I whipped and the bolt came with me
Back in 2019, I was climbing in Clear Creek Canyon in Colorado with a couple of friends. I was working the crux move on a 12c when I got high above the bolt, fell, and took an unexpectedly massive whipper. My knee hit a ledge in the fall and was bruised so badly I thought I had busted my knee cap. After the initial shock, I looked down to see my quickdraw still attached to the rope with the bolt hanger attached to the quickdraw. The bolt hanger had come off the wall. When I got home, I read on the Mountain Project page for the route a comment that said, "The crux bolt is loose. I tightened it with my fingers but someone needs to come back with a wrench." This was a problem I had never really considered before and it inspired me to carry a wrench every time I went climbing.
This turned out to be a great idea because I found myself using my wrench roughly half the time I went out climbing in Colorado. Climbing's boom in popularity is hitting the crags in the Front Range hard. The increase in climbers, plus our freeze-thaw cycle makes loose bolts all too common. However, I found the process of tightening bolts pretty annoying. I'd have to get lowered when I came across a loose bolt, go down to my pack, grab my wrench and then have to climb back up to tighten it. It became a chore to keep the crag safe and I didn't like the idea of climbing with a large piece of metal dangling from my harness either. Dropping a wrench on your belayer would be bad. So, I came up with the idea of turning the tool climbers already have on their harnesses, the brush, into a bolt tightener. I taught myself enough CAD to create a design. I researched materials thoroughly, with bicycle tire levers in mind to see what would be durable enough to tighten loose bolts. And then I worked with engineers and a manufacturer to develop a brush that's strong enough to tighten loose bolts, but is also a great brush that you can use bouldering or in the gym.
- Ricky Lambert
Owner, Creator, Climber