Friday, December 16, 2011

Review > Climb It Holds > Ribbed Slopers


It used to be "from the twisted mind of Jason Kehl" that you got some interesting shapes, and although this phrase can still be applied to JK it also seems to apply to Louie Anderson these days in more than one way.

First the Climb It line of holds was expanded this year, we reviewed the Tufas, a set of holds that we said are Climb It's best yet (You can read that review: here) and then in another box a little while later came these holds:

The Tufas threw us for a loop, with some of the routes we set and then you have the Ribbed Slopers something that is running for a close second place for the Most Evil Holds Climb It Has Ever Made.... why second place? Because the (as they were called at the time Top Out Slopers) Slopers Hard sets are way harder than these... but not by much, not by much at all!!

The Ribbed Slopers are something akin to the Tufas, think of them as more ribbed Tufas that have been squished to a degree. Where the Tufas are incut of flat the Ribs are slopey, again in true Climb It fashion some of them are massive, we have the full range so we started to review.

In the process we run when reviewing we run some simple tests,
  • There's the fondling the holds test and looking for:
    • a) what we can use them for and 
    • b) looking for any issues before we get them onto the wall
Having spent some time on step A we checked all the holds and then we moved onto setting, this takes some time as we tweak out the route to be something fairly hard but doable across all of the size ranges (and grades) that people climb here. Once this is done we don our shoes and go at it.... sometimes we know we set hard, other times we think we've set easy and have been floored; why? Because of the holds. Under no cirumstances should you underestimate the amount of humility you'll face when climbing on these holds, you have to be so precise with your hands it's not even funny! Most of the smaller holds you'll be able to get away with a slap-dash approach to doing the route they have areas where you can wrap your hand over them and be able to stick a move, but the large guys... HA, you think you can just slap and hold on but you can't, you need to be very careful with what you're doing. Sure you can chicken out and have them the nice way up but wheres the fun in that eh? No, put them up the hard way and see if you can stay on :)

Like we said the smaller holds are going to be good to around the 45 degree mark and from that point on they're going to be hard... so that's the large and the XL sets (below) taken care of:
Climb It Ribbed Slopers Large
Climb It Ribbed Slopers X-Large

And then you roll into the larger sets, Climb It don't even make smalls or mediums in this range at all, you go from Large to 3XL.... it's a super sized set that's for sure :) So then you get to the larger holds, when we say larger we mean massive:
Climb It Ribbed Slopers 3XL
Climb It Ribbed Slopers 2XL

It's kind of hard to tell which one of these holds is the most evil, the 2XL does have some nice ridged area where you can grab and you can pinch it, the 3XL well that's a different matter entirely. One way up it's a shelf and it's simple and easy to climb on, spin it 180 and then you have the most evil slope that we've seen in a while, it's not even easy to get a pinch going on this guy you kind of want to wrap your arm all the way over the top of it and then to try to move from there. (For reference the video of Noodles and Chris where they fall off on the FLAT WALL is the 3XL into the 2XL and then into one of the large holds (set the bad way up :P)) Yeah the big guys are hold to hold onto but once you figure out where you want to grab it, neigh, where you have to grab it and then trust that you'll stick then you've got a fighting chance of finishing up the route.

We guess what we're saying that these holds are a matter of trust, trusting that you have enough chalk and enough self belief that you'll not get pitched off. They make for some pretty damn tense climbing because it could happen at any moment, and that's the nut of it.


K.I.S.S: Keep It Simple Stupid :) Keep the angle shallow on the large guys and go nuts with the smaller guys and you're in for an interesting time... reverse that order and you've got some hard hard climbing; of course if you set gently then you're still going to be in for an interesting time trying to figure out what hand where and where is the best place to match on most of the holds.

Although we don't give these holds that steep of a rating the smaller sets when used as a move across the roof can work but you have to set so that you're going into the holds and forcing an opposing force to the direction you're climbing in otherwise they're useless, you cannot hang any of these holds on the roof.

You'll notice that the feature symbol is also used, that's because the 3XL should probably be counted as a feature and it's a close thing on wether the 2XL should fall into that category as well.

