Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review > Greengrip > Composite Stone Set 1

Greengrip is someone you've probably not heard of! Is that because they're from Finland? No not really, it's because they're kind of quiet... they are a company that have been working on a bunch of different material types. In fact a lot of different materials; that aside today we're talking about one of their material types... but first the holds (Which is a promotional set): 
The material that they're made of is called Composite Stone Materials, the Greengrip website says this about it:
"Composite stone materials not only greatly resembles natural stones, but also have much better mechanical properties for climbing holds manufacturing. Materials for composite stones are different kinds of modificated resins and resin combinations, based on epoxy-silicone resins and natural polymers"
Right... we included some of the spelling mistakes, but what does that mean when it all is said and done?
  1. The holds should feel like stone and also look like stone
  2. The holds should be strong and light
  3. They're not normal resin, they are some kind of super epoxy/polymer mix
Before we go much further we should mention that the chaps at Greengrip are a bunch of chemists AND climbers that have decided to make environmentally friendly climbing holds! Finland is covered in rock and it snows a lot so they have lots of time to get it right.... but have they done so?
  1. These holds do look and feel like stone
  2. The box of holds weighed in at less that 1kg, the holds aren't huge but they are extremely light considering they're made of resin, or a resin like material. They're also pretty strong, we'd normally not throw resin holds about but as they said they were strong we had a little session of "throw the holds at the wall" and we didn't break any
  3. We can't figure out what they're saying about the epoxy/polymer material (it's not polyurethane or polyester) that they make their holds from... it's based on the same kind of chemicals but it isn't normal stuff... bloody chemists always make life difficult :) (Keep in mind the bigger holds (if you get the larger hold, of which we have a few, are made of something else entirely!! And then there is one hold in the box that is something we're going to review later when we get the rest of the holds in our hands and it's called Iceberg and they look mental) The holds are made without harmful chemicals, so that's pretty good!
Right... enough confusion, let's get to how they feel!

If we read CHR or have been reading this site for a while you'll know that we've had some real rock-esque climbing holds before. Some were good (Dream Holds: Basalt / Granites; Petrogrips: Mixed) and there were some that were bad (Project Holds: Granites; Entre-prise: Imperfect Cobbles) but how do these guys hold up?

Actually they're pretty damn good, they feel like crimps feel outside... people have climbed on one of the routes Noodles set where he screwed the holds together to make little cracks (see image on the left) and people really liked the feel of them and the way that (if they remembered to use the crack and not the outside of the hold) you feel like you're outside. Then Chris (who actually set with the holds first) made something that REALLY FELT like the outside... it was hard and pretty painful to climb. So yeah they do feel like real rock, they don't quite have the same cool feel as real rock but they do feel slightly cooler than other normal climbing mediums

Then we set a short easy route to just to see what they holds were like on easy terrain and they are very very positive, even the smallest screw on was ok to be matched. We've moved these holds all over the wall, we've used the smaller holds as feet and as hands so they can be used either way


For their size and shapes are better suited to slight overhangs, unless of course you like hauling down on small semi sharp (in some cases) holds that really feel like real rock. There is a lot of options on all of the holds, bar the tiny screw ons, that allow you to play around and make some pretty interesting routes. Our favorite was getting two of the screw ons, or a bolt on and a screw on, and then making little cracks out of them; the good thing about using a bolt/screw on combination is that you can rotate the bolt on to change the angle of the crack with the spin of a wrench. If you're looking for some pretty real feeling holds then these might be what you're looking for, you can't train too much on them but they certainly add some spice to a wall

What we've done this week is to have the walk through video and the climbing as one video not two! So for Noodles falling on his ass because of the small screw ons you'll have to skip to the middle of the video... we're also sorry about the walk through camera work, we have a new camera person and they're getting to grips with how to film the walk through....


  • Number of holds: 12
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Both
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): 41 Euros is roughly: $57.50 = $4.80 per hold
  • Color: Grey and red
  • Bolt placement: Depends upon the shape
  • Sanding: Good
  • Hollow backed: No
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): Epoxy rubber polymer
  • Texture: Rock like
  • Set size: Small
  • Versatility: Pretty good
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes on the bolt ons when needed
  • Shaper: Admir & Mother Nature
  • Weight: Less than 1kg
We had a session of throw the holds at a wall to see if we could break of chip them and even with people throwing pretty hard there wasn't any noticeable damage; it's not the best test we know but we were wondering what they'd look like after we chucked the HRT stuff off of the balcony :)
Build quality of these holds is very good, all of the backs are flat with their backing sucking the holds to the wall very well (FYI: they have a new backing that is super green so it's no longer the "bad" part of the hold when it comes to the environment!) all of the screw holes are nice and are counter sunk to take the screw heads, same of the bolt holes.

