General > Beginners Area

What's the etiquette for cleaning a route?

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Must I ask, or can I just go for it?  If it's a crag developed by a few locals, should I run it by these folks. Is wire brushing bad form?  Do vinyl bristles work for cleaning the heavy off?  I would really prefer to do a nice job. Any feedback is much appreciated.

Most of my cleaning days are on a rainy one. Usually pull out the wire brush to get off all the thick lichen. Then go back for the 2nd round with the vinyl. The lichen most of the time leaves sandy debris on the holds which require the second go. If anchor replacement is necessary...usually good to check in with the community. Otherwise scrub away. Grammy s/b able to add a line as he's the pro this season.

Thx in advance. Should be available next week to get out as well. Keep in touch.

This is New England, and mostly on granite or other hard stone. You have to use wire brushes, scrapers, and often maddocks to clean routes, and it may have to be done all over again in a relatively short time if the route is not continuously climbed. I'd say go for it, and most of us would be glad, though asking is not a bad idea. It might start a conversation that leads to more information about the route ( it also runs the risk that they turn out to be a crank  ::) ). You just want to be aware if you can be of any rare plants in the area to avoid. Blueberry bushes  in cracks are not.

If it is a previously established route, you want to be more hesitant removing any rock that would change the nature of the climb unless it is for clear safety reasons.

An example of a NE climb that needs recleaning:

Don't be shy about hitting it hard where you have to, just clean up the mess at the base by the end of the day.

Nylon brushes are strictly for detail work, they won't last and don't clean shit. Wire in several sizes and shapes will do the trick. I also suggest a wire push broom for seri ous cleaning.....

Taping wire blocks to your feet is only for the really hardcore jobs.

Wire wheels on a cordless drill are just silly

For small twigs and roots, i like a dandelion extraction tool- looks like a big 2 pronged fork

I would suggest napalm dosing for that diagonal line.


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