Credit Photo Courtesy of:
R. Tyler Gross


Cliffs or boulders covered in chalk leave behind visual evidence that climbers were there. This visual impact can be a deal breaker for many land managers and other recreationalists. Over the years, chalk also gets caked onto holds, forming layers that change the texture of the rock and the friction of that very poor sloper. Too many ticks can also cause confusion on a route, botch on-sight attempts, and ruin the self-discovery and problem-solving that many climbers love.

Essential Skills

  • Clean up any chalk spills.
  • Brush off tick marks after each session.
  • Choose the right brush type for the rock: soft brushes like boar's hair are best on desert sandstone and other soft rock types; nylon brushes are best for hard rock types such as granite.
  • Use chalk lightly in areas where it won’t be cleaned off naturally by rain—like overhangs, caves, and desert environments.
  • Check regulations before visiting a new climbing area. Some areas don't allow chalk usage or dictate the color climbers can use.
  • Work with your local climbing organization to initiate a chalk cleanup day at your local climbing area.

Be an Upstander, Not a Bystander

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Matt Wilder Tick Mark Master

Clean up exess chalk and tick marks after each session to prevent visual impacts.

Ticked Off

Learn tips and tricks to manage chalk use and minimize tick marks.

Making the Transition from Gym to Crag

When transitioning from climbing indoors to outdoors, be prepared to venture outside by gaining awareness and skills to minimize your impact.

Anatomy of a Responsible Climber

Anatomy of a Responsible Climbing Infographic