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Route cleaning equipment and tips?
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By nbrown
From western NC
Jun 12, 2013
Top of Shortoff with the Bonsai

Here is a cheap but excellent brush for general use. With a little use the bristles fan out and provide about a 180 degree coverage area making it very useful on irregular rock and or in cracks. Like I said, it's not for heavy duty work, but it's definitely my personal go-to brush if I'm only packing just one. Very light and easy to climb with as well.

Note: I always have to reinforce the handel attachment with a little glue or tape because it's just slipped in from the factory, but I've found it to be worth the trouble.

www.harborfreight.com/steel-bristle-brush-38491.html

Also, for a great toilet bowl style brush that is stiffer than most, therefore much more effective than the soft bristled ones, I've found this brand very useful. You can buy just the brush at some big lots store locations.

m.biglots.com/mt/www.biglots.com/p/mr-clean-bowl-and-brush-c>>>


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By josh villeneuve
From Enfield, CT
Jun 13, 2013

I've gotten bloody knuckles almost every time, yet it never occurred to me to wear gloves hahahaha


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By john strand
From southern colo
Jun 13, 2013

jim.dangle wrote:
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, I think that sometimes is more of a mold/moss thing than lichen,,nasty stuff.Double scrape and let it dry some, hit it again.


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By The Phoenix
Jun 13, 2013
The Phoenix

jim.dangle wrote:
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.


Ya that stuff is tough... to be honest I find that I brush it a bit, chalk it and it tends to be just fine to climb on. I wouldn't resort to bleach. Been developing for at least 12 yrs now and never resorted to that stuff. Def thought about it but never used it even though I hear it works wonders.


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By Jon Nelson
Administrator
Jun 13, 2013
Me

About wire brushes, I find that narrow wire brushes (e.g., 1/2" wide) work better than the standard inch-wide ones for tough moss on granite.

By having a smaller surface area, you put more pressure on the moss and can thus really get it off. In addition, a 1/2-inch-wide wire brush will get inside finger cracks.

The brush posted above by nbrown is one such type. I got a bunch of 'em for really cheap in "DIY" stores in Japan (less than ~$1.50).

For dirt or crud-filled cracks, nothing beats a curved pull-saw-type blade and handle. I have some tools that were specifically designed for pulling out and cutting roots in dirt.

For getting tough tree roots out of cracks, bring a hammer and carry a few sizes of chisel.

Cleaning is tough. But if you do a half-hearted job, the route will regrow and go back into obscurity. Better to do a complete job. Take a few passes at each pitch.


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By David Lyons
From Forest Falls, CA
Jun 13, 2013
me Tuolomne

If you wanna get really anti-moss/lichen with some chemistry, glue a strip of zinc just under your anchor area, wide enough to cover the route. Rain will dissolve out some zinc that will kill moss and keep it from growing back. It's sold in 2" rolls to put on roof peaks for this purpose.


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Jun 13, 2013

David Lyons wrote:
If you wanna get really anti-moss/lichen with some chemistry, glue a strip of zinc just under your anchor area, wide enough to cover the route. Rain will dissolve out some zinc that will kill moss and keep it from growing back.


This may be okay on granite, but I'd be very hesitant to do this on sedimentary rock, especially limestone, without some further experimentation. It might even be bad for sea-side granite.

There's already a basket full of cations (Na+, Ca+, Mg+, H+) in limestone runoff without intentionally adding another one. These cations are instrumental in the corrosion of steel and stainless steel bolts.


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By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
Jun 13, 2013
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lichen covered look from scrubbing a new route.

...not to mention almost everybody would frown heavily on gluing a 2" piece of metal along the whole top of a route. Thanks for the tip though. I am going to get some for my slate roof.


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By Chris Small
Jun 14, 2013

Best cleaning tool ever - Stihl BR 600 Magnum Backpack leaf blower.


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By Tom Rangitsch
From Lander, WY
Jun 14, 2013
Finishing Rimfire, 13b, at the Sanctuary in Sinks

Not exactly germaine to the OP, but I discovered last summer that compressed cans of air (when they are on sale) are great for blowing out bolt holes and pockets in dolomite.


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By Thomas Beck
From Las Vegas, Nevada
Jun 16, 2013
beck on limestone

Irony: I was asking here opinions on whether breaking back "crossleys" was route alteration. Saturday I met 3 long time Vegas locals at the crag and asked the same question. Consensus was don't mess with them.

Couple hours later I got on a corner/crack which used to have a lot of crossleys in it and someone had "eased the crossleys.

