UKC

Unnecessary tick marks

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 Gary Gibson 18 Jul 2021

I have today been  up to Harpur Hill to find one of the routes(the prophecy) covered in a large number of completely unnecessary’tick marks’ from bottom to top: every handhold and foothold and smear had a tick mark on it: the first bolt was also missing due to the belayer belaying well off to one side, thus exerting unnecessary torque on the Bolton’s hanger  thus loosening it and thus the bolt  and hanger has come loose and making the start completely unprotected and no longer climbable unless you are prepared to solo the first 8m!

why do people seek the need to desecrate climbs with these chalk mark ‘graffiti’ please respect these climbs and not bring them down to a climbing wall level: I know they are sport routes but this really aggravates me and please learn to respect the climbs..someone else wants to climb them and it really does not look good on behalf of the climbing community

Post edited at 19:21
In reply to Gary Gibson:

Totally agree Gary, its a really shit practice. 

 nniff 19 Jul 2021
In reply to Gary Gibson:

The term 'donkey mark' rather than 'tick mark' is more appropriate, I feel.

 Gary Gibson 19 Jul 2021
In reply to nniff I’ve eard them called that but I’ve heard ‘rookie marks’ but people have been watching too many videos 

In reply to Gary Gibson:

Sort of on a related note, I did a sport route in Staden Lower Quarry yesterday, Ephemeral Groove (5b). I was climbing through cobwebs in the upper corner and the holds weren't just grubby, but had that gritty feeling like rock that has never been touched before!  And that's just a mile or two away from Harpur.  I've really enjoyed doing the routes at Harpur that I've done, so I'm not saying people shouldn't visit - but I'm surprised that while Harpur and Horseshoe are always busy (and people do antisocial stuff like not brush their donkey-marks off!) there are perfectly decent routes close by that see maybe one ascent a year or less! 

(...although if anyone is now thinking, 'I'm going to go and check out this Staden Lower Quarry now', I should add I thought Ephemeral Groove felt, errr.... "very solid" for 5b! I'm not particularly short at 175 cms, but still found it super reachy to get to the good holds. I might go back to try the 6as, but will take a few brushes with me! All very dry though currently.)

In reply to Gary Gibson:

The other day I noticed someone had put an "x" on every loose hold on Cyfrwy arete. As you can imagine if you've climbed it, that's quite a lot of chalk....

If you're worried that your second hasn't got the common sense to check holds for themself on a route this easy and loose maybe you should have picked something else to climb in the first place? In fact, if you felt like you needed chalk to climb a mountain diff maybe you shouldn't be there at all.

In reply to pancakeandchips:

> As you can imagine if you've climbed it, that's quite a lot of chalk....

You'd be better off chalking holds that are solid. You wouldn't need much chalk...

 HB1 19 Jul 2021
In reply to Gary Gibson:

I can only agree Gary! Apart from the eyesore factor it's surely self-defeating  - how to pick out the necessary hold from all the others - marked-up by the ignorant. I was horrified early on in the pandemic to find my favourite traverse (Windgather Quarry) totally covered in chalk - top-to-bottom left-to-right. Hopefully things will settle down - today it was pretty clean - much less confusing for an old chap!

 mrphilipoldham 19 Jul 2021
In reply to Gary Gibson:

You even get it on trad.. the amount of times I've read in the logbooks "it's all chalked up now for the next ascent" or "hard to read without any chalk on it" is disappointing. The default state should always be chalkless. There's no respect for the next climber, the comments may as well say "I was too lazy to remove my artwork so the next climber had a clean slate".

 DaveHK 19 Jul 2021
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> You even get it on trad.. the amount of times I've read in the logbooks "it's all chalked up now for the next ascent" or "hard to read without any chalk on it" is disappointing.

I think when people say that they usually mean the holds are chalked not tick marked.

 mrphilipoldham 19 Jul 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

One is visually only slightly less obvious than the other to the passing member of the public, otherwise it's pretty much the same thing. It still takes away the true 'on sight' of a route for the next climber, who may or may not appreciate it. Better to let them chalk it up themselves if they so wished.

 DaveHK 19 Jul 2021
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> One is visually only slightly less obvious than the other to the passing member of the public, otherwise it's pretty much the same thing.

I'd agree with that, it's only a climber who would notice a difference.

> It still takes away the true 'on sight' of a route for the next climber, who may or may not appreciate it. Better to let them chalk it up themselves if they so wished.

