Thursday, November 12, 2009

Review > Element Climbing > Aftershocks

EC
Element has been around for a while but has kept under the radar working on shapes and recently released some of their creations upon the climbing world. One of their newest shapes, The Aftershocks, kept up with the cracked rock theme found on the Quakes and Tremors.
The Aftershocks have the same texture as the holds mentioned above but are of different shapes. Where the Quakes are by far the biggest holds and rock on roof sequences, the Tremors are medium ledges/pinches, the Aftershocks have filled up the void and consist of small to large pinches. Now we use the pinch classification for these holds lightly, they are actually classified as large ledges and slopers on the Element Climbing website. Their classification is a little misleading. There are no set guidelines that hold manufacturers use when classifying their holds and we here at climbing hold review have had some feedback on the issue; we have some stuff in the works that we'll unveil in the New Year; maybe it won't be industry wide but you will have some way of seeing the sizes of the holds :)

So suffice to say that Element Climbing has their own way of classifying their holds. When it comes to the kind of shape or grip, the fine line black and white can be askew, and the Aftershocks are round like slopers and have one good ledge on each hold, but since we’re exclusively bouldering we find them to be used more as pinches than anything else. As for the size, there are eight holds in the set, two of which could be called a “large hold”. As for their little brothers and sisters…well that just says it all…they’re the same kinds of shapes only smaller. If Element had to give this set one designation, it should be a medium size set.



We like bright colored holds. Not only do they look cool but it’s easy to spot the next move when the holds stand out. Element sent us our first set to review in dark green and we weren’t to keen on the color, but this time around their holds are bright. The set has eight holds and the sizes are from two finger pinch (I mean ledge;) to large open hand matches. Although



The shapes are easy by design and we raised the difficulty by setting the holds far apart. We’ve had these holds sent with the Quakes and Tremors and we’ve been climbing on them for a while. The sets compliment each other and we set a round all the way around the wall using the three sets.

SUGGESTED USES:



A set with this wide a variety can be set on any terrain bar the roof or super steep angles. Not every hold will be good on the 45 but there is a hold for every angle. We mainly put them on the 30 degree wall and they made for some fun warm up routes or for some bounce around routes where we took it relatively easy. When they were set on the 45 they were very hard to hold onto even though the holds range from small to large, the large holds are ok, but the small holds are just plain hard to grip there's not really enough to hold onto comfortably; mind you sometimes a challenge is a good thing... but these were just plain hard to hold onto... probably too hard to hold onto for most people comfortably.

Mixing these holds in with others that are the same color (like we did) will make for some very interesting routes, when we set with the Rock Candy Ruffles the route was fun and allowed us to have way more fun than with the holds by themselves. The smaller holds should really be foot holds, so that means you've got four good handholds and four good footholds.

OVERALL BUILD
  • Number of holds: 8
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt ons
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): $44.95 / 8 = $5.62
  • Color: Lime green
  • Bolt placement: Right in the middle
  • Sanding: Excellent
  • Texture: The cracks in the holds help, you can dig your fingers in a little more
  • Set size: Small to large
  • Versatility: So-so
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: ?? CHECK ??
Where they could save weight, they did it. Although the larger holds of the set are large enough to match, they still only fit in the palm of your hand. Element molded these shapes with hollow backs and it a good attention to detail. I think that if they could, they’d scoop out the backs of the smaller holds as well. The texture is nice and has good friction without the burn. If they’re like the hold we’ve had from them in the past, they can get a thick layer of chalk on them before they start to lose their grip.

WHAT ARE THEY MADE FROM:
Urethane

PACKING / SHIPPING:
Well packed, no damage to speak of

RATING:
Noodles:
This is the first set from Element Climbing that I'm not so mad happy about, there's nothing wrong with them, nothing at all. They're perfectly fine shapes, nice to hold onto and there's a good mix of sizes to allow you to set whatever you like. They're just not my favorites that's all. The holds are all well built and most of the shapes are hollow backed, something that some of the larger company's should look at, if Element can hollow back their holds of this size then so could you :D

When we'd climbed all over the place on them we decided to rock in with the Ruffles from Rock Candy to spice up our route and to add some edginess to our sequence. Adding these holds added a degree of fun that we needed, it was raining outside and we we're getting shut down on a couple of problems we'd set. Before we added in these holds I was having trouble with the sequence that Chris had set the smaller holds were just too small for me to be pulling myself off of the floor on time and time again; so I sat it out and let the others beat themselves up on the route.

If you get these holds in the same color as a bunch of other holds then they'll fit in nicely on any routes you'd like to set, for short bouldering problems they're not so bad, you can set some fun stuff but nothing massively outstanding in my honest opinion; you win some, you loose some

Chris:
Element climbing has sent us plenty of holds in the past. They have a large selection of shapes and the ones we've seen in the past have all had a degree of challenge to them, the Aftershocks are much easier to climb on than the previous holds we've reviewed. The shapes of the Aftershocks are straight forward, its obvious where the good part is and despite the grip you use, you will always feel solid. Personally I find that the set by itself is nothing special and serves better purpose if you have other holds to set with. We had more fun with the problem we set with the Ruffles than anything else. It didn't take too much time before everyone sent the problems we set on the vertical and 30 degree. Even with the long moves we all got around it. The Ruffles added diversity and a degree of difficulty that the set can't offer on its own.

As a whole, this set would not be my first choice from Element. I find that the shapes are very simple and there isn't a whole lot of variety for setting. What the set has going for it is the variety in size. The grips may stay the same from hold to hold, but the degree of difficulty increases as you get onto the smaller holds.

PROS:
  • Nice hollow backs on small holds
  • Large variety of sizes
CONS:
  • The small holds are very small and hard to hold onto on steep terrain
  • All the grips you'll use are the same (Minor)
  • Color could be hard to match it you want it exact
PRICE:
$44.95 gets you eight holds

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