Thursday, July 1, 2010

Review > Summit Labs > Dual Texture Edges

summitlabs

Summit Labs rocked onto the scene with some real rock shapes the Granite slopers and a large Granite sloper that were kickass (You can read it here) They had a range of other real rock shapes that looked pretty good as well.... and then it all went quiet! The site didn't show any updates and there were no new holds being added to their line up... and then Morgan pings us with some images; some very interesting looking shapes and a "would you like to check them out?"

What were we going to answer? No? HA! There was no way that was going to happen; and besides Summit Labs was a company that we'd pegged for rolling out real rock shapes... oh boy were we wrong... lets look at the Dual Tex Edges:


Boom! Right there.... BOOM! Are these real rock shapes? Nope! And lookie here, dual texture holds. Hang on there is something not quite right here, something not right at all... no wonder they've been quiet, they've been shaping and figuring out how to make some D/T sickness.

Why do we sound like we're amazed?

Dual texture is something that is very hard to get right. The slick has to be slick and the texture (remember they were putting out real rock holds) has to be right on the mark otherwise you end up with something that is meh at best. Add to that the line between the dual texture and the texture is a supremely hard thing to get right, it's a thing that only a few companies have pulled off really well (DRCC / Voodoo / Globe / Holdz to name a few)) This little company straight out of the box going BOOM... look at these, slick slickness, grippy texture and the defining line is perfect!

No wonder they were so quiet for a while. Let's hope they get quiet again because we think that there could be some very interesting stuff in store for indoor climbers.

As usual, we're off topic (in a strange way on topic)...

The Dual Tex Edges... lets run down the check list:

  • Dual texture: Yes
  • Edges: Yes
We had these on our old wall and we set them with a bunch of other holds... from the get go they were very technical to play with, the texture is just right for the shapes; it allows you to feel in control and just about able to hang on and then... you're on the mats

On a vertical wall they're a breeze to grab, start going into the 15 and then the 30 and because only one of the shapes is really incut you start to take it a little slower and think about what you're trying to do. Stick them on the 45 and you're looking at some very very serious moves... no matter what you do with them, you're in for an open handed treat... praying that you can just move your foot to that hold before you go flying. There is something very special about these holds, something that's hard to put your finger on as to why... maybe it's because they're simple shapes done well, maybe it's the mix of grip and slick... maybe maybe maybe...

Now as we filmed on the old wall and the route was mixed we threw all of that footage away, it wasn't good enough for us to use... so as we have our new wall we figured "let's get it done". Noodles spent a couple of days figuring out some routes and then went nuts with Eve and Nick... getting a bunch of new footage! Check it out:

One thing that is very obvious with these holds is that it's easy to set a forced sequence, these holds are easy to grab one handed and just about matchable for most people, add in some really bad feet (we used the Suckers from Sequence) and the end result is a powerful and yet balanced route that's going to test your strength and your footwork. From easy anyone can "do this" routes to 45 degree screamers no one complained about the shapes or had any pain, instead of reaching for some salve people were reaching for a wrench and were moving these holds around and setting something harder, and more technical every time.

SUGGESTED USES:






45 is a generous angle to give these holds, 30 is a little more like it as most people aren't ever going to be able to pull on these holds on that kind of angle. If they were a little more incut then they'd be much more doable on the steeper walls.

We've had them all over the place and when we went near a roof or something steeper than 30 degrees we nearly always ended up using a volume of some kind to lessen the angle so our routes were easier for people to get onto. From blind slaps around corners to really powerful underclings we've tried most things with these holds (even doing the same route five times to see if the undercling move was ok with each of the holds (it is!)) and each time we've come away with a smile on our faces because despite being hard they have a good texture that doesn't rip your finger tips off. These holds as they're dual texture would make you think that they're aimed at the more advanced climber more than anyone else and in thinking this you'd be wrong, these holds are deep enough to be good for teaching technique to all levels of climbers.

OVERALL BUILD

  • Number of holds: 5
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt on
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): 34.50 / 5 = $6.90 per hold
  • Color: Neon yellow
  • Bolt placement: In the middle
  • Sanding: Great
  • Texture: Dual texture
  • Set size: Small / medium
  • Versatility: Interesting
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No
  • Shaper: Morgan Barnes
We mentioned before that dual texture holds are very hard things to do well... many have tried and many have failed. Summit Labs have pulled a surprise out of the bag...
The sanding is nice and flat, the slick of the hold is slick enough that you can't get a thumb catch on the shapes or a foot for that matter; the textured part that you're grabbing is very very nice and skin friendly. The line between the D/T and texture is very well defined and gives the holds a nice polish that some other dual texture holds lack.

