Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Review > Metolius > Cobblestones 2


Way back... well a year ago we reviewed the Metolius Cobblestones
And our overall comments were this (you can read the old review here):


  • They hold up pretty well in a commercial gym
  • Holds get better the more they are used
  • Changing a route means rotating a hold a little
  • They only come in one color... green
  • They do take a few climbs before they get REALLY good
  • Depending upon how strong you are will dictate how overhung a wall they can be used on
Now Metolius has extended the line of holds to include some more shapes, rather than the normal Cobblestones we've been climbing on they've made some more:

We have the set of the left, Set A: and this time they're much more incut than what we'd seen before. As we had a pretty big session scheduled the day they turned up we gave them to Eve and she set a route to test herself, and because the rest of us are stronger than her, there was a little added sting in the tail... she put the last hold upside down so we'd all just chuck for it and then get sent flying!

After we'd all had a few go's on that route, we turned the upside down final hold up the right way so people had a chance of finishing the stretchy last move. (Chris and Noodles actually managed to match the upside down hold on their first or second trys) Doing this meant that KC and Seb who came over a few nights later were able to romp across the route without too much trouble, KC is fairly new to bouldering and Seb hates roofs so getting the across the route was pretty cool.

Now that the route was dispatched we grabbed the other Cobblestones we have and we set a route with the entire ensemble... across the 45, the 30, under the box and then onto our stepped feature. The new holds are a nice compliment to the original line, with the jugs being positive enough for the 45 degree wall when set as side pulls (We also set a route on just the new set on the 45 and they're big enough to campus up without worrying too much); they're super positive, but not space hoggers, and for intermediate climbers these holds are going to be good training on steep terrain, for beginners they're going to inspire confidence as they look smooth and shallow but are more forgiving than they'll think. That being said, as the original holds we have range between slim, really slim and slightly incut the traverse that Noodles set had a few people (him included) dabbing the padding on the last few moves.


As the holds are all pretty incut depending upon your level of climbing you should be able to climb on steep walls or across a roof on these holds, some of the people you saw in the first video are bouldering around the V1 / V2 level and they struggled with the moves to begin with but once they got them dialed in they were able to get across the roof without too much trouble. The holds will teach beginners (especially if mixed with the other Cobblestone holds) that looks can be deceptive and that these are more positive than they're going to expect.

Despite the fact that there is no wow factor with this set, these kind of shapes should be standard on any wall. They're great holds to warm up on and don't take up too much area, you could place them in any problem, they don't burn the skin, there's not much wrong with these holds except the color. Now don't get me wrong, I like the green, but Metolius doesn't offer any other colors and I think that if they had more variety we'd see more of Metolius's holds in the gym.

It was my first time playing with any holds in this collection. Noodles asked me to set with the 'juggy' ones and so I did. Off of the feature, into the roof and... Since I like to cause a little trouble for the boys, final move onto the opposing wall, on a hold which I cleverly set upside down. As the video depicts clearly: many triers, zero success. So, we placed the hold back up just to realize that it was enough of a challenge even that way. This is because the cobble 'jugs' are really barely that. We set another route with the complete collection and now I get it....they are jugs because the other cobbles are sorry excuses for wall protrusions. I wasn't able to go through that route but eh! Watch'ya gonna do, I tried :).

So the cobbles are pretty standard looking, they are what I assume my grandma would imagine a climbing hold to look like. The shape and color at first glance is nothing special and at second glance, looks like its been done. None the less, these little 'jugs' are a very nice set since the difference between each member of the kit really only is just how much finger space exists in the angle between the hold and the wall for you to close your hand on. This allows a setter to keep the level of difficulty of a route fairly standard since you can use the nice jugs on the angled wall and then keep the 'oh my god, how much am I suppose to squeeze' ones on a slab. Or, if your Noodles, on the 30 degrees! Either way, the Metolius Cobbles are a painless way to get a good training session in. They are skin and tendon friendly with an appreciable touch of holy s***!!!!!
Here, spring’s back and the rock are slowly warming up. Yes, I am still complaining; I NEED REAL ROCK!!!! Hence my deception when I saw the Cobblestones from Metolius. I can’t say they are bad holds. They are well constructed with the reliability and solidity you’d expect from Metolius. We even managed to make a very technical route! On the other hand, there is not one ounce of originality in these holds (dull colour, simplistic form and uniform texture). These days, with such harsh competition and holds evolving so rapidly, it is disappointing to still see holds like these for serious training. Worse yet, are the koala-ear-like holds included in the kit, which are outrageously unnatural (except for on koala heads of course). I’m sorry, but I do not climb koalas…you know, trying to preserve nature and all. Basically, I have nothing against the Cobbles but they don’t make me want to climb, or haul myself to the gym for that matter. The worst part is, it’s exactly the type of hold you’d find in industrial quantities at the gym! For a kid’s route; OK. But for a serious climber; Metolius-man, could you at least vary the texture, because your Cobbles are about as exciting as a girl in a snowsuit.
  1. LOOK: They redefine generic. What you expect to see in a gym
  2. TEXTURE: Skin friendly, classic
  3. VERSATILITY: Let's move to the next topic
  4. ARE THEY FUN: Yep
  5. PRICE: Cheap!

I don't have that much to say about this set. That's what you always see in a gym, they will help you build forearm power (as they say on the Metolius website) and are what I would refer to as as classic shapes. There is no doubt that fun routes can be set with these but they will be more on the easy side (Noodles: He didn't climb the other route!) which is totally not a bad thing for me as I enjoy playing the monkey. Speaking of which, Eve's route was actually quite fun and with a high monkey factor so watch the video

They are quality stuff that will last and that aren't too rough on your hands and you know what... they're cheap!

Bottom line; I don't think that you always need to reinvent the wheel in order to create good stuff. There is also nothing wrong with classics... even if you know them! Would I buy they? For sure. They would not be high on my priority list but I can assue you that they would be on it.
Those holds are fun to play with. They have a good grip, so you can place them in hard to reach places to upgrade the difficulty of a route (Chris: We all had to stretch for that roof move!) You can place them upside-down on a vertical wall, on an angled wall, on the celling everywhere you want. Want’s fun about them is that you can do a route with only your raw power… the hell with technique (ok, ok!!! Some technique).
The outside of the hold have a good grip (texture), they are a little rough but your fingers stick to it. I enjoyed them.


  • They hold up pretty well in a commercial gym, even after years of abuse
  • Holds get better the more they are used; good for beginners on steep terrain
  • Don't take huge amounts of space on a wall

  • They only come in one color... green
  • Take a while to bed in

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