/ will wire brushes or chemicals ever be allowed?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
foxjerk - on 08 Oct 2013
as polish increases, and with some rock types suffering more than others, does anyone think it might ever be acceptable to either wire brush the offending areas, or even apply a dab of acid to regain some friction?!

i'd like to point out that i have never done this, but i climbed "climbers club direct" the other day and the start is certainly suffering polish from people bailing out or trying a little too hard on the first few moves while much of the rest of the route felt ok. certainly around dartmoor a lot of easier routes have so much traffic they too are suffering. i mean, just think of the children.....

...or do routes just get regraded?

maybe one day brush funds will exist alongside bolt funds?
GrahamD - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk:

There will always be misguided idiots who will try and all that will happen is accelerated erosion. "Polish" is mainly a common excuse for imprecise footwork.
d_b on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk:

I find it difficult to get the holds into the shape I want them with a wire brush, and it is very time consuming. That is why I usually carry a masonry chisel.
Andy DB on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk: Why bother I hear if you thinly skin the crag with concrete you can make the holds any shape you like and chip it off once polished.
The_JT - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk:

I think the chemical method has been used somewhere. Not sure where, possibly not the UK.
wilsers on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk: Being a relative novice I climb at the lower end of the trad grades. Most crags near us are limestone and most are polished to some degree. Generally, it's not hard to avoid it or deal with it but one route in particular I remember as being really bad - Jackal's Gully at Symonds Yat. I think it's had so many top rope groups in trainers on it the whole route is like climbing up glass and probably deserves a regrade to VS!

A liberal splashing of vinegar would make that route a lot better ;-)
pec on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk: Wirebrushing won't remove polish, you'd need some sort of abrasive disc in an angle grinder which might be frowned upon and acid will only take the sheen of limestone not any other rock (apart from marble but I can't think of any marble climbing areas!). The quantity of acid needed to make any difference would be huge and have a terrible environmental impact.
I'm afraid you just need to cope with it.
Bulls Crack - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk:

Allowed by whom?

I've done CC direct in recent years and can't remember any bad polish..go to Chudliegh! But, to answer your question. probably not - thin end of wedge etc - the grade will just change.
Scrump - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk:
Get down Minus 10 learn to love the polish. Makes you strong.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk:
>
> maybe one day brush funds will exist alongside bolt funds?

Why not just get a chisel attachment for a Hilti so you can get the whole job done with the same tool?

Jimbo C - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk:

I heard that someone experimented with hydrochloric acid (?) at Stoney and it was very effective but very much frowned upon by their peers.

Polish is becoming more and more a fact of life in many places. Often a 'poorer' hold is better than the polished one. It certainly affects how difficult the moves are in some cases which therefore could affect the grade.
Fraser on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

> "Polish" is mainly a common excuse for imprecise footwork.

I don't think that's stricty accurate. It might be caused by that, but whatever the cause, polished holds have less friction than unpolished ones, thereby making it harder to hold/stand on them.

Al Evans on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Jimbo C:
> (In reply to foxjerk)
>
> I heard that someone experimented with hydrochloric acid (?) at Stoney and it was very effective but very much frowned upon by their peers.

It was Tom Proctor, the major objector was Ken Wilson.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to Jimbo C)
> [...]
>
> It was Tom Proctor, the major objector was Ken Wilson

Interesting. Do we know if it was applied by brush or spray and how strong the acid required was?
Seems like a lot of work and there would be safety/environmental issues if not done very carefully by persons who didn't know what they were doing.
Kemics - on 09 Oct 2013
I have a good chuckle when i hear someone having a whine about polish on granite or grit. Really only limestone polishes ;) climb wogs at chugleigh, it certainly puts it into perspective. Over the entirety of stanage there are two polished holds, both on flying buttress. And they still have more friction than limestone. Whoever said northerners were hard? :P

Climbers club direct is fine for polish. It's the insecure and sharp fist jam that gives cause for concern!

HeMa on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Kemics:
> I have a good chuckle when i hear someone having a whine about polish on granite or grit. Really only limestone polishes ;)

Not true, but of course harder stone qualities like granit take a lot more the get polished.
GrahamD - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Fraser:


> ...polished holds have less friction than unpolished ones, thereby making it harder to hold/stand on them.

The danger is that people used to the 'shit to blanket' friction of gritstone expect all rock types to behave that way whereas the natural state of many limestone crags is smooth and it has to be climbed with more precise footwork, relying on the shape of the holds rather than out and out friction. The difference in friction between naturally smooth and polished limestone isn't really that great.

Chris Craggs - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Kemics:
> Over the entirety of stanage there are two polished holds, both on flying buttress. And they still have more friction than limestone.

Nah - they are on Inverted V & Crack and Corner!


Chris
Chris Craggs - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk:
> as polish increases, and with some rock types suffering more than others, does anyone think it might ever be acceptable to either wire brush the offending areas, or even apply a dab of acid to regain some friction?!
>

The polish has happened through the passage of thousands of feet, flattening the original texture. Adding acid or wire brushing will only make the problem worse, there may be a temporary improvement, but then it will polish up even better than before.

On the Continent the only 'working' solution I have come across is the addition of a thin smear of 'sika' which is harder than the rock, less inclined to polish and adds a bit of texture.