Summit Labs always put their logo on their holds and these are well placed and not raised to much that you could use it as a textured part of the hold... and the color although not the most neon yellow out there is a little dull but the holds still stand out nicely for a route

We've taken one of the holds to test it's strength for our next drop test, but they have been dropped whilst setting onto the floor, they've been placed badly in a bucket and moved from wall to wall and they have faired well... there is only one noticeable chip on the edge of one of the holds where it's been hit really hard, probably from the move from apartment to apartment from when we were moving the wall to it's new home

On the downside? These holds should have set screw holes pre-drilled into them (all holds of a certain size should anyway) and that's the only real downside, oh that and there aren't more of them. These holds are flat out ledges of varying angles, the angles never being very extreme (i.e: steep faces), so most people will have fun on them of course that's as long as you're not setting mental V problems on your walls... and even then we'd suggest trying something a little harder with these holds and see what happens; these holds are pretty forgiving

WHAT ARE THEY MADE FROM:
Urethane

PACKING / SHIPPING:
Very very good

RATING:
Noodles:
Where are the other versions of these? (Although the do make a bolt on / screw on set of other dual texture holds called the Nanos Crimps that are much smaller (yes you read that right, you can have either!!)) what I'd like to see is some other versions of these... almost tailored for wall angles; add some more slopey guys, add some more incuts and expand the entire range to something like 30 or 40 holds so setters can put up full on routes in a gym.

These holds are like the Globe Minidisks... but not so similar that they're a problem or a copy, these holds are much larger than the disks and if you have both sets then they're complementary to each other... in fact I could probably name a bunch of holds from a bunch of companies that these holds are similar to... but in my defence these guys are different from anything I've seen. Variety is the spice of life.

I'm pretty particular about dual texture holds so much so that I have a list of people that make good D/T holds that I'd recommend if someone asked which ones should be looked at. Summit Labs have sneaked onto that list... first impressions count, so they say. We were impressed by the granites we have and now we've been impressed by the Edges. It's surprising that a little company like this can do this, they've made a quality product and it's something I'm stunned by... not that they're putting out a good product but the fact that they got it right the first time; I'd love to see how many times they shaped and poured these holds to get something that they were happy with, I'm guessing it took a while :)

Sometimes a simple hold is a good hold

Chris:
I didn't spend too much time on these holds before we took down the old wall and began rebuilding it. I obviously dissapeared off to BC for a well earned climbing break before the new wall was finished and these holds were hauled out of their bucket and put back onto the wall.

What I do remember is the routes that we did set on the old wall. As Summit Labs had sent us a number of sets to review over a period of time we set them set by set as one long route so we could get a feel for them. These holds are actually labelled as edges and they ARE edges which is cool. The holds are very simple and look very clean, as we'd not set anything completely crazy with them (I think that they were on the 30 degree wall) I don't have too much of an opinion. What I will do when I get back to Montreal is I'll make sure I climb on these a bunch and I'll come back with what I think!

Eve:

The Summit Edges are terribly comfortable!

This asset allows the setters (well my setters at least) to create much more technical and torturous routes. The holds themselves are definitely edges, by anyone's definition I presume, and the dual texture is very well defined. The are fairly smooth on the skin and very nice for the finger joints.

These holds are nothing special to look at but unlike a lot of holds they are EXACTLY what they claim to be... There's something to be said about that!

Nick:

Here we go, the newest member of the CHR crew, and the token old dirty bastid to this merry band of slightly off the kilter lads and ladies. A total noob at indoor climbing and haven't climbed outdoors in ages. Literally. Chris wasn't born last time I climbed, I think, hehe (might be wrong, but who cares, right ?) Not that I did that much of it, or anything really challenging back then; some easy cliff climbing with top rope, and some free form cliff climbing in altered states of consciousness during that phase of our lives where we experiment with stuff and think we're immortal...

So I'm relearning from scratch, and having a blast. Granted, having a friend with a climbing wall next door, with a pool of climbers with collective decades of experience makes that a lot easier, obviously. Anyhoo, I was a bit skittish at the prospect of both having to do a route made exclusively from those holds and having to comment on them. Well, even though I didn't try the harder route (the one you can see Noodles fall on his arse in the vid, what is it 5 times ?), I managed to complete the easy one and was agreably surprised at their feel, and the relative ease with which I could grasp and hold onto them. Remember, I suck pretty badly at this still :)

Even though I dislike the color, as it happens to be the same one that started me wearing camo shorts over bike tights in a previous life where I roamed the Montreal city streets Pony Express style, before hitting the trails or the tavern; or both at the end of work day on my pedal powered iron horse... we'd be given bright neon yellow tights with leopard patterns on them, and well, most of us hid them pretty fast...

And while I agree that the color makes them stand out, I'd rather see them in another color. A very minor gripe, and granted, mostly a matter of personal taste. Not that I'm a reference on taste....

For what's it's worth, I think they make an interesting choice for the beginner indoor climber; on a vertical wall, anyone with a modicum of strength should be able to hold on, without chaffing skin. On inclines, they'll help you develop the necessary techniques to maintain grip on sloppy surfaces : they're not slippery, but the geometry will make them challenging to use.

I like them so they get an unqualified (haha, a pun) thumb up from me.

PROS:

  • Very easy to set forced sequences with
  • Forgiving texture on your fingers
  • Amazing dual texture holds for a first attempt from a small company
CONS:
  • No set screw hole
  • Need some more shapes there's not enough variation
  • The color could be a little more vibrant

1 comment:

Zach said...

The climbing on the holds video is set to private, so we can't watch it.