Losing the Rag

Build a board last week. Very exciting, a long term ambition fulfilled.

Climbing time is pretty restricted at the moment and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. I had some time on Sunday and couldn’t decide whether to go to the Quarry and try and get some shots for the guide or check some potential new routes that have been on my mind recently.

Decided to check the routes out so that I can find out if they are worth more effort or just forget about them. So packed up the rope, rack, grigri and various brushes and cleaning tools. Walk in was savage, the ferns are going strong, well overhead in places.

Set up the rope and dropped into the first line. The rock is relatively clean but still needs a good scrub. Ended up cleaning three routes, two are ready to roll and doable the other is a bit harder and has fuckall gear. The routes aren’t massively long, but the climbing looks good and the holds are nice, I think there is room/potential for seven lines on the slab.Will head back when the ferns are brown bread.

Hanging on the rope in the warm sun, cleaning holds was a real pleasure. The time zipped by, I think I was cleaning for three hours and could of done another three no problem. It was also the realisation of something that has been knocking around my head for ages, it’s good and very satisfying to be there doing it.

For the last few years, more than five but not ten years, I haven’t used a wire brush, I gave all mine away as it seemed at the time that there was a lot of wire brushing going on and it was wrecking the rock. I felt it would be hypocritical to tell others not to use them and to use one myself. I have relied on stiff plastic brushes, elbow grease and scrubbing the rock with a thick canvas cloth. The latter is very effective as the loose crystal that are very common on granite get pulled off by the fibres of the cloth but it doesn’t damage the rock. I recommend them, they are ideal for bouldering, but for routes where the number of holds is greater they are a little slow.

I pretty much wore through the above cloth on Sunday and this stuff is very heavey 14ounce cotton canvas. Might need to re-invest in a wire brush!

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