Monday, November 29, 2010

Review > DRCC > The Rail

This week we're looking at The Rail, we've had it for a long long while and as we've been running some hold demos locally and our first one in the States... we've been lending out the holds and totally forgot to review it :( In fact before we moved the wall to it's current location we'd actually done all of the videos and we'd already filmed a climb that involved the Slots and the Rail in a session that was crazy... enough excuses... here's The Rail:
The Rail pictured above in maroon with a purple soft back is a part of a new generation of large sliding bolt holds that seem to be hitting the market, Metolius have had the Colonettes on the market for years and there are whole hosts of other companies that make large screw on rail features. There are positives and negatives to having large rail like features that screw on.. but there is a trend a-coming of large features that have a sliding bolt as well as a normal single bolt so the hold can be rotated and can fit onto walls easily!

Again the DRCC have, like dual texture holds, taken this technology and have introduced it to a bunch of their large shapes (Peace, The Hole, Smile Ledge) and they've done it really well; you don't need to have a washer on the bolt as the metal sliding rail takes a normal bolt head and is made of high grade material.

Bah.. tech specs and praise! What is the thing like to actually use? On the old wall we had a 5 inch centre on our t-nuts, this spacing at times has given us some trouble with some holds; the Nicros Infinity Board being one of them (we had to make an adapter for it to fit onto the wall), in the case of the Rail we didn't have any problems as given the single bolt and then the slider we were able to angle it pretty well wherever we wanted without a care. We went straight for the nuts with where we put it as well, we chucked it straight onto the 45 degree wall; thinking that there is enough texture and a couple of deep enough (although pretty shallow) scoops that would allow us to get onto the hold and then move off into the Slots (which aren't great on the 45 degree wall at all)... maybe we over played our hand a little, but as the wall was being taken down it was pretty empty and as Jason, Chris and Noddles were up for a challenge it seemed like a great idea... here are the results:

(Just in case you're wondering about that route... Jason actually managed to get it right at the end of the video... we faded a little quickly on that, but if you watch closely we had moved the two final slots around because the Slots in case you've not read this review are hard on the 45 degree wall)

As you can see the Rail is holdable on the 45 degree wall... what you can also see is that moving off of it at that angle is pretty hard. Sure we weren't setting for everyone, we were setting hard as there was a problem from Val David that we were replicating as we wanted to train some pretty specific moves. Putting the hold onto a vertical wall gives you a nice long slightly slopey, slightly incut rail that's really nice to hold, rotate it 90 degrees and then you have some really interesting laybacks that will test your balance. One of the best angles we've found for this hold is between 15 and 30 degrees, it makes the hold just_that_little_bit_harder_to_stick and will challenge most people to trying some moves / matches and crosses that you don't see too much with indoor climbing.


Yeah. stick it on the 45 if you're feeling strong but if you just want to test yourself without being spat off of the wall then stick it onto something more 30 degrees or less. We've had the Rail on the roof and we were moving into it and managing to match it and then move, it was by no means easy but it was done by a bunch of people... mind you a bunch of people did take a trip to the mats on that move!

There is a large surface area on this guy is over 20 inches long, but there are only a couple of palm sized shallow dimples (one larger than the other) for you to really use, the rest is basically a sloper. It's a test that's for sure.


  • Number of holds: 1
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt on, single bolt and slider
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): $109.95
  • Color: Ours is brown swirled
  • Bolt placement: Single at one end and slider bolt at the other
  • Sanding: Good
  • Hollow backed: Yes
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): Yes
  • Texture: Dual texture
  • Set size: Feature
  • Versatility: Ok
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No, not needed
  • Shaper: Vincent Cocciolone
  • Weight: TBC
Quality is something that we've come to expect from the DRCC and the Rail is no exception, the texture on the hold isn't as grippy as you'd expect it gives you confidence to the point where you'll try to do something a little crazy with it and get shut down... that's where you find your and it's stopping point. The hollow back is superb, it takes enough weight from the hold without sacrificing the holds overall strength and as per usual it's a thing to behold.

