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Route cleaning equipment and tips?
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Jun 5, 2013
What gear do people use for route cleaning? What is the best wirebrush? What about regular Brush?

Any tips for cleaning?

Etc.

Jim
jim.dangle
Joined Jul 13, 2011
2,738 points
Jun 5, 2013
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of ...
whisk broom is my favorite

a cheap folding saw makes a good crack saw

wire brushes are (too) aggressive for soft rock types, but do the trick on lichens and moss. brush the lichen when its dry.

pry bars, crow bars, hammer, deck scrub brushes, clippers, saws, blow tubes, nut tools, small pry bars (dasco makes good ones)

safety glasses/goggles
facemask if cleaning poo and guano
Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Joined Dec 12, 2002
3,757 points
Jun 5, 2013
route photo
Don't forget about the all handy blow torch so you can really kill all the vegetation and creatures. Especially works well in very dry climates. Brent Butcher
Joined Nov 18, 2010
314 points
Jun 5, 2013
black nasty
portable speakers with iphone full of music
canned beer
+all the items listed above...

tip: prepare to be as dirty as (fill in the blank)
edit: add sore to that too!
Cor
Joined Mar 6, 2006
1,175 points
Jun 5, 2013
There's no good answer to this without detailed info re. what type of material you're removing and what the rock is like.

One thing I'll add to the list, if you're into big broad strokes with, say, a wire brush - a pair of leather gloves. It's easier than you think (and bloody and painful) to grate your knuckles across the face by accident. BTDT.
Gunkiemike
Joined Jul 29, 2009
1,730 points
Administrator
Jun 7, 2013
I take: a small wire "toothbrush", large wire brush, plastic scrub brush/whisk broom, old flat-blade screwdriver, blow-bulb for blowing debris out of pockets/cracks, piece of coat-hanger wire (same reason), half-round file, crowbar and a claw hammer.

I do most of my work on limestone. Many of the pockets have sharp "Crossly's" in them that will cut the skin on the back of your fingers when you put them in the pocket. I get rid of them. I also remove sharp edges that will cut your finger/hands, barely there footholds, growths, dirt and cracked or loose rock of any genre.

I wear "fingerless" gloves that still cover my middle knuckle. These are essential.
John Byrnes
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Dec 11, 2007
349 points
Jun 7, 2013
beck on limestone
Question: Is "easing' the Crossly's in limestone crossing an ethical line? Thomas Beck
From Las Vegas, Nevada
Joined Feb 5, 2006
882 points
Jun 7, 2013
Stabby
Thomas Beck wrote:
Question: Is "easing' the Crossly's in limestone crossing an ethical line?

Its stupid not to, considering its a sport route. As long as you don't make the route easier, and pain/bleeding has nothing to do with difficulty.
alan Nelson once put me on a new route of his he was super excited about. The crux move involved a mono-doight that had a hidden crystal tooth deep inside. The move once initiated caused the meat of your finger to compress down on it. I felt the skin pop as it punctured, then the warm oozing of blood. Once I had a jug w/ the other hand and pulled my finger out, blood was pouring out of the hole in my finger. He was grinning ear to ear. "Isn't that ffffing great!", holding up his paw which had a blood soaked tape ring around his finger. So in that case you have an exception, when getting a surprise finger impalement is part of the crux; but other than that knock the teeth off.
Mike Lane
From Centennial, CO
Joined Jan 21, 2006
839 points
Administrator
Jun 7, 2013
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lich...
The best wire brush: It holds up pretty well, has a scraper and knuckle guard (you stil want gloves though)and the scraper is made of better metal than most.
WOOSTER 1821 LONGNECK WIRE BRUSH WITH SCRAPER


You wouldn't want to use it on soft sandstone, but it is great for cleaning here in the NE with the typical hard stone.

My tip for cleaning in New England: Hit it hard. Leave no trace! Most people don't hit it hard enough and it grows back very quickly. Just make sure there are no rare plants and the destruction is really worth it, in an appropriate place etc.. And clean up after your self, scattering the debris in the woods so it doesn't look like a disaster zone and freak anybody out.
M Sprague
From New England
Joined Nov 9, 2006
5,761 points
Jun 9, 2013
Caustic C*** 5.11-
I like using tri-cams for holding myself near the wall on overhanging routes. They're great for body weight placements. Also you don't have to ruin your cams by dogging all over them.

Anyone have any tips for getting moss/lichen/gravel out of cracks?
David Bruneau
From St. John's, Newfoundland, Cana
Joined Feb 10, 2012
1,032 points
Jun 9, 2013
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of ...
David Bruneau wrote:
Anyone have any tips for getting moss/lichen/gravel out of cracks?

A crack saw.. A cheap folding saw that is about a foot long does pretty well cutting through whatever's in there.. A stiff whisk broom gets the rest.
Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Joined Dec 12, 2002
3,757 points
Jun 9, 2013
Caustic C*** 5.11-
Darren Mabe wrote:
A crack saw.. A cheap folding saw that is about a foot long does pretty well cutting through whatever's in there.. A stiff whisk broom gets the rest.


The saw makes sense for completely grown in cracks, I guess I should have specified that I'm trying to clean surface moss and debris out of finger sized cracks in coarse grained granite. Some of the moss is really well attached. It might be best to just leave some of it... though the wire toothbrush mentioned above could work.
David Bruneau
From St. John's, Newfoundland, Cana
Joined Feb 10, 2012
1,032 points
Jun 9, 2013
Montagne d'Argent
Hey David, one of my partners here in Ottawa was the guy who opened up DFO out east, i'll check with him what he was using and i'll pm you when i get an response. pico
From Burnaby, BC
Joined Mar 3, 2012
76 points
Jun 9, 2013
Crack Test Dummies EPC
Invite your buds to come TR your new line!

