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Written by Rhizlaine Benabid | November 1, 2023

For years, Hilti has upheld its reputation for overcoming challenges to create groundbreaking products that yield optimal outcomes. Hence, when presented with the task of constructing a climbing route for some of the globe's finest climbers at the renowned Red Bull Dual Ascent, our team was ready to take on the challenge. This event unfolds as a vertical ascent on Switzerland's Verzasca Dam, nestled in the captivating Ascona-Locarno region. 

Launched in 2022, the Red Bull Dual Ascent is not an average climbing competition. It's redefining the world of artificial route climbing events in an extraordinary way. Set against the stunning backdrop of Switzerland's towering 220-meter Verzasca Dam, the event provides an awe-inspiring challenge for athletes, who scale heights of up to a staggering 180 meters. The elements that make this competition exceptional are more than just numbers; they tell a story of determination, durability and cutting-edge technology that aids in conquering the impossible.

The story behind the numbers  

Imagine a task set against the ticking clock of time pressure, where 12,000 holes need to be drilled into concrete that cured for over 60 years. Over this period of time, the concrete's initial hardness is increased by a factor of 2.4, making the task seem Herculean. But there's more – this climb extends 180 meters into the air, encompassing both heights and daunting overhangs. And let's not forget the intense heat radiating from the concrete. These elements together create a formidable challenge that resonates with the true spirit of exploration and resilience.

Changing the game with world-class anchors

For the climbing path to be safe and secure for the climbers, it was imperative to use anchors that have a proven track record. This year, Hilti deployed the HUS4-Max hybrid screw anchor to securely fasten the safety hooks onto the face of the dam.

The HUS4-Max hybrid screw anchor offers significant advantages in terms of productivity, simplicity and safety during installation. It requires no cleaning, no torquing, an already pre-dosed mortar and also allows immediate loading capacity, saving valuable time and making the process faster, simpler and safer. This hybrid screw anchor boasts improved setting capabilities, even in the toughest concrete, thanks to its smaller core diameter and innovative thread design. One of its standout features for Red Bull Dual Ascent is easy adjustability and removability which is particularly useful for temporary fastenings.

Expansion anchors are the most popular choice when establishing permanent setups. In that sense, we also provide a great system solution with HST3-R anchors. Our system solution, including the HS-SC setting tool and the smart Adaptive Torque module (SI-AT-22), combined with Hilti impact wrenches on the new Nuron platform, makes it a reliable choice for safety-critical fastenings with easy and fast installation. With the HS-SC no hammering is needed, and with the Adaptive Torque module HST3 anchors are set and torqued faster, simpler and safer.

The Nuron platform steps in

The TE 6-22 rotary hammer, SID 6-22 impact driver and SIW 6-22 impact wrench from the Nuron platform are not just tools, they are allies designed to give climbers more power, productivity, speed and, above all, safety. These cordless tools came together to give our team the confidence to deliver a climbing path that is stable and safe.

This platform enables users to perform all their applications with a single compatible cordless system, simplifying jobsite management and optimizing tool cribs seamlessly. Nuron offers extended operating time on a 22V battery platform, delivering more power than 36V and matching even corded, or gas tools. This meant that the team needed to carry fewer tools to have enough performance to effortlessly penetrate the concrete along the climbing path

The cordless Nuron tools eliminate the need for route makers to seek out power sources, especially beneficial when working at heights of up to 180 meters. With their compact and user-friendly design, the tools are perfectly suited for this task. Nuron tools also are equipped with safety features; Active Vibration Reduction (AVR) to minimize hand-arm vibration exposure, Active Torque Control to reduce the risk of unexpected tool kickback, Dust Removal Systems (DRS) to mitigate construction dust exposure, and proven tethering options for added safety.

Going beyond limits

As the Red Bull Dual Ascent continues to challenge the limits of human potential, it's also a moment to reflect on the legacy of innovation and excellence. Just as these climbers conquer seemingly insurmountable heights, our tools overcome barriers too, showcasing that if they can thrive in this arena, they can excel in any construction project.

A tale of triumph

The Red Bull Dual Ascent transcends the ordinary, redefining what's possible in the world of climbing. Amidst the numbers – the height, the holes, the concrete hardness – lies a story of human courage, innovation, and technology that go hand in hand. Hilti's full system presence, from on-site services to the Nuron platform, together with tool inserts and anchors, in this extraordinary event symbolizes our commitment to pushing boundaries, fostering safety and empowering climbers to reach for the skies. Just as these climbers triumph over challenges, Hilti's solutions triumph over extreme conditions, making them a dependable partner in any construction journey.