The Combats for one bring up certain images of fighting, and this is compounded more by the fact that these holds have little kung-fu images embossed on them... no really! Look at the above image and you can see the little guys on the left of the picture. Although we knew that the little fighters were on the holds they were not all that apparent until you actually climb on the holds and get some chalk onto them, once you've touched the holds the raised image is easier to see :)
I set a route that has some similar moves to what was set way back when on the E-Grips 2-Tex Pure Crimps (Yes they are crimps but I was using them as pinches more than crimps!) you can see that video here, it was an exercise to see how these holds matched up with similar moves and with these holds... and after playing for a few hours it can be simply put that these holds are nice positive pinches that depending upon the way you rotate them can be hauled on my pretty much anyone. Of course there are a few holds in the set that are harder than others but even these are positive, they're just a little thinner than the rest. Once we'd got a feel for the holds we did something that no normal person would try with these holds.... we stuck a few on the roof, making sure ay the same time that we had some nice feet so we could see how they felt when you have to grab them overhead. The video below tells the story better than words :P
The holds are actually on the Nicros site as shallow pinches, but we think that they're not actually that shallow, they're shaped by Nic Oklobzija who i've spoken to a little bit over the last few months and he's been shaping a bunch of stuff of late, including the Infinity Training board (which took three years of R&D) which should hit my doorstep this week sometime!
If you read the Nicros Training page, which is written by the Eric Horst, who's written a bunch of books on climbing, you can see the full list of holds that he recommends (here) for indoor training that Nicros make. I found the page after we'd written our suggestions on angle and it's nice to see that we're spot on for what we recommend using the holds on!!
I prefer pinching to say crimping so I like these holds a lot and had a bunch of fun making Chris make noises as we gripped the holds for the video. We've had a bunch of pinches that we've reviewed over time and these are some of the nicest that we've had our hands on. They're good enough for steep walls and some serious training or for setting easy routes for beginners that teaches them body movement. Right now the holds are at Allez Up on a 5.10 that I set last weekend, I'm using them half of the set in their intended format on the first part of the route so the only feet that the climber has is the slick dual texture part, and then on the second part of the route they're set as slopes and crimps. From what I've seen and heard so far people really like the holds, there's been no complaints.
The only thing I can fault Nicros on is the fact that their packing wasn't that good, some of the other holds in the box had moved around in transport and had chipped. It wasn't a case of Fed Ex throwing the parcel around, the box that arrived at my door didn't have a scuff mark or ding on it, it was just a case of loose holds moving and bumping into each other. I spoke to Nicros about the problem and they're sending replacements out, their customer service once again has been faultless!
- Some of the best pinches on the market for training
- They're multi use holds, if you use the holds in a horizontal position they are nice one pad slopes or incuts.
- Skin and tendon friendly design
- (Minor point) Can't see the little fighting guys on the holds, they could be raised a little more
- All the holds have a similar design, you know what to expect from one hold to another
- Nicros packing wasn't all that great the first time around
The Combats are $56.95, and considering you're getting 10 training friendly pinches the price is pretty good.
**Thanks to Brian O'Connor for sorting us out with the holds, he's leaving Nicros on Sept 5th and we wish him all the best in his future endevours, lucky bugger will be living right next to Smith Rock**