Thursday, May 14, 2009

Review > Climb It > Erosions

Climb It Erosions, hard to define

Does anyone remember the Sediments from Climb It? No? Well have a read here... it's from when we had the wall before our current cave and Noodles had more hair.

Done reading? GOOD! Imagine a set of holds like the Sediments, but without the sediment, the chunks, the bits to grab onto.... can you picture that? You're probably seeing something like this:

And you're right... they do look kind of brutal, and depending upon where you put them... they are kind of brutal! We first had these as an easy traverse, and it was just too nice, most of the holds have incut areas (or lots of incut areas) for your fingers to slide into, some better than others, and we found that whatever we set was getting sent very quickly. So we unbolted and then gave them to Seb, who has more length than the rest of us, so he could play... what he set was a hybrid of the route you see in the video that runs from the steps to the corner of the 45, but there were two changes we made, the holds he put on the roof (yes you did read that right) were moved to make it easier on the fingers. Trust us, trying to match on something that was meant for one hand on a roof is not much fun! Fingers were beginning to hurt.

Skip to a few weeks later (with the hybrid route) and we begin again... we all romped over the route and then decided something a little more spectacular was needed. Joel who's visiting Jacky from Switzerland came over so we gave the holds to him. Now begins a tale of spinning wrenches and the moving of holds; Joel hasn't set before... ever! And he's tall... and strong and he as he says "loves crimpy routes". Noodles went for a beer and then came back in to see what was being set; he'd mutter under his breath and then just walk out again shaking his head.

45 minutes later a route has been formed, the start is nothing short of brutal! Watch the video and if you've got a keen eye you'll notice the the position of the holds stays the same, but the holds do change; rule number one of Routesetting: "Make sure the person can get off of the floor". Eventually we did hit that point, the blind slap around the corner of the 45 was the stopper move for a good long time until we started hitting it and could get onto the 30 degree wall. Did it get easier from there? A little, but not much! The small holds from the set are more than hangable, but you need to be very very gentle getting onto them and how you position your body and weight your hands.


The larger of the holds have by far some of the largest slots for your hands in these sets, so you could take them up to something around 60 degrees overhung, the rest of the holds as you've seen from the video are suited to either 30 or 45 degree walls, and everything in between. One way or another you will end up having your fingers in slots ranging from finger tip to just over two pads deep.. thankfully there are enough thumb catches and other slots to help you out of whatever mess you can get yourself into.

If you put these holds on slabs / vertical walls and err towards the larger holds then beginners will have some fun getting up whatever route you decide to set, there are more than enough areas for your feet and despite some of the slots being shallow the texture of the holds should grab enough shoe rubber to allow them to get through the moves.

This is another set of holds from Climb It that are pretty rock like in appearance and feel, these holds when matched with say the Cobblestones or Sediments would make for a very interesting route... hey, that gives us an idea... where are the wrenches?

Versatility: Vertically it's pinch time, horizontally it's crimp / edge time
Screw Holes: No

Ok so Seb went a little bit nuts with his route, I went a little nuts as well and then Joel, well Joel just put the icing on the cake... putting anything other than the largest of these holds onto the 45 degree wall was always going to be a real chore to get up/across. But what the hey, if we don't try it then we'd never know.

Speaking with Louie (the shaper) a while back when he heard we were going to look at these he thought that we'd have a real blast with these holds; they turned up at the same time as the Cobblestones and the Halos and we were never sure in which order we were going to review the three sets in; the Cobblestones obviously won, and now these have had a thorough beating (or is it us that took the beating?)

The Erosions are simply put the Sediments without the little stones to hang onto, you're looking at incuts all the way.... what's going to be next? A hybrid set of incuts and little stones... hang on that's actually a pretty good idea!! Oh Loooooouie :) The route I set took some time to get across, which given what I set isn't really a surprise, did you see me hit the hold on the edge of the 45 with my pinky and ring finger and hold it?? Oooof, it wasn't a pretty move, I had a full on case of tourettes going on when I hit that one I can tell ya! It's hard to pin down these holds into what makes them nice to hold onto... the texture takes some time to bed in (which is pretty usual), is it the fact that even the small crimp incuts aren't that brutal on your fingers? or is it the variety of use you can get from these holds? I'm not sure, it's a mix of a lot of things... these holds coupled with the Sediments in the same color is going to make for a really interesting route! (Remember we had the Sediments at the gym on a completely horizontal roof at one point for some knee bar fun); again it seems that Climb It have made a set of holds that we'd recommend, there's nothing bad with them, they can be as brutal as you want on steep terrain (even if they're next to each other) but nice to beginners on lesser terrain. I had fun, I'm never going to do that blind move again as it was crazy, but I will set something else very soon with these holds... well after the TDB they're going to the gym for some more testing....

Joel has the longest reach and new at setting route, which made reconsider Noodles's suggestion that he set a route. I've noticed that when you're new at setting you tend to over think the moves and make the route harder than expected, and with Joels long reach this problem nothing but HARD! We came across the corner with a blind dynamic move to a hold that just bit into my hands. I think Noodles has some kind of climbers sixth sense and when he came around the corner he always hit the bottom part of the hold. Its made up of a couple of shallow finger pockets which are by far nicer than hitting the top crimpier part of the hold.

Climb It holds is one of our favorite hold companies (I know what people are thinking, " should be objective in their review", but if get your hands on a set of Climb It holds and you be the judge) and their shapes give climbing outside a run for its money. The shapes coming from Climb It are consistent where the texture is nice on the skin and the holds are finger friendly (except when chucking a blind move around the corner on a 45 degree wall). Out of all the sets that we've received, I like these ones the most. Many of the real rock crimps feel like real rock and eat away at the skin but you won't find that with the Erosion's. The crimps on the holds are big enough to be comfortable. They're still not big enough for us to use on the 45 (check out the fail at the end of the review) and we ended up using one of the bigger holds for the long move. Not that it made it much easier, we just found the one hold that would allow us to execute the move.

What I really like about these holds is the variety of grips. Right side up, upside down and inside out, the holds will always give you something to grab. It may not be the best placement but with a little effort we could figure out all the moves. When Seb first set with the Erosions, he told us that he set the problem for us and said thought that he was not going to get around it, but we convinced him that it "wasn't that hard" he managed to complete most of the problem. My final words: Not to sound unprofessional or biased but these holds are sweet:P

Climb-It, Climb-It, Climb-It... CLIMB IT! How can you not be tempted to climb on holds like these? When it resembles rock, I can only be tempted to try them. Thankfully, there are companies that have understood that we are ROCK climbers, who are only training on plastic in order to be much better when we get to the mountain, Climb-It seems to have understood this. If you go and browse around their website you will realize that most of their collection is inspired from types of rock found in nature (If you are a competitor of Climb-It, note that!). Oh and I hear you already, thinking that I am picking sides, WRONG! I am an objective reviewer, but I am sick of holds that are too simple and have no natural characteristics about them. The Erosion set was very well conceived. It exists in a range full of sizes which will make you feel like you're supposed to when you're climbing. Holds with well gauged finger holds, without being too easy or too comfortable to hold onto, on a technical route you might even need to feel them out a little before finding your path. It is very possible to place some of the holds in such a way that will enforce certain moves on the climber, since some of smaller holds are quite limiting.

Conclusion, this is a quality set of holds which will be inspiring to both climbers and competitors... of Climb-It

If you are looking for a crimpy challenge then you would be served by the Erosions from Climb It. This series of bright pink original shapes that will remind you that gravity can be a precious gift or a curse! The route I worked on was a nice low traverse demanding more flexibility and balance than strength (I like those!). When set up as such, the Erosions are already challenging.

The stress on your fingers is not necessarily risking injury but your joints will get a work out. There is never quite enough space on the grips to place more then a knuckle's worth of finger. On the other hand, the texture is very nice (although, rock has been roughin' up my finger tips and maybe I'm being nicer than usual). The finish is nice to stick on without feeling like you might over-exfoliate your skin if you fall.

Then, the boys decided to play on the 45... Based on the fact that my 'squeeze' power had already been tested on the 30, I chose to watch and laugh... If I was you I'd do the same (see the video) ;).

  • Very versatile holds, they make for some interesting pinches
  • Good range of sizes from M to 2XL, where are the bolt on feet?

  • Some of the larger holds should really have pre drilled screw holes
  • Cleaning the incuts with a tooth brush is a real pain... takes some time
From the video you'll see a bunch of fails... but the faces and the different body positions are worth a second freeze frame look. Four guys, one set of holds and a lot of unbolting... once Pantera came on Noodles hit the move from the 45 and the rest followed; but that was three hours into the session... enjoy our pain :)


EvilJelloMan said...

How do these compare to the Project Kreases, also shaped by Louie?

ntmb said...

They're much nicer on the fingers, not so dangerous or sharp. They're smoother, a little rounder, but just as much fun to play with.

These with the Sediments and Kreases would be a real laugh