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Increase of Chalk Doodles Indoors and Out

More and more chalk doodles have been popping up at indoor gyms and on outdoor rock. Drawing on indoor walls is fun, drawing on outdoor rock is graffiti.

At many gyms across Canada, and surely elsewhere, there seems to be a trend of using chalk to draw on plastic holds and artificial walls.

Indoor chalk doodle in Canadian gym

This past summer, climbers found chalk doodles on rock climbs and boulders around North America. Many people consider chalk drawings on rock to be graffiti.

Top American big wall climber David Allfrey recently posted photos from popular routes in Red Rocks. In his message, he said he found big tick marks and arrows pointing to holds. Read below.

Earlier this year, climbers reported chalk drawings on routes in the Canadian Rockies and in Squamish. And at the tops of popular climbs and hikes were spray-painted words and images.

Then there’s the case of the famous lightning bolt chalk drawing on Midnight Lightning in Yosemite, which many argue is graffiti with some history.

In 2013, James Lucas removed the lightning bolt that had been there for 30 years. Someone redrew it a few days later.

He wrote on his blog, “Over 30 years, with every passing ascent, the lightning bolt became less of a testament to a remarkable ascent.

“The chalk transformed into a trademark, another tourist attraction for passing climbers. The magic left the bolt years ago. The new bolt remains slightly duller than the last incarnation. How long will it remain that way? Does climbing need these trademarks?”

Whether gyms allow climbers to use chalk to draw on their walls is up to them. But climbers shouldn’t use it to draw on stone. And if they do, they should scrub it off before leaving.

John Bachar with the original lightning bolt