Friday, October 7, 2011

Review > Core Climbing > Super Slopers (Granite and Limestone)

core climbing

There are a couple of points in this review that will probably make you sit back and go "shiiiiit", yup, and what's funny it's not even a bad review... it's a pretty good review... read on and all will be revealed!

So Core, you know them by now they're from the UK and we've looked at a bunch of their stuff, so far they're batting a good average, not knocking it out of the park but they're well up there. If you need a recap here's what we've reviewed from them:
And that isn't even the tip of the iceberg, we've got a bundle more to come... here's the next installment. 
These two sets of holds only consist of four holds apiece, they're from Core's Super Slopers line up from their granite and limestone range...
Limestone Super Slopers from Core Climbing

Granite Super Slopers from Core Climbing

Let's roll with the Limestone Super Slopers because we've looked at part of this line up before. Slopers, ah slopers, you love em... we love em... everyone loves em. These carry on the faceted faces theme from the jugs but this time it's super sized; and they have this texture (that we've mentioned before) that is just baby soft on the skin. But there is a problem and Noodles will be the first one to point it out, look at the image above and what do you see? You see four holds, nice work. But how many slopers do you see? Four? Nope, three and a pinch! That bottom right hold (cannot be called a sloper BECAUSE IT'S A PINCH. Noodles hates it when people name stuff and then one of the holds in a set ends up being something entirely different.

So three slopes and a pinch, not so bad right? Well you'd be correct these holds are a hoot to climb on, the steeper the angle the harder the climbing and it gets harder and harder. A 5 degree change makes something that was easy to pull on into something that is hard, then harder, then a screamer. Overall, base opinion is to be seen to be believed.

Now that granites. Ah granite, you love it or you hate it, in this case you'll love it! Granite at best is a hard medium to climb on, it takes time and effort to become "one with the rock" and to really push where you want your climbing to be, it's kind of the same with these holds... they're huge and they look inviting but the reality is that you'll have to dig deep to be able to pull off what you really want to do. It took us many many sessions to get across shallow walls that had these holds bolt to it, one thing you're going to learn is grace. It's a hard pill to swallow sometimes, not being graceful, not being able to power through a sequence that you've set and you can see within your head... a hard pill, but you will be pulling out both power and grace to be able to really climb on these holds, you cannot just brute strength through these holds, you have to be measured and it's a humbling lesson for some of the people that hit these holds.

Would we suggest a home wall invests in either of these sets of holds? No is the simple answer, yes is the more complex answer

Why no?

Simple, price. The amount of money that you'll spend on these holds could pretty well outfit any good sized wall for months. You can shop around and find lots of holds that will fill your wall and that will keep you happy and allow you to set what you want, when you want and still have money left over for beer

Why yes?

Because these holds, both sets, have a weird way of making you strong. You cannot just hit these holds and breeze through (like you did in school, lets be honest)... you have to think, plan and then attack with these guys. But it's a stealth attack, there's no full frontal assault with them, be Sam Fisher, be Delta Force, be the SAS... be there, get it done and walk away. If you're serious about your climbing or serious about giving your customers at your gym /  home wall a new (humbling) experience then invest, you're investing in them, you're investing in yourself and you're going to get good mileage out of the shapes; just store them carefully!!

Ah but there's at but :D There are smaller slopers (from all of Core ranges) that for a home wall are better, sure they're not the big eye popping monsters that we have but they'll get the job done. We reviewed the Font Mini Slopers and we'd love to review the Font Super Slopers to be able to fully deliver on this point, but if their mini slopers are as good as the super slopers then go smaller, get more holds and have some fun


If you're man enough to put these anywhere near a 45 degree wall you'll be able to grasp what we're talking about when it comes to "a screamer", precise footwork and core strength are what you need to even attempt this, otherwise your ass is going to hit the mat so fast it's not even funny. They're grippy but not so much that you loose skin and in certain situations you'll be on the little ribs of slickness that is the key feature of these monsters. Yeah that's right, in certain situations you'll find that the slick is better to hold onto than the grippy part itself.

A 30 degree wall is where these holds shine, they're hard but not so hard that it's not do-able, whatever problem you set up may take you a few trys to get, but it'll be a fun few times as you tweak out your hand placements for the send


We actually put these on the roof, man we wish we filmed that session.... knee bars, screaming, falling it was a fun one that's for sure. These holds have such a wonderful texture that you can climb on them all day and not worry about what your hands look like afterwards, they walk a really fine line between just enough and not enough but the only way to fine out what angle and what move is too far it to experiment with the moves and the route. Again all of these holds can be pinched (like the granites) but you're going to be working a little harder for the send than before

  • Number of holds: 8 (two sets of four)
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): 200 GBP / 4 = 50 GBP per hold
  • Color: Blue
  • Bolt placement: Middle
  • Sanding: Awesome
  • Hollow backed: Yes
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Granite feels like the outside, the Limestone is slick... like limestone :)
  • Set size: XL+
  • Versatility: Depends on how strong you are
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes, multiple per hold
  • Shaper: Leo Moger
  • Weight: TBC
  • Distribution:
Core doesn't muck around when it comes to quality, no sir, there's only one place that they fall down and that's the medium that these holds are made from. Composite resin, it's fragile... don't get us wrong these holds are strong as all hell, but they will chip if you mishandle them (FYI: when a different, thinner set, of holds was loaned to a local gym two of the holds broke on a flat wall). So you do have to be careful, that's advice from us that wraps some holds in bubble wrap before storing them, we'd not go so far with these holds but we won't just throw them into a bin and then chuck holds on top of them.