Nothing cleans a route faster than a few thrutching bodies!

R
Richard Fernandez
From Flagstaff, AZ
Joined Nov 23, 2008
801 points
Administrator
Jun 9, 2013
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lich...
For cracks I have a Snap-On tool I found in a sale bin at an auto store that has become one of my prized tools. It looks like an extra large flat screw driver with the head bent at a 30 degree angle. It is big enough that I can get two hands on it for leverage and has a bright orange handle for finding it when I have dropped it. It has held up to about 15 years of heavy use though it is getting pretty worn down now. It is good for digging dirt out, prying loose rock and rubbing lichen out that I can't reach with the brush scraper. Various sized tube brushes are good for final cleaning, though they get worn out quickly.

If you don't get the roots of the moss and lichen out of the cracks they will re-grow almost immediately around here. You have to get all the dirt out of there so it has less of a substrate for roots and to not hold moisture.
M Sprague
From New England
Joined Nov 9, 2006
5,761 points
Jun 9, 2013
Richard Fernandez wrote:
Invite your buds to come TR your new line! Nothing cleans a route faster than a few thrutching bodies! R


Agreed! Definitely one of the best ways to polish off the cleaning.
nbrown
From western NC
Joined Nov 6, 2007
5,152 points
Jun 9, 2013
Magic Ed
I've used all of the above, including the blow torch and modified leaf blower. One tool I find especially useful is a dandelion digger--has a forked tip like a snake's tongue. Ed Wright
Joined May 14, 2006
332 points
Jun 9, 2013
Caustic C*** 5.11-
pico wrote:
Hey David, one of my partners here in Ottawa was the guy who opened up DFO out east, i'll check with him what he was using and i'll pm you when i get an response.


Thanks! But DFO is slick sandstone that gets thrashed by the ocean, so I'd assume it was pretty clean. The cliff we're working on is in the woods.
David Bruneau
From St. John's, Newfoundland, Cana
Joined Feb 10, 2012
1,032 points
Jun 12, 2013
Me
an old ice ax can be good to clean out cracks. Benjaminadk
From Lake George, NY
Joined Apr 8, 2012
1,089 points
Jun 12, 2013
El Cajon Mtn. Leonids. 5.9.
I believe this was DannyUncanny on MP forum, forgive me if im wrong but this is what i go by.

When developing routes:

Go into it with best intentions.

Accept rock for what it is.

Heavy Non-metal brushes should be fine. You donít want to score the rock, or, with soft rock, shape holds.

As for flakes/gravel and the like, try to only remove what would come off in, say the first 100 ascents.

Be openly communicative about your thoughts and intentions, most climbers will respect your development.

Try to only remove vegetation that actually has to go. Greenery is all about being outside.
ChaseLeoncini
From San Diego, California
Joined Aug 22, 2012
145 points
Administrator
Jun 12, 2013
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lich...
That light touch may work OK for a dry climate that you may have where you are in California, but it won't in New England. It is practically a rain forest here and much of the rock is grainy granite. If you clean it as you suggest it will look and feel like it did originally in a year, nice in theory, but impractical if you want an enjoyable route that people will repeat. If you intend that only your party will climb it, then fine. M Sprague
From New England
Joined Nov 9, 2006
5,761 points
Jun 12, 2013
Good stuff Mark- a wire brush with a curved handle is essential, even with gloves.. some type of eyewear for sure. The dandelion extractor works pretty well as long as it's heavy duty.
A Hammer

Though some may thin wire push brooms are a bit much, i have used them many times and have replaceable brushes. detail brushes (plumbing) are good, they look like wire toothbrushes.

Treaded hiking boots as well for extra scaping work
john strand
From southern colo
Joined May 22, 2008
2,279 points
Jun 12, 2013
El Cajon Mtn. Leonids. 5.9.
Oh in that case lightning rods, pryromancy flames and a gargoyle's battle axe should work fine. ChaseLeoncini
From San Diego, California
Joined Aug 22, 2012
145 points
Administrator
Jun 12, 2013
A Very Not Snowy Christmas...
john strand wrote:
Good stuff Mark- a wire brush with a curved handle is essential,


Why curved? I always liked the bloody knuckles look post cleaning. Makes me feel like, I AM MAN!

Edit: add useful information
These guys from Home Depot last for a little while and at $5 I buy three at a time...
Link
Morgan Patterson
Joined Oct 13, 2009
8,423 points
Jun 12, 2013
All these tips are great. Thanks guys.

One problem I find is with the sort of lichen that coats the surface of rocks in a micro thin layer. It's slippery even when dry and especially when wet. Very common on granite in the northeast. Seems relatively impervious to scrubbing.

What's the consensus on bleach? I am reluctant to try it because it ups the ante on impact and don't imagine sloshing around on a wall with bucket of bleach is that um fun.

One tip I found through recent novice/moronic experience is always work from the top down. Doh!

Jim
jim.dangle
Joined Jul 13, 2011
2,738 points
Administrator
Jun 12, 2013
Thomas Beck wrote:
Question: Is "easing' the Crossly's in limestone crossing an ethical line?


My ethics are aligned with the goal of creating a quality and popular route, meaning the movement is excellent, you're not going to get hurt, and it's fun as hell. I want climbers to come to me and say, "That was brilliant!"

When a climber puts his fingers into a pocket and shreds all his cuticles or punctures a pad, cuts his fingers on sharp edges, pops a finger tendon because a foothold blew, or is blinded by loose dirt, he's going to come to you and say, "Your route is fucking choss, dude. Get a clue."

So you can draw the line where ever you want, but I know where mine is drawn.
John Byrnes
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Dec 11, 2007
349 points


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