PS. Previously, various attempts have been made to overcome this problem. For example, some have tried to hide the issue visually by colouring the otherwise white chalk to suit different rock types. But the pigments seemed to limit the effectiveness of the chalk to provide adhesion for climbers, so it hasn’t taken off.
Just as gymnasts coat their hands in ‘chalk’ before thrilling us with their aerial gyrations, so too rockclimbers. They get sticky fingers from the loose chalk (magnesium carbonate), carried in chalk bags. It absorbs perspiration and assists grip. But it also leaves an unsightly residue on the rockface. The Eco Ball is a significant alternative then. It keeps hands dry and is said to leave no trace on the rock surface. However ...... anecdotally (having trawled through a few climbing discussion lists) it appears the jury is still out. Some climbing gyms only allow use of the Eco Ball and no loose chalk. While others, who have been enforcing this long term, now observe a gel forming on the holds, which hardens and is a pain to remove. It was inferred this might also happen on real rock. A shame, if this were true, because the concept holds much promise. $4 from ::Metolius [by WM]