Friday, November 20, 2009

Testing > Osm'ose > Friction

Again, hailing from France comes Osm'ose...
And you'll know that the last set of holds we tested from these guys was the Manip (here) and we basically had our asses handed to us on many occasions; we figured that this time it's be a little different... were we right or were we wrong?

Once out of the packaging these holds actually felt larger and slightly easier than the Manips, this set only had one screw on hold, so ease of movement for setting was much faster than pulling out the drills. The holds have a completely different feel to them despite being made of resin, these feel like they have slightly more friction to them and more space for your fingers, and surprisingly more options for subtle matches and sneeky sidepulls than the Manips.

As we've been training for the Tour De Bloc we were working on some hard sequences, so straight out we decided to set something that would be "semi easy"; here's what the video shows

I guess we were wrong, again these are super technical handholds to hold onto; I mentioned this to the guys at Osm'ose and they agreed that both the sets we have are hard and we're made to be that way... I guess we can see how our working relationship with these guys is going to go, we even suspect they're sitting in high wing backed chairs, stroking cats and laughing manically at out attempts to climb anything on these holds with a degree of grace :) Well that's the way we roll sometimes, we're not graceful, we sometimes have to brute force our way through some moves... sometimes we hit the wall by ourselves and just work (see Noodles comments)

Osm'ose have done themselves proud, if we look at the two sets we've reviewed, they're both technical out of the box, well made and easy to set hard sequences with. We set a fair amount of routes with these holds, we tried a bunch of different moves and sequences that tested us and the holds pretty thoroughly


If you're strong you'll be able to pull on these holds on a 45 degree wall, at most and to be slightly nicer to your fingers we'd go no further than 30 degrees, 15 for beginners. There are most hold shapes in this set, with anything that is a jug missing entirely from the set, you're looking at mostly crimps. subtle slopers and edges with the occasional tricky pinch thrown in for good measure. Now we're no slouches where it comes to climbing (we think anyway), but the route that Noodles set at the end of the video was just plain crazy at the end, so much so that he spent an hour in the room by himself and Tyler throwing himself at the end of the problem... he went so hard at the move that he ripped a hole in his index finger on the second to last move. Kudos to him he managed to get the move.

If there's a competition and you have a flat wall then this set is going to fit in and you should be able to set pretty well whatever you want, as long as what you want is hard. Unless you have a home wall that's either flat or slightly overhung then you shouldn't even look at these unless you want to work really really hard.

  • Number of holds: 16
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Mainly bolt ons with one screw on
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): 41.90 / 16 = 2.62 per hold (Euros)
  • Color: Sandy
  • Bolt placement: Right in the middle
  • Sanding: Flat and smooth
  • Texture: Good, a little rough at times
  • Set size: Medium
  • Versatility: Loads
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes on every hold
Again these holds are super well built, they're well formed; you can tell they the shapes are well thought out and will lend themselves instantly to harder routes. The shapes are well thought out and construction is solid throughout the range, they holds have that resin weight to them, these holds certainly are heavy so shipping might be a little expensive. The bolt holes are right in the middle and are well shaped to take martini shaped bolts.

Color wise we were surprised, we're seen two tone colored holds before... but these look almost like light desert coloring a good mix of camo. They're not meant to be camo colored at all, but how these holds have turned out was quite pleasing to the eye.

The texture on these holds feels slightly gritstone-esque and you can really feel that the texture is going to be grippy, from the packaging to the wall if you're setting nicely these holds really don't need chalk but soon as you start taking liberties you're going to need to chalk up.

Versatility wise there are a lot of options, there are subtle moves to be had on most if not all of these holds, none of them are going to be easy matches but the moves will be doable... really really hard moves or subtle; the way you set dictates what you're going to get

Resin, they're making urethane holds soon

Super well packed, the holds were shrink wrapped onto cardboard

Again Osm'ose holds give me a kicking, this time in a right proper fashion. I thought the last set, the Manips, were hard and technical; these are just as hard but in a slightly more tendon friendly manner. These aren't SO hard, you can set reasonable routes with them whereas the first set the Manips were just hard even when you thought you were setting a nice easy route.

The first route that I set had a series of technical moves that were part of a low traverse, I was simply shut down on the move and even thought I worked it for a while I could never find the hard / foot placement to make the move, it always felt like I was uncomfortable in the move... sometimes it just flows and when I myself feel uncomfortable in a move it means I'm either going to find it hard or I'm not going to be able to do it, or I'm going to have to do it in a weird fashion that most people would think would be uncomfortable. What suits one climber, might not suit another.

Now next time I set with the holds I tried to play nice, only sticking in one absolute killer move near to the end... and boy was it harder than I thought, it was a side pull to a hand drop on a hold that one way is great, but when you're trying to reverse the move just an absolute stop dead killer. Here's the video of me spending an hour trying the move that shut us down on the reversal of an otherwise fun route. WARNING: There is a bunch of swearing in the video, so it's not suitable for all people if they're easily offended... (Normally I'd not post something like this but as Tyler had shot it and I re watched it I decided that it shows a climber just working hard at something that makes them happy.... climbing)

Sure I get frustrated from time to time with a move or a route and I'll train / try to get the route til I can walk away happy knowing that it's done. And yeah, I swore my ass off, that's part of my nature when I get shut down...

Where would I suggest you put the holds? Vertical to easy overhangs should make some interesting bouldering problems or routes. That's what I think they lend themselves to and they're tech as hell to climb on.. not for everyone that's for sure.. but they will suit some people


When I first started climbing, I spent all my time in the gym. I didn’t have a car, was in school and I didn’t have a steady climbing schedule so pulling on plastic was my gateway to the climbing world. When I started climbing outside I realized that having good technique and foot work is critical. With indoor climbing you can always get away with a little brute strength and ignorance to get you through, >but if you encounter the Frictions, they will spit you off if you’re over zealous.

I don’t think that a set like this is best for a set-up like ours unless you already have plenty of holds to play with. These guys are small, technical holds that most people would use as footholds, but if you have access to a large commercial wall, then setting a hard vertical route will be using these holds at their best.

So my thoughts….I’m not sure what side I’m on. On the one hand they’re really unique shapes unlike anything we’ve reviewed in the past, on the other technical little bastards that I probably wouldn’t invest in if I had my own home wall. To make the holds so we could actually hold onto them, we found ourselves squeezed in the corner or setting the holds on volumes to change the angle. Having big footholds helps ;)

I guess I’m still caught between two worlds. The holds have a certain appeal, and although they are hard to grip, it’s not impossible when everything goes your way but you will come away with some sore fingers if you’re not used to climbing small holds. Setters can easily force moves. With a small area for your fingers, these holds don’t give you much room to match, if there is any room at all. They’re well made and the shapes are unique but when you climb on them, you’ll work for every inch.


  • Superb construction and shipping
  • Super technical, there's lots of subtle ways to grab these holds
  • Would be good in a comp or long lead route
  • Very heavy for their size, might push up shipping costs
  • Not really for beginners, they can be a little finger tweaky
  • Fairly limited in use, slight overhangs and vertical are where they're best placed
41.90 Euros gets you 16 holds

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