Monday, May 5, 2014

Review > Capital Climbing > Barnacles and Clast Lip


So Capital Climbing are a new company, they're kind of officially on the market and at some point they should be launching a full on website... right now it's not the case but you can go see them at for now.

We have a bunch of stuff to review from these guys and we're pretty stoked on what we have to play with for a while. What we're looking at this time is a set of holds called the Barnacles and one of the feature holds from the Clast Lips range.

When we received these holds Noodles just sat around and played with them for a few days... why? Just before the holds arrived he knew he had to set some comp routes and new holds means you have to get your mojo on and get it done... first lets look at the holds:


 Clast Lip Feature

Taking new holds into a gym is always a fun if risky proposition; we've been setting comps and routes for ages but it's always a new challenge when you have new holds; sure professional (paid) setters get to do it all the time but that is their job; we're unpaid reviewers that set a bunch and when you're setting for a comp the pressure is always a little higher!!

The way the friendly comps work at Shakti is there are three classes; beginner, intermediate and expert. All of the walls are sectioned off and there are three routes in that area; one for each class basically; the people that sign up are randomly assigned to a team and when the timer starts each team has 10 minutes to get up the three routes in their area... rinse and repeat. What Noodles did is set three routes in the same area to make filming them easy and went to work setting... he had a plan and here's how it went...

The Clast Lip just shouted GASTON so that was his starting point, the Barnacles due to their nature means that you can grip wherever you want were a trickier proposition. Being able to grab all around meant that he had to set some interesting footwork to try to stump the taller people whilst still allowing free movement to the shorter people; needless to say with some work he got it done the way he wanted and that's where the footage comes from. Lets let him talk about the route:

Knowing I wanted a gaston move was a great start, I set that up first and the move I wanted to follow which happened to be a cross through to a Barnacle. That set I went to work on the start and started figuring out the foot movement I wanted to use to force the gaston for all sizes of climbers but keeping it within the grade range for the intermediate climbers. What resulted (which you can see after the walk through video) is how people who have 10 minutes attacked the route and worked the sequence. If this had been a problem at a Tour De Bloc I would have been happy with the way it turned out because it really split the intermediate climbers down the middle.

There were a few people that struggled and one woman that kept going at it until she got it. I was glad to see people enjoying the problem as it took some finagling to get to a point where I was happy with it. My setting gets better month on month and these holds were fun to set with

Once the comp was done there was only one thing to do... grab the holds and then go set something on a steeper wall just for us (we had to put it back for people to climb on the next day) so we hit the 45 and went to town with the Barnacles... and that's where these holds become interesting. They excel on steep walls because you can easily hand / foot match and set some fun sequences; these holds are great all rounders

You will also notice that we're not using the glamor shots that normally we'd grab off of the company's website that's because the website is being made and the photos aren't done yet, so we took dirty dirty photos so you can see what we're talking about. Whats nice is that you can see where the hands and feet have been on these holds, spotting the start holds that have had the most feet hit them is pretty obvious. The good thing is despite these holds being about as dirty as you can get them they still retain their grip, some places need a brush but on the whole they're standing up to the daily abuse of climbers pretty well


You have a wall? Then you probably need or want these holds! They aren't that big and because they can be rotated around for so many gripping options they will just make a great addition; go steep with them because like we keep saying there are so many options that you can find something that will work for most people. Although not all of them are full on jugs if you're moving fast across your terrain then its just a hoot


This guy is a big ol' sloping jug whichever way you look at it. When you look at the smaller versions in this range then there's a whole bunch of pulling fun to be had; this feature isn't the most incut bugger out there but it will go steep; the steeper you go the harder it gets. We'll get to the smaller shapes in a later review... so we will repeat some of what we're saying at a later date :)

  • Number of holds: 5
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Both
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): $116 / 5 = $23.20 per hold
  • Color: Ours are a good brightish pink
  • Bolt placement: Middle
  • Sanding: Great
  • Hollow backed: Yes
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): Nope
  • Texture: Sand stoney
  • Set size:XXL
  • Versatility: Awesome
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes
  • Shaper: Chris Neal
  • Weight:15lbs
The first thing to point out with these holds is probably the one negative thing that we've found; the coloration on these holds is a little see-through also where they sit on the wall they taper to sharp edge which means its not if it's when they get chipped... other than that the construction is bomb proof, they have a great center column and pre-drilled set screw holes.