All of the holds are hollow backed, which does save weight, but you are still looking at some heavy weight holds to haul up and down the wall, the effort is going to be worth it in the end... so get it done and reap the rewards of a route well set.

Screw holes, these holds have numerous set screw holes! Which is nice because some of the grabbing areas are well away from the middle line of where the bolt hole (which takes any bolt btw) lies. We have had spinners from not using them... but the holes are all counter sunk so it means the screw head always sits nice and flush. They're also strong as we never dialed back the drill

Now texture. You have to look at these two sets separately.
Granite: Have you climbed on granite? Well this is pretty close to having the outside, inside. Except without the bloody finger tips :) You can run laps on these holds all day and not worry about your skin, the texture does chalk up pretty well so you do need to brush the holds from time to time to get a little extra edge
Limestone: This is a tricky one, from new they have amazing grip, more that you'd actually think was possible. Weird right? The more you get chalk on them the better they seem to get, but they will get slick every now and then, less so than the granites which is strange because we didn't end up brushing these holds as much.  

Sanding on these holds is awesome, they're all flat and when we look at the color we've got both sets in blue and it's a consistent color so no problems there.

If you want to get down to the nitty gritty of the problem then its the shaping, a sloper is generally open handed without much use for the thumb. Both of these sets have areas where you will pinch, so the name doesn't really fit, probably about 75% of the time we were able to get a sneaky thumb somewhere to make a move a little easier. So the name is a misnomer. But the shaping is superb, the shapes have no sharp edges and you can tell that the shapes have been refined before going into production.. Good work
Composite resin


Ah here we go. Do I have to talk about the fact that one of the limestone holds IS CLEARLY A PINCH? No! Good!

I've spent too much time on these holds trying to work out the moves that in the setters eye should be easy and do-able... yeah right, sometimes I laugh at my creations, hell sometimes I set like a complete asshole because I want to watch people fall off of the wall. Anyone that set with either set of these sets of holds always thought that on an (insert angle here) angle these holds would be a breeze, but people found out really quickly that you're going to have to be super careful with what you do

Did I mention that we lost some footage? The Go-PRO footage that we didn't use was meant to be edited into our normal footage, damn that route was so much fun, technical, powerful with an ending that was just brutal. I had a blast trying it and eventually getting it, but we lost the footage from the camera in some bizarre comp filming incident :(

Would I buy these holds is the question. The simple answer is yes, I would.... but there are a few factors that may stop (North American) buyers, the price is quite simply the thing that will stop you, add shipping and then you're pretty well stopped in your tracks. For me those facts is a crying bloody shame as Core have some amazing shapes (and we're reviewing all the holds they sent us as we go), apart from the fact that I have to shout at people to be careful with them (well that's any hold to be honest) they climb so much better than you think that they're one of those manufacturers that make me want to import holds to Canada and the US so other people can enjoy them.

So you have to be careful when storing them, that's fine. They're heavy, bummer but they're working on that. They're expensive, well, when the weight comes down so should the price. But the base line is they're technical holds, they don't kill your hands and I know I'm stronger from climbing on them in more than one way.... So far Core Climbing is batting a high average... and if I'm honest we're just scratching the surface of what we have to review, there is a crap tonne (HA!) of more stuff to come

Hang on there's more, we set at the local gym with these and they were well received, our route was actually under graded by us (our bad) but saw lots of sends from lots of people and not one person didn't like them. If I was going to invest I'd go for the smaller sloper versions that Core have available because they're cheaper and you get more holds for your money, but if I had a gym I'd add these to my wishlist, the possibilities of what you can do with them on a huge variety of terrain is up to you to determine

Well well well, I've only climbed once on these "if you brush them on the balcony don't drop em because you'll kill someone". Yup they're massive. Massive but not obvious to hold on to. I've seen gigantic holds that don't fit in a milk crate with one obvious easy spot to grab on to but these slopers aren't that.

Depending on how we set with them, you had to grab and correct your hand position 2 or 3 times to find the not so sweet spot on these. There is a "dyke" on some of them, I don't know how that works but there is less texture on the dike but you still often come back to that feature to wave a secure grip. Unfortunately, you can pinch and cup most of them wich gives too many option and make forcing a move pretty hard. We had fun on all angles with this set but I havent tried (yet) to set them on the ceiling for compression moves with high footholds, kneebars and other crazy stuff.

Ah and, for those who set in a gym or high stuff, forget about the "I'm too lazy to move the ladder so I'll step to the top with the hold on the wrench and screw it in when I'm at the top", this won't work :) You can't say you weren't warned

If I was asked which of these sets I'd prefer to own I'd have a tough time deciding between the two. The limestones are great because of their texture and because there are a few more juggy areas (they're more positive and not really jugs) that you can grab and not worry about so you can make some easier stuff

And then, well there's the granites which are way more technical and harder to figure out.

Both have great texture, both are great to set with, both are huge and both will give you lots of enjoyment. Now if I compare them to another of Cores sets of holds, the Font Mini slopers I'd say I would rather climb on those when it comes down to price because you get a great font texture and more holds for your money.

It's hard... I like both sets and there are lots of pros and cons to owning and setting with them. But when all is said and done I'd probably go for the limestones as you can go a little steeper with these (making them harder) and they're a little slicker because of their texture so you really have to set your hand, weight it and move.... but those are the kind of moves that I enjoy. BUT, there is nothing wrong with either set other than the weight :)

  • Great texture on both sets
  • The harder the angle the harder the problem, this is very noticeable if you set the same route on differing angles
  • Will teach a climber the usefulness of not great hand placements when climbing
  • Weight
  • Price
  • Because of the two above fact shipping won't be cheap

No comments: