Mountain Project Logo

LCC route developing/cleaning ethics


Original Post
Devin Rogers · · Provo UT · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Occasionally throughout my time in Little Cottonwood, I have spied the odd crack that has the makings for a decent pitch of climbing, yet hasn't been established (seemingly) because there is vegetation in the crack. Are we avoiding these cracks because to clean them would be a pain, or is it contrary to the ethics of the area to clean them out? I'm not really talking about full blown trees like in Bushwack, but dirt, grass, and small-medium shrubs. I'd love to hear from others who have developed in the area. Personally, I would have no qualms with raking junk out of a crack to establish a new climb, but I obviously wouldn't want to do this if the local ethics have historically tried to avoid it.

Allen Sanderson · · On the road to perdition · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,188

Mostly we are lazy bunch and prefer to garden elsewhere. That said I and others have done a fair amount of cleaning of cracks. Where it gets questionable is the wholesale removal of vegetables from a wall. Salt Lake Slips is an example. That said small - medium shrubs may be the issue as to why they have been left alone. How small is small and how medium is medium?

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 15,692

One issue is that if it doesn't become a routinely done route, and, the crack is prone to re-fill with dirt/foliage, then its all for naught.

I would say excessive gardening is frowned on.  Mild amount of modest hand cleaning?  Probably ok.  Tool use required?  Probably not.

Zac Robinson · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 415

I would venture a guess that if it is worth doing, it may have already been done. Depending on how far the walk is.  Only way to find out is to post pictures up here and then we can see how terrifically no-star it may be.

zoso · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2007 · Points: 495

"...then we can see how terrifically no-star it may be."

Ha!

Zesty is one that required a fair amount of gardening but was worth it imo.  But many would argue we pushed the ethical boundaries on that one.  
Zac and Allen are right.  If it's worthy, then ya, maybe.  If not, it's easy to be lazy. 

Devin Rogers · · Provo UT · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

One of the cracks I'm thinking of splits the south face of the crescent crack buttress. West of the first pitch of crescent crack, and east of that flared 5.7 variation to P1 on the west side of the rock (not sure what this is called). The crack faces directly south and would land you on the same ledge that the 5.7 variation to crescent crack p1 takes you to, at the base of that fun little finger crack before the belay. Hopefully this description makes sense. It looks like it would start with some overhanging offwidth stuff by a tree at the base, and eventually turns into what looks like a decent crack that would take pro/jams. Seems like a very obvious line, and has possibly seen some ascents, but definitely has plenty of veg/dirt. Maybe a bit presumptuous to assume such an obvious line in a classic area hasn't been climbed or isn't already established. Anyone know anything about this line? 

Boissal . · · Small Lake, UT · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 1,436
Devin Rogers wrote: One of the cracks I'm thinking of splits the south face of the crescent crack buttress. West of the first pitch of crescent crack, and east of that flared 5.7 variation to P1 on the west side of the rock (not sure what this is called). The crack faces directly south and would land you on the same ledge that the 5.7 variation to crescent crack p1 takes you to, at the base of that fun little finger crack before the belay. Hopefully this description makes sense. It looks like it would start with some overhanging offwidth stuff by a tree at the base, and eventually turns into what looks like a decent crack that would take pro/jams. Seems like a very obvious line, and has possibly seen some ascents, but definitely has plenty of veg/dirt. Maybe a bit presumptuous to assume such an obvious line in a classic area hasn't been climbed or isn't already established. Anyone know anything about this line? 

This route?

Devin Rogers · · Provo UT · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0
Boissal . wrote:

This route?

I should've known I'd end up feeling dumb haha. Apparently my MP sleuthing skills have failed me. I missed that one when I was looking for it. Anyways I guess it either was never cleaned or doesn't see enough ascents to stay clean. Seems like a perfect handcrack in LCC could have more stars if it were cleaned up a bit

Boissal . · · Small Lake, UT · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 1,436
Devin Rogers wrote:

I should've known I'd end up feeling dumb haha. Apparently my MP sleuthing skills have failed me. I missed that one when I was looking for it. Anyways I guess it either was never cleaned or doesn't see enough ascents to stay clean. Seems like a perfect handcrack in LCC could have more stars if it were cleaned up a bit

I had no idea it had been posted but figured it would have been climbed...

