Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Review > Asana > Joes

Asana has been in the holds business for a short time now and they have been able to create some unique shapes from their shop. They offer a hold of the month club so we hold junkies can sample the latest abominations to come fresh out of the mold. The Joes’s are modeled after the sandstone boulders found in Joe’s valley, Utah. So throw away your chalk bag, you won't be needing it to stick to these holds. After an afternoon of climbing on these we lost a couple layers of skin. From shallow jugs to crimps, this set has a bit of everything. They range from large to small, so you get a mixed bag when you pick these up.
We've had these around the wall for a while, from some simple bouldering problems to full on get over the roof screaming your heart out routes, and there is one thing that is going to become painfully clear... painfully clear... these holds hurt. Not just hurt a little, they hurt a lot to climb on! I thought that it was just me, but Noodles has backed off of some of the problems that we've set because as he said "I like my skin to stay where it is!", he even backed off of the route in the video that's below a couple of times just because where he was gripping one of the holds (one of the biggest in the set) as his thumb was getting bruised quite badly.Now maybe it's because we set the holds across the roof, but I'm afraid it's not, we set simple problems with a traverse and found that they still hurt. There are good things to be said about the holds thou, they do work on most angled walls but anything over 45 is going to start your skin hurting more than normal, they even work on the roof, if you're brave enough (Or a sadist)

As you can tell by the picture these holds do not have a nice smooth texture and aren’t made to be sweet on the hands, although when you’ve got in your grip they won’t let go, which is why sometimes when you do get off of the wall your fingers will be screaming at you for mercy. We've had small holds on harder routes across the roof and haven't had this kind of skin pain from them, I guess it's just the nature of the beast :)

Now Noodles spoke to Jamey over at Asana and was mentioning that we found the holds painful, and this is what he said "I shaped these holds after I came back from Joe's Valley. They were shaped because I got my ass kicked and I wanted to train specifically for the area", so there is method behind their madness!


We suggest the above angles for the holds, which as you can see is everything from slabs to 45 degrees over. But the steeper the angle the more your fingers are going to hurt, so bear that in mind.. we didn't include anything steeper than 45 or suggest using them upon a roof unless you're well warmed up, know what you're doing. We're obviously going to try to get them on the roof and the opinion is pretty unanimous over here that they shouldn't really be up there!

Incut and very dimpled!! The Joe's are positive enough they include everything from a big two hand match to small crimpers. The texture and shape of these holds allows you to crimp down on them or use it as pinches. We were able to match every one of these holds although a novice climber will find it challenging to match some of the smaller holds of the set, but you pay the price with skin loss pretty much most of the time :(

I'd love to see who ever shaped these, they must have been a pain in the ass to make, mind you I think that getting these out of their molds must be a challenge everytime they pour!

The urethane holds up pretty well, and considering that some of the holds have quite shallow areas I was expecting there to be some bending, but there wasn't any that we noticed (and it got pretty warm in the wall). The bolt placements are nice and clean, we didn't suffer from any spinning holds even when we were matched on one side of the largest hold.

The backs of the holds are flat, and there's no big bubbles in the urethane so the mix is nice and consistant. There aren't any huge burrs to mention other than the obvious Joes Valley texture which we found to be pretty hard going on the finger tips. And this being said, if you chalk up alot these holds will take a lot of chalk in the dimples and do take a fair ammount of brushing to get clean.

These holds are a deep red that i've not seen before, so they do stand out on the wall, they are a little dark but at least the red is different from the other shades on the market so you can see the holds when you're chucking to them


The latest edition of Urban Climber (Issue 23) has the Joes in there on their gear review page, and here's what they had to say about the Joes:
"Gritty, gnarly, pock-faced Joe's Valley inspired grips. One minute you're sweating blood, biting down on itsy bitsy razor crimps, praying for relief - and the next you're moving off welcoming jugs to, well, more crimps. It's a vicious cycle for the send, but one thats completly worth fighting for. Bring it home"

Thought inspiring text... but I have to agree. I backed off of some of the routes we set on our 30 degree wall and the roof just because the holds were biting my fingers, I wasn't enjoying the pain... outside is a completly different kettle of fish as you'll do anything to get the send, but indoors I prefer to keep my digits with skin on them so I can climb more rather than less. I've got a wicked bruise on my thumb from where I was bearing down on one of the holds on the roof and it just dug in so well I had to drop off (This is why you don't see me in the video, because I get onto the roof and then go "ow" and just let go)

If you're sensible in your setting and don't mind a bit of pain then you'll like these holds, but for me unless i'm taking it nice and easy (moves and angle of wall) and not dynoing to them they're fine, steep walls and roofs on these holds are out for me just because i'm a big girl.

The larger holds of the set work well on overhanging terrain but aren’t quite big enough to set on a roof. Being the crazy yahoos we are we put them up in the roof anyways. Our problem started on a small crimp undercling and went straight into the roof. It continued into the overhang and back onto the vertical. Initially we put the three biggest holds of the set into the roof. Our sequence went through a couple of overhauls before we realized that they were not meant to be bolted onto the roof. Our test: try hanging on them with one hand, result: FAIL, but here at climbingholdreview we like a challenge so we continued working the sequence. The moves throughout the route are long and the roof is no exception. Although the big boys of the set are positive they don’t go in very deep so when we were on the roof it required the use of our thumbs. I guess that would classify them as crimps on the roof and jugs on a vertical. Even with the assistance of our thumbs we couldn’t manage to get through the roof so we decided to switch one of the jugs with a smaller hold that had a bigger thumb catch. It worked. This made our roof sequence easier to execute and we were able send the project.

When I say easier, I mean painful, the route got sent once and then we dropped it because it's just too painful to have up all of the time. The Joe's are staying on the wall but as parts of easier routes for now, if you're a huge fan of Joe's then these are a great buy, if you're a fan of skin... then we'd shy away from them and would suggest the "Nut Jobs" from the Asana line!

  • A good mix of hold sizes for a good price
  • Solid construction
  • If you've been to Joe's valley these seem like a good representation of the terrain, that's what they were made to do, and that's what they do do!
  • Not skin friendly
  • Are ok on most angles, but the steeper you go the more skin you'll probably loose
  • These aren't holds that you want to train on for prolonged periods of time
The set costs $39

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