  • Number of holds: 10
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt ons
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds):
  • Color: Ours are pink
  • Bolt placement: Center
  • Sanding: Good
  • Hollow backed: Yes
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Grainy
  • Set size: Large to 3XL
  • Versatility: Large and XL have more versatility that the 2XL & 3XL
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes
  • Shaper: Louie Anderson
  • Weight: 26.2lbs for the entire range
So Climb It have got their hollow backs sorted out, they used to be a little thin and sometimes there was some flex in the holds, not anymore these holds have nice walls all the way around so you'll have no problems there! These holds after we played with the initially went to Allez Up for a couple of months where Fred Charron and his team of setters used them on the bouldering wall with no problems. Sometimes we lend them holds to see what they perform like under gym testing and we end up getting broken holds (they use impact drivers to put on and take off holds) in this case nothing broke despite their somewhat heavy handed treatment of the holds at times

As usual there is the inset Climb It logo and all of the bolt holes are square and centered on the holds. Anything that is huge (which lets face it is all of these holds) has a center column where needed, and set screw holds that had been pre-drilled.

Texture is something that's interesting with these holds because they do feel a little grainy when you touch them, but because of the shaping you never really notice it, all you notice is that you're trying like hell to hang onto a sloper... and we mean try. Sometimes you can find the sweet spot (oh which there are many subtle choices) other times you don't and it's a self belief thing that allows you to get the problems done.

Climb It also had a color problem way back when, if you held the hold up to a strong light you could see "color fade" towards the edges, this again is a thing of the past, all of the holds have a good flat color all the way through.



Right.... Ribbed Slopers. Ribbed for her pleasure? Ribbed for pleasure?

I have a love / hate relationship with these holds. I love the subtley of the climbing they force you to master for the send but I hate the fact that if I blow a hand placement on some of the larger guys I'm done for. These holds suck chalk up like a shop vac, you chalk and they will eat all of it and then there's that fine fine line of too much chalk that makes them slippery and then not enough so you'll slip off

Have you ever tried climbing UP a slip and slide? No, buy these, it's the same thing :D

I think that Louie Anderson has done a masterful job on these holds, the Tufas still remain as my favorite Climb It holds and I do recommend them to people when they're placing orders because they are fun and good to climb on. These guys is a trickier matter, if someone wants to kick a V8 climber off of a problem then it's easy, grab these.. in a comp setting if the setter is setting hard then you can really split a pack of climbers with these guys... watch the video we use one of the holds on a 60 degree roof so we can get across (the smaller ones aren't really that bad) but where we get stumped is on the flat... on the flat FFS, we pull some burly moves on the smaller holds and then get dumped on our collective ass' on the flat. There wasn't one person that walked in and killed some of our routes set on these.

They are field splitters.

And again I'm in a position where it's a little uncomfortable, there aren't any smaller sized holds for the home wall owner, but I would suggest if you want a set of easier slopers then the large and XL do fit that bill, they're large for large and XL holds but worth it, I'd shy away from the 2XL and 3XL's because the wall space / climbing fun you'll get isn't that great... if they were a little more positive then it'd be a toss up, but this time it's pretty simple, home wall owners should stay to the smaller (ha) sizes.

I let Allez Up borrow these holds for their bouldering wall and the V5 they set was awesome, I saw some strong strong climbers get thrown off of the wall because they blew their body placements on a 30 degree wall; and that was across the entire line up not just on the small guys.

So these holds are HARD.

Ass kick, can we get some ass kick in the house? We've got some ass kick in the house!! These holds are hard you have to be careful with how you set because you need the holds at just the right angle for a problem to be do-able on a flat wall. I am of course talking more of the larger holds, the smaller (HA!) holds are easier to use all over the wall but the big guys and lets face it we all love the big holds are where it's at. They will test you and we were using any feet on the wall, if you're slightly off on hand or body position then you just get spat off.

Like Jeremy I agree, the larger holds aren't really for home walls (2XL and 3XL) but the rest will fit in as long as you don't go to steep with them. The rating we gave them at 45 is something that's still a matter of debate as maybe 30 would be a better suggestion, 30 is hard, 45 is near impossible.

