Thursday, March 18, 2010

Testing > Planet Holds > Crimps Set 1

Planet Holds
This past Christmas, Noodles went back home in the UK and brought back a box full of crimps from Planet Holds. Planet Holds was founded in 2008 by Michael Elmes in the UK and believes in bringing in the 'latest technologies, innovation and cutting edge designs' to their hold making.
So the first thing with these holds is that they're made out of resin; not any resin mind you something similar (we guess) as Holdz holds... and they're strong as hell! Holds these days are are being manufactured more and more out of urethane but if you look companies who manufacture their holds outside of North America you'll see that the trend is to make holds the out of good old resin. You may think that urethane is a better material but the quality of the holds from Europe are amazing! More on this in our "Overall Build".

The variety of the crimps in this set will just make you drool. Each hold has its own character but they've grouped them so you essentially have 3 smaller crimp sets in one large set. They are:
  • The geometric shapes: They second very nicely as pinches
  • Textured shapes: The look of real rock with the feel of resin
  • Round shapes: Finger friendly open hand crimps
If we look at them one by one, the geometric shapes are the triangular looking guys that have slopey angles on all edges bar one there is a small incut on one edge of the hold and its really the only part of the that you'd want to grip. The textured shapes look like a regular hold until you get your fingers on them, there is a part of the hold that you grip is textured like real rock and some of these have deep incuts. The slopey shapes are the most deceptive, they look like a big round pinch, but they've hidden an incut on one side of the hold that's a nice surprise when you're pumping out.

There was only one thing to do with all these shapes. Time to climb :)

Eve set the first route, we figured that she would have fun and there's enough holds to let her set a difficult crimp route for us to climb. We gave Eve the holds because, being the large set that it is, we didn't want to set something that was over the top where we'd leave the session with sore hands and cursing. Eve set a problem that started on the 45 and traversed all the way around the wall and ending on the roof. This crimp set lends itself easily to any kind of terrain, all the holds are the larger variety of crimps, some will only give you enough room for half a pad but there are holds that have an aggressive incut that lends itself well to overhanging terrain.

We used the Motivation features for our second problem. Now for saying that these holds are crimps, and they may look like very small edges from the walk through, but these holds are actually very friendly and easy to grip; they're larger than you think and not very crimpy. Spicing things up was the name of the game so we set some of the holds up he wrong way :) At first it seemed like we needed all the holds on the wall to get around the wall since the problem incorporated a lot of long moves. We managed to skip some holds in the roof and a couple in the corner.... that's where we got stuck. It took some work to get the final sequence of the problem.... and some time as well, we filmed all of the trys and if we actually put that film out we'd have more of a movie than anything else.

These holds are from the little we've seen pretty top notch, they're up there with Holdz for quality and lots of other European manufacturers for their design... they're simple clean holds that will afford any routesetter or home wall owner hours of fun... problem if you're in North America maybe the price :(


SUGGESTED USES:


This set lends itself to any level climber. The stronger you are, the more creative you can get with the holds. A nice large set like this gives you a lot to work with. Mind you that some of these holds are difficult to hang on and wouldn't be caught dead on steep overhanging terrain, but with the number of holds in this set, you could get this set and put on any angle wall. There are so many holds that some of the holds didn't make it into the problems... so we had to reset and make more problems (hard life eh?) so we could get use out of all of them. If you have a home wall, getting a large set like this is a good investment and you'll be able to set countless problems... mainly because these holds are also a great size as well, they're big and bomber enough for most people to play with (as long as the setting isn't mental) but not space hoggers!

These holds have been on and off of the wall time and again, they get chalked up.. we clean them... rinse and repeat.. one thing that is totally noticeable is that with their "sandstone / sandpaper" texture these holds grip very well even when they're white with the ol chalk. We've dropped a few of them and they've come up without a dink in them, we've smeared shoes all over them and sure the texture does like rubber as it is aggressive but a jet wash and a brush and they're good as new

OVERALL BUILD
  • Number of holds: 17
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): 2.25GDB
  • Color: Orange
  • Bolt placement: centered
  • Sanding: flat
  • Texture: rough at first
  • Set size: 15 Small/2 Medium
  • Versatility: Very
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: None
Urethane has become the staple material we use here in North America for hold production the old resin holds are heavy and tend to chip and break easily. Planet Holds still have the weight of resin holds but are much more durable than some of the old resin holds we have in our collection. Noodles knocked the holds during the walk through and surprisingly enough, they didn't chip or break. We've had some other holds from Europe that were made from resin that had some chips on the corners and thinner parts of the hold. The shape of Planet Holds are solid all the way through with no corners or protruding sections that could break off in the general abuse a hold will take.

