/ Getting lichen off a route?
Hope this helps.
I find that it's easier to brush the fine green lichen off when it's damp; the hairier sort is best brushed when dry.
The moss has taken a lichen to the rock?
Which is why I try to do it when damp, as a soft brush works really well with it then.
You two should be experts with all the esoteria you're unearthing!
Might be bringing the wire brush and spade up this weekend ;-)
Or particularly environmentally aware.
There are several basic forms:
Leprose - powdery stuff. Stiff bristle should do the trick. Or patio cleaner (joking).
Crustose - The hard crusty ones like this http://www.backyardnature.net/lichen-1.htm . Needs either a chisel or sandblasting. Don't even try and remove this stuff, it's just there. Live with it. If you try and get it off the rock will come away with it.
Foliose - flaky kinds of flat dry leaves, stiff brush usually does the trick. http://www.backyardnature.net/lichen-2.htm
The other ones 3 just snap/brush off easily.
This is a good way to get the looser stuff off: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=45783 :)
Yes, pretty much (the sea cliffs that I prefer anyway, not so much the polished sport in the quarries) but even if climbers had a hand in cleaning off a bit of flora here and there:
- i. I didn't do it, therefore did not break the law
- ii. Whoever may have done so did it a long time before the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 came into force
- iii. Despite being a World Heritage Site largely owned by The National Trust and Dorset County Council there's little potential risk to future access since climbing is well established here and climbers respect the places that are designated off limits for conservation reasons.
Wise words. If in doubt about the vunerability of a lichen err on the safe side and don't disturb it.
So let's approach this ethically... Chalk alters the PH balance on cliffs and in soils. If you're one of Steve Findlay's clean-hands chums and don't use chalk then I crumble at your ethically superior feet, but the vast majority of us do use it and this kills almost everything- especially in areas of moorland where all the plants are acidic munchkins.
Brushing, either with hands or brushes does a similar job. If you didn't climb on the rocks then they'd soon grow back under a thick carpet of all sorts of things- especially after weather like we've had this year, so yes you are having an effect on the environment by climbing- even if you're going to 'already clean' areas like Stanage.
People love deluding themselves that they have no impact on flora if they stick to already clean buttresses, but I've seen how fast moss comes back if left alone and how popular crags are indeed dependent on perpetual cleaning, rather than being in some zen end-state of balance.
I know some lichens are very sensitive, perhaps rare and take longer to get established than others. These need protecting, but often it's a choice between climbing or conservation. That's a debate worth having, but don't victimise people because they don't go to honey pots- the issues are exactly the same. There's an argument that occasional very intrusive outings on the rock do less damage than constant little bits of gardening- if a route only gets repeated every 10 years then the flora is never really removed.
We can pretend that we are doing no evil if we don't venture off the beaten track, but that is just patently untrue. Go have a gander at a once popular crag that has now fallen out of favour- you'll be amazed how quickly they return to nature.
Never met the chap, certainly not a chum of his but I do not and never have used chalk.
I don't dispute that but should I encounter a plant or organism that makes climbing a route more difficult I wouldn't destroy it if it was considered rare enough to be legally protected, not permitting such plants to grow in the first place is rather different in my opinion.
Who is victimising anyone, I originally posted in this thread to draw the O.P.'s attention to the fact that certain species of lichen are protected by law, and that removing them is a criminal offence.
I've found a 6" angle grinder works well and also can improve any smaller holds.
I've found the most effective way to remove lichen is on a wet day, with a bucket/bottle of water and a brush. Most stuff comes off easily but quickly clogs the bristles of the brush, hence the water to clean the brush between sweeps. Very effective and minimally damaging to the rock. Unfortunately it means you get wet and filthy, and can't try the route on the day you clean it.
For those agonising about damage to rare lichens, I think itís worth remembering that the common or garden green muck that grows on north facing grit is algae not lichen and very common too, especially since the decline of our heavy industry and domestic coal use vastly improved air quality in the last few decades.
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