Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Review > Metolius > Hueco Roof Jugs

Hueco tanks... is a climbing mecca, that's if you can get a reservation and don't mind rocking about the place with a guide. It's in almost every bouldering film that comes out and has some of the Worlds most famous routes... for some people it's like the Fontainebleau of the US. But currently with the restrictions that are in place and areas of the park being closed on a yearly basis it's getting to a point where you're only going to be able to see and grip Hueco like shapes from a climbing company. Many company's have lines that take their inspiration from Hueco Tanks and Metolius is one of them, I've only been to Hueco once a long time ago so I was interested to see what these holds would be like compared to the real place...

We took the Hueco roof jugs set that you can see below:
First thing that you're going to notice is that these holds are pretty big, not feature sized big but big enough that when you've got them in your lap your brain running with where you're going to put them, you'll feel the huge pockets and the dimpled texture and know that like the sets suggest the roof is the place for these to go! Our roof was lacking some huge holds so they went up, all of the holds have screw holes to compliment the bolt and you're going to need to whack a few in to stop these monsters from spinning on you! We've only used one screw per hold opposite the bolt placement to stop the spin... but if you've got some big climbers kicking about the gym then we'd suggest you put all the screws in when you set with these!

Upon first grabbing the holds when they were on the roof we were surprised at how big the features of the holds actually were, we're talking "thank god this is a jug, I can now shake out" sized areas to hold onto, we knew they were big as we'd played with them when we were getting them off of their backing, but actually getting horizontal and grabbing for them was a pleasant surprise :)
We set a sequence across the roof that would allow us to go both ways, it was a little harder than expected despite the holds being big enough for most people to swing around like a monkey on...If you've got any kind of upper body strength you should be able to huck about pretty much any terrain, they're going to be great for beginners on a roof or steeply overhung wall section, but they'll also be good for kids on flat panels as they'll be able to get their little paws on the holds, match and then have a monster of a foot hold to stand onThe route we set ran from one side of the wall using a colonette (that's also from Metolius) and then following some huge holds across the back wall, onto the overhang and then into the roof for the Hueco roof traverse. To make things interesting there is only one starting foot hold and then only the holds you have for your hands thereafter, this made for some very interesting climbing as you'll see from the video. I'll admit now that I wasn't having the best climbing day and that I was blown off many times on the sequence that we did set, maybe I was tired, maybe I'm just not as good on roofs than I used to be... who knows!

What took a little while to realize is that some of the holds had areas where you can get a sneeky match in, so when you've wrong handed a sequence you can hang on and then match or in some cases you can bump one hand out and get your other in it's place.

The surprising thing with these holds is that Seb got across the roof for the first time (I didn't see it I was making dinner at the time) but I did hear the whoop that was soon followed by Seb coming to tell me he got across the roof! (Seb is about 200+ and can climb 5.10's in a few go's. He his a habitual roof avoider!!) So that was a first for him :) Some of the girls that come on past had some trouble with the spacing on the route, but they realized pretty quickly that if your feet rip off you'll probably still be hanging one armed from the ceiling and can get back on and up quite easily. They seemed to like the fact that they could get two hands into some holds, whereas we can't... overall people seemed to like the Huecos.


We suggest the above angles for the holds, which as you can see is everything from slabs to roofs. The holds are obviously made for roofs but if you've got young children or beginners these holds will get them up the wall with little or no trouble. Most holds have an obvious jug to hold onto but there are areas that will allow a match or a hand switch. Remember for safety to use all the screws provided.

Incut jugs!! Huge, monster, put any name you wish to these! They're big, the main feature is always super incut, there are areas where you can match and these are pretty well incut as well. When you put these holds onto shallower terrain you'll be able to match on the outside of the hold as a sloper.


Resin based holds are always pretty heavy, these aren't as bad as you think they're going to be, they do have a good heft to them but they're not that bad. The bolt and screw placements are well thought out and will stop the hold moving around when people are climbing on it, the area to grab is well defined and has no burrs other than the Hueco dimples.

The backs of the holds are flat, and the resin is some of the best we've seen (there aren't huge air bubbles within it), the texture of the holds is grippy but not overly so, enough that you can monkey across a roof with no feet and not rip the skin off of your fingers.

Our holds are a what I'd call "baby yellow" or "canary yellow" which is fine by me, Metolius run some pretty nice Earth tones and and primary colors and although they're not the brightest holds on the market the do still a good presence upon a wall.