Are you suggesting people clean all chalk off handholds after a route? I'm not aware of anyone who does that, I'm not even sure if it's possible.

 DaveHK 19 Jul 2021
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

>  Better to let them chalk it up themselves if they so wished.

Sounds to me like you're still talking about some sort of deliberate marking to make a route easier. I think that when people say in logbooks that a route is chalked up they just mean they climbed it and you can see their chalk on the holds.

 mrphilipoldham 19 Jul 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

Well that would depend on how liberally they applied the chalk, how visible it was from below, whether it was due to rain before the next person was likely to come by.. and so on. Probably easier for me to have this viewpoint when I like my climbing esoteric, of course!  

 DaveHK 19 Jul 2021
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

So do you clean a route of chalk after climbing it?

 mrphilipoldham 19 Jul 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

Well no, if you can see chalked up holds then you know the hold is there. It’s no different to ticking it, when talking of on sighting, other than the fact it’s an incidental mark of ones passing rather than a deliberate visual clue. The end result is still the same - potentially unappreciated beta.

 mrphilipoldham 19 Jul 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

I barely use any chalk as it is, my bag currently consists of grit and scrittle. But I have in the past, where it was obviously visible from the ground and I thought it likely someone else come along before it was likely to be washed off. 
Edit - ..and pretty much always after bouldering, unless it’s going to rain soon!

Post edited at 16:41
 DaveHK 19 Jul 2021
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> Well no, if you can see chalked up holds then you know the hold is there. It’s no different to ticking it, 

There is a bit of a difference because tick marks will indicate the good holds and show hidden holds. If a hold is hidden chalk won't always show it and on popular routes often even the poor holds get chalked.

Edit: there's also the question of necessity. Most climbers feel chalk is necessary but tickmarks definitely aren't.

Post edited at 16:46
 mrphilipoldham 19 Jul 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

Well I can agree there, yes there’s a little bit of difference then. That said, one particular partner of mine has poor eyesight and will tick every ‘potential’ little foothold on a Boulder problem.. so it’s also not a hard and fast rule. 
Edit - indeed re. necessity, though I think I had that covered in how liberally it was applied.. some are happy to use a bare minimum that leaves as good as no deposit on the rock, some cake their hands in it and leave finger prints on every bit they touch.

Post edited at 16:48
 Victoriacake 19 Jul 2021
In reply to Gary Gibson:

Bolts rock then complains about removable chalk? Or have I missed something?

Post edited at 17:21
 felt 19 Jul 2021
In reply to Victoriacake:

This particular bus?

 john arran 19 Jul 2021
In reply to Victoriacake:

> Bolts rock then complains about removable chalk? Or have I missed something?

Let me see. In one of your examples, a change is made to enable large numbers of people to enjoy climbing on a piece of rock that, by and large, would be considered either not worthwhile or unjustifiable by almost all potential suitors.

In your other example, a change is made to enable a single person to make the route easier for him/herself, to the detriment of the enjoyment of the route by potentially a great many other suitors.

So yes, you've missed something.

 DaveHK 19 Jul 2021
In reply to john arran:

> Let me see. In one of your examples, a change is made to enable large numbers of people to enjoy climbing on a piece of rock that, by and large, would be considered either not worthwhile or unjustifiable by almost all potential suitors

> In your other example, a change is made to enable a single person to make the route easier for him/herself, to the detriment of the enjoyment of the route by potentially a great many other suitors.

Whole heap of bias and spin in the there John.

> So yes, you've missed something.

I think victoriacake's point is bang on. Why is a permanent alteration for convenience and pleasure ok but not a temporary one for the same reasons? 

I'm not anti bolting but let's be honest about why it's done, it's impacts and our other impacts as climbers.

Post edited at 18:06
In reply to Gary Gibson:

On North west Passage (South Stack) someone had drawn two large arrows at the point of the traverse where you step up which was rather bizarre and disappointing.

 john arran 19 Jul 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

> I think victoriacake's point is bang on. Why is a permanent alteration for convenience and pleasure ok but not a temporary one for the same reasons? 

In what I perceive to be the great majority of Gary's bolted routes, the difference is, of course, that prior to him making said permanent alteration the routes were of interest to almost nobody. The implication that they've been ruined for many people is simply not borne out by available evidence. We're not talking about bolting established routes here. Nobody would be climbing these routes anyway.