Interesting. Route is still as hard but with less risk of getting scraped on the top or bottom of your fingers. Wonder how the route will mature?

I noticed some limestone slab routes in the same area which used to be more textured are getting polished after a couple years of ascents.


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By Tom-onator
From This Galaxy
Jun 17, 2013
Tom-onator

David Lyons wrote:
If you wanna get really anti-moss/lichen with some chemistry...

Might I suggest a dose of exfoliant invented by Harvard Organic Chemist Louis Fieser.

Portable Anti-Moss/Lichen Remover
Portable Anti-Moss/Lichen Remover


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By s.price
From PS,CO
Jun 17, 2013
 Morning Dew ,self portrait

Man, I thought I worked hard at route development. You guys in the NE
really have to get after it. I imagine it is the same in the NW.

Never use more than a couple of brushes, one mounted to my blowpole, and the occasional removal of crossleys with my Chouinard hammer.


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 17, 2013
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

what is a crossley?


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By john strand
From southern colo
Jun 17, 2013

s.price wrote:
Man, I thought I worked hard at route development. You guys in the NE really have to get after it. I imagine it is the same in the NW. Never use more than a couple of brushes, one mounted to my blowpole, and the occasional removal of crossleys with my Chouinard hammer.


When i was back in NH, we used 3 brushes, a wire push broom and most of a corn broom up on a single 110' pitch.. cracks are worse


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By josh villeneuve
From Enfield, CT
Jun 17, 2013

Not to mention all the schist death blocks we have to "ease" off, and mosquitos that are eating you alive while you brush, scrub, and whisk...it is pretty rough to "clean" around here but it could be so much worse. I am thankful its not a full blown rainforest.


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By nbrown
From western NC
Jun 17, 2013
Top of Shortoff with the Bonsai

josh villeneuve wrote:
Not to mention all the schist death blocks we have to "ease" off, and mosquitos that are eating you alive while you brush, scrub, and whisk...it is pretty rough to "clean" around here but it could be so much worse. I am thankful its not a full blown rainforest.


That's something I've noticed too. Cleaning any kind of lichen or dirt here in NC really gets the bugs amped up, especially the black flies. Drive you "F"ing crazy... This "dirty work" seems to go unnoticed (and often unappreciated) by the masses. Thanks to all those who are out there getting it done!


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By David Sahalie
From on the road again
Jun 17, 2013

Never ceases to amaze me that developers will nuke all matter of living things off the rock but preserve the sharp bits (Crosleys) because it would be 'unethical' to not bleed.


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By David Barbour
From Longmont, CO
Jun 17, 2013

David Sahalie wrote:
Never ceases to amaze me that developers will nuke all matter of living things off the rock but preserve the sharp bits (Crosleys) because it would be 'unethical' to not bleed.


your comment makes no sense, because the ethic in most places is to leave as much living material as possible


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By jim.dangle
Jun 17, 2013

Any tips on removing dead roots from the back of cracks?

So far yarding on them with my nut tool is the best bet.

Jim


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By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
Jun 17, 2013
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lichen covered look from scrubbing a new route.

Trained mice. For off-widths you could probably fit a beaver in there to get more horsepower. The nice thing is if you have a bunch of them you can set them to work and sit back and have a smoke.


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By jim.dangle
Jun 17, 2013

M Sprague wrote:
Trained mice. For off-widths you could probably fit a beaver in there to get more horsepower. The nice thing is if you have a bunch of them you can set them to work and sit back and have a smoke.


Do I have to spray cheese in the back of the crack too?


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By john strand
From southern colo
Jun 17, 2013

You fuckin maniacs.. no need for beavers on f/a's...a LONG thin chisel or maybe a long thin pin. for thin woody cracks. i have used one of those really small mini torches.. be really carful


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By jim.dangle
Jun 17, 2013

john strand wrote:
You fuckin maniacs.. no need for beavers on f/a's...a LONG thin chisel or maybe a long thin pin. for thin woody cracks. i have used one of those really small mini torches.. be really carful



Mini torches?! Yikes. Won't that burn the mice???


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By Chris Small
Jun 18, 2013

I live in Squamish, which is in a rainforest. To clean cracks and remove the fine roots from cracks I found the best solution is to scrape/loosen the soil with a old mountaineering ice axe or thin tool then blow out the soil with my leaf blower. This leaves the roots exposed and easier to pull out by hand. Fine roots clinging to the crack I scrape out with the ice axe or a paint scraper tool. Repeat several times - done. The best part of using the leaf blower is the majority of the dirt ends up at the bottom of the cliff on the first removal so you aren't cleaning the same dirt over and over again.


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