Saturday, May 23, 2009

Review: Project Holds > Fins

Fresh out of the molds and straight to our doorstep, the Fins are the newest shapes from Project. Charles has always been kind enough to send us the full set of holds so we can get a good feel of what the whole range has to offer. The Fins are a strange breed, they range from medium to extra large and at first glance they seem to be nice big jugs, at least that's what I thought when I saw them for the first time on the Project website. Jackie and Noodles were the first ones to play on them and when I saw the video of the session it was clear that they were far from being the nice easy jugs that we love to warm up on. They are flat to incut and on a vertical wall they won't take much to stick them. The x-large set is the most deceiving of them all (as noted, they look like jugs but clearly are not). They all have a lip on them that makes the hold more of a pinch than anything else which proves useful when working on overhanging terrain. They're very comfortable holds with round edges that won't dig into the fingers. The texture is smooth, the color is great and they'll always have you coming back for more.

Jackie and Noodles were the first to have fun with them and the holds threw them a curve ball when they set on the 45. In the end they needed to add a hold (and an alternate one for Eve since she doesn't have a long reach like the boys) to make it to the top of the 45. The route continued traversing along the wall and despite repeating myself, the holds were deceptive. They placed a couple of the x-large holds up as side pulls, and it looks as if the sequence will be a walk in the park, but when you catch the hold the realization is that they are not jugs and its going to require a bit more effort to get across the wall

Our second set was a traverse going the other way starting on the vertical wall. It started on a hold that we set upside down . The lip on the holds make it so you can grab the holds any which way, so getting yourself off the ground is easier than you'd think. (Noodles: I disagree I ended up on the floor a few times) So the route was set with the holds upside down and every thing in between, Jacky likes to make it hard for people. If the hold was at a bad angle all you needed was the lip to help you stay on.. Eve is the smallest member of the CHR crew and has the shortest reach but she still managed to get across using one intermediate hold on the sequence.

We've always been a fan of Project Holds and the Fins are no exception. Their shapes are unique and there holds worth the money. Project is a small company (its run by Charles, and him alone) and we're impressed with what comes out of their shop. Be it a gym or an addition to a woody these holds will find itself at home on any wall :)

Note: We always read your comments and use them to improve the quality of our reviews. Brett Olsen suggested that we do a more in depth video of the holds. Following is a walk through of the second problem:

The Fins are very diverse, they can be set on a vertical wall, overhang, and even some of the more incut holds a can be set on a roof. Ideally though they are for vertical to slight overhanging terrain. If you're looking for a challenge, just turn the holds upside down. They work really well as big pinches, and this we think is where they excel.... vertically you're going to get a challenge, horizontally you'll just haul around with no problem, upside down you're going to have fun trying to stay on the wall :P

Nice easy shapes, but don't get too confident, remember that these are more on the pinchy side. The roundness of the shapes make it so you can challenge yourself on the steeper terrain with the minimal finger pain at the end of the session and makes a good training tool.

Because of the size beginners should be ok with these holds on a 30 degree overhung wall, anyone with some experience will be ok on a 45 degree wall and well pretty much most terrain that these holds can be bolted on shouldn't cause too much grief for you. We do wish that there were some smaller holds on the same ilk in the range, hopefully they'll be shaped sooner rather than later

Versatility: More than you think
Screw Holes: Yes
These days there is a lot of competition in the hold market, and if you get holds that are sub-par you're probably not going to order from them again; Project Holds are quality, and should probably sell more holds than they do, their lines are getting larger, some simple shapes are coming out and older lines are being updated with more shapes.

From good texture, to nice ergonomic shapes for your hands there's something for you if you want to work on your pinch strength then these are right up your street. The bolt holes are centred and square, the hollow backs need a little work, they could be better and some weight savings could be made if this was sorted out.

Color is always subjective, we like the neon green, some people won't but that's down to your choice.. order whatever color you like... Charles will merrily mix a batch of urethane to suit your needs. Sanding is good across the entire range that we have with nothing to mention other than they're nice and flat

I think the most noticeable thing I found on the Fins from Project is the fact that they are quite slippery. I mean when we got them, brand new, it was simply impossible to stick to them. In order for someone to get through our first route I had to pre-chalk them. Still, I found that after being used a few times over, they were slippery again. Some even got rubber marks from our shoes and then they felt brand new again. At first sight, the Fins seem to have the classic Project texture, a little rough but nothing painful. But then, I was shocked at how much such large pinches must be squeezed to keep my weight up... and I ain't that big! Anywho, they are still a lot of fun to play with (despite the mean, mean setters I hang out with). The colour is bright and lovely... brings out my eyes! (Just Kidding) Point is they look good, the shapes are also nice. Although the actual shapes are inherently unoriginal, the set is fairly big (15 holds) and varied enough in angles and size to allow for a wide variety of moves. If you consider that there is also no 'right side' on most of them, you end up with a high versatility set. You can set a warm-up route with these as easily as you would set a butt kicking impossible one.


Louie Anderson said...

Fun shapes.

Sounds like you guys enjoyed them...

bredto said...

Awesome. Thanks for the walk through. It's definitely easier for me to get an idea of what the holds are like with a video rather than comparing them to a biner.

I've already bought holds based on your recommendations, so keep up the good work!

Louie Anderson said...

Got the OK from Charles to do some smaller versions of these, so they'll be coming to market soon...

ntmb said...


RockOnHolds said...

Videos always seem the best way to show rock climbing holds. Thanks for the posting.