Friday, June 25, 2010

Review > Project Holds > Granites

projectholds
Project holds sent us two sets of their Granites holds, the XL version as well as a set of the Large version. These holds, we’re told, are supposed to mimic the feeling of hard, delicious granite found in the great outdoors. This got us excited to slap these babies on the wall and to climb the hell out of them.

To start off, we set a nice, easy and long problem that used every part of the wall starting from the 45 and finishing way on the other side. We used the XL holds on the 45, because that made perfect sense to us, and followed up with the smaller holds on the flatter walls. This problem, though, ended up being just a little too easy and was no more than a mere warm up in the end. So Noodles, who was angry that we set problems that were too hard for him earlier in the day, set a new problem that also started on the 45 that was designed to make us scream like babies. This time he used the X-Ls as starting holds only and put some of the smaller ones up on the 45 with some reachy, feels-like-the-skin-on-my-fingers-is-going-to-come-off moves. He also made good use of the volumes in the roof and put a few other X-L Granites in the roof too. He also tried to be creative with the last sequence on the flat wall, but this proved to be a bit difficult to make it difficult given the size, shape and texture (!!!) of the holds. It ended up being a fun, challenging problem that had to be modified slightly to make it more feasible and less painful.

SUGGESTED USES:






These holds will work almost too well on nearly any wall. Although, the XL holds will be a little too easy on the less-steep walls since they are pretty massive. They felt really easy even on the 45 wall so having them put up on the 90, unless up-side-down, might be a bit of a waste for more experienced climbers. They would be a pretty interesting change from the usual slimy, smooth jugs found on beginner routes in a gym. The smaller versions also worked pretty well on the 45 but be ready to scream really loudly while pulling hard on them and to stare at your fingers in shear pain while muttering profanities when you fall off them. On the flat wall, most of the holds at almost any size will feel pretty darn good given the shape and texture. So, most of the sizes will allow you to set for any climbing level on the flatter walls. But the smaller holds will probably end up just scaring the beginners away on the steeper walls. They can definitely make for some interesting setting, though.

OVERALL BUILD SMALLS

  • Number of holds: 10 (we have both sets of smalls)
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): 35 / 5 = $7 per hold
  • Color: Ours are lime green
  • Bolt placement: Always in the middle
  • Sanding: Good
  • Texture: Rough
  • Set size: Small
  • Versatility: There is a little variation in the shapes
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No
  • Shaper: Charles Morris
One thing that should be noted with these holds is that as they're small you don't notice the texture so much, some of the edges are sharp but the shapes do have some variation with little areas that allow thumb catches and tricky little matches

OVERALL BUILD XL

  • Number of holds: 5
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): 89 / 5 = $17.80 per hold
  • Color: Bright orange
  • Bolt placement: In the middle
  • Sanding: Good
  • Texture: Rough
  • Set size: XL
  • Versatility: Not bad
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No
  • Shaper: Charles Morris
You're going to notice the texture more with these holds because you're getting a lot of skin onto these guys... after a while you get used to the aggressive texture but they will cause you're sessions to be shorter than you think

OVERALL
The main thing that stands out with these holds is definitely the texture. It’s really important to note that on steeper walls these holds hurt. A lot. They can provide with some really interesting and creative problem/route setting but it comes at a cost – your skin. The texture is so gnarly that you almost don’t even need chalk at all, even if you’ve got the sweatiest palms at the gym.

These holds were meant to simulate real granite found in the great outdoors although its questionable if they were successful. Certainly, if the whole world was made of plastic than these holds would likely feel exactly like the plastic granite found in the plastic outdoors, but not so much like real granite. They definitely shred your skin apart like granite outdoors if you haven’t climbed on that kind of rock in a long time. It is the kind of texture that makes you stop climbing from your skin hurting rather than from your muscles hurting. The texture also isn’t just a constant, rough pattern. They got real detailed in the resolution of the texture and some of the holds will have thicker ridges than other areas, much like real granite outdoors. So kudos to Project for being so detailed on the grain patterns.

The shapes of the holds weren’t anything too crazy or fancy but they worked for what we used them for. They don’t hurt your fingers much to use (apart from the skin, that is) on any angle. All of the bigger sizes were easily matchable and even some of the smaller ones too, and the shapes allowed for creative matching on different parts of the holds rather than just on one simple edge. A small problem though, was that the ‘granite’ texture of the holds was usually only found on one side so the holds can only really pulled on from the textured side. These holds are shaped so that they aren’t too hard on the tendons; unless we were just too concerned about our skin to care about our tendons while climbing on these. Although like any holds, if you pull too hard you’ll rip more than just your skin.

