'HOLDZ' - Crag Cleaning

Steve testing his new pressure washing equipment  © UKC News
Climbing hold and wall product manufacturer HOLDZ have embarked on a task to keep some of gritstone's finest problems immaculately clean.

They have received some funding as part of a EU scheme to bring back 'wilderness' areas throughout Europe. By removing unsightly chalk blobs from the gritstone boulders of Yorkshire and the Peak District, the Holdz team hope to open the eyes of climbers to the aesthetic nature of the rock formations.

"The wind carved rocks in places like Brimham and Kinder are amongst our most beautiful natural landscapes." said Steve Goodair from HOLDZ.

The small grant has covered the cost of a mobile industrial pressure washer, enabling the HOLDZ team to thoroughly clean some lichen and chalk covered problems, restoring them back to their natural state.

A freshly cleaned Widdop traverse  © UKC News
"We're using the equipment for two reasons really," explained Steve;

"firstly to remove all traces of climbing from the rock, so caked on chalk, tickmarks etc will all be removed, making the rock look natural again. But secondly, and this is good for climbers, this cleaning actually makes the rock nicer to climb on, rejuvenating friction and bringing problems back to their original, grippy state."

Steve was keen to stress that no permanent damage is done to the rock, and the washing equipment is set to a low pressure, making sure that the fragile patina of the gritstone is not damaged.

The famouse Stanage Pebble boulder in perfect chalk-free condition  © UKC News
"All we are doing is removing surface mess." said Steve, "The rock is undamaged. It's much less harsh than say, wire brushing"

As part of the EU scheme, HOLDZ have to document each cleaned problem. To enable them to catalogue their efforts each boulder will be marked with a subtle, natural looking logo that is gently 'cleaned' in to the rock. A full list of cleaned areas will be published online on the HOLDZ website.

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1 Apr, 2009
This isn't new!! In Bishop (groan not another Mick Bishop story), local climbers used to use Forest Service 'piss pumps' - portable canvas back backs containing water with a pump nozzle, to clean heavily chalked traverses and overhanging boulders. We squirted water on the holds using the pumps and brushed the chalk holds with nylon brushes. No grants were needed neither. We just borrowed the pumps off the Inyo National Forest and got on with it. Mick
1 Apr, 2009
Come on Mick its April the 1st
1 Apr, 2009
La prifolo!
1 Apr, 2009
Heard they have the contract for Stonehenge too :-)
1 Apr, 2009
The worst April Fool ever attempted!!
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