I doubt anyone would be mad at you if you cleaned it (and others), more routes is always a good thing... Once in a while a true gem is hiding under a thick blanket of dirt/moss/unspecified shit and tons of work will reveal it.

Re: vegetation, my personal take would be to go after obtrusive scrub oak with extreme prejudice knowing that it will grow back unabated within a couple seasons at best (meaning maintenance will be required to avoid a return to the natural state of things). Removing the stumps from the crack is usually impossible, fortunately they make great footholds and provide opportunity for pro.
I'm a lot more sympathetic to other vegetation and would never trim (let alone remove) a mahogany or a pine.
Ken H · · Granite, UT · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 3,955

Ha no shock to see Madison's name there. I know he's gone out and climbed a boatload of dirty garbage cracks in the last couple years. You can always swing by the Gear Room in Cottonwood Heights and ask him. You'd be surprised there are classic cracks around the country which have only been cleaned out in the past 10 years and now see regular traffic. I'd second Boissal's take. If you can clean it with a nut tool that's just climbing. Beyond that I wouldn't use more then a small single hand clipper on smaller shrubs or branches. Often if you just clear a bit of one side it is enough to get around.

tenesmus · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2004 · Points: 2,413

If it can be cleaned with a nut tool, it's almost always ok. Some cracks have dirt that keeps filtering back down and if you really want it cleaned, you'll be there a while. The photo of that crack on Back to My Roots makes it look like that took a ton of cleaning. You can only do so much gardening the first session. Once the rain and winter conditions have a chance to flush things, it's often far easier to revisit cleaning. I'm guessing your impression is spot on and that another go-around would make it even better. Sometimes, a leaf blower with a narrowed nozzle makes all the difference. Don't forget to wear eye protection.

And Boisall is right: scrub oak is invasive and free game to clean in my book. That's what was in the Zesty crack and it yielded a nearly perfect green-varnished handcrack. Blue Collar Crack had tons of dirt, scrub, etc. Once that was gone, there were all these wedged pebbles inside that took hours of picking apart. This would be the perfect place for you to practice your cleaning skills. Another go-around would make it even better because we couldn't get it all. After we were done, I took a push-broom to that whole face. Maybe a blower would have worked better? Maybe not, due to the potato chip factor. Dragging the flat side of a hammer across those, then sweeping sometimes helps. I also have a little hand broom that works well.

A friend and I cleaned an excellent crack system at the base of Westwind we thought might be undone. It was sooo dirty and had loads of veggies that pulled right out with a nut tool. We were stoked because there are so few 10+ finger and hand cracks in the Wasatch. Turns out it was done in the 70's and had simply regrown. It's clean and ready to go, or at least it was 2 years ago. We went deep in there and couldn't see much left but you never know, it may need cleaning again.  

El Segundo and Gran Hermano are 2 more that took a ton of cleaning and were done way before our time. No one named them but at least people now they're clean and ready to go. Expect No Mercy got the same treatment a while back.

I say get after it. Go give some scraping, nut-tooling, scrub-brushing and sweeping. 

Tyler Phillips · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 1,620

Bwhahaha. Yeah.... 

Devin Rogers · · Provo UT · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0
Tyler Phillips wrote: Bwhahaha. Yeah.... 

??

bus driver · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 1,200

Haha. I saw that crack that the OP was asking about too.  IMHO it would get enough traffic to stay clean if you didn’t have to “stem the tree” and there were a bolt or two through the sporty section coming in from climbers right down low to get to  the nice hand crack and an anchor at the top of the sweet hand jams so it didn’t cross other routes up high.  

The FAist indicated they preferred it sans bolts so I’ve been collecting my kit to try it out as is. Looks like you’ve got to have a #5, some serious motivation, and some snug safety goggles for it to go pleasantly.  A buddy got a #5 a while back now I just need to find some good safety goggles.  That tree at the bottom though  is making the motivation part kinda  hard.
Seems like 3 Amigos was a jungle before it got dug out and became a regularly climbed part of the  area circuit. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Northern Utah & Idaho
Post a Reply to "LCC route developing/cleaning ethics "

Log In to Reply