Monday, October 4, 2010

Review > HRT > Atlantis

HRT Climbing
HRT are a European company and their holds are something we've wanted to play on for a while... why? Because they have some holds that just have some far out names like "Cow Poop", "Bootie Call" and some other stuff that's is just a little strange... the other reason is this they have the same composite holds that Holdz have... remember those guys? (If you missed that review you can find it: here), the make up of the HRT Atlantis that we're looking at this week is the same (they are made at the same place in Europe)... so lets see what's up:

The hold on the left is a Holdz Undercutz, it has the same hollow backed design... and we really put that guy to the test...we torqued it up to well over what anyone setting can do with a wrench or a torque wrench... so much so we were worried what would happen if it did actually break (something like a grenade going off) and then to top it off Noodles threw one of them out of a second floor window to a concrete floor and it just bounced.

Now not to be outdone we did something very similar with the HRT Atlantis, they went straight off of the balcony and it just got a little bit scuffed up from hitting the floor. Then we pulled the same torque test with it and again we backed off before we broke the hold; but we were hanging on a scaffold bar to get the wrench to turn anymore. We were actually worried that we'd break the bit or the bolt before the hold... so in the interest of self preservation we stopped. So these holds are strong as hell and they're very light, so light in fact that if you've seen any adverts for HRT they show the holds actually floating in water. Do they float? Well yes actually they do.. crazy

Right off of the bat... before all the North Americans decide to stop reading because these holds are from Europe let us just drop a little nugget of information for you... these holds are available here from Walltopia... sneaky buggers. They keep a fairly limited stock on hand but they do get a couple of shipments a year, of both the CompozIT holds and the resin holds... so you can keep reading on!

So the holds are strong and light, take pretty much any bolt you care to use... but what are they actually like to climb on?

First off these holds when new feel like they're very soft, almost kitten soft, it's a hard thing to describe but that's the way they feel. All of the holds have lots of grooves in them, we were kind of worried that with the texture being so kind that the grooves would be the only thing you're going to end up hanging off of... so we were thinking "these are just going to end up being slopers"... WRONG... these holds look like slopers but aren't really slopers, they end up being more pinches than anything else.. but then it really comes down to where you set them and on what angle

Setting problems with only 6 holds is always going to be a tricky affair, we wanted to have something slightly longer to start with so we could see how the holds bedded in, so we grabbed the Boss and "Spanky" (Tekniks Arnold hold) and went to work. Noodles started a route that went straight off of the Boss to a Motavation volume with the first hold on it to a long move to the side of the 45/60 wall... then a long throw to Spanky and then into a little traverse with the thinner holds of the set; then we added feet and we were ready to roll. Overall for Chris and Noodles the route was just too easy, the holds had more grip and more areas where they could be used that we'd at first suspected. Anyone that didn't have the power (or the reach) to bridge the gap and drop their foot down had a harder time getting the moves down... and then it came down to balance and who had small hands. Dora ended up just being hooked on the route, she knew that she could do it but has having a hard time just sticking the moves.


Another week and another new symbol!!
The thinner holds (top left two holds of the top image) have a fairly limited use as they're so thin and there isn't all the much to grab, people with smaller hands will have a far easier time with these than your normal monkey clawed brethren :) But they would make for some very interesting climbing on a slabby wall or as a palm around a corner or an arete.

When you look at the other four holds in the set then you're basically looking at some large friendly slopers that climb quite well on a 45 degree wall, but you'll end up pinching more than slapping and then trying to pull yourself up and move from there, on any wall less than 45 you can easily use these in their sloper mode... the added benefit of this is that when you're traversing with the holds you can switch you hands and get a pinch in.


Although we had these guys up on the 70 degree wall we had lessened the impact by putting them onto a volume, we tried the larger guys on a horizontal roof and the two obvious pinches (top right and bottom left of the top image) have enough area to them that allows you to get your hands matched and then be able to move your feet (the ridged lines help here more than you'd think) up to where you want them and then be able to move... it's a tricky / powerful way to go about things but it's more than do-able. The other holds are actually better when on the roof than the pinches as you can match your hands in the scoops and then you can tension your body to move, but you have to be quite high on the holds for this to be feasible.

