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Weapons of Moss Destruction


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I've definetly got some projects to clean and am wondering what type of tools, modified or not, that people use to clean routes? I don't remember a thread of this type before and would love to see what the index and dtown locals use to scrub up their lines.

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Those folding japanese saws are great for sawing soil/roots/dirt out of cracks and of course for sawing small bushes/trees that are too big for clippers. A regular screwdriver is good for smaller cracks.


The stiffest wire brush you can find will be good for cleaning surface lichen/moss.


Highly recommend goggles and face mask while cleaning to keep that shit out of your head. Inhaling lichen/moss is probably not good for you, and is certainly painful in the eyes.


Those are the things you otter use.






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Thanks for investing the effort. I've narrowed my arsenal to this (not all at the same time):


Good gloves.


A lightweight saw (replaces clippers of various sizes).


A lightweight hammer (Yos hammer is nice but usually you can get the same done with a smaller one). The claw can be used to pry off loose flakes/blocks etc or dig out dirt.


A weeding tool (great for digging out cracks).


A nylon brush.


Sunglasses for eye protection.


Dust mask when serious dirt/lichen are involved.


Onsight FAs on clean rock are easy by comparison.


If it's really green and doesn't get traffic odds are good it will go back to green.


go get some!

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It depends on the kind of moss and how much of it. If there is lots of it than your, going to have to step it up with some garden or farm implements. If it's largely a 'hand job', and the moss is thick, coming off in big sheets or clumps, then a plastic putty knive work great for helping the stubborn ones come up. And regardless of how you move the bigger stuff, the two brushes below are are great for cleaning up the remnants.


And as Ivan noted, skip the steel bristle brushes on basalt.



Deluxe Grid Brush / Bar-B-Que and Grill Department - $9.99



Quckie Heavy Duty Scrub Brush (Stiff, Coarse Bristles) / Cleaning Supplies Department - $3.98



No Picture Available


Economy 2" Putty Knife (Black Plastic) / Paint Department - $0.88

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I'd say for rock and earthwork a prybar, stout short square shovel, and even a big heavy tree dibble might all be in order, but for moss, a prybar seems a bit heavy-handed to me in terms of it leaving a lot of scratch marks (on basalt vs granite) - but again, it really depends on the overall conditions of the crag, rock, and moss. And the scale and scope of the effort also certainly plays a role as well on how much heavy-handedness is appropriate or unavoidable. I try to be conservative about not to leaving a lot of deep scratch marks if at all possible hence the brass and plastic tools.

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Some notes in addition to whats been said.


I have some garden trowels, but find that the best thing for fast cleaning of the kind of stuff I get on is an ice axe. You can whack a root with the adze, scrape moss if needed, and flip it around and use the pick both for deep cleaning of cracks and for pulling your self up hummocks if you're like me and feel it's difficult to not do some climbing while you're cleaning. The short, straight shaft, steel ice axes are the shitz. Not a curved shaft, not a lightweight aluminum model although both will work.


For anything larger, like cleaning off ledges, the little bronco shovels that are like 2' long and have a plastic handle (Home Depot @$13) are nice cause they stuff in your pack and are real maneuverable. For harder dirt, or rocky ground, the shovel Ivan alludes to is a standard roofing shovel that has a wedge shaped fulcrum on the bottom which facilitates prying rocks off and is hard to beat for shoveling, chopping roots, and cranking out deeply rooted vegetation. Apr00_AskHandy_Shovels.jpg


Brad Jarrett told me to go buy a cordless blower, said for fine dust I would never go back to the palmyra bristle brushes ever again for the final cleaning. I bought one but haven't tried it yet. I'd pretty much believe anything he would tell me though.


black_decker_18.0_volt_cordless_broom_reviews_21894_300.jpg Weight about 5-6 lbs is all.


I also bought a couple of the Russian nut tools for getting deep into cracks, as they are narrower and longer than about everything else out there. Always bring a dust mask.




Adam and Ujahn. Who's been doing the work here!? :lmao:

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Andy, is that basalt or granite?




I've never had a problem with either the trowel blade or wire brushes scratching the rock.


Add to the tool list: a old towel for whomping dust off the rock (those little cans of compressed air are also nice); a dust mask; and protective glasses if you don't want to wake up the next morning with lichen and dust crusties around your eyes.

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On hard rock, try a flexible 3 inch metal putty knife, as a supplement to your wire brush collection. Surprisingly effective and versatile -- I think that's all Dave T. and Chris G. ever needed on most of the Roan Wall pitches. The sharp corners will quickly round themselves.



(Also, mind your fixed lines. I've taken to double rigging, so I can fix a Gri-Gri to a dynamic line while I jug the static one next to it. Protect the rub points and snug your lines down at night so they don't blow in the wind.)

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A masons hammer with the cutting edge horizontal to the handle can pry or break most bad rock, it can also be used for bolt hammer, I also use a 2 feet crow bar with the bent end heated and pried to 90 degrees for better prying of rock, A Wisk broom for sweeping or in extreme cases a leaf blower, a wire brush for extreme moss. Sand paper (carbide sanding disc like for a grinder) for those razor edges to keep from getting sliced in a fall or cutting your rope.

A route is only as good as the climber putting it up, take your time and make it safe enjoyable and classic

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