Chris
foxjerk - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Kemics:

> Climbers club direct is fine for polish. It's the insecure and sharp fist jam that gives cause for concern!

i found the first or second foot hold for my right foot was pretty shiny on cc direct, mainly because people don't like the fist jam and retry many times. certainly polish is worse on limestone, but there are some greatly affected granite routes around Dartmoor too. surely it will make the transition to outdoors harder for the next generation?

i'm not saying we should do any of these things, but in ten to twenty years its going to be more than twice as bad (traffic) and my kids who i am trying to convince they like climbing may decide otherwise!
abcdefg - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk:

> ... my kids who i am trying to convince they like climbing may decide otherwise!

Who cares? They either like it, or they don't.

As is obvious, part of the 'problem' is too much traffic on popular routes anyway.
foxjerk - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to abcdefg:
> (In reply to foxjerk)
>
> [...]
>
>
> As is obvious, part of the 'problem' is too much traffic on popular routes anyway.

so is it just climbing brands that are publicising climbing (to make sales), while climbers want less people to do it to avoid the effects of too much traffic?
abcdefg - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk:

> so is it just climbing brands that are publicising climbing (to make sales)

That clearly happens; look around. (And ponder the same commercial interests behind the recent Olympics bid etc.)

> while climbers want less people to do it to avoid the effects of too much traffic?

I don't claim to speak for 'climbers' in general. For myself, I am happy for people to go climbing if they want to; equally happy if they don't. I would be very *unhappy* if anybody saw fit to artificially roughen the rock in the way in which you appear to be seriously suggesting. That's a dead end, and about as useful a suggestion as putting in bolts everywhere 'to make climbing safer.'
DubyaJamesDubya - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk:
> (In reply to Kemics)
>
> ...certainly polish is worse on limestone, but there are some greatly affected granite routes around Dartmoor too. surely it will make the transition to outdoors harder for the next generation?
>
But the next generation will be so much better they can just climb harder routes that are not polished!
SteveoS - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk:

You've never been to Chudliegh have you? A day there makes you think the Dewerstone is made of sandpaper.
foxjerk - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to SteveoS: yes i've climbed at chudleigh and thats why i don't climb at chudleigh!
foxjerk - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to abcdefg: but can you see that we are ruining routes for future generations. what i suggested in the OP was entirely hypothetical and very much a future problem, but one that may be addressed with future ethics!
abcdefg - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk:

> ... we are ruining routes for future generations ...

If you think that the answer to routes being eroded is to erode them further by the use of brushes and chemicals, then I doubt we're going have a very sensible discussion. The same point was made in the very first reply in this thread.
pec on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk:
> (In reply to abcdefg) but can you see that we are ruining routes for future generations. what i suggested in the OP was entirely hypothetical and very much a future problem, but one that may be addressed with future ethics! >

Its not about ethics, its simply that wirebrushing won't work (have you ever actually tried to wire brush a bit of rock to roughen it up?) and acid will only work on limestone but the quantities needed to "unpolish" a crag would cause major environmental damage. Its a non starter.

andrewmc - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to pec:

Little bit of vinegar left on critical footholds might work? Possibly mixed into some sort of gel?

Probably a dangerous road to go down though...

Plus Chudleigh is fun just because the polish is so silly :P
Al Evans on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:
> (In reply to Al Evans)
> [...]
>
> Interesting. Do we know if it was applied by brush or spray and how strong the acid required was?
> Seems like a lot of work and there would be safety/environmental issues if not done very carefully by persons who didn't know what they were doing.

It was dilute Hydrocloric Acid, I watched Tom apply it once, he just had a small bottle, it might even have been a dropper, It was on Minus Ten wall.
There was a bit of a fizz then it just left a dust, you could blow it off and the polish was gone. I think the real objection was that the rock's normal patina was gone too and it would just polish up again even quicker.
adam 24 - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk: Rain water is mildly acidic. I think (but I maybe wrong) that over time rain will naturally clear polish. I tend to find at a given venue the polish is worse in steeper areas that are more sheltered from the rain (eg Parisellas cave).

So once a climb gets polished its not necessarily 'ruined' for future generations, it can recover naturally. A local once told me the polish at avon improved a lot when it was closed due the construction work on the road below. Other drops in traffic, due to going out of fashion or bird nesting etc... could help restore venues periodically.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to adam 24:
> (In reply to foxjerk) Rain water is mildly acidic. I think (but I maybe wrong) that over time rain will naturally clear polish. I tend to find at a given venue the polish is worse in steeper areas that are more sheltered from the rain (eg Parisellas cave).
>
> So once a climb gets polished its not necessarily 'ruined' for future generations, it can recover naturally. A local once told me the polish at avon improved a lot when it was closed due the construction work on the road below. Other drops in traffic, due to going out of fashion or bird nesting etc... could help restore venues periodically.

Yes I heard the polish at Stoney had 'improved'(a bit!?)
Of course you then enter a dynamic situation where there is an improvement followed by more trafiic...
DubyaJamesDubya - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to DubyaJamesDubya)
> [...]
>
> It was dilute Hydrocloric Acid, I watched Tom apply it once, he just had a small bottle, it might even have been a dropper, It was on Minus Ten wall.
>I think the real objection was that the rock's normal patina was gone too and it would just polish up again even quicker.

But of course the rock was already polished anyway. It seems to me it could work on a small scale if applied with care in small quantities.
The acid is neutralised by the rock so environmental issues shouldn't be a big problem.
icnoble on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to foxjerk: If you want polish try some of the easier routes at Massone, Arco, now thats polish!

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.