Thursday, October 15, 2009

Review > Rock Candy > Ruffles

Rock Candy
Rock Candy? More like Rock Crisps! (Chips for our American speaking readers)Yup the holds we're looking at today are called the Ruffles, it brings up images of crisps for us, we played with pulling holds out of empty packets for the walk through video, having the bags as our chalk bags as we climbed... we dreamt of so many things to do and what did we get stuck on? We got stuck on one move on one problem for over a week (going on two now)

Why did we get stuck? Well these holds:have slots where you grab them, one side incut and one side slopey...
We figured that as the incut side is incut we'd set a quick problem on the 45 degree wall, dispatch it quickly and then set some other stuff...How wrong were we? Pretty damn! One move off of one hold is what we're (currently) stuck on... but we're working the problem AND IT WILL GO. They are pretty well incut, deceptive in their manner that's for sure. The dual texture is slick which means that the chance of getting a thumb catch on all of these holds is the best part of impossible, so you're stuck just having the textured part of the hold, which is grippy as hell but sometimes when it gets chalked up gets hard to hold.... a quick brush and you're away again, hitting the mats time after time.

And we kind of enjoy the fact that we're being shut down by a set of holds that look like you can just crank and not worry about having the work the problem.. we were wrong. So we marked the holds and their rotation on the 45 degree wall and then played about some traverse stuff where you have to match the hold. Playing about on the route we found that on most walls the incut area are nice to grab and move across on, there's not too much trouble there... spin the holds 180 and you end up with the slopey side, all we'll say here is thank god for the dimples in the textured area as you're going to be holding on for dear life if you're trying the moves on a slight overhang :)

Next up? Well the walk through video had a good idea in it... put the slots vertically and see if you can use the opposing edges to move across... ooooof. Sometimes you can run the opposing moves as a match (using the slopey side and incut sides) other times you're going to find it really really tricky to pull this move off as the slopey side is just a little too slopey. This means you end up having to turn your body and get both your hands onto the incut side and then go for the next hold... cue a few barn doors as you try this one.





We added the 45 degree logo although, after 3 rounds, we couldn't get ourselves up the problem. An extra foot would have made the all the difference with this problem but we worked out some beta that got us to the last hold, only problem was we were never able to connect all the moves:P On a vertical wall the incut sides are huge and if you want to make the problem more challenging its a matter of spinning the hold around for the slope.

We set a bunch of routes with these holds, but from the video you can see only one... and there's good reason for that it's because even though we moved the holds around we just didn't film it as we were pre-occupied with getting this route done. From low ass dragging traverses' to slopey side pulls these holds have it all, one thing (we didn't try) but think might be a good idea is for the Trad Monkeys out there to look at these holds as we think they could be used for practicing to place gear for when you're outside (just don't weight it) the slots in these holds are just begging to have some cams and nuts wedged into them!!

The holds are pretty technical and something that will give people a lot of fun, so far we've seen little of the Rock Candy hold line but what we have seen so far is impressive for a small company

Versatility: Inbuilt with the design
Screw Holes: Yes on all holds
Ok... the two things that stand out about these holds are the colour and the texture. The hold itself is translucent and so it gives the colour of the hold a unique tone. So Ill mold some holds with this translucent urethane but are one of very few companies who do so and Rock Candy is among them. Don't think that translucent means weak, the urethane in these holds is nice and strong, we cranked one of the Ruffles up to 20ft lbs of torque the other night (Most people can turn a wrench to 10ft lbs or maybe 15) and the washer was still in the same place that it started in; it didn't sink as the urethane compressed

The dual texture of the hold is discrete, and they look as though they're regular textured holds. Its until you get your hands on them you realize that they have a little more to offer. Along with the dual texture the shape incorporates thumb catches in ridges that are molded along the hold, but remember the thumb catches are smooth so even though you can get something on them it's not as good of a placement as you're going to expect... same go's for feet, if you're careful you can stand on the slick part of these holds, but if your footwork is clumsy then you're going to struggle.

Sanding wise the backs are smooth, the bolt holes although not centred are square with a nice flat washer and the textured part of the holds are grippy but not so that your finger tips are going to be bleeding at the end of a session. Cleaning wise the chalk will be within the slots on these holds and therefore we pressure washed them down in the garage; the texture and holds came back out like new.

These holds were shaped by Tony Reynaldo and we're not sure whether we should praise him or hunt him down with dogs :) The man is obviously an evil genius and we tip our hat to him and hope he shapes some more of these holds without the dimples and a super smooth exterior for our climbing enjoyment

*Ding ding*
Round Three
Right this is starting to get on my nerves. I'm so so close to nailing the route it's not even funny now, add to that my old climbing partner Jeff is back in town and he's not climbed for a good long while and he's almost nailed this route on a few occasions. We're now resting more than usual between attempts, the music is getting heavier and heavier and the amount of footage that we've filmed that cannot be used due to language that would make a sailor blush is starting to get a little silly... I'm flying off on the last move and I am really really throwing out some interesting combination's of words, some of which I'm not even sure I've used before... at times it's involving mothers, others it involves mothers and animals. Frustrated? YES!

Nathan and the team at Rock Candy have done a great job on these holds, my setting... well... Chris and I both wanted to set something hard (comp season is coming) and we wanted to push ourselves and have something to work on. We both agree that the difficulty and technical nature of these holds and my setting have made a wonderful wonderful route, sure it's frustrating, sure it's hard and I'm having to work to get that last hold and the final hand up to match it... but is it worth it? Is it really worth hurting fingers and cursed mothers to get that one last move and the first send of this little 5 move route?

FUCK YES!

Well done Rock Candy, I hate and love you in equal parts... I'll love you more once I finish this route :P

(Update: (October 21st) day before posting the review, as the wall is (well mine) in my house I just snuck in and warmed up and then had a few runs up the route... the last move is soooo close now I can taste it, if we get this route I swear I'll video it to prove that it went down (if anyone has these holds and needs a close up image of the route so they can try it drop me a line, we'll post your videos of your attempts (and fails :P))
We managed time after time to get to the last move on the 45 and it always ended with our butts on the ground screaming some profanity. The holds are large enough and they have quite a large incut but if your feet come off the wall it becomes very hard to stick the holds. We had to make sure to keep our feet on the wall and we don't have many large feet on the overhang so it came down to core strength and lots of it! The holds are big enough to hang on the 45 but they are very hard to pull down on. If we put a big foot in the right place, we might have managed to get the last move. It may sound like I'm making a bunch of excuses for not being able to send the problem and to be honest, we were very close to sending and its just a matter of being a little stronger...or a little more committing....or a little of both....my point here is that there not impossible to get up.

The thing that stood out for me is the texture. The dual texture is well done and you get no grip on the smooth part of the hold but the ridges incorporated into the shape make it so you can use them as thumb catches, which should have aided us in getting up the 45...but it did not :P There is a variety of sizes in the set and for us (we try to set exclusively with the holds that we review) it gives us more options to set with. On another note, we had the smallest holds at the bottom of our problem. It went without a hitch, we figured out what feet to use and away we went. The smaller holds required a lot more body tension to keep your feet on and it Noodles thought it would be a good idea to leave them at the start of the problem. He set the largest hold as the last hold on the problem. It was big, incut, and we should have made it up....but we did not :(

PROS
  • Slopey or incut your choice
  • Could be used to practice placing trad gear
CONS
  • The set isn't all XL sized holds, three are... two are L or Medium
  • Dual texture isn't as slick as you think, you can stand (on) and thumb catch the ridges if needed
PRICE
$59 gets you five holds

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