And nobody is saying that genuinely temporary tick marks are a problem to anybody. It's their being left in place to negatively effect the enjoyment of others that's the issue. Others who, in this case, might very much want to climb the route in its pre-altered state.

 Victoriacake 19 Jul 2021
In reply to john arran:

Maybe wait for it to rain to remove the bolts then?

 DaveHK 19 Jul 2021
In reply to Victoriacake:

> Maybe wait for it to rain to remove the bolts then?

Like those ones someone stuck on Comes the Dervish for a joke?  

 DaveHK 19 Jul 2021
In reply to john arran:

> It's their being left in place to negatively effect the enjoyment of others that's the issue. Others who, in this case, might very much want to climb the route in its pre-altered state.

​​​​​Like the trad climbers of the future with bolted routes then?  

Post edited at 18:34
 Iamgregp 19 Jul 2021
In reply to Victoriacake:

Tick marks don’t save people’s lives?

In reply to Gary Gibson:

Got this birthday card last year, makes me think of tick marks.

https://www.all-greeting-cards.co.uk/products/rock-climbing-greetings-card-the-great-outdoors

Post edited at 19:25
 PM 19 Jul 2021
In reply to Gary Gibson:

> due to the belayer belaying well off to one side, thus exerting unnecessary torque on the Bolton’s hanger

How much “off to one side” does one need to belay before this becomes a problem? Is it a common problem? Is it only the “loosening torque” side which this is an issue for (would guess right side)?

Not heard of this before (though do very little outdoor sport) and I would like to know how to avoid creating problems.

In reply to Gary Gibson:

Meh, it's a dry spell, it will rain soon. 

 HeMa 19 Jul 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

> Most climbers feel chalk is necessary but tickmarks definitely aren't.

Then either they are not pushing their physical limit (on a sport route), where you have to catch all the holds perfectly and place every foot precisely. Note, this has nothing to do with grade (6a or 8c) but is relevant to ones own level.

That being said, it is common courtesy to brush them off after you've finished with that line (redpoint in the bag or no, when you're about to leave for the day, brush them darn tickmarks off... and holds as well, while you're at it).

This is also often used on boulders, especially if you're going for a flash and the holds are  not big or obvious. But again, you better brush them off afterwards.


Heck, people even use tickmarks when they are headpointing trad routes (either for critical holds, or for gear).

In reply to DaveHK:

> ​​​​​Like the trad climbers of the future with bolted routes then?  

I get the feeling you've not actually been to Harpur Hill!  

 Gary Gibson 20 Jul 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

No, you remove the tick marks, it’s quite simple really

 Gary Gibson 20 Jul 2021
In reply to PM:not much, it’s simple physics

 DaveHK 20 Jul 2021
In reply to Gary Gibson:

> No, you remove the tick marks, it’s quite simple really

I'm not a fan of tick marks either but that's not my point.

Do you really not see the parallels between tick marks and bolts? Or why the latter could be seen as a greater intrusion being permanent?

Post edited at 08:57
In reply to Gary Gibson:

Here in Margalef as a rule of thumb, it's best to avoid using the tick marked holds

In reply to pancakeandchips:

I soloed that last week on a days walk around Cader and laughed to myself at the amount of chalk and especially x marks the spot on a scramble. Also 3 jammed and abandoned friends? Makes you wonder how OGJ managed.

 Andy Gamisou 20 Jul 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

> Tick marks don’t save people’s lives?

If your main concern is safety then simply don't climb?

In reply to Philb1950:

Only one now 😉

 Iamgregp 20 Jul 2021
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

Not sure that's what I said is it Andy?  

The point I was trying to make is that bolts are an integral part of sport climbing, they are placed there in order to allow people to choose sport climb to do so.  No bolts, no sport climbing.  They're kind of vital.

Tick marks aren't vital at all, they don't need to be left there.  

When someone equated one to the other, particularly to Gary who has selflessly spent a great deal of time and money cleaning and bolting routes for the enjoyment of others, I thought it was a pretty unfair comparison.  In fact more than that, I think it's a pretty shitty comment to make, given everything Gary has done.

It's like leaving a load of litter in the park, and when someone complains, pointing out that the council has left behind a load of trees, swings and flowerbeds.

Post edited at 11:37
 Gary Gibson 20 Jul 2021
In reply to Victoriacake:you can’t have your cake and eat it: without the bolts they wouldn’t have been on it👋


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