Scientists accidentally discovered a new material that could become a miracle weapon in climbing and bouldering: Mesoporous Magnesium Carbonates, or Upsalite for short. Black Diamond already has climbing magnesium in its range, which includes Upsalite. We'll tell you what Upsalite is all about and took it to the rock and into the climbing hall.
The story behind Upsalite is incredible but true. Scientist Maria Strømme and her colleagues from the Swedish University of Uppsala accidentally ran a chemical reaction over the weekend and on Monday made the discovery of a wonderful drug.
The white powder that resulted from the process is dry. Very dry. It binds up to 10 times more moisture than conventional magnesium. The reason for this ability is the high surface area of Upsalite: one gram of the material has a surface area of 800 square meters. In addition, Upsalite is incredibly porous and therefore binds moisture sustainably.
Climb better thanks to Upsalite?
The properties of Upsalite speak for themselves - an application in climbing is obvious. The American mountaineering equipment supplier Black Diamond, the pure Upsalite (Pure Gold) as well as a mixture of common magnesium and upsalite (Black Gold) has in its range.
We have received the two magnesium products Pure Gold and Black Gold for test purposes and report here about our experiences on rock and indoor climbing.
Pure gold chalk
Bei Pure gold chalk it is absolutely pure Upsalite. It is commercially available in packs of 10 grams and 5 grams. You can add Pure Gold to your favorite scarf and thus increase moisture absorption.
Black Gold Chalk
Bei Black Gold it is a ready-made mixture of magnesium carbonate and 10% Upsalite. Black Gold Chalk is available in packs of 30, 100, 200 and 300 grams, and a mixed form of magnesium and Upsalite is also available in liquid form.
Practical test: These were our experiences with Upsalite
We used Pure Gold in combination with magnesium from a third-party manufacturer for the first time during a training session on the Kilterboard and during route climbing in a local climbing hall. We also passed it on to our friends and asked for feedback. One of the respondents immediately replied: “That is certainly nothing for me. I already have very dry skin anyway. "
More friction can never hurt
Black Gold, the ready-made mixture, was used for the first time on the rock in January during a climbing session in Ticino. Even in Ticino the conditions were so nasty (cold) that the magnesium was certainly not a “game changer”, but a little bit of increased friction also makes a difference in the project.
But now to the effective experiences: Put your hands in the one with you Black Gold filled magnesium bag, you will quickly notice the difference to other magnesium. The powder is relatively fine and sticks well to the fingers. It's difficult to describe, but the Black Gold feels slightly grainy, definitely not sticky or greasy like certain other magnesium products do.
Drier finger skin
If you rub your hands with the chalk, they really feel drier. Upsalite has a noticeable effect on the moisture in the fingers. If you belong to the rare species and have exceptionally dry skin, you hardly need the “extra dryness” of Upsalite in the cold season. If, on the other hand, you struggle with sweaty fingertips even in low winter temperatures, Pure Gold or Black Gold will definitely help.
Of course, there is also the skin type between the two extreme cases - to which most climbers belong. The following table shows which skin types should use Upsalite in which situations.
Our recommendation for using Upsalite while climbing
|Situation||Black Gold (10% Upsalite)||Pure Gold (100% Upsalite)|
|Sweaty skin on the fingers||In winter as well as summer Black Gold use.||Conventional magnesium with Pure Gold enrich.|
|Moderately dry finger skin||At high temperatures or high humidity (summer months) Black Gold use.|
Use conventional magnesium at low temperatures (winter months).
|At high temperatures or high humidity (summer months) with Pure Gold enrich.|
At low temperatures (winter months) on enrichment with Pure Gold without.
|Dry to very dry finger skin||Use conventional magnesium.||Not using conventional magnesium Pure Gold enrich.|
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Credits: Cover picture Disruptive materials