Lapis Boar’s Hair Brush

THE LAPIS BOAR’S HAIR BRUSH IS A LEGEND* as far as chalk-removing instruments go.

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$8 | | 2 stars

THE LAPIS BOAR’S HAIR BRUSH IS A LEGEND* as far as chalk-removing instruments go. Made in Europe, Lapis brushes are difficult to find here in the States, but more than a few specialty climbing shops are “core” enough to carry them. I know some climbers who, when they find Lapis brushes for sale, snatch ’em up like a bunch of rats, which is crazy considering one brush costs as much as shepherds’ pie at an Irish pub.

I picked one up recently at the excellent and historic Wilson’s Eastside Sports in Bishop**. In general, boar’s hair brushes are amazing. I don’t know why, but boar’s hair has the power to take chalk off holds the way Bon Jovi’s 1980s hair takes bras and pants off women.

Boar’s hair is soft, and doesn’t erode the rock, especially sandstone, the way stiffer brushes do. Its swinish molecular structure is particularly suited to lifting chalk off slopers and leaving the natural friction and texture of the stone. The Lapis brush is wide and long and does a better, cleaner job in fewer swipes, though it doesn’t fit as well into tiny pockets. Also note that this is not the ideal tool for scrubbing mud, lichen or scum.

Unfortunately, this Ferrari of brushes is built with a stiff, unforgiving plastic handle. Within a week of using the Lapis brush, I was merrily dusting winter grime off a sun-bathed crimpy slab when, SNAP! I’d snapped the brush head at its thin, brittle neck like a twig, and by the time the brush head, still with its fresh plume of boar’s hair, tumbled down the 100-foot wall, the legend had already died.