Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Review > Metolius > 40 Hold Mega Pack

Continuing with our starter pack reviews we have another one for you, winter is kicking in and lets face it... it's time to get the drill out and to start building. We're going to making additions to our wall over the winter and as Metolius states that this pack it basically "a home wall without the plywood" we figured we'd test that claim and see what's up with one of the longest running hold companies out there.
Firstly what you generally see is not exactly what you're going to get, you are going to get a mix of holds in differing colors and from Metolius' current hold line up, so if you want a specific color and a specific hold then you're out of luck... remember what this pack is made for is someone that's starting a home wall not really for someone that already has a wall if you're looking for just a bunch of holds to fill out a wall from Metolius then you want to be looking more at: this which is a pretty good option.

Everything that is within the pack is listed upon the side; what's inside well, lets make a list and check it twice:
  • 6 Screw-On Footholds
  • 6 Screw-On Handholds
  • 1 Screw-On Rail
  • 1 Screw-On Plate
  • 1 Screw-On Outside Corner
  • 5 Screw-On Modulars
  • 8 Micros
  • 7 Modulars
  • 4 Mini Jugs
  • 1 Macro/Roof Jug
  • Multi-Wrench
  • How to Build a Home Bouldering Wall booklet
Which ever way you look at this it's a fair amount of holds and there is a lot of variety in the box and here's where we get to something that Chris and Noodles have been talking about whilst playing with the holds: "Is this a good start a wall set or is it a better introduction to Metolius' hold line up?" The answer to this question is really both. It is a pretty good starter set for some one wanting to build a wall and it's also a pretty good look at what Metolius has in their line up as there are some classic holds in the box and some of the newer stuff as well (But no Wood Grips!! WHAT!)

What we did was let Eve set the first route and she set something that was a real surprise, she wanted to have something to work on but it ended up being a challenge for most people that went near to it; some people found the start moves hard; some people found the roof moves to be hard; some people found the finishing move tricky. Like we said there was a little of something for everyone. Chris and Mark (who was a surprise visitor from BC) came in and he walked the route first time... but he's a tall genetic freak that's been climbing for the last year everyday!

One of the other routes that we set was on the 30 degree wall and it included some of the below holds:
The pink guy one of the screw on plate from the Rib range and it is an interesting beast to hold onto, what you've got is two slots for your fingers (neither of them big by any means) and that's about it... maybe we set it a little low for Mark, but we thought that we'd be able to match upon the holds and just cruise on through to the rail that is on the edge of the 45/70 degree wall. Boy were we wrong... if anyone asks you "whats the sound of one hand clapping" then you can answer "a climber on a 30 degree wall on a Metolius Rib Plate blowing off backwards at speed when attempting to match and move from that hold" :) In all seriousness it's a hold that will be great upon any wall less than 30 degrees and will be bomber on any slabs. There is so much variety within this pack that it does get kind of hard to set problems with the holds... something that we overcame quickly as having a lot of different styles means you have to adapt to what you have in hand and adapt we did :)

There was a second question that bounced around the wall whilst we climbed and set... "Do you want to many screw ons in a set of holds?", this is a tricky one, sure, we'd loved to have had more bolt ons in the box and to have had an option of just bolts ons / bolts etc within the box (We guess that's why there are the bulk packs) but right now this isn't the case (unlike the So Ill kit we looked at a few weeks ago: here), you get a bunch of screw ons and some of them are pretty small and are only going to be good for feet (great as this is a variety pack of holds) but bad if you'd want more handholds than footholds. Screw ons are a pain in the ass to move about and most people just aren't going to bother moving them, so there's a plus side and a negative side to having them included!

What is paramount with this box of joy is the fact that you can go from flat walls to something that has a little for everyone for about $120... given that you get everything that you need and that you're going to use most of it means that you're going to be getting possibly one of the best deals on the market for a "set up a wall kit" and that's no bad thing


There isn't much you can't do with this pack, there is such a variety of shapes and sizes that it's kind of crazy. Screw on's and bolt on's and some screw on corners and and and and there is just so much stuff you can do with this pack of holds. Chuck them on the ceiling an overhang, make some traverses basically if you're making a wall or you're really low on holds there is only your imagination and creativity that's going to limit what happens. The holds are super varied with little or no theme, the packs could be made with a theme if Metolius wanted... like having a Blue Ribbon wall set or a All American set... that'd really be neat to have as an option.

