Thursday, October 22, 2009

Review > Osm'ose > Manip

In this introduction of our newest friends from France, Osm'ose, most will say “Osmo-who?” kinda like I did when I first saw them appear on my facebook page. For those who are curious, the word “osmose” is the obsolete form of “osmosis”, and the rest you can find on the Internet. Since they don’t have an American distributor, there isn’t much buzz in the North American climbing circles around Osm'ose, but they have been making their mark in Europe, making holds and pre-fabricated wooden panels for your home wall or gym.

We received two sets from Osm'ose, our featured set this week: The Manips! We had these holds in the package until the very end, opening it minutes before we set our first route, and we knew that they weren’t going to be friendly. We debated (while still in the package) which holds were foot holds and which ones were not and came to the conclusion that, being as small as they are, we were going to use them all as hand holds. Was that a mistake? We thought so but stuck by our guns and the holds were cut out of the package and onto the wall.

The set is a mixed bag between bolt on and screw on holds. The screw on holds are small, but they all have an incut and have a good grip on them (Except one, the most evil sloper known to mankind). Most of the bolt on holds are crimps with the exception of the deadly three! Of them there is a two finger pocket, that you can barely get two fingers in, a ledge, that you could barely get a fingernail on, and a tiny slope you can barely get any skin on, so to say the least, with Noodles setting the first problem, I was scared.
The holds have been designed with the real rock feel in mind and for the most part they do a very good job of simulating the outside we all love to play in. Most of the holds are textured and the texture helps in sticking those nasty little crimpers. They’re not the smallest crimps out there and they are nice on the hand and skin. Here come the exception to the rule. Remember those holds, the deadly three? Well they, on the other hand are not textured. Other than the little dimples found for thumb catches they are featureless and very hard to stick.

The crimps are incut and we didn’t work too hard to stick the moves but the deadly three needed to switched around. We had the small edge up in the corner thinking that we wedge ourselves in the corner but we were quick to realize that you could only get around it if it was above our heads to get any kind of grip on the hold. Needless to say we had to tweak out the route to be able to get it to go

We moved onto the next problem. Learning from our last problem, we set the smaller bolt holds to the Motivation volumes we received a while back and started a problem on the 45. It went from the overhang to the holds we set on the volumes. Moving across those moves was tougher than we thought. These holds won’t give you an inch, they need to be climbed on with confidence and grace... and you've seen us climb sometimes... confidence we have in bucket loads... grace... not so much :P Without either, you’ll that the mat is your only friend.

Have we over done the symbols? Well not really, this set does have a bit of everything, screw ons, pinches, edges, crimps and slopers... all in 14 holds.

Do we think they'll go on the 45? Yes if your fingers are super strong, this set doesn't lend itself to this type of terrain easily.

The set as a whole is meant for vertical to slightly overhanging terrain. We didn’t have too much trouble powering our way through sequences on the 30 degree wall. Our problems arose when we had to get through a static sequence that required a balance of agility and strength. Core strength is a must. The holds simulate how it feels to climb hard outside: there’s no two ways of gripping the hold, only the right way or you're flying off. Gyms with aretes are going to love the little screw ons as they're really at home on a desperate slapping move; they're big enough that you can get friction on them but not so big that you can hang and chalk :) What this set does lend itself very well to is hard boulder problems, sure there are some semi easy holds in the set but overall you're looking at a set of holds that are going to make you work in pretty much any combination that you put them in

IF you're a complete sucker for punishment on your home wall then have a look at these holds (although Eve suggested most of them would make amazing footholds rather than hands)... and for a gym they could be what you're looking for but where you put them will determine if your customers will like you and the holds :)

Number of holds: 14
Price per hold: 1.50 Euros per hold (About $2.20 US)
Color: Pink and purple swirls
Bolt placement: Well placed
Sanding: Flat and real smooth
Texture: Grippy, you'll need it
Screw Holes: Yes on every hold!

Its the first time we've ever had our fingers on Osm'ose holds...come to think of it we're probably the only people in Canada to have these holds...and its a surprise that we haven't seen these holds around any gyms in the area. The shapes are nice, the attention to detail is evident in the texture and the fact that they've added a screw hold for the every bolt on holds. Good, well made holds, no complaints. All of the backs are flat, the screw holes are well placed and you can tell that a lot of experience has gone into the overall build quality of the shapes.

The holds only take martini headed bolts so make sure you have a stock of these when you order.

It's nearly 1am after a good session and some dinner, I'm tired, my finger tips bruised and for what? If you look at it in climbing terms, probably nothing! But if you look at it in route terms... and the level of setting we've been pulling off (being unprofessional professional setters and all that) we've done a lot. Let me explain!

Osm'ose are a company from France
We wanted to review their holds, we had trouble getting their holds? Why? You'd think that it'd be an easy no brainer, but it's not. It's really not... there was politics involved and shippers and possibly a few vampires, pirates and other marauders along the way. But in the end we prevailed, and we have the holds and we can put our opinion to them, after all, this is what we do over here at CHR.

