Friday, December 4, 2009

Testing > Climb It > Moderate Slopers

Anyone that's been following us for a while should remember this review: here because it was one of the few reviews where we set and set and basically got nowhere! The holds in question were what were called at the time "Top Out Slopers" a set of holds so large and yet so thin you could barely get a grip on them. The now renamed to "Shallow slopers" these holds were designed for gyms / walls that allow you to top out over the top of your boulder. At the time we wanted more of the shapes, but with a more friendly usable area, slopers are great training holds... and low and behold some months later a package arrived.... the Positive Slopers was in the house.

One thing we're positive about is that they're slopers :)

Are they positive slopers? Well compared to the Shallow slopers, yeah. But compared to say some other slopers that are out there that you can get you whole hand over they're not all that positive. When you look at them against their counterparts in the range then yeah they're positive... and then when you set most of these holds on the vertical they're far more like ledges or edges than anything so therefore very beginner friendly

We've had these holds on the wall for months as part of an endurance route that we set so we could work upon our stamina, originally they were mid way through a 60 move route that worked your grip groups in different sequences and then of late we've had them at the start of the route.... waaaaay back when we had a shorter endurance route we had them at the end and that was a pretty bad idea, or good idea... it depends upon how you look at it... after 30 odd moves around a wall and then hitting these holds they were hard to hold onto because of the pump.

Aren't slopers meant to be easier to hold onto when you're pumped?

These holds lend themselves to pretty easy routes overall, they're big and friendly for your fingers, so they're very beginner friendly, so we mixed them up with the Shallow slopers and what we got was something that was just brain melting. These holds when you mix the sets are pretty hard to tell apart and harder to read than you think... in a more than a couple of cases you'd think you'd be going into a simple move and find it more tricky to hold onto.


Unlike their slimmer counterparts these holds are pretty good up to 45 degrees, then the going gets very very tough, nigh on impossible would actually be closer to the mark. Some of the XL's and larges can easily be held onto with a little work and some core strength; it's a case of picking what you think you can hold onto and then going for it. We tried all of them, and when we found that the hold was too hard we put it around the corner onto the vertical part of the wall and then used it there as a helper hold. All of the holds on a vertical wall are positive enough that 95% of climbers will be able to haul on them with little or no problem, this is true probably up to 30 degrees... and then it becomes a strong climbers game only.

The variety of shapes that these holds encompass is quite remarkable, you've got every kind of sloper, except for sloping pinches (we used the Teknik Svelts to fill in this gap) most of the holds from the medium and above sizes are easily matchable where needed.


  • Number of holds: 4 holds per set (size wise)
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt ons
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds):
  • XL: 78 / 4 = $19.50
  • L: 45 / 4 = $11.25
  • M: 31 / 4 = $7.75
  • S: 21 /4 = $5.25
  • Color: Orange
  • Bolt placement: Centered
  • Sanding: Flat and smooth
  • Texture: Even across the holds, quite grippy
  • Set size: Small to XL
  • Versatility: Slopers or slopey side pulls
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Nope
Now we've come to, and so should you, expect a certain quality from Climb It! As per usual they deliver, the urethane is solid and the shapes all have a nice even texture across the range... same for our other review... they all feel the same... as they should. The shapes are all nice to hold and tendon friendly, except for some of the smaller ones on steep terrain as you want to get your thumb onto the slopey lips for extra purchase. All of the holds have an inset washer that's square to the backs of the holds and an indented Climb It logo.

The only point we'd make, like we've done before is that the holds have a sharp edge where the bottom of the hold meets the wall and if dropped or mishandled during storage chipping will occur. In the larger shapes the backs have been hollowed out to save weight, all of the holds that have this feature have a column for the bolt which means strength isn't compromised in any way. Adding a pre drilled screw hole is something we've mentioned before when it comes to Climb It's holds, although these holds shouldn't spin they do from time to time and adding this feature will give gym owners a little piece of mind... have you ever drilled a screw hole onto a hold? You need to be gentle because you don't want to make a huge mess out of it, or snap your hold... if there was one you could use it (or not) as you'd see fit. It's something EVERY company should do on ALL of their shapes (We'd say from Medium up)

Urethane, one of the pockets bounced and took a little scuffing during our drop tests

Not bad, box was a little beaten up during transit. Some of the holds had very minor scuffs

Now it is a well known fact that I believe that slopers are the best shapes to train on and after being shut down by the Topouts I was interested to see what these would be like.
We've said that on a vertical wall that they're pretty good for most people and if that person is climbing sensibility then they "should" have no problem... I've been spat off of some of the routes we've set because I was just being careless... or for that fact because these holds seem to chalk up very very quickly.

