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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cleaning at Carver

Climbing in Portland is dirty business. Each year we endure months of rain only to head outside that first dry week to discover that our favorite problem has been reclaimed by moss and dirt.

You now have three options:

1. Come back in a week or two and hope someone else has cleaned it for you and put enough chalk on the holds to make you feel like your back in the gym.

2. Go ahead and climb it dirty in all its epic goodness until you pitch off just before the send because your foot slipped off that dusty edge or you got moss in your eye.

3. Take one for the team and bust out your brush set.

Hopefully you’ve chosen the noble path of helping out the whole community and decided to do some brushing or gardening if the problem has gone more than two seasons without a cleaning.

Before you begin, here are some tools and some tips:
  • No wire brushes – The basalt around Portland is soft enough that wire brushing will remove important texture.
  • Nylon bristle brushes – These can be old toothbrushes, scrub brushes from under the kitchen sink or fancy brushes from climbing companies like Revolution, Lapis or Metolius. I recommend trimming the bristles down with a pair of scissors to make them a bit more firm.
  • Painter’s pole – Attaching a brush to the end of an extendable pole means cleaning more holds from the ground and less time standing on your girlfriend’s shoulders.
  • Start from the top – If possible, clean from the top down so you don’t have to clean off the same hold multiple times.
  • Broom - Using a broom head for the final bit of cleaning works best to get more of the fine, loose debris off the holds.
Moss removal – Leave the moss alone if it isn’t covering-up anything important.

That should get you started and remember to watch out for loose rock and slugs.

Spencer out

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