Ok the video shows me having a real bad day, but overall the holds are a really welcome addition to the roof of the wall. I've been hauling on these holds for a while and when I'm getting tired from running laps and am about to take a tumble I grab these holds as a gimme, or for a quick rest and a shake out. Are the holds like Hueco? Yeah they're pretty similar, of course they're not rock but these are a pretty close. From what I remember the dimples and the shapes are pretty realistic and similar to the real thing, what matters most is how they climb. And they climb pretty damn well, they're big enough that we've managed to get Seb (who hates roofs) across and lapping pretty well, he's a big guy and needs something with some beef behind it to hold onto when he hits the horizontal.

Matching is possible when you're back to the floor, but it does require some effort and bouncing on the holds to move your hands. The texture is good and although the holds do take rubber more than most holds, because of the dimples, they clean up remarkably well. The holds could be a little larger so you could get both hands easily into the jug part of the hold, and in some case's they could possibly be a little smaller as they do take up a fair amount of surface area on a wall, gyms won't have a problem with this... these holds did get a little slick from time to time, it is warm in our area, but never to the point where my hand slipped and I fell off of the route, more chalk was needed when we took the video that's for sure

Overall, they're fun to monkey about on. Make of them what you will, if you have kids or beginners at a gym that need something super positive to hang off of then these are a pretty good bet. We've got them up as a warm up route, but we'll move them at some point and will get them onto the second wall when we build it. Two holds are $21.95 so they're not going to break the bank.

Crash helmet? Why are we wearing a crash helmet in the videos? Simple, we're not onto stage two of the wall build yet and where the holds are placed there is a nasty ledge right underneath us... anywho onto the holds :) If you set anything like Noodles does (harder than expected) then even if the holds are huge the moves will be long and hard, add using the holds for feet and it gets very interesting on this bad boys! The holds allow for some interesting matching, and some really creative foot work, you can get some nice toe hooks onto areas of these holds and that's a move you don't see too often at a gym.

Any hold that allows Seb to get across the roof is great for us and better for him, it means we might actually get him onto some of the roofs when we hit the gym!! I was expecting some movement from the holds with him on them with just a single screw and bolt holding them but they were fine. These holds inspire confidence in climbers that don't like roofs all that much, so they'd be good for anyone that looking to get better at climbing roofs. These aren't my favorite Metolius holds, but they're up there... for me they're good for a warm up route and just for playing about on the roof when mixed with other holds.

I've actually managed to get across a roof that's more than 4ft, which for me was a personal goal. The wall over at CHR is always changing whether it be the holds or the routes that are set there, Chris and Jeremy always have some easy warm up routes that I've struggling to get around especially when it comes to the roof! Thankfully with these holds I can now do whichever route they've set and know that I can skip the roof (for now) and go across on something that I have nailed. I've got pretty big hands, so these holds aren't all that big for me, I'm unable to get a hand swap in and some of the divots that the others are using to match the hold are just too small for me to hold onto, maybe in time I'll get stronger and will be able to use the whole hold rather than the huge bits that they have.

I found them to get a little bit slick so had to chalk up on some moves, but this wasn't so hard as if you've got your feet placed well you can just hang off of your arm, chalk and then continue. I've not had much experience with Metolius holds (I'm not like Jeremy that can name every hold and every set thats on the wall or in the bins about the floor) but I know that if I see these holds at a gym I'm going to be able to haul through the sequence on pretty much any angle that they're placed.

As I'm new to the game, and climbing roofs especially I like the holds, they've enabled me to be able to do something that I'd not been able to do before. My guess is that now I've got across the roof is that Jeremy will change the sequence, he'll be cheeky and will probably just swap two of the holds, he's fun like that :P

  • Skin friendly texture
  • Nice shapes with no burrs
  • Matchable, but you have to look for it
  • Good for any angle...
  • Great for beginners!! They're big enough that they can climb on these in sneakers
  • Not everyone likes screws to fix holds to a wall. But due to their size they are needed, if you don't like screwing into your wall them you might want to avoid these (I'm sure that we'd not have them on anything without a screw, because of the size of the holds they would spin without the extra fixing)
  • If surface area is at a minimum then these are quite large holds and do take up space
  • Will get a little clogged with shoe rubber and chalk after a while (They do clean up ok)
Each set (two holds) are $21.95 each

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