Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Interview > Summit Labs


Name and job?
My name is Morgan Barnes. Making climbing holds.

No no, your real job!
Well I work at the animal shelter on Fridays. It feels nice to help out the animals.

How long as Summit Labs been around?
For about 1 year now.

Why the name?
I was trying to come up with a name while hanging out in my back yard. We have this sign the says "Summit Lab. 6mi." I thought it would be an appropriate name seeing as were at nearly 8,000 ft.

Where are you based?
In the San Luis Valley, in Southern Colorado. Home to Penitente sport crag, the Great Sand Dunes, and some really nice artisan hot springs.

How many people work on making the holds?
So far,.. one. With more interest we would like to hire more people. I have a few people in mind.

You make holds that imitate the outdoors... was this a conscious decision?
Very much so.

We always say that keep the crimping to outside... the holds we reviewed certainly reflect our ethos, what's yours when it comes to shapes and shaping?
I feel that climbing in the gym is directly based on climbing outside. In my eyes you are either training to climb outside or trying to recreate that experience. The shapes I make either recreate the experience or create a fantastic version of it, as in the case of the Granite Slopers

How hard was it to start a climbing company? Did it take long?
It wasn't really hard. I went to art school for sculpture and spent a good deal of time showing in Denver. Making climbing holds combines two things a really enjoy, climbing and sculpting. I took about 6 months before it really started to take shape.

Right now your line up is limited, what's on the cards with regard to new shapes?
I am developing some lines of hybrids. Making holds like dual texture huecos, using real rock casts.

The market is getting fl
ooded with new company's, how do you feel about the competition out there?
I get excited to see the new stuff other companies come out with. It seems like it is definitely beneficial to consumers to have more companies fighting for their business.

Are there any particular hold company's product that you like?
I like how playful So ill is. DRCC's Force Edges are really nice eye candy (they may have even inspired the holds I'm working on ATM). I think it is nice to see companies like Climb It and Dream coming up with even more real rock holds. I'll be excited to see the Dream review when it comes out.

We hear you've been doing a lot of new routing out where you are... how's that going?
Fantastic, we have been developing all kinds of bouldering and putting up new trad lines daily. This area is ripe for development, in regards to trad and bouldering (seemingly endless amounts to those willing to wander). The sport climbing has pretty much seen it's limit here, I don't really think there is too much more to develop. There is however some quality climbing on a line of basalt cliffs. Some 35-45ft trad lines we have been putting up.

Is there a guide yet?
Not yet. You can find some of the boulder problems we have put up on Bouldr.net. I will be adding more problems as I get images for them.

What does the future hold for Summit Labs?
I hope to end up doing more custom orders. I have some ideas for custom orders; ie large features, casting entire boulder problems that could be attached to walls, or casting holds that are site specific for people who want to train specific types of rock. I am also interested in whatever ideas anyone else has.

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