Imagine hanging hundreds of feet above the ground on a rock face with nothing but small, fabricated metals parts to keep you from falling to your death. This is what Joseph Schwartz and Karl Guthrie lived for and how they made their company ClimbTech into what it is today.
Schwartz and Guthrie, both passionate rock climbers, began the Austin, Tex.-based company ClimbTech back in 1998 after years of dreaming up and testing new equipment, mainly springloaded anchors that were designed to fit into holes in the rock and hold up to 5,000 pounds of weight. They soon realized that the products that fit their passion could serve the construction and mining industries, among many others. Now, the mountain-climbing sector only accounts for 5 percent of the company’s business, according to the Austin Business Journal.
Anchoring is as crucial in building commercial structures and navigating metal mines as it is in rock climbing. ClimbTech produces over a dozen products, including removable anchors, swivel anchors and beam clamps.
ClimbTech’s Model RB 1015 Fall Protection Anchor. Source: climbtech.com
ClimbTech’s Mega Swivel 10K. The model on the left is designed for steel; the one on the right, for concrete. Source: climbtech.com
For example, the mining bolt anchor is composed of stainless steel, galvanized cable, aluminum alloy, zinc-plated spring steel and zinc-plated copper, rated up to 7,600 pounds. (Their swivel anchor, shaped into a D-ring and made for 360-degree rotation in concrete and steel anchoring, is made almost entirely of zinc-plated, forged, heat-treated steel and can hold up to 10,000 pounds.) Click here to see how the mining bolt anchor works.
Just yesterday, ClimbTech introduced an array of new products based on their new patent, the MEGA Swivel technology. These include a hybrid swivel anchor (uses a permanently attached “sleeve anchor component that expands in rock/concrete for more stability), a new mining bolt rated to 10,000 pounds and a stainless steel version of the company’s existing swivel anchor which will prevent heavy loads from spreading steel outwards.
Much of ClimbTech’s success in expanding product lines can be credited to current CEO Roberto Fiebig, who realizes how important the founders’ vision for climbing technology is for the industrial mining and construction world. According to the Austin Business Journal, he’s lined up important customers such as 3M.
As for Schwarz, he still designs and patents ClimbTech’s products. “Really, it started with someone coming to us, saying, ËœCan you do this for us?’ he said. “It’s really been 10 years of whittling away and fine-tuning. Finally, you get something slick, he’s quoted as saying in the ABJ.
Who would’ve thought that rock climbers and miners had much in common?