Thursday, November 26, 2009

Testing > Dream Holds > Basalt

Straight from the box you're going to look at these holds with their evil black coloring and think WTF are these. You're going to hold them in your hand and you're going to think "heavy"... and then you're going to touch them and wonder what the hell you're going to do with them.

Now, Noodles has spoken to the makers of these holds... Dream Holds and when asked what he wanted to review he said "Basalt" and "Gritstone", both types of rock that he's climbed on a lot. The reason, he explains, for picking the basalt holds was pretty simple... he wanted to see if someone could make holds that feel like the evilness that is the crags. Basalt is a particular type of rock he explained, and it has a particular style of climbing... you have to hold on, but not too much... clamping down too much just leads to you falling off. So here we go... Dream Holds Basalt!Now that you've seen them you can probably get what we're talking about when we say evil :) First thing that has to be said is that we have one of the rocks that these holds were made from (and we're holding it for ransom!) and when you look at the rock compared to the hold all of the details are there, the hold is just a little... (maybe 2mm) smaller. Even before climbing on the holds we could tell we were in for something special... could it be that we have a manufacturer that is making real rock holds that are ACTUALLY LIKE REAL ROCK?? It couldn't be so!!!

Ok, so evil or as we like to think a little bit metal... here come some devil fingers and here comes some climbing!

As you can see we let Jeff set the first route, Jeff's not set before and he likes to run fingertip to fingertip moves. That's a good and bad thing, problem is that Jeff is a tall guy with long arms, and so has Chris, Noodles on the other hand is always going to have trouble with long wide moves and as you can see even after we tweaked out the start move, came around the corner of the 45 degree wall into the 30 wall there was a stopper move for a while... Jeff and Chris managed to rock through the move but Noodles was shut down. As it was so long a move Noodles moved one of the key holds a little closer so that he and other people might have a chance of finishing the route. Once that route was dispatched we set something that ran the other way across the wall, this time finishing on the 45 with some of the holds bolted onto some Motavation volumes.

This time the route was far easier, but still tricky, Noodles set all of the holds in some of their worst positions. Nothing but slopers and nasty little edges for us this time :) But with some good footwork the route was dispatched with little ceremony; but some skin was shredded during the process.


Now these holds could go steeper and there's one reason why we're not putting a 60 degree logo up here, and it's pretty simple really... it's because despite having lots of options on these holds, much like their real rock counterparts, there's just not that much to hold onto.

The holds do range from pretty small to pretty large, most of them can be matched without too much worry but you have to be careful about how you grip these holds as they are formed real rock and therefore you can expect to get some skin damage much like when you climb outside. Despite these holds being nice and very realistic they're something you could train on for a pretty long time, just not as long as you'd probably really want to as we found with some of the people that hit certain areas of the holds got some flappers and split finger tips.

  • Number of holds:
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt ons
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): 69 / 12 = 5.75 GBP per hold (approx $9.50 per hold)
  • Color: Black
  • Bolt placement: Middle on all of the holds
  • Sanding: Needs some work
  • Texture: Hahahaha... slick
  • Set size: Various sizes of holds
  • Versatility: Varies with the hold
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes

These holds are well built, they're resin and they're heavy as hell and each hold has an inset screw hold... and by the looks of it the screw holes have a little inset washer in them... a pretty nice touch! The sanding on the backs of the holds is a little off, nothing massive but you can tell from the back of the hold that they've not been sanded down on a bench sander so that they'd be uniformly flat... none of the holds were warped but you can see that there are a few minor gaps at the backs of some of them

With the holds being resin a degree of care will have to be taken when storing them, I'd not want to drop on of these from up high to a padded or semi padded area... we've not run a strength test as of yet but the weight of one of the holds and then a concrete floor is going to make a loud noise and we think some shattered holds.

Texture wise you're looking at a near perfect replication of Dumby basalt rock from up in Scotland (see Noodles comments) and thou there are a lot of "real rock" holds out on the market these are probably the most realistic holds we've seen and have climbed on; and that's not an easy thing to say as Summit Labs granite holds were amazing as were Climb It's Silverado Cobbles. Right, sorry, went off the page there a little! Texture wise you are going to wonder if you can hold onto these holds when you first get them, some chalk later and you're going to be very surprised at how well they climb and the level of precision that you're going to have to use to climb on them... you'll not get away with brute force moves very much.

