What’s even cooler about brushes is that the design process was crowd-sourced by the climbers of the BKB community; Ransom would come in with prototypes, test ’em out on our walls, get feedback, iterate and improve. Learn more about Ransom:
Who are you and how did you get to Brooklyn?
I was born and raised in Oregon, but went to school in Anchorage, Alaska for engineering and air traffic school. Upon graduation, I worked for the Federal Aviation Administration – which is about as much fun as it sounds. I ended up leaving my job to travel for a year, and decided to move to Brooklyn with my girlfriend, no concrete job and no plans.
So how did you start climbing?
In Alaska – I used to be terrified of heights, but I just dove in head-first with one of my buddies. I immediately liked it, and am generally obsessive about things that I like. So I just sunk my teeth into it.
What made you obsessive over climbing?
Climbing is awesome. It’s a chance to put it all together – the focus, the mental puzzle, the gymnastics. It’s a perfect balance between being an activity that you do 100% yourself – it’s just you, your hands and the wall in the moment – and being really social, hanging out with your friends.
When I was climbing in Oregon, I figured out that I wanted to be a part of the climbing community, and so I started to think about how I could do that and make it my job.
And so Sublime Climbing was born. Why did you first decide to make a climbing brush?
Well, the first thought that came to my mind was -why hasn’t anyone made a better one? Right now, all of the climbing brushes are borderline disposable. They break easily and don’t work well.
Most of the climbing hold brushes are just modified versions of other brushes originally meant for cleaning M16s or shoes; no one had yet designed a brush specifically for cleaning rock climbing holds. Sublime Climbing brushes is built for climbers.
Did your engineering background help with the design process?
Definitely. What’s even better is that this venture has helped me funnel my engineering experience into something that I actually enjoy – it’s important to be passionate. If you don’t like what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis, then it’s absolutely maddening.
For the Sublime Climbing brush, I essentially reverse-engineered the product. We decided on all the characteristics we wanted – dense bristles, easy grip, and so forth – and we wanted to make it durable and long-lasting. I designed some prototypes and actually brought them into Brooklyn Boulders and just asked people for feedback, going through iterations of prototypes until we arrived at the final product.
Awesome. What other projects are you working on?
There are so many. I have at least six or seven. Right now, my second biggest project is a an integrated hangboard system that will coordinate with an app. Sensors on the hangboard will register where you’re hanging on, and the app will walk you through a workout, coordinating with a timer.
Stay tuned for Ransom’s Kickstarter campaign to make a reality & a chance to snag your own!