If I was a home owner and I had a choice between the Tufas and the Ribbed Slopers I'd lean more towards the Tufas than the Ribs, they're friendlier and better for a home wall with more choice for sizes. If I owned a gym I'd grab both sets without any problems

Dustin Curtis (Head Routesetter @ True North Climbing):
Well where to begin right? I mean, straight up, you're looking at a company that keeps putting out some of the dopest holds on the market. They keep expanding their line with new and amazing chunks of plastic that are route setters dreams. The last holds I spoke up on from Climb It were the Tufas, which were molded, poured and delivered strictly for steep thugged out pulling on steep angles but these ribbed slopers...ugh...these things are not meant for any kind of steep I gotta say.

These ribbed slopers, and yes make all the jokes you want about ribbed for your pleasure and all that but these things on a light overhang, are far less for your pleasure and more for throwing you right on your ass. We got these holds at True North Climbing Inc. just before one of our friendly format summer comps and by the time i had opened the box, my route setters had raided the entire order and these diabolical holds were up on the wall. These things are the perfect compliment to the Tufas, as for those who love aesthetics, these holds look SO pimp lining in the same blocs as the Tufas. But lets get down to some straight up facts about these things.

Yes they're slopers and with that comes all the monkey wrapping and meat hooking that can be found in most sets of slopers but these holds have a little bit more in it for you. The ribs of these things make it gnarly hard to stay on them while they eat away at the chalk on your hands before you know it, you're lying on your back wondering where all your skin went.

These holds come packaged and ready to knock climbers on their asses and offer so much versatility for slapping up aretes or intricate wrapping and delicate sequences up a slightly overhanging wall. Route Setters, if you're looking at a hold order to for a comp, or just something to spice up your already vast hold selection, these holds are too pimp too be over looked.

Again Climb It throwing down the gauntlet making some of the gnarliest shapes on the market.

Kaleb Thomas (Head Routesetter @ Wallnuts Climbing Centre):
My name is Kaleb Thomas and I am the Head setter at Wallnuts Climbing Centre in St. John's NL!

I've never "reviewed" climbing holds before but I have definitely spent a lot of time talking about them, and I am psyched to tell you guys what I think of the Ribbed slopers from Climb-It

First off... This guys are not for the faint of heart, this is a bad ass hold set that will make you work for the send. We recently put off our biggest local comp "The Rockfall Climbing Competition" and Jeremy sent these out for me to use.We used half the set on our Mens final and it had the boys working hard.

The thing that makes this set stand out as "not just a brutal sloper set" is the ribs (obviously). The ribs on these holds mean you have to master ninja climbing skills before even trying to hold onto these, they are subtle and fickle and missing the sweet spot on these holds will make you fall.

This set is really four sets, a large set of four holds, an XL set of four holds and a 2XL and 3XL.

Lets start with the big guys.

The 3XL is definitely one of my favorite holds in the set for commercial setting, It is big and burly, and it has multiple degrees of difficulty which is nice when your catering to a broad clientele. This hold is at home on 5.9's on a vertical wall, or as the snag hold for the first hard move on a Men's Final route (hehe) It would be nice if there was some way to not "wrap" the two outside edges when it is in a straight up configuration but this is unfortunately unavoidable with most large climbing holds. I'd also like to add that for its size its is a really light weight hold and that is always important when your setting on a rope or ladder.

The 2XL is a monster, Not as versatile as the 3XL but there is a lot more of that "subtlety" going on in this hold. Definitely one of the most challenging holds in the set we used it on a flat wall, around a corner, on the top ten feet of our Men's final route.... and people fell of it, in fact we had 3 people separated by this hold, one fell trying to hold it,one fell with both hands on it, and one fell while trying to move off it. This is a large hold that really only has one or two sweet-spots on either side, and for a comp that is AWESOME.
Once those sweet-spots are dialed in this hold does get a little easier for someone to use, but, like the rest of this set, you are likely to blow an onsight while searching for the money spot!