The holds were of solid construction; they didn’t feel fragile or have any thin fragile edges that we saw. They could certainly be thrown around without too much fear of cracking or chipping. There were no hollow backs, however, so the larger holds were a tiny bit on the heavy side although nothing too crazy to be concerned about. The only problem with the shapes is that at first glance, the holds won’t pop out too much from the wall in terms of shape. They managed to make up for this with the really bright orange colour of the ones they sent us, but the shapes themselves don’t scream unique-ness unless you pull on them. So people probably won’t talk about them until they’ve climbed on them. There's also something else that should be looked at is the addition of set screw holes!

On the plus side, Project Holds can lessen the texture on these holds without too much trouble and it could be something that they're going to look at in the future...

WHAT ARE THEY MADE FROM:
Urethane

PACKING / SHIPPING:
The holds were bagged in sets and then well wrapped in the box

Jason:
I think the easiest way to describe these holds is to summarize it with a nice little picture of Noodles just coming off of the problem:Ow indeed. These holds did better at simulating cheese graters than they did real granite. The things we talked most while climbing on them was how much they hurt. But there were some positives to them as well. The fact that they are so grippy means they'll likely last longer than other holds that will become slick when covered in packed chalk. Also you need less chalk when climbing on these guys, the texture bites into your skin to keep you on the holds.

The shapes and sizes are good enough to set for any kind of skill level and I got really good feel of the spectrum with both the warm-up route and Noodles route. They were definitely fun to climb on (skin pain aside) and it was quite fun to reach high and pull hard on the smaller holds on the 45. The texture makes it a little easier to use those smaller holds on the steeper walls

Noodles:
Right, if I want my skin shredded off I'd stick my hand into a shredder
Holds that, I know to have been shaped and poured without being climbed on..... get this by the shaper!, are something that are going to be special!

Special is an "interesting" term I'd use for these holds... not the way you think though.
I'm thinking "special" in the way of...

get this:

If you like the feel of outside inside and holds that have bite... then these are something that you should look at... if you have girly soft skin then you probably want to avoid them

I'm done, I don't like them, I don't like climbing on them, they feel like someone is sanding my skin off of my hands. These holds aren't nice, the shape and form of them is great... it's just the "granite" texture that just turns me off. Christ, Dream Holds actually took rock and molded that to get their holds and it's not as rough on the skin as these holds.

Honestly, there is texture and then there is TEXTURE, sure there are ups and downs to the holds, they're well built, with good sanding and a very solid construction; the shapes are simple and will work well on shallow angles... hell some of the XL shapes are just about grab-able when they're on the roof. The down side is that the texture is so harsh that no matter where you put them they're always going to be pretty painful

It's really a case of what you want from your holds. Do you want the outside inside? Or do you want to train for hours without feeling like your skin is going to peel off of your hands?
UPDATE: Also another point is that after a few months the holds are covered in chalk, we've not brushed them at all and the texture is evening out and becoming more friendly... but this has taken months and months for this to happen... my thoughts are that if they took the original mold of these holds and re-poured them a few times then you'd get a good texture that "feels" like the outside but without your skin taking a complete kicking!!

Chris:
HA! Noodles has lady hands :) I love the outdoors and as I was training to head out to BC so I was loving the pain. We did loads with these holds from sticking the XL's on the roof (not the best idea) to having some tricky routes on the 45 and the rest of the wall... the main thing you're going to notice is that a) you're not going to need much chalk and b) you really stick to these holds when you get onto them.

Like Jason says these holds aren't anything special to look at, they're just going to look like a normal set of holds... that is until you grab onto them and then people are going to start feeling the difference. If they like that difference is a case of personal taste, I don't mind them, they're painful and then feel like you've hit fresh rock outdoors but I can see why some people won't like them. It's a ying-yang thing, if you're planning on climbing a lot to train then these probably aren't the best but if you own a gym and don't want to clean (or don't clean your holds very often) then the texture on these will shine though for months and months

PROS:
  • The texture in a gym setting means the holds will last without brushing or cleaning for ages
  • Project Holds can lessen the texture and it's something that they may look at
CONS:
  • The texture might be too much for some people

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