We set hard with these guys, putting the hold through their paces and other than the Natural holds that are real rock like there isn't anything to really complain about with the holds, they're friendly on the skin and fun to play with


  • Number of holds: 40
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Both
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): $129/40 = $3.20 per hold but remember all of the hardware is included within this price
  • Color: Mixed
  • Bolt placement: Well placed on all of the holds
  • Sanding: Good
  • Hollow backed:
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Classic Metolius
  • Set size: Large
  • Versatility: Very good
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Not on the bolt ons
  • Shaper: Various
  • Weight: 8.61kg
There's a lot in this box so lets look at the overall:
All of the holds are really well made, with the exception being on some of the holds there are some bubbles in the backs on some of the holds... overall just a minor point in the grand scheme of things. All of the holds have a very consistent resin feel to them with the exception being the "real rock" like holds that feel like limestone and the texture here can be a little hard on the skin.
The colors are mixed, there aren't very many simple single colored holds in what we received they are mainly swirled colors of varying types, the flat colors that are in there in the normal Metolius colors (Incut Edges are brown, the Blue Ribbons are blue etc)

Hardware wise all of the metal you get within the box is top notch you get all of the deck screws / normal bolts and champagne headed bolts that you're going to need along with enough t nuts to get your new wall up and running. The Salvation Army style wrench is the let down in this section as it's just two Allen keys welded together and then are grounded to make the weld smooth. It looks cheap and brings an otherwise great product down a few notches


Good, everything is bagged and labelled

I'm going to say it because I'm not sure we said it enough (and it's one of those things that irks me somewhat)... the wrench is embarrassing to have something that is so crap within a product that a) introduces someone to a brand of climbing holds b) a climber that's possibly starting to climb and c) otherwise a well rounded starter wall set. I really don't think that it's been well thought out... I love tetanus as much as the next person and the only time I removed the rust spotted cobbled together "wrench" was for the walk through. IMMEDIATELY after that I threw it in the bin in case someone either use it for setting and hurt themselves or mistook it for a medieval throwing star and started throwing it about.

The set is one of those things that I think the market needs more of; this set is being donated to a new wall that's opening soon... it's going to give them a great start and something to play with on their new wall. They're going to need some tape to set with as the colors are a little mix and match. We set some pretty fun routes with these guys, some of it was pretty damn hard some of it easy there's such a variety of shapes and sizes of hold within the box that you can be pretty creative with what you do. The stand out route was the one that Eve set, she wanted something to work on and she pretty well stopped us for a little while there

Although you're not going to see these packs being brought by any commercial gyms... if you're building a wall then this is something that could be worth a looking at, like they say there is everything you need within the box to pretty well build a wall... plans included as well!!, so all you need is some wood, some space and away you go!

Would I buy this set if I was building a wall? Yeah I probably would have done just to have something on the wall that I'd built otherwise I've just basically have built myself a huge wooden sculpture. Given the options I'd probably go more with the Bulk Holds packs from Metolius because I'd not want as many screw ons as are within this set; BUT and this is a big but the screw ons are the holds that add the variety to this set of holds and will probably end up being used as footholds most of the time anyway

Great diversity in this set. You get everything you need from jugs to foot jibs to get you started on your home wall. The only thing you'll have to look out for is what exactly you're getting in the box. I say this because the images of the holds that are on the box are not necessarily what you'll get when you open the box. When we opened the box to check that all the holds were there we used the description to sort out the holds in the box. It would be nice if Metolius would homogenise this set so that every box has the same kinds of holds. For instance, one of the options you can get for the bulk set is "5 macros/roof jug". What does this mean? Well, you get either 5 macro holds or 1 roof jug. If its the roof jug that you want, you may not get it in the box that you purchase so if you're thinking of getting this set, get it from a store and ask the clerk if you can check the contents of the box.

I think this is a good set for home walls. The big issue I have with Metolius holds is that they do not come in custom colors and it becomes undesirable for a gym. We also like to have holds with bright colours so that way we can set problems without having to tape the holds. Would I have bought this for our home wall? Probably not, but for someone who has built their new home wall and is looking for their first set of holds, this set is a winner.

  • The pack comes in 30 / 40 / 50 or 60 hold packs
  • Everything is included
  • Price per hold is cheap and hardware is included in the price
  • You might want to check what's in the box as you might get a jug or a macro
  • Limited color options

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