Black Diamond is one of the most reputable manufacturers of chalk formulated specifically for rock climbers. The company sells several popular varieties of chalk, but Liquid White Gold has proven itself a top choice in terms of both performance and value. Customer reviews consistently rate WG among the highest liquid chalks, and we can see why from our personal experience with it.
It’s good to note that White Gold has a thinner texture and lower alcohol content than regular liquid chalk. Such formula has its pros and cons (read the full review to know more) but ultimately it’s a matter of personal preference.
While more expensive than its powdered version, Black Diamond White Gold is priced moderately compared to the competition. As such, it offers good value in regards to its optimal staying power and enhanced grip.
- The smooth, even consistency dispenses and spreads easily
- Long-lasting coverage used alone or as a base layer
- Good value for money compared to similar products by other brands
- Dries fast
- Thinner, runnier composition than some competitors can be more difficult to apply
- Contains rosin, a filler that can cause allergic reactions
Black Diamond is reputed for its range of quality chalk products. At first, there was White Gold loose chalk. Later on, the company patented an innovative hyper absorbent compound, Upsalite, which led to Pure Gold and Black Gold.
Conversely, with the success of liquid chalk among climbers, especially in gyms, BD released these products in a liquid version. And that’s how Liquid White gold came about.
The top liquid chalks are the ones that last the longest, provide impeccable grip, and give the best value. There are other notable differences between products. For example, how long they take to dry and how suitable they are for sensitive skins.
In this review, I will assess how well Black Diamond Liquid Gold performs on all these criteria.
Attributes and Performance
Liquid White Gold comes in a 150-ml plastic tube, an average amount compared to competitors. One drawback of the package design is that it lacks any way to attach to a carabiner. As a result, if you want to carry it on a route, you can’t simply clip it to your harness.
Also, it has a flip-top cap that may accidentally open in your backpack if you’re not careful. Even if the top isn’t leaking, there’s a risk of the alcohol evaporating and the entire tube drying out if it’s not airtight.
Consistency and Coverage
Liquid White Gold squeezes out easily with a fairly thin, or runny, consistency due to a high ratio of alcohol. This helps it spread evenly on one’s palms and also means it dries quickly. The result is a nice smooth layer of material that sinks into all the folds and wrinkles of your hands.
No large particles or chunks are left behind after drying, just a fine coating of tiny particles. The thin consistency essentially prevents you from over-applying and leaving too thick of a layer. This also reduces the amount left behind on the rock. And that’s good: while it may feel more secure to have excess chalks on the hands, it reduces friction between your hands and the rock. Indeed, the chalk’s only purpose is to absorb excess water.
However, some reviewers complain that the thin consistency makes this product messier to apply than other liquid-based chalks with a creamier, thicker texture.
After applying Black Diamond liquid chalk, the residue left behind is more resistant to rubbing off than a coating of traditional chalk. The fact that the chalk is dissolved in solution seems to help it adhere better and last longer than dry applications.
For long routes outdoors or highly damp conditions, you may still need to reapply or use regular chalk in addition. But for bouldering and gym climbing, you may find that one application is sufficient to get you to the top!
Grip and Friction
Like all Black Diamond chalk products, this one gets high marks for the overall feel and perceived level of grip. Climbers with especially sweaty hands and fingertips report that the alcohol provides an additional drying effect. It allows improving friction by reducing the moisture they produce.
As we noted, the thin, even layer of chalk provided by this product is ideal for absorbing moisture and enhancing friction. It never feels as if the chalk coating is overly thick or slippery.
As with most liquid chalk, the alcohol in this product is naturally going to dry your hands out more than powdered chalk. White Gold’s ingredient list may also contain additives that irritate sensitive skin or people with an allergy. For example, it contains rosin (colophonium), a potential allergen that’s used in many liquid chalk products.
With a 70% ratio of pure ethanol to water, this product is less drying than brands that use 80% or more alcohol. Also, it contains some water, which may help with moisturization. Overall, it feels less dry than Black Diamond’s liquid Black Gold, which some users report causing painful dryness.
Still, climbers with sensitive skin may prefer to avoid liquid-based chalks altogether or try one of the few alcohol-free formulas.
White Gold has a distinctive odor that can be unpleasant to some due to its ethanol base. This smell quickly wears off as the alcohol evaporates, though.
Liquid chalk products, in general, are higher priced than dry. However, considering their advantages in longevity, amount of waste, coverage, and performance, many climbers still find them an appealing value.
With its excellent performance and relatively low cost-per-ounce versus the competition, Liquid Gold is one of the top values in this category. While it’s priced right in the middle between premium and budget products, it offers performance closer to the top competition.
On the other hand, if you’re one of those climbers who believe “all chalk is the same,” you should steer clear of this product and look into blocks or bulk powders.
The formula for Black Diamond White Gold contains magnesium carbonate (MgCO3), ethyl alcohol (70% solution), water, and rosin.
On the last point, unfortunately, rosin is a sticky substance that leaves a hardened residue on climbing holds and can make them polished and slippery. Not only that, some climbers are allergic to it. Hopefully, it’s on the way to being phased out and most premium products don’t include it anymore. We just hope that the next iterations of Black Diamond’s liquid chalk products will also get rid of it.
Black Diamond liquid chalk is one of the best performing products in its class. Equally, high-performing competitors mostly come at a higher price and offer less product in the package.
With consistently high reviews, a renowned brand reputation, and high value for the money, it’s hard to go wrong for climbers seeking a liquid chalk solution if they choose this Black Diamond product.
Specifically, I established that Black Diamond gets top scores in providing even coverage, long-lasting sweat resistance, and positive grip and feel. This especially holds for climbers who sweat more and in adverse climate conditions. Although it’s challenging to apply mid-route (like all liquid-based products), BD White Gold may be one of the best combinations of price, performance, and reliable quality for many scenarios.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The difference between these two liquid chalk products comes down to one thing: Upsalite. This patented high-performance material is an advanced form of magnesium of carbonate. According to Black Diamond, it absorbs 10x the moisture compared to regular chalk.
In the case of Black Gold, the company alleges that it absorbs twice more moisture than White Gold.
While climbers with extra sweaty hands might benefit from the additional grip, the consensus tends to be that it doesn’t justify the extra cost. Also, some climbers note that it can dry hands to the point of discomfort. Steer clear if you have naturally dry hands!
Friction Labs is one of the premium brands that explicitly make chalk for climbers. Very popular in the gym, Friction Labs products consistently score high in customer reviews for all their traditional and liquid chalks.
Besides the great friction it offers, Secret Stuff liquid chalk tends to be more skin-friendly than other products. Friction Labs even offers an alcohol-free liquid formula. However, the downside of these products is their premium prices. On this point, Liquid White Gold is much more affordable.
Metolius Liquid Super Chalk is a strong competitor, with similar high marks to Black Diamond liquid chalk according to reviews. The consistency of this chalk is thicker and creamier than Black Diamond’s. However, some users reported problems with material drying out inside the bottle. With a lower retail price and nearly equal performance, Metolius could be worth a try for those seeking different brands.
Another interesting budget alternative is CAMP USA’s Chalkemy Liquid Chalk. With a 150-ml container and priced at about half the cost of the brands mentioned above, this could be a solid choice for climbers who want to experiment with liquid-based chalk without breaking the budget.