Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review > Climb It > XL Font Jugs

There have been times...probably more than I can think of....where we've cleared our wall of all the holds and start with a fresh clean slate. We usually start these sessions on setting warm up routes and move onto setting projects. But we always come to the point where we want to set the roof and realize that we lack big roof jugs. Well we've gotten some nice sets of roof jugs from Project, Contact and more recently Teknik and Climb It. We'll be looking at the Font Jugs from Climb It for this weeks review, but don't fret, the Teknik review is on the way:)

You can't imagine how huge these things are! They are XL size and that's what we got. We've had some other shapes for the roof and they've been made up of jugs and handles. These jugs are different. These large shapes have enough room for two hands but the hand placement is not always obvious. With other roof holds we have, the grip position of the hold is very easy to read.... why isn't it obvious despite the HUGE GAPING HOLE? Because some areas a wider than others, some have nice incut features and some places are just harder than you'd expect

We received them with some Power Domes and Black Mountain crimps and we immediately put these onto the roof. Remember we we had a completely blank wall so we filmed a quick Climb It video:

For their size you would think that they're easy to hold but the jug of the hold is not steep as expected and some parts even feel slopey. If you've ever climbed on these shapes you know that there are so many different ways to grip these bubbly font holds. The shape of the Font Jugs made it so the jug could be used as a huge pinch on the roof.

The first thing we noticed was no screw hole. No screw hole? A shape this size need a screw in it and more than once these holds have spun on us. We've seen holds that are much smaller than these that have screw holes incorporated in the design of the hold. We could always just put a screw in, but we hold aficionados like it when a screw hole is pre drilled on the hold.

This past week, we saw that the Climb It Font Jugs were the next holds to be reviewed and we had an surprise guest at the wall. Our friend Dora "The Explorer" showed up to climb with us and since our wall is thin on holds these days the only holds worth warming up on were the Font Jugs. We placed them on the 45 degree wall. This is the only other place, a long with the roof, where you'll ever see us putting up these holds. We made the problem so it wouldn't be too easy so we set long moves. Dora was having a hard time with the last move but with holds of this size it wasn't too long before she got the move.

Then we wanted to simu-climb a little so we grabbed some bolt hangars and started playing with the Fonts just on the 30 degree wall, and then we re-set with some Tekniks and DRCC holds for a jug-clip route :P


"Anywhere you want it, that's the way you need it, anyway you want it" -Rise Against; we could continue on in this vein but Chris and Noodles in a duet isn't going to be pretty :P
These holds are just massive anywhere you put them, one of the holds is so big you can figure 4 on it without a worry... the texture is a little more crystalline that most normal Climb It holds and we've got a lot of there stuff around the place so we know if there's a variation... these are pretty rough on the skin, and you are getting a lot of skin onto these holds. Noodles has complained a bunch from his skin burning when he's been clambering around on these... something has changed we think :(

These holds are one of those sets that is so friendly and so easy wherever you put them that they get the "full on" symbol. Honestly you can stick them anywhere, they're all easily matchable as the grabbing areas are huge and open.


  • Number of holds: 4
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): 78 / 4 = $19.50 per hold
  • Color: Floro pink
  • Bolt placement: Centered
  • Sanding: Good
  • Texture: A little rough
  • Set size: XL
  • Versatility: Lots
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No
Texture... there's something not quite right with the texture here. Sure from pour to pour there might be a slight variation in the feel of a hold but these don't feel like they're from the Climb It range at all. We have pretty much everything (bar a few sets) that Climb It make and this is the first time we've had cause to talk about something that's wrong with their texture :( These holds are like rough sandpaper and they do like to sand off your skin when you hang about on them (you will be hanging around a lot on these monsters!); it's not something that we're used to when Climb It are concerned.

Other than that niggle, the holds are well built with some good hollow backs that have center columns, one thing that is lacking is there aren't any inset screw holes for set screws! Kind of strange when you think about the forces that can be generated on a hold of this size.. and something we're not used to Climb It missing on!!! A couple of the areas of the hollow back could be a little thin and could be prone to breaking if you don't look after your holds, but you're going to have to drop them / hit that area with a hammer to get the urethane to crack

Color wise the color fades a little towards the edges, again something we're not used to from Climb It, everyone has their off days, most of the holds we received in the same shipment were a little color-lite.