There are lots of plus' and minus' to these holds. There is a lot of shape variety in the set, the holds are all have pretty well the same "outer" shape, it's the angle of the slope and as these are subtle shapes that makes them feel different when you weight the hold. I think that Louie has taken a blank that he's shaped and then just carved many different variations on the sloper theme... I don't know this for a fact, it's just a guess. Could the holds be improved? Well yeah they could, but only in a limited sense of the word improved.... after the Topouts (Shallow slopers) we asked for more positive versions in the same style.... and here they are, and they compliment each other as in they're slopers that are in the same vein.... we got what we asked for.... so how would I improve them?

That's the question isn't it!

See, these shapes are I suppose pure slopers, there are no thumb catches or dimples for you to cheat the shape. The texture is enough that you can use your thumb to get some more skin onto the shapes. What you see is pretty much what you get. So the question still remains... how would I improve these holds.

I'd make another set that has little areas for a thumb catch. Nothing major, no huge divots, just subtle little areas that I could get a little more purchase with my thumb etc. Why do I say this? Because sometimes the Top Out slopers will be too much (hard to hold onto) and the moderates too easy... but you want something in between. I pitched this idea at Chris and Eve and they went one further... why not hard on one side and then the easy(er) on the other? More bang for your buck, less material being used (better for the environment) and better for you. The other thing would be a letter or symbol on the holds so that you can sort your sets out, finding the difference between the shallow slopers and the moderates was really hard to do.

That said, I like the holds. They're simple and there's not a whole bunch of ways that you can cheat any single move that's been set... sure I've powered through stuff that we've set, mainly because I could (I find them easy to play on)... give these holds into the hands of a more experienced routesetter and watch the fun begin.

I remember a time when I loathed the sight of a sloper. It took a while before I got accustomed climbing on them and the Moderate slopers are good holds to train on for someone wants to improve on that kind of grip. I`m not saying that they`re easy, but if you compare them to the shallow slopers there is a big difference in friction, fingers will be constantly searching for a better grip on the hold. With the moderate slopers, the incut on the hold makes for a better grip.

When we had them at the end of the endurance route, we had a hard time getting through the whole problem. The Moderate Sloper sequence in itself was not all that difficult and in time even the newbie Nick was able to get through it. The problem is if your pumped, or tired, or over trained or all of the above, these holds don`t have much to offer, but fresh, a newbie like Nick will gain confidence and will improve technique.

As for the term ``pure sloper``, these holds are close but not quite there. they`re round open hand grip shapes but they do have an incut on them that makes it so you can really bear down on your fingers. In my eyes a ``pure sloper`` is open hand and when you try to bear down on it, you`ll get spat off and really need to keep an open hand grip to get any kind of grip on the hold. That is the definition I would give the Shallow Slopers.

We have a large variety of slopers, from pure slopers to slopes with a twist of pinch on them, and when I first started climbing with Nuds he would always tell me that slopers will make you strong. I didn`t ponder too much on the idea at the time but I`ve personally seen my climbing improve after working some hard sloper problems down at the gym. The Moderate Slopers are easy shapes to climb on, but the smaller ones are harder to grip and are a great way to see stronger climbers work hard for the send.

  • Beginner friendly, angle dependent... for slopers
  • Wide range of sizes, lots of variety
  • Sharp edges might chip
  • Chalk up really fast
  • Hard to tell apart from the other holds in the same range
  • XL set is four holds at $78
  • Large set is four holds at $45
  • Medium set is four holds at $31
  • Small set is four holds $21


Louie Anderson said...

Always nice to read what other people think of the shapes.

I'm pleased with the review. The "negatives" in the review are the results of intentional shaping decisions. You had commented on the lack of sloping pinches in the line, and later suggested supplemental shapes with thumb catches. My intention with these was to create a line of training type holds that would allow climbers to progressively improve their sloper climbing skills. Once you introduce thumb catches and more pinchable shapes, I don't see them as slopers anymore at all, but pinches. Climb It recently came out with a wide range of pinch sets as well that can address those looking for that type of shape. You also suggested some reversable shapes, where one side might be more positive than the other. Again, I would see those shapes allowing much more of a pinching grasp and I wanted to avoid that. The shallow and gradual taper on the bottom of these shapes was done to force climbers to use only the sloping portion of the hold.

The Climb It Sloper sets are available in all sizes and in three different levels of positivity: shallow, moderate and positive. Depending on the angle of the climbing, and the skill level of the climber, people should be able to find what they're looking for in those sets.

There was an attempt made also to limit the amount of material used to pour the holds where possible. This resulted in some lower-profile shapes in some of the sets. Those looking for larger or higher-profile slopers should look at the Power Dome shapes by Climb It, including many shapes either newly released or currently being molded.

Again, thank for sharing your thoughts. The feedback is always welcome.

- Louie

p.s. For what it's worth, I much prefer your old style walkthroughs versus the newer route style walkthroughs.

ntmb said...

We tried the different w/t to see if it'd come out better. You're not the only one to say you prefer the original version... so we'll go back to that.

The shapes are fun, and it's nice to hear that the shapes are shaped to grow with a climber through their career!

Good work sir!