Monday, November 15, 2010

Review > Summit Labs > Medium Muscles Pinches

Ah Summit Labs, they've made some interesting stuff from the Small Comfy Pinches, Dual Texture Edges and then their Large Granite Slopers... they're a small company but when they do put something new out there has been a couple of things to note:
  1. Their products have always been very well made
  2. Even though their shapes are simple they seem to be very well thought out!
The set we're talking about today is something we've had for over a year, they've been off and on the wall numerous times, but most notably they were part of one route that stayed on the wall for about 6 months.... mainly because people loved it so much... without further ado lets look at the Medium Muscles Pinches:

What you're looking at is six pinches that are going to test you.... a lot of the time these holds dwelled upon the shallow angles of our wall.. they never went past the 15 degree wall and then as we came closer to writing the review we decided to put them onto something a little steeper... only 15 degrees steeper mind you but steeper none the less... we knew that there was no way we'd every want to meet one of these guys on the 45 or anything steeper than that so we grabbed the holds off of the floor and put them onto the 30. What ensued is something that doesn't happen very often.... an almost epic ass kicking :)

All we wanted to do was set something that was a little spicey, nothing crazy, just a quick route where we could film the holds easily and at the same time have a little fun. Oh man, head locks, chin bars, drop knees, swear words and child like laughter were all seen within a short space of time. What Chris set was something that we never expected.... it was gloriously painful to start and then it all just came down to one move and one move only... one thing was for sure; there wasn't going to be any hanging around on the final hold for too long :)


Looks can be deceiving and in this case deception seems to be the name of the game, these holds are nice to hold onto but at the same time really quite hard to stick but they do double quite well as slopey crimps... but when they're on shallow walls up to 15 degrees, as soon as you add another 15 degrees to you angle then you're into a World of balance and some very technical matches.

These guys are hard but comfortable as pinches, they have a nice radius to them and the lines (like what you'd see on a muscle) allows a degree of leniency for your fingers as you can use them to position your hands for maximum grip... but be warned if you're pinching on the lines you're probably seconds from pulling that fabled climbing move "the one hand clap" because more than likely you're seconds from flying backwards!! Overall... technical fun!


  • Number of holds: 6
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt ons
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): $28.95/6 = $4.83
  • Color: Blue
  • Bolt placement: Middle
  • Sanding: Good
  • Hollow backed: No
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: A little crystalline
  • Set size: Medium
  • Versatility: More pinches than anything else
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No
  • Shaper: Morgan Barnes
  • Weight: 4lbs
One thing that Summit Labs seem to have in spaces is quality control, their holds always arrive in perfect condition... from the first set we have from when they started making holds (the Granites) to their latest sets (Comfy crimps (which will be reviewed soon)) we've seen their holds from day one and they're all very well made. We've not broken any of them, we've not chipped them... overall it's pretty impressive

The Muscles have some interesting shaping going on, they do actually look like muscles if you pull the skin off of your body! The lines help these guys with gripping the holds, but not so much that they intrude and give pain, they're not sharp they're nicely rounded and actually give some personality to the shapes. Size wise these guys fit nicely into the palm of your hand they have a nice radius to them, the only part of the holds that could cause some skin irritation is the Summit Labs logo which is a little raised and could cause some minor problems

Other than the texture being a little crystalline these holds are very well built, the sanding is great, the holds double as pinches or small sloped crimps/ledges and there's nothing to complain about the only thing is the fact that you can't really put these onto super steep angles.. there's no way that's going to happen as the holds aren't incut enough. Oh one other thing... these guys do seem to gather chalk more than you'd expect, so have a brush handy


Very good

These holds have been part of a route I set on our last wall and then transferred to this wall... the route consists of Rock Candys "Ruffles", Project Holds "Tankers" and of course Summit Labs "Medium Muscles". It's a fairly long route with lots of technical moves on most of the wall, the Muscles come into play right at the end on the flat wall right when you're good and tired. What makes these holds stand out is that even on a flat wall with ample feet you have to have your body in the right position to cross and rotate your hips to get to the next holds... and even then when the holds are set more like edges than anything else you still have to be super careful when moving. It's something that's been a lot of fun for a lot of people... now it's been taken down and will be replaced with something that (hopefully) will be as much fun.

Luckily we have Summit Labs "Comfy Crimps" to play with now... so I think that we're going to have another interesting time on those guys.

The Muscles were a surprise as they were harder than I thought, despite the simple design there what seems to be lots of grabbing options on these guys... pinch, slopey edge or evil crimps you can pretty well get a little of everything on them. You're never going to be able to run on super steep angles with them because they're so shallow... but that's one of those things. If you pair these holds with the Small Muscle Pinches or Summit's Comfy Pinches then you have the making of a very interesting route, with the Comfy Pinches allowing you to hit the 45 and the other sets being good of a 30 and a 15; you'll be pumped but you'll enjoy the result... pinch strength without destroying your hands

Top notch stuff; I'd love to see a much larger set of these shapes that allow them to be used on steeper angles.

Awesome, wicked ass pinches! One thing I wish they had done was design more of these shapes. The holds can be described as slopey pinches but if they were to design larger holds with the same theme as these, they would be more of a slope than a pinch. Now although they become increasingly difficult even on the shallowest of overhangs, the groves and crimps let you grip the holds with confidence.

You may have noticed that I used the term "crimps" in that last sentence and it was not an error. As Noodles stated, we've had these holds for a year now and when we went to set for this review, we set them up on our 30 degree wall for a spin. I set that problem thinking that it would be hard but not impossible. Well, it was more on the impossible side and in order to get our butts off the ground for the starting move, I actually crimped the hold...I think I was using my finger nails more than relying on skin contact.

Now if you're looking for a set of pinches to compliment your collection of holds, than this is a good bet but I find that these small grip specific sets are limited. When we review holds, we try to set problems exclusively with the holds to be reviewed. This set was hard to create problems with and I ended up setting problems way above the level I intended which is not neccesarily a bad thing, it just makes for a hard boulder session.

  • Very well made
  • Comfortable design, but harder than you think
  • Limited angle use
  • Gather chalk a lot

1 comment:

Daniel said...

I love the pause-to-adjust-the-hat-in-the-middle-of-intense-move Eve!

Also, nice Mo Jer.