Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review > EP Holds > Comp Slopers and Comp Pinches


Ent
So last time we looked at some EP holds was way back, this time there's a new shaper and a new mix the shapes are in urethane and the shaper used to own Stone Age Climbing... yes Sander Culliton is shaping for EP which means there are some great new shapes coming.

The Competition Slopers and Pinches are some of those new shapes and boy do they look good.

Comp Pinches from EP
Comp Slopers from EP










 The question is do they climb well? And we'll get to that, lets talk about Sander a little first; A lot of folks remember Sander from his personal venture 6+ years ago called Stone Age Climbing. At Stone Age, Sander successfully created and sold a handhold line of over 1000 shapes along with miscellaneous soft goods. Sander carved most of the range then and is performing his craft once again  at EP.  "The most important thing is a good range with maximum comfort and ergonomics" says Sander.  "A lot of my time has gone into comfortable, movement specific holds that will be great for both training and competition problems." and that's something we agree with over here at CHR. One thing that is clear the shaping of these holds is great, smooth ergonomic lines... just simple clean shapes that are great to hold onto; just enough texture to allow you to think you've got the sweet placement but not enough to rag out your skin.

The shaping is great but the molding of the hollow backs (only the slopers are hollow backed), well that's another thing that needs to be talked about before we get into what we did with the holds themselves. The shapes are great but turn them over and there is a whole bunch of things to complain about and it's something that EP should really look into! We've seen bad hollow backs now and then, a hold from a range here and there but this time there are problems all over the place, not just one hold but many of them. It's a shame that there are so many production errors, it kind of takes the sets down a few pegs. Now normally we'd just mention that there's a problem, this time we'll show you the problems, some are minor and some are major... here are the images of the problems:
EP: Loose bolt hole / bad hollow back
EP: Miss drilled bolt hole through center
EP: Miss drilled bolt hole
Consistently miss-drilled bolt holes through the center braces (middle and top left) and a couple of loose bolt holes, we can't comment on the sanding as all of the holds are rubber backed. Some of the hollow backs are a little rough and ready nothing too bad but where the hole has been drilled (left hand picture) there are little dimples making a potential weak point. Like we said it's a shame that there are these defects on such well shaped holds.

Now, once we looked at the holds we got them (and some volumes, a later review) we got them onto the wall and then went wild, using both the sets on a number of routes that were a little different from what we'd normally set. We set a balance route across the door and then a power route across the 45 and into the 30, both were challenging routes especially when we added in the feet and what we were trying. Taking the balance route first image a long stretched move to a match when your feet are all facing the wrong way, we used some dual tex feet from E-Grips to make the footwork crazy AND then look at the double hand match when you're stretched out across the 45. Man we got worked on both those routes and then we set a few shorter routes just for fun!

Then we did something that's still being worked on (watch the end of the video) because of the spacing on our wall we found that two of the larger pinches would make a really nice hand crack if you didn't use the outsides of either of the two holds. It's a hard match to start and a really long crank up into the ceiling. If you cheat it then the routes pretty easy.

When you look at either of the sets by themselves and don't worry about the defects too much and just look at the pure simple clean shaping then you're looking at a couple of sets that are really quite great to play with. The slopers are definitely the holds you want for harder problems and for competitions the pinches complement them very well when setting longer routes, they're also much easier to read from a climbers perspective the slopers are a different story and will catch out a climber if they're being a little slap happy with their movements.

Lets hope the drilling problems get sorted out in the future as these holds are a great addition to the EP line up which seems to be expanding quite rapidly.

AND THEN...

We'll say that we were surprised, as most of you know once a review is written it's sent to the company in question and they get to see it before you do. This time EP reacted quickly very quickly within a day they'd been in contact and they've gone and fixed the shapes and they'll be in the post in the middle of the week. To say we're impressed is an understatement, it threw us for a loop as we were planning on videoing the walk through of these holds and then we had to hold up and wait for a little bit before we could do it. It's an interesting thing when a company can react so fast to criticism and can actually get things done this quickly

The three holds that were the problem children of the sloper set (the pinches were perfect) arrived in a different color with the problems from the bolt holes fixed. Yup EP went above and beyond to fix the problems we pointed out... they took out part of the center brace, keeping the strength and eliminating the problem. Awesome job... which means we had to re-write our comments a little :)

SUGGESTED USES PINCHES:


Yeah we've said roof for these guys because a few of them are actually roof worthy, mainly the larger ones to be honest but if you're up for a challenge then the roof is going to be fun. These holds go from slopey to positive and everywhere in between so you've got a great mix to keep yourself amused
 and there's the rubber back to stop them from spinning on you, but to be honest we have moved a few of them when really cranking on one end

SUGGESTED USES SLOPERS:

So the pinches will be good on most angles, the slopers, well most of those guys are hard on a vertical wall and then there are a few positives just for good measure. These holds perform best between 30 and 45 degrees and will really give you a run for your money. Again rubber backed but we have turned them on occasion