Texture wise these holds feel like a great take on sandstone, they have a good feel to them which means you have awesome grip but you're never going to worry about them being too sharp.

From incut to slope you have pretty much every gripping style included with an overload of pinches around the edges. There isn't a company logo on these holds but as there's very little out there on the market that's like them finding them in the hold room

The one other thing of note on these holds is that they're marketed as XXL but they're larger than XXL holds from normal hold company's.... it works in your favor currently as although there is a color scheme across the entire hold industry there isn't a "footprint"  size guide... yet

  • Number of holds: 1
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): $65
  • Bolt placement: Middle
  • Sanding: Great
  • Hollow backed: Yes
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Sand stoney
  • Set size:Feature
  • Versatility: Good
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes
  • Shaper: Chris Neal
  • Weight:6lbs
This guy is a big ol feature, not massive just big in a good way. Again the bottom edge could be a issue where it gets a little thin from the hollow back but it's thicker then the Barnacles edges so we see less of a issue with this shape.

Pre-drilled set screws and a well placed bolt hole with a column behind it means this hold sits nice and flush on the wall; the sanding was also very very good. Again our shape is pink and because it has more material at the edges it is a really nice shade

Again no logo for the company (god knows that there's space on the hold) which is a strange decision for a new company!!

The texture is different than the Barnacles, it's simple gripping area is nice and smooth with enough to inspire confidence in a climber and not enough that you'll get plastic burn if you slip off :) The sloped surface gets thinner at the edges so setting with this guy is interesting, you can easily get two hands on it with a heel for some really interesting movements.



I won't talk about setting with these guys because I've already talked about it above; what I will talk about is the shaping of these holds which to be quite frank is awesome. Capital is a new company and new companies will either go one way or another; sink or swim; be a player or be played... it seems Chris Neal is going to be a player, he's already shaped for a bunch of other companies and now he has his own.

We know the material and pouring is going to be awesome because Element Climbing pour them for him and the shaping, well if you can sell shapes to other people then you know you're shaping isn't anything to be sniffed at!!

Would I buy these holds? I guess I'll get down to that one quicker than normal...

For my home wall or gym, yes I would... we don't chuck our holds about all that much so I know the edges won't be a problem for us for other people well if you chuck a hold off of a ladder to a mat and it hits another hold then I guess you should have been more careful (obviously i'm talking about a bouldering wall here) The shapes are clean and simple, the Barnacles have grabbing options for days and a great texture. If I had a gym then I'd be very very tempted to grab them as well; but I'd be careful with them when dropping them off of ladders

I also had to slog to the gym to take photos of these holds because none were available... that's my summer hat and it was pissing down :(

Oh Noodles, how do you do what you do? He set that route in 20 minutes from start to finish... yeah, comp route done in 20 mins and it was pretty bang on what he was talking about when he was fondling the holds in the living room; that either says a lot about his setting or about the holds

I think that the holds have at least 50% of it because like we said the Clast Lip in a comp setting is either going to be a huge dyno, slim undercling match or as Noodles set it a pretty fun gaston. I fore ran the route and I found that the Barnacles a little trickier than expected, you need to feel around a little to get to the optimum hand position for the moves. When we played with them on the steeper walls it was more a case of grab and go and less rooting around for the best hand position

I think that the Barnacles are a good addition to most walls and the Clast Lip Feature is something that I'd stick on a roof for some nice knee bar action

  • Barnacles can be bolted or screwed onto a wall
  • Good color
  • The Barnacles are over XXL by normal standards
  • Edges could chip easily
  • Some of the set screws are a little close to the outside edge for our liking

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