DIY - A Better Way to carry your cleaning tool


Your nut cleaning tool is a vital bit of gear, and you don’t ever want to drop it.  Most climbers typically tie a few feet of string/cord to their cleaning tool, allowing one end of the cord to be always clipped to their harness.  The main problem with this method is that the extra cord constantly tangles with all the other goodies on your harness gear loops – a major hassle on a tough climb.

Note - it’s a fine idea is everyone on the team has a cleaning tool, leader included.

I tried a modification of this, with the short loop of bungee cord. That was working pretty well until I was cleaning a stopper at eye level, let go of my cleaning tool, and almost lost my eye as the little bastard shot past my head from the rebound of the elastic. Bad idea!

Here's a hybrid system, that keeps the tool always attached to you, has a little stretch bungee type system to let you extend and retract the tool, but not enough stretch to take out an eye.

With about $3 worth of hardware and 10 minutes, you can craft a Better Way.  This system lets you fully extend the nut tool to clean a placement, yet stays neatly out of the way when not in use.  It’s a good rainy day project. (You can likely figure it out from the photo alone, but here’s some directions anyway.)

What you need:

  • A single mini “keychain” carabiner, ideally one rated to carry a decent load. Kong makes what they call an "accessory carabiner", rated to 600 kg.

  • About one foot (unstretched) telephone cord - remember those? I got mine at Goodwill for $0.50, or get it new online

  • Two aluminum double sleeve swages from the bulk rope/wire section of a decent hardware store. Bring the phone cord to be sure you get the right size swage

  • Wire cutters and sturdy pliers, Vise Grips, or bench vise

To make it:

  • With wire cutters, snip off the phone jacks from the ends of the phone cord.

  • Pass about 2 inches of the cord through one sleeve of the swage.

  • Run one end of the phone cord through the nut tool. (Do not pass the cord through the butt end of the nut tool, as the cord will get mangled when you have to smack the tool with a rock or hammer to remove a really stubborn placement.) Note the Black Diamond nut tool in the photo, which has a very handy bottle opener on the butt end.

  • Run the free end of the cord back through the second sleeve on the swage.

  • Clamp hard on the swage with your vise, pliers or vise grips, mashing the swage together around the phone cord.

  • Repeat on the other end of the phone cord with the carabiner. I wrapped some athletic tape around the phone cord/carabiner connection, to be sure the loop never can come off the carabiner.

When on your harness, the butt end of the tool is clipped to the carabiner, keeping it well out of the way.

That’s it, and happy cleaning!  That next welded tri cam you find will be your wall booty.

cleaning tool on phone cord

close up of swaged connection

cleaning tool on phone cord close up