'HOLDZ' - Crag Cleaning

by Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC Apr/2009
This news story has been read 7,557 times
Steve testing his new pressure washing equipment, 115 kb
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, 165 kb
"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, 148 kb
"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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