These holds are light, and even adding the grey/red these holds stand out because of their style (what is it's Etch adverts say? "Only mother nature makes better shapes?") well this is the case for these guys. They could do with a logo of some kind but given the nature of the shapes you shouldn't have trouble finding them... unless of course you don't mix screw ons with bolt on holds!

Texture wise these are very real rock like, but like Chris says a little softer than the outside and there are some slightly sharp edges; some of the holds just don't want to be dyno'd to that's for sure

Expoy / polymer


These holds would be almost the greenest thing on the climbing market except for one thing... they have backing upon them that isn't the most environmentally friendly thing on the planet. In my mind this kind of defeats the purpose of making environmentally friendly holds :( But they do seem to have a bunch of other things going for them:
  • Their material is a safety based so it shouldn't shatter easily
  • The colors they use are food coloring
Reading their website is pretty interesting (spelling mistakes aside :P), all of the research that they've done is well documented with their trials and tribulations up on the page for you all to read. There's a lot of information up there, so if you're bored go and spend some time.

Now even thou we're reviewing one of their Promotional part bolt/part screw on set this time around there are some other holds that are en-route
These are called the Icebergs and as you can see there are some larger shapes in there and these holds have some very interesting coloring to them; we had a sneak peak of one of the holds and they look completely mental!

That aside the Stone Set is interesting, I generally don't like holds that are too small especially screw ons because they can be sharp... but this isn't the case these holds despite being small are pretty friendly there are some sharp(ish) edges but as these holds are molded from real rock shapes and they're made to simulate rock so it's kind of expected that this is the case. Some of the holds are a little sharp as I said, but I think Greengrip could select the rocks that they're molding from a little more carefully; if you look at the image of the holds at the top of this post the middle most holds is has the sharpest edges but it is also one of the most interesting shapes from the set, it has lots of grabbing options, the only problem with this is that to turn the hold you're going to need your drill

Overall do I like the holds? I really don't mind them I think that easier routes on simple on slight inclines and slabs is where these holds shine, I know I don't want to be making dynamic moves to small semi sharp holds so I generally avoid doing so and I'd suggest you do that same or limit your routes to not include to many of these types. There are a lot of options with these holds, being screw ons you want to set well so you don't have to move the holds too much otherwise your wall is going to start looking like swiss cheese :) Eco-holds is something that I can see being a bigger market over the next few years, Nicros have been doing it with the soy-based holds for years and other company's are getting on the boat, Greengrips have started well if they can sort out their backing material these holds could be the greenest grips on the planet... now I hope the Icebergs turn up before they melt so we can try something larger

I don't know if the guys at Green grip have seen our review on the Dream holds Dumby Basalts cause these shapes from Green grip have a very similar feel. We use this word, "similar", quite a bit of late. There are a lot of great shapes out there and those who mold the holds draw influence from other shapers and there is nothing wrong with that, unless you're like some companies and downright copy molds from other companies (we know who you are;). Well Greengrip is not one of those companies. When I say that the shapes are similar, I mean in idea only. These real rock shapes are much smaller than those from Dream holds and since they're cast from real rock, the shapes are much different from those from Dream holds.

In most reviews I talk about the problems we set with the holds and how we held up on them, what I think about the aesthetics and shapes, but I think that with these holds, I must first talk about the composition of the holds. We're entering an age of environmental awareness and Greengrip is on the forefront developing eco friendly polymers and epoxies. I won't get into the chemistry of things (you can get the info on their website) and I won't say that I understand it, I can just say that they've developed a composition that is very light.

So now onto the part of the review you have all been waiting for: What do I think of the holds? Well, I think that we have some brilliant holds in our possession. I would really like to see more shapes with bolt holes instead of being mounted with screws. That just because I'm lazy and I weasel my way out of setting with screw on holds. What I've realized from climbing on real rock shapes is that the holds still have the sharp edges you would find climbing outside but there isn't that bite that would leave your skin burning after a couple of attempts. I would attribute this to the fact that plastic, be it polyurethane, recycled or a secret mixture, is softer that rock and thanks to that we can climb on into the wee hours of the night.


  • Environmentally friendly
  • For their size they are light and strong
  • Limited range thus far
  • Screw ons aren't for everyone

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