Not bad, these came in a large shipment that was going somewhere else, there were a lot of large holds so some jostling and scraping occurred

Aight, here I go sounding like a broken record.... AGAIN
First point: set screw holes. Just because holds are made of urethane, rather than resin and therefore the end user can put in their own hole doesn't mean that they should have to! If a hold is going to generate enough force for it to potentially spin then the hole should be there. DRCC does it, Contact Climbing does it... hell most (not all) companies do it as well. Thankfully Climb It will probably modify their molds and retrofit this feature

Second point: (And I don't even know why I mention this) there is no way these are just XL holds, maybe in the entire scheme of Climb It they are (and they really are) just XL shapes, but compared to other companies these are more like 2XL :) That's more for your reference than for ours

I agree, kind of, with what Chris says.... k-i-n-d-a! These holds are large, and they do take up a bunch of room for storage when you're rocking a home wall... mind you he doesn't complain about the Boss or the Wedge... and he doesn't live in the apartment :P I like these kinds of holds, they are more technical than your usual just chuck at it and it'll stick jugs... they are a little trickier than you think, thankfully they're all matchable even if the matches can be a little tricky. He is correct on a couple of things though, the texture is rougher than we've come to expect from Climb It and the color was a little washed out around the edges.. two things that kind of made us raise some eyebrows

Then we brought out the old harness (with the legs cut off) and then we started playing with some runners; wow, thank god these are huge... otherwise my training for outdoors would have gone worse then it already did :) Yeah, we chuck draw hangers and runners on the wall so we can get ready for the outside climbing season, it's something you'll see more of for a few months :P

Would I buy these for a home wall of our size? It's a 50 / 50, they are big but they are versatile for every wall of every angle. If I'm a guy owner it's a total no brainer. I'd like some smaller less area consuming versions of these to round out the Font range a little more... then as a home wall owner it'd be a no brainer.

Overall? I like them, I think the texture needs to be taken back a bunch and the color could have been more consistent. Even though these holds are massive the hollow back means you're not spending loads of $ on shipping!!

On a normal day, we'd get holds from Climb It and and we'd be very satisfied with the quality and shape of the hold, but on this shipment, we found some things to get picky on. The texture of the hold is very rough and although on its own it may not be too big of a deal, but when you've gotten your hands on as many Climb It holds as we have, there is a big difference between the texture of the Font Jugs and holds that we've received from them in the past. Also the tone of color that they used isn't as bright as we've come to expect from Climb It.

Now for me personally, if I had a home wall I would stay away from the big roof shapes. They take up a lot of room on the wall and for storage, they tend to be specific for the roof and they can be quite costly. The set is well priced but for $78 for a set of 4 holds, I think my money can be better spent on larger (quantity wise) sets of holds that are more versatile on the wall.

The good thing about getting Climb Its holds is that they have a wide range of sets within their specific lines of holds. The Font Jugs are too big? Well they have all kinds of different shapes and sizes that are all within the same "Font" category.

Even with all this said about not wanting to personally invest into roof jugs, it's nice to have these kinds shapes lying around... besides, now we have enough holds to set up some nice roof sequences. Also, Dora was pointing out that she has difficulty with the long sequence, and these holds are perfect for setting up those kinds of moves and just chucking yourself to the hold over and over until you manage to stick the move.

I really like the shape of the Font Jugs. They call them jugs, but this is a term that should be used lightly. The holds aren't all juggy incut holds, some have a negative incut and it opens up the door for more interesting sequences on the roof. These holds work great as odd angled pinches, where you can use the font like features to get a good pinch grip. When we set them on the roof, I found that I had to put more emphasis on technique and foot placement than relying on brute strength alone.

These holds are amazing for warm ups, HUGE jugs that can fit at least 3 hands inside. The texture is pretty funky and though you’d expect it to be slippery once your hands get sweaty, they actually stay quite grippy.

There’s not much to say about them other than they’re HUGE JUGS, and you can never go wrong with that. They’re good to pull off the side and super easy to set as they are fairly light for their size and you only need one bolt! I don’t think there is a way you could possibly set them to turn them into a difficult hold…

  • For their size they're light (good hollow back)
  • Monster for beginners, but still challenging for other climbers
  • Color is a little light at the edges
  • No set screw hole

1 comment:

Louie Anderson said...

Couldn't agree more with you on the set-screw comments. These were shaped about 2 years ago (before the current "set screws in everything" trend. All newer shapes for Climb It are delivered to them with screw hole locations installed.

Please continue to preach the wisdom of set screws, as some of the companies I work with still have not seen the light )other than on very long shapes that are more prone to potential spinning).

As for the sizing: I agree there too. It would be really nice if all companies had the same philosophy when it came to sizing. Until that happens, buyers would be wise to make actual comparisons to see what they're really getting for their money spent.