The XL's are without a doubt the most friendly holds in the set, all of them have a dark side but they all have a friendly side too. Every one of these holds has a good hold-able edge, and i could see some of these holds making it onto something a little steeper... maybe 35 degress if your strong, which is definitely a step beyond the rest of the set. Though each one of these has a good side, the dark side is super dark, these holds have the ability to stun you! like a taser! so you better get tough if you want to get the versatility out of these four beasts. This set also includes the only hold in the set that has an obvious "crimp" on it, thats right, a sloper set with an obvious crimp. I like this, it stops those goony sloper gods from thugging there way through every hold, they have to bare down for a second on that little edge. magic. I love it when you switch the style in a route or problem just for a move or two so its not to "style" based.

And finally the Large set... Brutal. Thats it, one of these holds is really easy to hold but the other three are absolute terror. We used those three on that final route ive mentioned a hundred times, and they all had to be put on volumes to bring the angle in a notch. Incredible holds for vertical, around corners, on volumes or on something that is just straight up hard. If you own a woody and you want something small that packs a serious punch these are for you. Almost the entire hold is useful terrain, and there seems to be enough room for two hands on all of them if you work a little for it. I will however say that it would be nice to have another 4 that are just a little more positive.

Overall a sick set, my only complaint is that I find the texture a little slick... I know this is good for training and blah blah blah cause it doesnt blah hurt your blah blah hands. Well i dont care...
I am from Newfoundland, where we fish with our hands, live in igloos and kill moose with our teeth. MAN UP and deal with it, its rock climbing, holds hurt your hands sometimes... I like holds to come in the box with a nice sticky texture (Think Friction, or Delire) in a commercial facility that initial bite goes away in a couple of months, and your left with a perfect hold, it also means that that hold will stay hold able for way longer. My only fear with this set is that they will be too slick to hold once they've been on the wall for a couple of years, and at a facility that isn't in a place with 8 million people we need our holds to last.

  • Gorgeous to look at, colours pop, well poured.
  • Subtle, you cant just hit these and run, you have to caress them and find all the special spots.
  • Relatively versatile, most holds have a good side and a hard side, and most can be used between slab and 25 degree.
  • Light Weight, Easy to clean (they came dirty... Jeremy)
  • Texture is a little to subtle for me, I like a little more bite.
  • Would like to see another 10 holds just a little bit more positive (or i could just buy the tufa's...)
I would also like to mention that Climb-It kicks ass, and we have holds form them that are 17 years old, and I smile every time i put one of those slick black holds on the wall.
They still rock, and have only gotten better with age.
We also have giant Climb-It logo spray painted on the wall at the gym ,and its pretty bad ass
  • Very well made holds
  • The holds are over size for their category's, the XL's are bigger than normal
  • The large guys are harder than you think and not really for home walls
  • No smaller sizes


Anonymous said...

A few months ago I picked up a bunch of the Tufas and some on the ribbed slopers and your reviews of both were spot on. I love both sets and have been falling more and more in love with ClimbIt as a company. The quality of their product is great and the holds are a blast to climb on. The next set of hold I was looking at were the Limestone sets. Is there any chance you can do a review on these guys in the near future?

ntmb said...

We we'rent planning on it, but I'll see if we can get one rolling soon :)

Anonymous said...

these are amazing holds to have on your wall. i have the xl set and the 3xl and love them. climb its holds are all amazing havent got one that i didnt love. the only thing is their customer service SUCKS. i have waited over a month to get my holds, emailed them asking about my order numerous times and just kept getting my order invoice sent back to me.

ty berger said...

great holds, HORRIBLE customer service

ntmb said...

Most orders as of 25/07/2012 are in a queue. Small orders are processed as fast as possible, in this case order was shipped in less than 10 days :D

There is a huge back order right now for Climb It Holds (I know I rep for them in Canada) And we're sorry but we pour to order, we can't pick from a shelf, we make all of your holds by hand as it comes in!

Sorry for the wait, I look forward to hearing what you think of the holds


ty berger said...

in regards to my first comments about climb its customer service, my inpatients and the easy of posting your thoughts online,got the best of me. all of my concerns where well taken care of, and just a bad call on my part.