Thursday, March 5, 2009

Review > Element Climbing > Orbits


It's always nice to see a new company spring out of nowhere, I can't remember how I found these guys I think I was looking for a name of a company for one of the people that reads the page and I just stumbled upon it by accident! One thing that I noticed from the start is their website is pretty damn slick, it's not the website you normally see, it was in the form of a periodic table (and as I'm a geek) it stood out. They've been selling holds to local gyms for a while, and we figured we should have a look and see what's up with their line. First up is the Orbits, some round shapes with the tops lopped off and flat edges / slopers for your climbing enjoyment.

We went a different route with these holds, normally we ask can they go on the roof or the 45... this time we gave them to Seb and let him have fly out of the box; he set something that looked just to low to get onto, the first hold was high, and then the second two just looked too low for anyone to be able to make use of them.. and then a throw to what can only be described as a flat edged sloper; remember all of this on an overhang, so the hold (pictured left) is going to be just-that-little-bit-worse then it needs to be! Thankfully, the camera was rolling and I managed to nail the route first time, I'd never touched the holds so it was an interesting climb:

As you can see Chris was a little muddled on his feet, he had a harder time than me because I'm short and I can just keep a lower centre of gravity, Seb on the other had was having a hell of a time keeping his 6'2 frame on the wall; he could actually reach the throw from the start but doesn't have enough strength to hold onto it and move... he'll get it eventually.

One thing we all noticed during that session was the lips on the holds, where the nice round shape is cut off on every hold there's a lip that catches your fingers from time to time. From an aesthetic point of view it makes the holds look nicer than just a sloper with the tops flattened, but from a climbing point of view it's not really needed. People with smaller hands are probably going to feel this more than your monkey clawed brethren, it's not sharp, it is round but it's one of those little things that could have been better. I spoke to Dave over at Element the day after the session and mentioned that the shapes climb well, but the lip gets in the way. The holds would be pretty good without the lip, he agrees and might shape some more shapes without the lip to compliment these.

The second route as you can see what a little more technical, Eve set something that was pretty hard and stretchy, note the use of a head jam for her to get across the route! Again the holds performed well, the edges are just enough for you to hang on without worrying about being spat off once you get the sequence in your head.

You could go to 45 on these holds with some good, no great feet.. your core is going to get a work out trying to hang these, it is doable, but it's hard. Given the nature of the shapes with only one of them being incut this is where the lips do come into play, but you're going to have some sore fingers if you attempt this over and over again! On a 30 degree wall you're going to be challenged with some balancey moves and matches that are going to give you a test but is by no means undo-able. Seb / Eve and Chris had a hard time to start with on the first route, but once they'd worked it a few times they either got the sequence in a few more trys or just nailed it once they figured their footwork out.

Climbing is always fun! Well, to some. Being some, I can say that the Orbits from Element are fun to climb on! However, I can't say there was enough to them to make them memorable. They're round yeah, and they came in this ordinary shade of green... Dull. Once it's covered in chalk, its pretty gray and unexciting. They have a texture which is fairly soft and sticks nicely. It feels like it looks cause it looks like it feels! They are, I guess, serving their purpose since they almost totally lack in flexibility. The advantage is that it allows a setter to impose pretty easily what the move is going to be. Although when you can't set you can confuse yourself; they just didn't see the headlock :). So I say Orbits work but they won't send you flying.


adamcrisman said...

I've seen typos before but a section of text that is actually the same color as the page background (in Chris's review).. thats a new one :). Where is Lindsey when you need her. I like how the element set has a large hold and small ones.

ntmb said...

Chris says he's sorry, I highlighted some text and he turned it back to black... of course the background is back!

Thanks for the spot Adam!! They're good holds for vertical dude, slabs as well.... slight overhangs are a laugh too!