  • Number of holds: 6
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold: 94.4 Euros = $148: approx $24.60 per hold (USD)
  • Color: Orange
  • Bolt placement: Centre
  • Sanding: Good
  • Hollow backed: Yes
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Very soft
  • Set size: Large
  • Versatility: Wide pinches or slopers
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes
  • Shaper: TBC
  • Weight: 3.33kg / 7.34lbs
The set is a little weird when you look at them, there are four large slopers / pinches and two holds that at best are pretty thin and not really matchable (unless your hands are tiny) and these two holds sure as hell aren't slopers (like the HRT site suggests)... maybe if these holds are on a slab then sure they will then come into their own, but most home walls don't have slabs as they're not good for training purposes. There are two sets of Atlantis holds, a 5 hold set and a 6 hold set, the 6 hold set has the two tiny guys... it's a shame the 5 hold set isn't a complimentary set of holds for slabs / shallow walls and the 6 hold set for slightly steeper walls; it's just a minor complaint
CompozIT is something we've played with before, the holds float are strong and are lighter than anything else if you compare a PU hold against them. They take a bunch of different bolt types and they all have set screw placements, although to be honest we didn't need to use them as the holds seem to suck into the wall quite well, there was only one instance when one of the holds spun on Noodles but that was because we hadn't tightened it up enough :( All of the holds are hollow backed and when you look at the image to the left that's pretty impressive given that's one of the thin guys and there is a set of AA batteries next to it.

All of the holds have a little number stamped into them that allows you to know which hold you're holding onto, it's very subtle but they are there. The HRT logo is stamped into all of the holds. As these holds come from the same place as Holdz they have a "birth date stamped within the back" they also have a QA stamp in the back as well so if anything does go wrong the batch can be tracked some problems can be sorted out. Mind you if you're looking for some of the number it has to be said that they can be easily missed... thankfully they're so small and out of the way that you never need worry about the logo or the hold number getting in the way of your climbing enjoyment.

The texture is something called Positive Relief and it feels very very soft to the touch and has much more grip than you'd think. All of our holds are orange, the color is nice and even throughout the entire set.


Not bad

This one has been a long time coming :) HRT and CHR have played email tag for ages, we mail them get no reply, they mail us and we don't see it... but it came together in the end.

I've been looking at HRT holds for a long time, knowing that they come from the same place as Holdz and that they use the same CompozIT technology that we've seen before but with some more realistic shapes meant we really wanted to play with them. HRT do rock resin holds as well... but we all know that resin is heavy and when you look at a urethane hold against this technology then you notice the weight difference is massive (if you had the same hold in say urethane and CompozIT then you'd probably look at maybe 75% lighter for compozIT) that's pretty significant when you think about setting long routes / shipping and a whole bunch of other factors.

When you feel these holds you sit back and think... they don't feel like normal holds, they have a soft very fine texture to them. I thought that they were going to climb like a bag of crap, between the "not so grippy texture" to the ridges in the holds I was thinking that they were just going to suck! Boy was I wrong, totally wrong, once you get onto the holds the first time you just stick to them... they could be some of the grippiest holds we've seen in a long time, they also don't trash your skin to hell either... what IS this CompozIT? I like it, I like it a lot. Add the fact that they are available to us here without getting hit with some mental shipping charges it sweetens the deal... I'd have preferred the holds to have not of had the smaller thinner two holds in the set but that's just personal preference!
Oh yeah, I may have thrown one of them off of the balcony... how bad was the damage? It was just scuffed

I'm not on the internet as much as Noodles, so my first introduction to HRT was at our local gym, Allez Up. They got a couple of HRT holds in fluo green and I was like "wow! cool holds!", but when I told Noodles, he was already well aware of the company and their exposure in Canada.
I had the same reaction when we received our set of Atlantis holds. They don't have these holds at the gym but I love the balance between sloper, pinch and crimps. I've been talking a lot with the setters at Allez Up and I've found that they mostly like the simple shapes but I think that a set with the intricate textured lines has a place in a commercial setting. The small cracks on the holds replicate more of the feeling of climbing outside. Just by micro adjusting where your fingers are on the hold will give you more or less grip. There are so many little cracks on these holds that it gives the climbers more of options on their hand placement.
What I found weird about this set is the difference in difficulty between the slopers and the thinner more crimpy holds. I could see pretty much anybody working out sequences on the slopers and the pinching option incorporated into the shapes make them good for overhanging terrain as well. But the crimpers don't give you much to grab are really hard holds to stick. These holds are good for those strong climbers but are limited to a more novice climber. As a whole though, the set all together makes for some fun setting.


  • Well designed hollow back.. super light and super strong holds
  • Set covers a wide range of grips
  • Solid, bright colors
  • Available from BC, Canada; but Walltopia doesn't carry a huge stock of holds... you will have to see what they have in stock or order for their next shipment from Europe to be able to really take advantage of some savings
  • Strange mix of holds within the set, the two thin guys don't really fit in too well

No comments: