Thursday, September 3, 2009

Review > Uncarved Block > 30 Degree Set


Uncarved Blocks showed up at our doorstep, hailing from the land down under. (Do we hear a song here?)
Being established in 1996, Uncarved block has been in the game for many years this is the first time that we’ve experienced their holds on the CHR wall but its not the first time we’ve seen them in Montreal. We’ve climbed on them before at one of our local gyms. They have a website that is easy to navigate and if you want to order some holds you can find the PDF file of their catalogue halfway down the home page.

So the guys down at Uncarved Block are pretty zen. They’ve put a little ying yang on each one of their holds. Don’t try to use it as a thumb catch, the material is slick and your thumb will slip right off :P

We received one of the largest sets of holds, the 30 degree set. The set includes 30 holds of all shapes and sizes. It’s too bad they haven’t put anything in they’re pictures of the holds because you can’t tell the size of the holds. With this set we got everything from big two hand slope to little edges. Uncarved block holds are designed so you can climb all day without ripping up your skin and they’ve done a good job on that.

With a set as large as this one, we had a tough decision to make. Ok, so there made for a 30 degree wall, but lets face it, we like to climb hard and are sure that we can get them on the 45 but we decided to make our first problem nice and friendly by setting an endurance route.

Usually you buy a set of holds and they all have a common theme, pinches, jugs, but with this set you get a little of everything. “Uncarved block” translates to simplicity and is a symbol of pure potential in Chinese and the holds reflect it. The shapes are simple but the larger shapes have many grips potentials depending on how you set it.

Nice and friendly is a bit of an understatement when we’re talking about Uncarved Blocks holds. They’re pretty basic shapes and its obvious where the good part of the hold is situated but they’ve designed their holds so you’ll need to work to get through a sequence. Our group was divided between those who could and those who couldn’t. This showed us that the holds are better geared towards stronger climbers but since they have a nice smooth texture, they’re great for training and getting stronger with long sessions on the boulder wall.

So we ventured to the 45. There is one hold that is a deep two finger pocket and at one point, Noodles strained a finger on it. Some of the holds worked great on the 45 and we wanted to see the full potential of the holds. When it come to easy sequences, the 30 degree set didn’t pose to much of a problem but as soon as we set some tricky moves, we found ourselves cranking down hard on the holds and led to Noodles tweaking his finger.

The holds are shaped for a 30 degree wall, and that's pretty much where they perform the best. We of course put them into areas where they shouldn't be used as that's what we like to do; the 45 degree wall is pretty much the limit for these holds, they're more than doable but hard as hell most of the time.. they'll give you a good work out on this angle that's for sure! On the 30 or a vertical wall you're pretty well set and shouldn't have any real troubles, straight out of the box with the variety of holds in this pack means you're off and setting bouldering routes or longer lead / top rope routes pretty easily... you just want to sit down and to feel the holds and see what you want to set. We had time to sit and look at them on the website so we knew (well Noodles did) right away!!

The holds are going to be harder for beginner climbers as weighting some of these holds in the correct manor is the key between getting a route and falling off, we found at the start being too full on with these holds would lead to a one way trip to the floor :) But once you get your mind around the shapes you're in for some fun

Versatility: Well.... infinite
Screw Holes: No

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