The texture is rough and feels like gritty sandpaper, but as we climbed and got some chalk onto them, the texture evened out; in fact because of the texture we found ourselves brushing these holds less than lesser textured holds... they take chalk; a LOT OF CHALK, and then they still grip. We'd put the texture to something that feels like sandstone.. but without the slip and slide of the rock as the texture isn't coming off in your hand :)

Shapewise they're friendlier than we first expected, there aren't many areas that do dig into your fingers; the only ones that do are the small incut "rock like" holds and even then the design has slightly rounded edges to stop this from being a problem for most people. The geometric shapes would complement (we've said this before not long ago) the Teknik Mathematics and the Project Cubes without looking out of place... there would be a definite feeling change as the climber switched between holds but that's no big deal

Overall build quality is excellent, with D.O.B stamps and QA stamps on the backs of the holds... we know where these holds are made and the place isn't known for putting out crappy holds, which is probably why these are made there.

The color is an interesting one... it's labelled as Pastel Orange and we don't want to be all manly about this but it sounds like something you'd go and look up for your daughters bedroom color scheme :P It's a nice color, it's more orange than the name suggest and the holds look nice on a wall... admittedly our holds are more white than anything else these days and this does lead to a slight problem... a minor one at that. As these holds are of a lighter color than most then when they are chalked up they are going to be trouble on a route as the climber might get a little lost on a crowded wall... we'd suggest hitting up Planet Holds for a bolder color than what we have

WHAT ARE THEY MADE FROM:
Resin, strong ol stuff

PACKING / SHIPPING:
The best shipping on the planet! See the start of the walk through video for the full details!

RATING:
Noodles:
I'm starting a website called "Crimpsmyass.com" for all the people that label their holds as crimps but their holds aren't crimps at all! These holds are edges, not big edges, you can open hand all of the holds... So you're not crimping on these holds, and if you are, well your hands are going to a special place. I may have to make another symbol for our reviews that is open handed crimp... because I find some labels on sets misleading... (Rant over!)

I want to see more of Planet Holds lineup, simply because this set was good fun to have on the wall, varied more than most sets you can get and something that's different... I'd even go so far to say that the holds are actually worth i
investing in getting to the US... that's not something I say lightly as we'll do some math:

Hold price: 38 GBP about $57 USD
Shipping: (Airfrieght from the UK to Canada) 64 GBP about $95 U
SD
So that's: $152 for 17 holds = $9 per hold

$9 per hold, and considering the size you'd have to be mental to pay that... now let me point out that the shipping
was "walk up the street and get it done", the shipping can be cheaper (I'm guessing by 1/3, maybe even 1/2.. who knows?) and then the holds will drop to something like $7 maybe $6 per hold which is more than worth it. Ok, ok I can hear the penny pinchers out there woahing at my suggestion that these holds are worth it... lets make a comparison.

2x 24 pack of generic beer: (No Keiths or Moosehead) about $30 per case = $60
Cab ride across town to party: $30
Drink the beer at a party
and
Cab ride home: $30


So these holds will cost us (in Canada and the US) about the price of a good night out... but these will be there in the morning and they'll last longer than that 48 beer hangover you just got. I've spent more on holds than this, hell I'v
e spent more on night out than $152 and had nothing to show for it, except for a locksmiths receipt when I lost my keys.

The point I'm trying to make in a very around about way is that these holds are well worth a look-see, and there's a whole lot more holds that they have... look at these:

Slopers and Triangles... some other nice looking shapes that we'll try to get so we can look closely at them...

The "crimps 1" aren't crimps, they're all open hands or pinches.. it's a big set and the quality is something that other companies should have a look at.. these things feel like they could do some damage if you threw them... they're heavy (probably why shipping would be a pain) but in my opinion, and it is my opinion, these holds are worth a look. I'm going back into the wall now, me and these holds have some unfinished business to attend to!

Chris:
Noodles is a braver man than I. The problem was hard enough as is up to that point. We worked on the moves leading up to the 45 and then got stuck trying to get onto the overhang. I didn't feel like giving myself a concussion on the sketchy dyno so I figured the holds that we left out of our original beta would come into good use. The transition into the 45 went a lot smoother with that extra hold :) (The one that was there all the time that only you, you lanky bugger could reach? : Nuds)

I was a little worried with the texture of the holds. When we took them out of the box, they felt really gritty but as they suck up chalk, the texture isn't so bad. Besides the extra friction helped on those holds that we set upside down.

It's unfortunate that we don't see more holds from Europe. They have a different feel to them and they tend to be more technical to climb on than their American counterpart. This set of hold lacks diversity, in that there is really only one part of the hold that you can grip (unless you get them on some Motivation volumes :P) but Planet Holds has put together one of the best crimp sets I've come across. My goal when climbing in the gym is to get stronger without injuring myself. I don't like climbing on tiny little crimps in the gym since it could easily lead to injury, the holds in this set are small enough to pose a challenge, but comfortable enough to be used on any climb and on pretty much any angle wall.

PROS:
  • Good mix of shapes, not as small as you think
  • Large set, 17 holds in total
  • Varied uses, despite the small hand placement areas
CONS:
  • Only one good place on the hold to grip, you can match but it's hard 90% of the time
  • Cannot purchase in North America (well you can, if you're willing to pay the steep shipping fees)
  • Heavy.. again think shipping

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