From a shape perspective this is where you'll have to use a degree of common sense when setting with these holds as they are molded from real rock and therefore there are imperfections in the shapes and there are some areas that are more than a little painful to grab onto. Dream Holds have looked around and have found something that gives the feeling of real rock and the texture of real rock, in this case basalt, and have limited (from what we can see) any areas that could cause too much discomfort.. but there are a few places that remind you where these holds came from... outside

The holds are heavy resin

Best we've ever seen. Think of a Russian doll... a couple of well packed boxes with the holds inside a larger box that had packaging in it. The box and holds came through in perfect condition

Lets do a simple equation! Because kids, math is fun!
If you take a set of basalt holds and then add chalk what do you get?

Probably some of the best real rock climbing holds out there..

The above line does come at a price and there is a disclaimer. Let me explain.
We're seen real rock holds, Summit Labs Granites, Climb It's Silverado Cobbles, Atomiks Fonts and a whole host of others, the ones listed are shapes that we like and we'd recommend for people to try... some of the others are OK, and a few are just plain not so nice. How can I say that these holds are "probably some of the best real rock climbing holds out there?" simple really, I've climbed in the area where they're from and I remember just what it was like to first get on that rock and these holds are 90% of what that rock and those crags feel like! They represent, for me, the area and the type of rock very well but they're not something that I'd run laps on... nope! I put a lot of work into the routes that we set and climbed on in the videos, as well as a bunch of stuff that hit the editing room floor and I climbed hard on those holds, set some silly moves; easy moves and pretty well everything in between... and I paid the price. Eve paid the price, KC really paid the price and Nick paid the price!

What's the price?

Skin. You will at some point loose some skin, not much in my case, but I did loose some.. KC got a flapper and a few other scrapes along the way. That is the problem with "real rock" holds, they treat your digits like you're on real rock.. so it's always a good idea to be careful

Not having been around Europe to climb and thus never experiencing the various rock that they have in the region, these holds bring that real rock experience to the inside. Besides, here in Canada our winter is longer than climbing season and anyway of experiencing the real rock feels inside is welcome.

I have spent most of my time climbing inside. I have a great deal of confidence when climbing on familiar holds but with The Dumby’s you’re always guessing and praying that you’ll stick the hold. They found the best shapes to mold from and that made for highly detailed holds. After Noodles bolted the holds to the wall there were still little detail gone unnoticed before that now stood out. At some points the little ridges and imperfections were the only thing giving you any friction and there are plenty of grip options. The bigger holds are my favorite. They’re not any easier but there are more options for grip. Where most of us were matching the top of the holds I found that I could crimp the top and pinch the bottom to get through the move. There is also one that has a small thumb catch that you can really dig into. On that note, the holds are sharp and hurt. I came away with my fingers feeling like they’ve spent the day climbing hard outside.

They really do feel like you’re climbing outside…only with a heater 5 feet away…and being able to set with these kinds of holds makes for something different and appealing. As hard as the holds are and as much as we all left with something sore, the holds drew us all in and we had a fun session climbing hard.

  • Some of the best real rock holds out there
  • Inset screw holes in all of the holds
  • Slick til you chalk them up
  • Heavy as hell
  • Expensive if you're paying in dollars
69 GBP gets you 12 mixed size holds (There are two sets)


Anonymous said...

Painful holds similar to the 90's. I don't like climbing on painful rock outside so why would I want to do that inside?

It won't be long until someone hurts themselves on these horror shows.

Copying rock in not innovative. You can't copy a rock type and then make it in plastic. This is why companies spend a long time carving holds that recreate climbing outside. The reason why climbing indoors is different is because we climb on protuding holds. This is the main difference not the carving.

If you take a silicone mould of anything you will get an exact replica. Doing this on rock and then casting, adding holes and logos is again not innovative.

ntmb said...

We don't like climbing on painful holds full stop... BUT... these holds are made to mimic the outdoors and we and the buyers know that that is what they're going to climb like.

On all of the holds there are two small areas that are painful. The holds have been picked to lessen the "outdoors" feel and to lessen the risk of injury.

These holds, aure they're not innovative in the grand scheme of things. But what they have done is replicate the outdoors indoors and some people want that, and despite what people think they've done it really well. Sure there are downsides to resin that we discuss a bunch from time to time and I expect these holds to do badly on a drop test from 2m above the floor

We never said their design was the best in the world, and their holds have flaws; what we did was be objective and give the consumer the +'s and -'s of these holds...

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