The sliding bolt arrangement, which is laser cut... LASER CUT!... is very well formed, to the point where you don't need to use a washer for this to work the bolt head is more than enough to hold it tight to the wall, the main (single) bolt hole is nicely placed and is also pretty... well pretty, it has nice round edges to it so nothing can catch and the inset washer is nice and flat

As usual on any hold that the DRCC produces that they deem to need a softback this hold has one and it sits really flat against the wall without and areas lifintg at all. The DRCC is known for their dual texture and it's the same high quality shiney material that's just useless for any thumb catches that you might think are going to help you.

Now we've been running some hold demos of late, lending out holds here and there to see what other people think :) The Rail has been shipping with a bunch of other holds (all wrapped in paper) to a number of different places and so far it's come back unscathed from it's travels... and we all know how some parcels are handles by the postal services... so it's pretty damn strong as well



When we got this hold way back when I remember email Vince raving about it and asking the question "why have you haven't you made more of these?"... "why isn't there one of these with more incuts for steeper angles?"... I guess it's because they're a pain in the ass to make, get the dual texture right and to get the hollow back complete. That's not really an excuse.. Vince, get to work! :)

This hold is what we'd consider the next generation of colonettes / rails... a colonail if it were, it's a shame it doesn't have more grab able features. Having a bunch of these and a huge wall would be a hoot in my mind.. imagine long long lay backs on lots of different feeling versions of these?

Putting this hold on the 45 (or the roof for that matter) was never a great idea, but it sure was fun. I can't remember if anyone actually ever finished that Rail/Slots route, I think I got close but I never finished it... technically the Slots and the Rail are going to be super hard on that steep of an angle, but what the hell someone had to try it :P I like the hold, the texture is just enough that you feel you can stick it, what's the word(s) I'm looking for??? Confidence inspiring, yeah that'd be the one... the hold is confidence inspiring and then it uses itself as a huge bat and beats you into submission in one foul swoop

I want more of these, I want a whole range of these, different sizes, different incuts... but all in the same color. I really like the hold, the fact that there isn't more is something that kind of brings me down a little. For home walls, if you've for about $100 kicking about it's a pretty good investment as you can do a lot with it... if your wall is super steep then I'd wait for the next installment before investing

So how many of you enjoyed watching us fall repeatedly on our asses? Well we had a lot of fun trying out the problem and we've set a great many problems with it and always had a blast. If you're unfamiliar with DRCC, they make the best duo textured hold on the market. That's not an opinion, its a fact, and if you want gnarly technical holds, DRCC make some of the best there is...and that is just an opinion :)

So The Rail is one of those holds that will give you a taste of humility. The dual texture made it impossible to utilize the thumb to give you a better grip. Gotta love that dual texture :) So for me, I found that it was really hard to set a problem to the grade that I expected. If I were to try to set something in the V2 range, I would end up setting something that is at least a V4, with the possibility of being a Vimposible. The hold can really only be used with an open hand and there are only a couple of places on the hold where its slightly positive that adds to the degree of difficulty. Now even though this hold gave me a good kick in the ass, I liked climbing and working on the problem.

Although this hold is very technical, it doesn't have any sharp edges or require all that much brute strength to climb. It's really just a test on footwork and core strength. The texture lends itself to working on problems all afternoon in that you'll always find enough friction to keep you on the wall, until you suddenly find yourself on your ass. Now these holds aren't for everybody, but we've had the DRCC dual textured holds in a commercial gym and the strong burly climbers couldn't stay off the DRCC route. For me, I would buy this hold and for the record, it climbs well with the DRCC pinches :)

  • DRCC's shiny dual texture is beautiful
  • Hollow backed for low shipping weight
  • Layback fun for all
  • Not that positive so it's only good for shallow(ish) angles
  • Price might put some people off

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