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Tick Marks - Good or Bad?
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By Euan Cameron
Administrator
From Redlands and Mammoth Lakes
Jan 22, 2009
Keller Peak climb
Recently the amount of chalk scratched into the boulders on the Eastside is getting crazy Volcanic Tablelands (Happy/Sad Boulders)

Are tick marks really necessary, or just a sign of folks that are trying too hard?

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By Aaron Martinuzzi
Jan 22, 2009
end of the day in the black canyon.
tick marks don't really meld with my ideal of climbing. i don't care if people use them, or think any less of them for it, but it would be nice if they brushed them off after leaving the rock. they're sort of ugly.

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By Greg D
From Here
Jan 23, 2009
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
Lets see. Beautiful, pristine environments. Rocks rich in color form grey to red to black. Then, intentionally splat some white on it so you can remember where to place you mit 5 seconds later. Her dee der!

tick marks are for thsoe that don't want to think. Put the road map in place. Just grab here! Then you can dumb it down for everone that follows just like the rest of America.

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By Richard Fernandez
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jan 23, 2009
Crack Test Dummies EPC
Good. After all it is a "climbing area", not just a staring at the rock area.

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By jarthur
From Westminster, CO
Jan 23, 2009
My dogs got ups yo!
Tick marks/chalk marks you can complain about all you want, but they aren't going away because it's the nature of bouldering and sport climbing. The Happies/Sads hold chalk more than most areas so moaning about seeing chalk, or tick marks on boulders at those areas with the amount of traffic that they see every year is pointless. I'm in no means advocating tick marks, but I've never walked away from an area because of tick marks, or too much chalk. In fact I find it pretty hilarious when people get so worked up over tick marks. I saw an older guy start cussing about tick marks on a sport route one time. "Some damn sportclimbing gym rat SOB put tick marks all over the crux of this route." The funny thing is it could have been anyone that put those tick marks up there young, or old. It seriously ruined his day. My day gets ruined when I forget my gear, hike in a couple miles with no water, or come back to a car that's been broken in, not about some tick marks.

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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Jan 23, 2009
jarthur wrote:
Tick marks/chalk marks you can complain about all you want, but they aren't going away because it's the nature of bouldering and sport climbing. The Happies/Sads hold chalk more than most areas so moaning about seeing chalk, or tick marks on boulders at those areas with the amount of traffic that they see every year is pointless. I'm in no means advocating tick marks, but I've never walked away from an area because of tick marks, or too much chalk. In fact I find it pretty hilarious when people get so worked up over tick marks. I saw an older guy start cussing about tick marks on a sport route one time. "Some damn sportclimbing gym rat SOB put tick marks all over the crux of this route." The funny thing is it could have been anyone that put those tick marks up there young, or old. It seriously ruined his day. My day gets ruined when I forget my gear, hike in a couple miles with no water, or come back to a car that's been broken in, not about some tick marks.


haha.. should show him the pictures of Dean Potter and Steph davis ticking the shit out of crack routes with gear placements and everything all mapped out..

i think ticks are a bit out of control and i try to brush them off when i either make my own or see ones people haven't brushed off. There's a huge difference between a tick on some horizontal roof with blind tosses and stuff and some 10' vert face where everything is right there in front of you. people just see one and then think it has to apply to every route/problem

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By seth0687
From Fort Collins
Jan 23, 2009
Just below the chockstone on Alexander's chimney
I tried putting a tick mark on ice once, everybody just laughed at me....why?

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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Jan 23, 2009
I think we all know the answer to this one.

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By Greg D
From Here
Jan 23, 2009
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
Jake D. wrote:
haha.. should show him the pictures of Dean Potter and Steph davis ticking the shit out of crack routes with gear placements and everything all mapped out.


Yep, saw a formely pristine line in a pristine canyon all ticked up by same. Looked like a crack with the chicken pox. They were quite friendy though, the climbers that is.

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By AWinters
Administrator
From NH
Jan 24, 2009
Red-tail Hawk, Buttermilks
WeBeJammon wrote:
if you have a problem with ticks, actually put some effort in and establish your own problems


...says the over-ticker. that's ridiculous, and hilarious. are you saying it's ok to walk up to a clean boulder, tick the sh!t out of it, and walk away when you're done without brushing them off??? if so, go buy some spray paint and hit up a Detroit over-pass.

everyone knows tick marks are ugly, but not everyone takes the time to rid them. it may be a combination of laziness to brush, and not seeing or appreciating the beauty in a large boulder, or a clean aesthetic face with or without a striking crack up the center of it.

tick marks are sometimes necessary, like 10 percent of the time. if it's a blind throw to an edge over or around a lip, or if there's a key foot nubbin on a lichen-spattered face that blends in, go for it, just clean if off when you leave and let others figure out the sequence on their own. people definitely go overboard, and need to respect the rock a little more. it's not yours, don't deface it- and if you do, simply brush that sh!t off.

if you want a map, go to the gym.

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By Hank Caylor
Administrator
From Golden, CO
Jan 25, 2009
Pure bliss..
Jake D. wrote:
haha.. should show him the pictures of Dean Potter and Steph davis ticking the shit out of crack routes with gear placements and everything all mapped out..


I assure you Dean and Steph erase all their tickmarks after the send.

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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jan 25, 2009
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Pea...
Tick marks mean you mighty have Lyme disease. Not good, imho.

They don't bother me that much, as they are amusing to see holds everyone keeps trying to use that are the wrong ones. Ha ha.

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By Dustin B
From Steamboat
Jan 25, 2009
Shucka Bra.
Greg D wrote:
Yep, saw a formely pristine line in a pristine canyon all ticked up by same. Looked like a crack with the chicken pox. They were quite friendy though, the climbers that is.



As much as I don't like tick marks greg, I'd rather not see them washed away like this....
mountainproject.com/v/southern...

  • edit-wish I'd known about this earlier. Does anyone know whats going on with this?

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By Evan1984
Jan 25, 2009
I don't have an inherent problem with tics, but I think they're overused, unsightly, and should be cleaned off.

Its kind of like bringing anything into the wilderness...it's only a problem if you leave it there.

Now, I definetly think that chalk buildup at popular spots is a bigger problem that tic a hold. We have to remember we are not the only user group in most places we climb. Sure the areas we chalk up at "climbing areas" but they're not "climber only areas."

Cheers

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By Chase Gee
From Wyoming/ Logan Utah
Jan 25, 2009
My Top Secret Yet to be named crag.
If we're not careful un cleaned chalk spots will piss someone powerful off and they'll ban everything but Eco Balls.

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By Chase Gee
From Wyoming/ Logan Utah
Jan 25, 2009
My Top Secret Yet to be named crag.
I think Eco balls are great it just limits your options...until everyone starts working on their own formula. ok it's not such an awful thing. I'm with you John haha.

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By ElGringo
From denver
Jan 26, 2009
I see SO many tick's up on flagstaff everytime I'm there. Why tick a problem that was done over 30 years ago. They figured it out way back then, why cant you get creative with your style. and these aren't insane v14 problems with all the chalked ticks, people do these problems regularly without ticks. Its a selfish mentality that contradicts us going outside to be fully immersed in nature. Don't dumb down nature, just go to the Spot to get that kind of fix! Down with ticks!

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By matthewWallace
From plymouth, nh
Jan 26, 2009
Cool movement on this line
the only time i can see "needing" to put a tick mark on a rock is for a blind throw, in a situation where you cannot see the hold but even then clean them off after... when you are ever in the wood's climbing or doing anything leave no trace is the best option, so please try to clean the routes you are workin to the best of your abilities when you are done..

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By Nick Stayner
From Billings, MT
Jan 26, 2009
Nick Stayner near the crux. Ryan Minton photo.
So basically, besides all the ranting and raving, people are saying if you use tick marks, you should scrub them off when you're done, and if you find others in an area that offend you, scrub them off too. Right? Sounds pretty reasonable!
A brush, even a toothbrush sized one, is a pretty lightweight investment that can do a lot for a climbing area.

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By jarthur
From Westminster, CO
Jan 27, 2009
My dogs got ups yo!
WeBeJammon wrote:
no, i am saying it is the idiots that climb at horse tooth, carter and other popular areas in colorado who don't think just a tick is necessary, they want to see a 16 inch arrow so there is no doubt. i don't like seeing that, maybe you do.


Correct me if I'm wrong because I have the utmost respect for the guy, but weren't all those arrows at Horsetooth by John Gill anyway? I remember reading something about "Gill Arrows." My point is tick marks have been with us from the beginning. Next thing people will complain about is all the shoe rubber in Rifle. It's like my friend Dean Melton once said, "The only way to save the Earth is to just shoot yourself."

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By Elijah Flenner
Jan 27, 2009
jarthur wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong because I have the utmost respect for the guy, but weren't all those arrows at Horsetooth by John Gill anyway? I remember reading something about "Gill Arrows." My point is tick marks have been with us from the beginning. Next thing people will complain about is all the shoe rubber in Rifle. It's like my friend Dean Melton once said, "The only way to save the Earth is to just shoot yourself."


The Gill arrows are not tick marks. They do not mark holds, but are an arrow which shows people where the problems are. They are an interesting piece of history. Note that in Fontainebleau many circuits are marked with paint and dots, but these are also not tick marks.

FLAG
By Andrew Ryder
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jan 27, 2009
Stems, Seeds
Use ticks if you want (I often use them on granite and dacite problems where footholds are hard to see, especially since my eyesight isn't great), just use a good brush and a bit of water to get rid of them when you're done so others can have the experience of working out the beta or onsighting. Simple as that.

FLAG
By AWinters
Administrator
From NH
Jan 27, 2009
Red-tail Hawk, Buttermilks
Andrew Ryder wrote:
Use ticks if you want (I often use them on granite and dacite problems where footholds are hard to see, especially since my eyesight isn't great), just use a good brush and a bit of water to get rid of them when you're done so others can have the experience of working out the beta or onsighting. Simple as that.


interesting. so would it be a legitimate onsight if you walk up and send a problem with all the good holds ticked for you? would this be considered a flash?

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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Jan 27, 2009
jarthur wrote:
It's like my friend Dean Melton once said, "The only way to save the Earth is to just shoot yourself."


I wouldn't consider your friend's response a very intelligent solution to the issue. That's simply a cop out for simply not wanting to acknowledge the issue.

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By Tavis Ricksecker
From Bishop, ca
Jan 27, 2009
Church of the Lost and Found, Left. Summer 2013
Adam Winters wrote:
interesting. so would it be a legitimate onsight if you walk up and send a problem with all the good holds ticked for you? would this be considered a flash?


I have more than once been cruxing out high on a problem, only to see a tick mark above marking a hold that I would not otherwise have seen. Grabbing this hold allows me to complete the problem. Had the tick not been there, I would have fallen.

Hence, it is not an onsight. It is a flash.

$.02

Edited to add: Like Andrew said! Use em if you want, just brush em off! They're ugly and they ruin the experience for others.

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By jarthur
From Westminster, CO
Jan 28, 2009
My dogs got ups yo!
Elijah Flenner wrote:
The Gill arrows are not tick marks. They do not mark holds, but are an arrow which shows people where the problems are. They are an interesting piece of history. Note that in Fontainebleau many circuits are marked with paint and dots, but these are also not tick marks.


Uh huh, the point of this whole post is to minimize impact on different climbing areas. The fact that we as climbers feel that "Gill Arrows" are an interesting piece of history (believe me I did the first time I saw them at Horsetooth) is not the same as when the park service found Native American markings at Hueco. I highly doubt the park service is going to find "Gill Arrows" an interesting piece of history the same way we climbers do.

Not a tick mark? If by definition you feel that a tick mark is a temporary line of chalk marking the direction a problem as opposed to a permanent arrow drawn in the rock that's still there after 40 years marking the direction of a problem really confuses me. It's one and the same.

FLAG


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