Monday, January 17, 2011

Review > Climb It > Blockys XL+

climb-it
Let us tell you a story... it's not long, but it sure is fun :)

In the beginning there were a set of holds, bright orange... neon orange holds. They were born in nice warm California; once born they rested for a few days because they had to go on a trip, away from nice warm California all they way up north to Canada... to Montreal to be exact!

After their little rest, these little guys were wrapped into their paper blankets, were put into a box and they started their journey. It was dark in that box, it was dark and bumpy in that box, they didn't like it... they didn't like it one bit.

Half way through the trip there was a bright light, oh so bright!! Maybe we're at our new home thought the holds... maybe we can meet our new parents... but no, it was just a border guard had opened the box and they wanted to see what was inside. The border people touched and fondled the holds... they holds didn't like it. The light went out, and the bumpy journey continued.

There were noises on that trip... lots of noises, sometimes it was quiet but sometimes it was loud and the holds became scared when they were bumped around :( One noise they'd never forget was the sound of a doorbell, and then a loud buzzing sound... they the huff and puff of a man carrying something heavy up some stairs...
"Ah UPS, what's going on Frank?" The voice was English
"Not much, last parcel today. Sign here" Replied the Frank the UPS man
"There you go!"
"Do you want a hand bringing this in?"
"Nah, should be alright :)"
There was the sound of strain
"Actually, Frank do you mind for a sec, it looks like Zach has sent me a small car in this box!"
There was one last short trip, and then the sound of a door closing.
Light, blessed light! The sound of paper tearing, blankets being ripped off, the feel of calloused hands... oh the light

"Fuck me" said the English voice
"Chris come and see this!"
"Fuck me" said the Asian voice
"I think Climb It and Louie have gone mad this time!!"

That people is how these holds traveled from California to Montreal. Are you wondering what we're talking about? We're talking about these:
The Blockys, or Blocky Rocks as they were first named, are a new set for Climb It Holds for 2011, we've had them since day one and we've been using them quite a bit. Those of you with a keen eye will have noticed the holds on the wall since late summer, all over the wall, they're pretty hard to miss that's for sure... why? Because we were sent most of the sizes of the range (except for the smalls) and they're pretty massive all things considered.

We set something easy to start, it's always good to get to know your holds before you hit them... new holds are nearly always begging to be chalked.... so easy and lots of chalk was the way we went. And then... well, then there was this route that defied words, hard awkward start to a couple of roof moves that were shoulder ripping into the flat wall with a couple of slopers. No-one got it, not one person. We worked it, boy did we work that route, but no-one could finish it.

Then we set something a little nicer, using the nicer holds on the roof:

One thing that we did was we started up hold demos, so we can show guys new products that we've reviewed and so we can get some real world data on how the holds perform in a gym and so we can lend people holds for competitions. As our local gym had just stripped their bouldering wall and as we'd just finished most of our filming we decided to lend them some of the holds :)
We let their setters set the routes, but we were on hand to run the routes before the gym opened.... here are some images of what was set:

The feedback that we received from the setters and climbers at Allez Up was great, people seemed to like the route that was set and to really enjoy climbing on the holds. During their time at the gym we asked for the holds to not be cleaned so we could see what they looked like when they came back, so we could see the damage (if there was any) and could look at how they performed overall. They all came back chalked to hell and covered in rubber, nothing a jet wash didn't fix... none of the holds took any damage during the month that they were on the wall; we went over all of them before and after to see if there were any cracks around the screw holes or problems. So they performed super well, people loved them and with the neon orange they stood out on the wall :)

SUGGESTED USES:




Well, where do you want to put them? Some of these guys are so large and so incut you can put them onto a roof, but be warned they're pretty big but they're going to be hard moves to match and move from. The sloper versions are only going to be good on shallow angles as the areas that can be matched are pretty thin, we've found ourselves hitting them open handed and then semi crimping to make the matches for what we were climbing.

The slopes would be great on a slab (that's why the symbol is up there) they're going to be more positive and getting hand/foot matches on them when they're being used like this. They're still going to be tricky and the work out you're going to be when trying this is going to be fun.

We've tried all of the holds on lots of different angles, the slopes work best on angles up to 30 degrees and the more uncut guys are what you're going to want to use everywhere else. If you're going to put the large incut guys onto a roof then you're either going to end up pinching some of the thinner ones and holding on for dear life or you're going to end up undercutting the incut guys and then trying to match and move.


OVERALL BUILD

  • Number of holds: 24
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): TDB
  • Color: Neon orange
  • Bolt placement: Not bad
  • Sanding: Good
  • Hollow backed: Some of them, yes
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Good
  • Set size: Various
  • Versatility: Good
  • Pre-drilled screw holes:
  • Shaper: Louie Anderson
  • Weight: TDB
It's going be a thing to note for everyone reading this, that all problems that we found with the holds have been looked into a fixed. We had one of the first pours and as the holds weren't on sale we were able to go back to Climb It Holds and tell them what was wrong and what needed to be fixed. Says a lot about them, as they fixed all of the problems.
Straight out we noticed that the hollow backs seemed a little thin, on closer inspection we found that some of the holds flexed when we bolted them to the wall, this was something that was echoed by Dustin Curtis (one of our sponsored climbers) when he bolted the holds to his concrete curved walls at True North.... so we talked to Climb It and they fixed this problem and replaced the affected holds very quickly. We also noted that some of the shapes had set screw holes that were close to the edge, so close that when you had them on the roof would cause a split in the material originating around where the screw was placed. All of the screw holes / molds and hollow backs were changed on all of the affected holds.

