This story originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of our print edition.
Ever wanted to work your grip strength while sipping on a hot cup of joe? Take your morning multitasking to the next level by making your own climbing hold mug. Our method will provide you with a mug that’s heat resistant, dishwasher safe, and sure to make all your climber friends jealous. And if you already have the tools, the whole thing will cost you less than $10.
What You’ll Need
- Climbing hold*
- All-purpose silicone adhesive sealant
- Dust mask and eye protection
- Rounded file (the coarser the better)
- Optional: belt sander
Where to find them, what to get
While you can spend $60 for a set of 10 brand-new holds, the cheapest way to get them is to go to your local gym and ask if they have old holds they’re getting rid of. Many gyms will give you a couple holds for free or pocket change. They may be cracked or worn, but after a thorough cleaning they’ll be perfect for a mug. Try to find one tall enough to cover both handle attachments for a cleaner finished product. It’s also a good idea to get holds from a few different brands. We found some holds were impossible to file at all, while others shaped nicely with a little elbow grease.
Climbing holds are NOT microwave safe! Do not put your climbing hold mug in the microwave to heat up your tea!
How to Make a Climbing Hold Mug
Place your mug on a solid surface and smash the handle off with a hammer. Aim straight down for the top of the handle, close to where it attaches to the cup. You may destroy a few mugs in this step, so it’s good to have backups.
Use the sandpaper and file to remove any handle remnants from the mug and smooth down the area.
File the back of your climbing hold until it will sit somewhat flush against the side of your mug. This step can take quite some time. Alternately, you can use the rounded edge of a belt sander to speed things up considerably.
Thoroughly clean and dry the mug and climbing hold.
Apply an excessive amount of silicone adhesive to the back of your hold.
Press your climbing hold against the mug where the handle was. The extra adhesive will fill in gaps where the hold isn’t flush. Clean off any extra adhesive that squishes out from the side or up through the bolt hole.
Wrap tape tightly around the hold and mug to secure in place. Allow to dry for as long as the adhesive label recommends, probably 24 hours.
Try not to pump out as you enjoy a scalding-hot beverage in your sweet new climber mug! Seriously, don’t spill hot coffee all over yourself.