Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Review > Element Climbing > Methods

Ah Element, you name your holds after the periodic table, then after elements, then natural disasters and now.... well now we have this:Yup! For those in the know it's a Method, and this is what we're going to be talking about today... Element Climbing's Methods:
Right so the name is from a snowboard / skate trick from way back when; one thing is for sure after climbing on these holds is that you're going to need some methodology of your own, some skill and power to get through most routes you set with these holds. They're thin, but not sharp... they're classed as ledges / crimps on the Element website and these definitions are pretty close, there are some small shapes in here that are hard to hold onto on a vertical wall and are going to need you to crimp down and then there are some larger holds that are ledges / single hand jugs that are over a pad in size that allows you to get away with putting them onto steeper walls. There's a good mix of sizes.

Some people are going to find the smallest holds hard to hold onto on even a vertical wall, so these holds could be used as footholds and as feet you're going to find them in the larger size in this mode, they make some nice feet if you want! We used them as hands and you're suddenly in a world of strange pinches and moving very very slowly... it was fun to watch people have to suddenly slow down and think about what they were doing.

As you can see that when we were filming the smaller holds are just hidden by the climbers hands... you just can't see em :) The set went down pretty well with everyone that's come into contact with it, from Marty setting small on the 45 to Dave setting weird sit down starts. Lots of people have had their sweaty hands on them and it's been interesting to see what people set


For once there is a set of holds out there that have been classed correctly, these holds are crimps and ledges... but they do kind of act as slopers as well if you put the holds up the wrong way and then realise that you're not that strong :)

The variety in this set allows you to get away with murder, we've set hard on the vertical wall and then found that the holds are actually nicer on the 45 than we'd expected, some people are just not going to be able to hang onto the smallest holds but it will give them something to work at or they make some pretty good feet.

Going over 45 degrees with this set isn't something that we'd suggest, they're nice holds to hold onto but they are pretty thin (if you look at the overall size across the set) and the size coupled with a wall that's over 45 means that you're just looking for an injury. Please understand that there are going to be some mutants out there that can probably hold onto these on 45+ walls but for a normal climber it's pretty well out of the question.

  • Number of holds: 10
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt ons
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): 44.95 / 10 = $4.95 per hold
  • Color: Ours are yellow with a red back
  • Bolt placement: In the middle every time
  • Sanding: Super flat
  • Texture: Grippy, more than enough
  • Set size: X Small to Medium
  • Versatility: What you see is what you get
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No
Element have got it down, there's nothing that you can really complain about with the overall build quality of these holds. The only gripe that we can bring up is that there aren't any pre-drilled screw holes in the larger holds and that's something that's weird as normally Element do cover this with their holds. Texture is nice an even across the range and gives you enough grip to make you feel that you can stick the balanced moves but it's not so rough that you're loosing your finger prints when you're bearing down your full weight on the hold and are screaming your head off :P

The color of these holds make them stand out on the wall and it's nice, but as soon as they get chalked up they do kind of merge in with other holds on the wall (I know as I was checking for screw holes and I actually went looking in a box for them as I couldn't see them on the wall) but for setting purposes on a wall covered in holds the red back meant that you could make them out so you knew what you were grabbing next.

Sanding is as usual flat and smooth, you can tell these holds have been put over a belt sander pretty well, all of the bolt holes are centered and have washers that are parallel to the backs of the hold


Perfect, the holds were very well packed

Ah crimping, something that of late I seem to be doing more of.... and as per usual my digits are feeling the burn from time to time. Despite these holds having a pretty nice radii they are still crimps; be it nicer crimps that aren't so bad to climb on. Element since we started looking at their stuff have been a constant source of surprise, sending out a set of crimps is a pretty bold move... people either look at them as a necessary evil or something that should be avoided unless you're outside.

I've held onto some pretty thin stuff in my time, I've had Elvis leg, the screaming jitters and setting with these holds I can't say that I was nice. I set low and I set wide; I made it short person friendly and I made most of the moves powerful or balancy. I got exactly what I wanted... a route that worked to some peoples strengths in some sections of the wall and then made them work harder than they'd expect for the rest.

I don't like crimps, something that is well documented (makes you wonder why I just brought some!) but these are like Contacts Hex / Rex & The DRCC Force Edges not as bad as you think. They're skin and tendon friendly and with the mixed size of holds that come in this set means that after your scream fest moves you can grab something larger and chill.

I’ll just come out and say it: I like these holds. We have tons of crimps, and we’ve had a lot of these kinds of holds on the wall lately and our fingers feel the strain. The Methods are very friendly, but don’t take out the challenge of climbing with this kind of grip. Ok…so you might have read in some previous reviews that I like to climb on crimps. Usually, when we put some crimpy problems on the wall, most of us will have a few attempts before giving it a break. I can usually attempt a few more times before my fingers start to hurt, but with the Methods, the sequence can be worked on over and over without to much bother on the fingers.

For our Climbing Hold Review weekly climbing group, these holds were a lot of fun. Our problems were sustaining, and despite the level of climber, we all had fun working on the problems. For Nuds and I, we worked a couple of difficult moves and we got a good burn from the problems because the set is pretty large. With ten holds of various sizes, we could set them on any angle on our wall and made longer, more interesting problems. They’ve also done a good job with the colors.

Even though some of the holds are small and can second as foot holds, the bright color makes them stand out so you know where you’re going. For Eve and Nick, they could work on a difficult sequence without having to worry about their fingers being sore.

The next thing for these holds is sequence training. They can be put on any angle wall, in our case we could even get them on the 45 degree wall, and the shapes make it so you can endure the long haul on the holds. We haven’t done this yet with this set, but in our down time for the winter, we’re trying to find ways to train for the summer, and with finger friendly sets like the Methods, we can climb inside all winter long.

I always appreciated Element Holds. At first, cause I'm a dork and I liked the periodic table stuff. Now well simply cause the Methods make you work on exactly that.... your 'method' of climbing and though the boys are all definitely stronger than me... I'm more flexible and have annoyingly small little hands that can match on ANYTHING! :D I observed that the methods seem to force the setter to make technical, balancy routes and so I had a blast strengthening my fingers and foot work on the buggers. Also, they're pretty, easy to find on a wall (I like the dual color ) and the texture is nothing special but ok. Good ol' climbing hold texture, you know, not to rough but it sticks! I don't think this is a set for beginners but definitely a useful asset to anyone training semi-seriously since they are great soft, rounded, finger friendly crimps, but they are by no means 'easy' to climb on!
  • Good price
  • Nice range of sizes
  • Surprisingly nice on the 45 degree wall
  • Could possibly do with a couple of set screws on the larger holds, it's a close thing the size is right in a gray area
  • Smaller holds are going to be feet for beginners they're tiny
10 holds will cost you $44.95


DJ_AX said...

is that a soft back I see on those yellow Element holds?

ntmb said...