For as cool and amazing as climbers and climbing can be (I’m not being biased, you’re being biased), there is one particular situation that brings out an unsavory sense of pride. That pride inducing situation is centered around booty! That’s right, the rare acquisition and loss of treasure.
I’m as guilty as anyone. When I see a piece of booty abandoned on the wall, my first thought is to gear up and procure the swag!
The most common explanation for gear left on the wall is that for one reason or another, a climber had to bail. Maybe they just couldn’t get passed the crux (hard point of a climb), or they ran out of time, or they got knighted (the sun set), or they simply forgot the gear, maybe they just wanted to gift a piece of gear to fellow climber (very unlikely, although possible). When one of these possibilities becomes an actuality vultures began to circle.
FREE Gear is like a magical gift from the ancient gods, which stands to reason, I mean they did live on a mountain for
Christ’s Zeus’ sake.
No one wants to admit defeat and leave gear on a wall, and no one wants to pass by divine gifts without trying to retrieve them. It’s a rare chance to play Indiana Jones and venture past where another has failed.
How and what gear gets left behind? Climbing up an established route usually requires the use of a quickdraw. A quickdraw is essentially two carabiners tethered together on something called a dog-bone. You clip one biner into a bolt or protection on the wall while the other biner hangs below. You then clip your rope into the bottom biner. The climber is then protected from falling to the ground as the quickdraw holds the rope and thus the climber in the event of a fall. If you can’t make it past a particular bolt, well then you are going to have to bail.
You can’t unclip the quickdraw because you would no be longer protected from a fall. The belayer must lower you from that bail point, leaving you with no way to retrieve your gear. Climbers usually have what we refer to as a “Bail Biner”. A bail biner is some jenky old biner that climbers don’t usually mind leaving as booty for the next one up the wall. In a case where one must bail, the rope is simply transferred from the quickdraw to the bail biner, and the climber is lowered from the bail biner which although jenky is reluctantly left behind.
Climbing gear is expensive and no one wants to just leave gear on the wall, which is why many climbers are reluctant to try routes that they may not be able to complete. This is also why we sometimes dispense with wisdom, and risk safety in an effort to both save and retrieve gear. I have seen typically safe climbers do some pretty sketchy stuff for gear (myself included), but this whole notion of losing gear on the wall finally has a solution.
The Firefly is an incredibly creative yet simple invention that allows climbers to retrieve their gear from the safety and comfort of the ground. The way The Firefly works is pretty ingenious. Essentially, if you are about to climb a route that may require bailing, just strap this little piece of gear to your harness. If the time comes when you need to bail, whip out The Firefly, connect it to your quickdraw, and have your partner lower you to the ground. The Firefly is attached to a long thin cord that lowers to the ground with you. Once on the ground, simply pull the cord, The Firefly opens the quickdraw and pulls it from the bolt allowing the draw, rope, and Firefly to drop safely to the bottom of the route.
Gear saved, money saved, and risky behavior avoided. I call that a win win win for The Tepet Firefly!
Gone are the days of bail biners and lost booty, The Tepet Firefly is a game changer even if it should be called The Tepet Lightning Bug. Did you know the lightning bug is in the beetle family? And like The Beatles, The Tepet Firefly can help you get by with a little help from your friends.
Recommendation: All Skill Levels
Specs: .6 oz and 50 ft paracord