Now the bad news aside, Climb It have to be praised for taking what we said on board very quickly and making the changes that had to be made, replacing the holds super quickly was all very well handled.

All of the other holds have an inset Climb It logo, well placed bolt holes and sanding that is super smooth. Color wise, the neon orange was a stroke of genius, they didn't know that we were going to send these holds out for demo and the color really helped with how the holds showed on the cluttered bouldering walls that they were loaned to. Climb It do seem to make some of the best neon holds on the market right now.

The texture of the holds is grippy, but not as grippy as you'd normally expect from Climb It, what gives the holds their unique, almost rock like, feel is the shaping and the tooling that makes the holds what they are. There aren't any sharp edges to speak of, the holds kind of feel a little like granite that's been climbed on a lot, slightly hard to hold until you find the sweet spot.

Sanding is amazing considering some of the holds are really large, they're all super flat and it's obvious that all of the holds have seen a sander. As these holds have seen a lot of foot and hand traffic it is always nice to see that the holds clean up well, sure the texture does take rubber in pretty well, but a quick power wash and a brush and the holds come up like new

What you're looking at shape-wise is a mixture of massive massive holds that are jug like and then slopes and crimps, there's not actually one bad spot on them, but if you take a sliding fall off of some of the slopers you're going to wonder where that burning sensation came from :)

WHAT ARE THEY MADE FROM:
Urethane

PACKING / SHIPPING:
Great

RATING:
Noodles:
You all know that we get holds early here... these have been on the wall and out for demo (at various places) since the early summer. The holds, from the get-go, had some serious issues, the hollow backs were too thin and holds were cracking, some of the set screw holes were in just retarded places... basically there were problems that needed to be fixed!! And fixed they have been, I've just seen the newer versions of these the other day and everything is sorted

The route that stands out for me with the roof route... sure I couldn't do the contortionist start, and I couldn't quite get off of the roof as it was too long... but I put a lot of blood (yup) sweat and tears into that problem only to be shut down time and time again. I actually took that route down the day after is was almost flashed because if it stayed up there someone was going to get seriously messed up :( Chances are it'd have probably have been me :)

Every shape is subtle, you have to be poised with these holds, especially the slopers.... they're not my favorite holds from Climb It by a long shot... but they are pretty bloody good that's for sure, there's so much variety within the set that you can pretty well set whatever you like with them... just put them up and go. These holds aren't the easiest and aren't the hardest, they're in the middle and pretty interesting; I love the slopers and I like the smaller holds that are crimps/edges, the super huge ones are a laugh but I didn't like them so much... I don't know why because I set some great foot hand matches with them and I do keep putting a few of them up on the roof time and time again. Maybe it's because they're either "hard" or "easy", I don't think that (in the larger shapes on the roof) there's any middle ground unless you put some of the smaller holds up. Mind you on steep angles these holds are a hoot, trying to stick the slopes on the 30 degree wall will test any ones power to the limit... because you`re hanging on for dear life and you KNOW that the next hold is bomber you just...have... to... get...there!!

I think I need to get stronger, maybe I should put them all on the roof again and just climb on them... I'd be a beast in no time. These holds would make for a mental lead route :D

Chris:
Ah Blocky...Roof sequence memories :) Of course and like usual, Climb It has shaped a sweet line of holds, but since we are here to critic, I will have to point out that there are quite a few places for improvement. The big thing for me was placement of some of the screw holes and the fact that we cracked some in the process of re-drilling new screw placements. Climb It has fixed the problem by using more material in the pour. The other small issue is the texture. When it comes to grip, Climb It is out there with some of the grittiest texture and its great, you won't fall off but when you climb and work sequences like we did, you might aswell hold my hand to an open flame ;) There was some burn skin kicking around :P

What I like about the shapes from Climb It and the larger ones in particular is that they will offer more than what you'd expect. The are plenty of grip options and placements and you would think that it would classify as an "easier" hold but you could really get some hard power sequences with the crimpy style holds. Even the incut guys are just good enough to stick, and at times your counting your lucky stars for the extra grip the texture will give you ;)

Great set. Some flaws but that's what we're here for and Climb It has made the necessary modifications and improved on the design. Also, like most of Climb It's sets, they have shaped a full range in this set , covering jugs to crimp, to accommodate all our climbing styles.

Eve:
Climb It are rarely way off when it comes to doing good holds anymore. Admittedly, I didn't get to play with the whole set because of an "evil setter" infection that's been plaguing the wall but I did climb on the Extra Large Blockys. I had fun but have to admit that I have nothing shocking to say on the subject. They are big and comfy, they are great beginner holds if you want to get good on roofs and they are bright orange! ;) Other than that I think that the entire set (meaning all sizes) provides a nice variety of holds allowing them to be used at different angles and in a range of routes varying from tricky, technical ones to endurance routes.

PROS:
  • Most of the XL+ holds are good for easy matches
  • Hollow backed for cheaper shipping
  • Friendly texture on all of the holds
CONS:
  • The first pour(s) we recieved needed to be modified
  • Some of the set screw placements aren't optimal

2 comments:

thinayr said...

So.... I want these! Why can't I get em?
There's a set at my local wall, you guys reviewed these a few months ago, but I have yet to see them on climbit's website... any idea when they'll be available to us mortals?

ntmb said...

You can get them now, mail me and I'll give you prices. Climb Its new site is 3 weeks out :) I'm their rep so mail: climbingholdreview@gmail.com and I'll hook you up with details

J