction Labs believe quality is king and have backed their claim to be the best with some detailed science (and you can read the reports here).

Now I have been climbing rocks for over 40 years and I believe that I train hard but my hands sweat on all but the coldest days and I often feel like they are sliding off slopers. So I began my quest to find the best climbing chalk available and that was when I came across the Friction Labs products. It was this quote that really caught my attention:

“All climbing chalks market themselves as Magnesium Carbonate, because that's what dries moisture the best. They mislead you into thinking it's only Magnesium Carbonate when the truth is that they all have significant amounts of Calcium Carbonate and other fillers. Calcium Carbonate - the same stuff as chalk board chalk - just gets slimy when mixed with moisture. When you sweat, keeping your hands dry depends on having chalk that has high amounts of Magnesium Carbonate and low amounts of Calcium Carbonate. We had an independent lab test our chalk against the most popular options to see what they're made of.”


Friction Labs offer three grades or textures of climbing chalk: dust, chunky and super chunky. They are also developing some Secret Stuff which is similar to liquid chalk but it is more like a paste. We carried out our initial tests on some benchmark problems on our training board and on the Beastmaker Fingerboard. The results were consistently excellent. From the first dip into the chalk bag you could sense that there was a drier feel to the chalk and a distinctive grip was especially noticeable on sloping handholds. It felt like a premium product and we didn't notice any difference in performance across the three grades.

The next test involved two attempts on the Easter Challenge at Climbnewcastle. On the first occasion Karin and I both attempted all the problems with our usual chalk. We returned two days later armed with our stock from the Friction Labs and found that we got up many more problems but really noticed an improvement on the slopers. We were both also aware that the chalk lasted much longer on our hands. For the final stubborn problem I snuck out my tube of Secret Stuff and with this I succeeded on one last yellow problem that had some very poor pinch grips at the start. Secret Stuff is now supplied in a tube and the performance is also a longer lasting grip.

For our remaining test we both climbed a circuit together. Karin climbed exclusively with the medium grade Gorilla Grip while I used our standard chalk. Karin climbed for 30 mins without feeling the need to chalk up while I was dipping between every problem. We both believe that you will climb better and use significantly less chalk if you source your white stuff from The Friction Labs.

As a premium product it does come at a premium price but I thoroughly recommend you get you hands on Bam Bam, Gorilla Grip, Unicorn Dust or some Secret Stuff from the Friction Labs before you attempt your next difficult project.

Prices are expected to start from £2.35 for 1oz so that you can sample it for yourself but believe me you will soon be bulk buying the stuff at £17.00 for 10oz! Other prices will be £5.75 for 2.5oz, £11.00 for 5oz and £14.00 for 7.5oz. (The same prices apply to all three blends).

“I have just been testing the chalk and I was really impressed!! There were a few moves I could only do if I was using the friction labs stuff. First impressions were very good.”
Sam Whittaker

“Stayed on my hands a lot longer.” Percy Bishton

“Well thought out product. Really funky attractive packaging. Love the names especially “unicorn dust”!!”  Evie Cotrulia

“I think the product worked well. I don’t have very much luck with chalk products anyway, as I suffer from hyperhidrosis in my hands! But Friction Labs gave me a little better coverage for longer, in comparison to other brands I’ve used.” Greg Boswell

“My hands sweat a lot and with normal chalk after I chalk up I can see my fingertips sweating through. With friction labs my hands stayed coated. I found that I use less of it.” Evie Cotrulia

“I know a few climbers who have actively searched out this product for its quality.” Greg Boswell

“There was a more obvious difference outside, especially as I was trying a route that was genuinely wet at the bottom. It did feel like I was slipping less on the holds than I might do with ordinary chalk and hands dried quickly following escape from wet section. General feelings are positive towards product.” Michaela Tracy


Secret Stuff Chalk Cream

Secret Stuff Chalk Cream from Friction Labs


I have used various versions of Secret Stuff from Friction Labs and while the earlier stuff would dry out in storage the new tubes have resolved that issue. The latest version of Secret Stuff is smoother in texture, it has 50% more pure Magnesium Carbonate chalk and a 75mL tube will last for about 100 applications. It is a great alternative to powder chalk especially for indoor environments when chalk dust in the air can get irritating. Secret Stuff Chalk Cream can be used as an alternative to traditional chalk but I prefer to use it as a base layer in conjunction with the Super Chunky powder chalk. Tubes of the newest formula of Secret Stuff Chalk Cream from Friction Labs are available from shops across the UK for £10.


FrictionLabs Secret Stuff Demo




Friction labs stockists:

Absolute Snow


The Climbers Shop

The Climbing Works

The Climbing Depot

Climb Newcastle

Cold Mountain Kit

Highball Climbing Centre

Needle Sports

Rock On (Mile End)

Rock + Run



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