Friday, February 26, 2010

Testing > Project Holds > Cubes Large

The New Year has come and gone, and we`ve been eagerly waiting for new shapes to be poured down at the Project Holds HQ in North Carolina. Well we stripped our wall to film the Climb It video and our box of Project holds came in time with plenty of room to spare on our wall.

This pinch set is aptly named Cubes and come in different sizes, from small to the XL variety, which is what we come to expect from Project. All their holds sets are quite large in number and encompass a multitude of different sizes so if you buy a shape and you like it, there are always more sizes to be picked up with the same theme.

Now with a fresh new wall to play on, the holds made their way from the box to the wall :)

For our first set, we couldn`t have imagined putting pinches on the roof but we received a shipment of Motivation volumes and got the bright idea of sticking them up there. The holds are large and wide enough for us to get a good grip on and the angles on the volumes make it so the holds are easier to hold onto. The edges on the holds are flat for the most part, but some are scooped, while others are positive, but one way or another, you`ll be fighting to keep a grip.

The shapes are designed where you'll never find two opposing sides that are positive so your hand will always want to snap off. Although it took us a while to figure out the beta, our problem wasn't really that hard. They were long moves and our backs hurt a bit from twisting in the roof, but the real problem came at the last move. We just couldn't pin ourselves down enough to come and match the last hold.

So with our tail between our legs we set off to make the second problem. We were looking for some redemption so we set a problem mixed between the vertical wall and the roof. In good form, Noodles found a way to to get around some of the roof holds, which was the easy way...or smart, no, easy way :) I, on the other hand, had my mind set on going through the roof. So we sent the problem going one way on our first tries so we did the sequence in reverse. Once again, Noodles found the easy way first. He wasn`t able to skip any of the holds but he found some sketchy beta to get himself onto the last hold.

Last but not least, we went and set a low traverse from the vertical to the 30 degree wall. This made for a really nice warm up route. The holds are large and are easily matched but within the nature of the shape, we`re always gripping down pretty hard on the hold. You can get pumped pretty fast climbing on the Cubes.


Vertical=Easy. 30 Degree=Easy. 45 Degree=Moderate. Roof=Sketchy!!!!!! Now even though we put the Cubes onto the volumes on the roof, its really no place for these kinds of holds. The moves were all really sketchy and we were always worried about falling wrong and hurting ourselves.

Now we don`t have a 60 degree wall, but we can imagine that it would be pretty sketchy as well and should be reserved for the strong and fearless. For what we climb (V4) we probably wouldn't go much more than 45 degrees. These holds are very versatile, and unlike the Sequence Power Blocs, where you only have one or two options for grips, the Cubes feel have a variety of different grip options. The scoops and the tapered shapes of the holds make so you`ll find a small narrow pinch on one corner of the hold and a big open hand pinch in the middle. The different angles on the edges changes the dimension of the hold as you rotate it. When we had them on the vertical wall and 30 degree wall, they were far too easy to hold onto and even though we tried to make the sequence as challenging as possible, we still got to the end of the problem in one try. So ideally you`d want to have them on a steeper wall and are probably best suited for a more experienced climber.

  • Number of holds: 5
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): 63 / 5 = $12.60 per hold
  • Color: Blue
  • Bolt placement: Middle
  • Sanding: Smooooth
  • Texture: Lighter than normal Project Holds
  • Set size: Large
  • Versatility: Good
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No
There was a problem a while back with some of Projects holds coming out of the shop with their bolt holes being slightly misshapen; this has been totally addressed with holds coming in for us to reship out to some Canadian customers... we checked each hold and the holes are all drilled perfectly... maybe a little tight on some of the holds. The sanding on these holds is amazing, they're so smooth it's silly, all of the holds have seen a belt sander and all of them are flat.

Color wise ours are a good shade of blue, the color throughout the pour is nice and even and there are no patches where the urethane hasn't been mixed properly. As the holds are going to probably be used primarily as pinches texture is an important point, if it's too rough then you're going to loose skin... too smooth and you're not going to be able to hang on the holds on the 45. Thankfully these holds have just the right combination of texture for their shape to make them hard (on the 45) but not overly painful over the period of a long session. The holds aren't hollow backed so they are a little heavy, but not overly so, it'd be nice to see the next iteration of these holds being lighter; there's room for improvement here.

Projects production quality has gone up in the last few months and it's a good thing to see.


The holds came in individual bags per set, there was some packing between the bags but not much. Therefore some scuffing resulted from their travels. The box was almost completely destroyed, so much so we actually checked the contents of the package

As Motavation had sent us some volumes and we'd had these holds all over the wall we wanted to try something a little bit more technical than usual.... the holds are easy on the 30 and fun for beginners on anything less than this... they're demanding on the 45... and we knew they were never going to be doable on the roof!!! AHA!, but what about if we bolt them to some nice new volumes on the roof and then see if that works.

Were we being smart or just stupid?

A mixture of both it seems... we wanted something technical we go something that pushed us a little further than we'd have liked. The first route with a few more days worth of work would have gone without too much bother but both Chris and I were starting to feel some serious pain from the Gaston move at the start.... our overall conclusion with the holds on the volumes is "doable" but you're going to end up pinching soooooo hard that it does get painful. If you're wondering what the holds look new and we complained about the lack of chalk it's because I put them in the dishwasher (before my vacation) and I may have used a little too much cleaning agent (or someone actually used the machine for what it was intended to do and didn't notice the holds in the back :P)

These holds remind me of a couple of other sets and if you're geometrically inclined and you order the correct color you can have some fun "square" routes on your wall. The sets I'm talking about are the Sequence Climbing Power Blox and the Teknik Mathematics... if you have those sets then you should get these. We'll look at the medium Cubes at a later date.

I like these holds, there are problems with them but not massive issues. I've been working with Project to help with their production problems and with customers from Canada to make sure that everything is up to par and we're getting there, all we have to do now is address the shipping issues a little.

First thing I thought of when I saw these holds were the Sequence Power Blocks or the Teknik Mathematics. But the Cubes are different. I would call them a mix between the Power Blocks and Matters Now from the Sequence line of holds. These geometric shapes from Sequence and Teknik can be pretty hard to climb on and I don`t think you would have seen us putting these holds on the roof, but with this set of Cubes being couple of rungs under the difficulty ladder we thought it would be fun to try them out on the roof. From the start, I thought that the moves were going to be really hard, but I was pretty surprised with the first couple of moves. The holds have a big edge on them and the first move into the roof wasn`t as long as I had expected. I twisted my back from reaching up to grab the first hold, but other than that, I wasn`t sore the next day.

We've done many reviews for Project and I`ve always been undecided on their texture. On the one hand, the texture is rough and my hands will grow callouses when climbing on their holds, but I don`t usually get any burning sensation on my skin. Also the added texture gives more friction, something every climber is after. The texture on the Cubes is smoother but it hasn`t lost any of the grip and the holds still provide good friction. They've also rounded off the corners so they don`t dig into your hands.

  • Good texture
  • Versatile
  • If your hands are small you'll have trouble getting a good pinch on them
  • Could have been hollow backed

1 comment:

DBS said...

Very nice problems guys!