Never, and I've seen a lot of holds, never have I been so shut down by some holds (last week and the Rock Candy Ruffles aside), never have I, sod that, never have we been shut down by a set of holds... let me phrase this correctly... erm... shut down so well; again let me explain.

Normally you do this:
a) get holds from packet
b) find bolt
c) move about holds to make pleasing sequence
d) repeat C cos you made a boo boo somewhere
e) climb and enjoy

We mucked up twice with these holds, twice, and I set the first one and then Chris fell into the same trap on the second route. Why? Because these holds are deceptively hard, like hard hard... to clarify, beyond Chris Sharma hard on vertical in some cases. I really am not joking, I'm being serious as hell! These holds lull you into a false sense of security, they make you think that you are Sharma and that "this move will be easy"... and it's not a bad thing in any case
We made mistakes with what we set, I don't say just I because it was a "we" situation. I set something that I thought would go, we'd touched the holds but not pulled down on them at this point and boy was I wrong... seriously wrong. One pained shoulder later, I switched two holds and we were away and flying. Was what I thought going to be an easy route was in no shape or form easy? Nope, not at all, it was hard on the vertical and it was harder on the 30 degree wall... the screw ons in this set are thin, hell some of the bolt ons are thin, they make some of Franklin Climbings shapes look huge!

If these holds are what Europe is putting out then there is no wonder why the Europeans are so strong (and I'm European remember), if people have stuff like this in the gym for the winter months no wonder they win most of the comps. For a home wall this set I'd say... how hard to you want to go.... like how hard do you want to go? If the answer is hard then welcome to Osm'ose. Gyms, oh that's another case! Go and buy them, and give me a plane ticket and I will come and set the most evil route known to man, it's not really that hard to do with these holds, I could do with a week away from work so please send me a request :P (No one need apply unless you weather is described in brochures as "tropical")
If you have a comp and you need something spicy then you have found what you're looking for and when I say spicy I mean you'll feel it on the way out spicy... these holds are tech and hell, make you work for every god damn move and if you get the route you're going to feel like a king... a king on a big bloody horse, after a HUGE battle with a beer in your hand... you will feel proud to finish anything set wth these holds

Did I think the start on the 45 would go? Undercling and a shallow two finger pocket to finger tip death crimp of doom? (Thank god for the Motavation Volume it was on) Hell no! Did I manage to walk away from it? Hell yes! Do my fingers hurt? Yup! Would I climb that route again? Yup, but I'd make the finish HARDER. (That's just me, and it will be done, don't worry, I'm 5 paces away from the wall) These holds range from thin, and when I say thin I mean less than a pad in depth (screw ons and bolt ons) to not so thin.... like maybe a half pad.... maybe. There's some slim pickin's in this set... some very thin pickin's. Not that that's bad, that's fine there are a infinite number of ways that you can set with these holds.... just remember that the largest holds is less than a pad deep and that some of the holds have so thin an area to grab on is tiny, so so tiny... welcome to a land of balance and friction (I spent a lot of time brushing the holds to get the grip I wanted)

Osm'ose were the first French hold company, hell I remember buying holds from a guy who resoled shoes in the back of a truck in Fontainbleau and those holds are hard as hell ten years ago, these holds are hard in the here and now... and they should be looked at, I'm going to try to get the Manip set into a comp as I want to see the chaos that happens...

Am I surprised by Osm'ose holds? yes, they're plain amazing... and thank god they're switching to urethane soon... I hate chipping resin holds!

Just wait until we open up the OTHER SET OF HOLDS... there's more of this company's holds in the cupboard.... and we've not touched them yet!
Its been a while since I've been blown away by a set of holds. The packing was a nice touch and it was like celebrating Christmas early for us when we opened the package and set the first problem. We've seen some pretty amazing holds from our local suppliers, but its a nice treat when you get something different that catches your eye. We're used to seeing big flashy holds, but these shapes are small and discreet. The colour scheme is great, but it won't stand out too much on your wall. The thing is, they're just great holds. The size of the individual holds in the set are small but size of the set itself at 14 holds makes it so you can set over and over again with the same holds. The down side to this is that half the set are screw ons so you can either get a drill or make a work out of it.

I haven't been out of north America to climb yet, but I've noticed that your average climber from Europe is pretty damn strong and that places like Fontainbleu and Gritstone have a spirit of their own and produce distinct climbing style. The inspiration is felt through holds coming from Europe. These holds have a certain something that sets them apart from their North American counterparts.

  • Technical as hellgood competition holds
  • Good mix of screw ons and bolt ons
  • Pre-drilled screw holes on all bolt ons
  • Only take martini head bolts, no dual use bolt holes here
  • Not great for training on steep home walls, the holds are too small
14 holds are going to cost you 20.90 Eur (Euros)

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