OVERALL BUILD PINCHES
  • Number of holds: 10
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds):
  • Color: Yellow with grey rubber back
  • Bolt placement: Center
  • Sanding: Rubber backed so hard to tell, they sit flush to the wall
  • Hollow backed: No
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): Yes
  • Texture: Excellent
  • Set size: Med to large
  • Versatility: Good
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No
  • Shaper: Sander
  • Weight: TBC
These holds aren't hollow backed but they are rubber backed and they have a good weight to them, the sanding is excellent and even-though there are some sharp edges when you grab them you don't notice it at all. The color is nice and even and the grey rubber back sets it off quite nicely

Set screw holes are missing as people seem to think that a rubber back will stop the spinners, this isn't the case and we were surprised that it wasn't an addition on these holds. The shapes are good to grab onto with the texture being enough to inspire confidence but not enough to stop you from trying a problem over and over, only one person complained about their finger tips burning over the course of a long evening climbing on these shapes.

OVERALL BUILD SLOPERS
  • Number of holds: 10
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds):
  • Color: Yellow with grey rubber back
  • Bolt placement: Center
  • Sanding: Rubber backed so hard to tell, they sit flush to the wall
  • Hollow backed: Yes
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): Yes
  • Texture: Excellent
  • Set size: Med to large
  • Versatility: Good
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No
  • Shaper: Sander
  • Weight: TBC
Ah slopers, the best shapes to climb on for training purposes and these are wonderfully shaped, it does have to be said that Sander has done an amazing job with these. Again their color is yellow with the rubber back offsetting the color nicely. With the hollow backs these shapes are nice and light given their size it's just the bad bolt holes, weird drilling and honky hollow backs that takes these holds down a notch :( Now that being said, EP went and fixed the holds and sent us new versions.. that are perfect, the forms we received are much much better than they were before making this set one to think about adding to your wall


Again the texture is just enough for these shapes, anything more they'd end up being too easy and not a challenge at all, thankfully with how these feel you've got a challenge on your hands, the shaping + texture makes a great overall package. There is a good variety in the shaping to not make you feel like you grabbing onto the same hold over and over again... again set screws holes should have been added to stop the occasional spinner that does seem to happen despite the rubber backs and that they lay flat on the walls

WHAT ARE THEY MADE FROM:
Urethane

PACKING / SHIPPING:
Good

RATING:
Noodles:
Last time we reviewed EP's holds they were shaped by Boone Speed, this time it's a different shaper and a shaper that's owned a hold company in the past. If anyone remembers Stone Age Climbing then Sander was the guy behind it, the company has been sold and although some of the shapes are seen every now and then but generally they've been lost to the masses. Thankfully Sander is now back in the game and shaping for EP. Lately they have been dropping holds left right and center and they sent us some new holds a few months back, since then we've been setting some crazy routes, from powerful craziness to technical balance moves.

So the shapes are bloody amazing. Am-az-ing, both sets have some of the nicest clean lines that remind me of some Teknik shapes, just from the feel not from the shapes being similar. I've had a bunch of good times playing with them, even the finger lock that Mark set; that I'm still working on BTW.

Now here's the question that you always want to know the answer to, would we suggest you buy them?
The pinches yes, the slopers no. Yeah get that one, why not the slopers? Mainly because of the manufacturing being crappy, if the hollow backs and the drilling is fixed then sure they're a great set of holds but until those points are fixed I'd probably avoid them :( It's not an easy thing to say that, slopers are my favorite holds and these are amazing, but I'd like to see EP fix these problems before I can wholeheartedly suggest you spend money on them.

AND THEN... yes we know what happened so I have to eat my above words :) EP went above and bloody beyond and fixed the hollow backs on the slopers that we complained about, talk about a story of redemption, Sander read the review before it was published, wasn't happy with what we were saying and then went and fixed the problem on the spot!! Now I can say BUY THE SLOPERS because there is nothing wrong with them. Now they're amazing shapes and the hollow backs are fixed... amazing work!

Sander, keep it up, it's nice to see your shapes hitting the market again!

Chris:
I always seem to climb when there isn't a camera rolling :) I love these holds and I love that EP reacted so quickly to our comments and fixed the problems, awesome job guys!


These holds allow you to burn for hours, unless like us you set a crack move and you take your skin off finger locking the move :P If I had to pick a set I'd roll with the slopers, I find the larger pinches a little wide for my hands but the slopers are just pure fun, they're hard on the flat and harder on an angle, they'll make a challenge for even the hard climbers!!


Oh, if you want to see them up live and personal, Noodles set a 50ft traverse with them at the Shakti Roc Gym that just opened in Montreal and (get this) the other holds on the route are S7 Jokers, yeah you heard me.... S7 Jokers from back in the day. It rolls in around hard V4!! Have fun


PROS:
  • Great comp shapes
  • Rubber backed to stop spinners
  • Amazing shaping
CONS:
  • No set screw holes

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