Thursday, December 23, 2010

What do you get a routesetter for Christmas?

Warning: This post contains opinions. If you're allergic to these, proceed at your own discretion.

Well I haven't done it yet, so I figured I'd do a post on holds. Since it's the holidays anyways, I figured I might as well do a "fun" post. These are some of my favorites/obsessions right now. I am not sponsored or paid by any hold companies and profit from mentioning them in no way whatsoever. But if you're looking to spend a bit of cash on your setters this holiday season, here's some good bets in my opinion. I tried to pick at least one set out of every major hold style.

Supervillains (Mega Jugs) (Teknik)
(no direct link available)
Comfort: Very good. The texture isn't super grainy, but it's got enough bite to keep you on there if you're setting a move that requires contacting an air traffic controller prior to takeoff. The edges of the jug are perfectly rounded, and despite climbing on these things all the time, I'm yet to grab one in a way that annoys my fingers (a problem I find a lot of mega jugs suffer from - the lip isn't rounded in an ergonomic way.)
Aesthetics: They are capital-b Big. About a foot by a foot. Their biggest downside is they're wall hogs. They come in a variety of (usually bright) colors and with their size they really stick out from the crowd.
Setting factors: For their size, they are super light and pretty easy to set with. The washers are low profile and don't require any special bolts or consideration. Very low-maintenance holds. Because they're so drastically incut, they do tend to collect chalk at an extremely fast rate when placed with the jug facing up.

I love love LOVE this set! I am yet to find a jug this amazingly good on any angle. They feel great, they're ultra light for their size, and they're just super comfy.

Idea: Set a sideways dyno to the supervillain with a jug on both sides. (It's shaped like an H, where the top and bottom are the jug parts. The two in the top left of the picture.) On a steep wall, this move can be set so that both hands have to make contact and compress to hold the swing. Cool.

Right now, they aren't on the web order sheet. However, I've seen them in several different gyms, so I know they're available. Maybe someone from Teknik can clear this up..?

Limestone Roof Jugs - Jugs (Atomik)
Comfort: These are extremely comfortable and that's why I love setting with them. They seem to be the right depth that they never catch my fingers in between joints. Most of them have a comfortable thumb position/catch.
Aesthetics: The dimples look pretty good. Most of the ones I've seen come in relatively basic primary colors.
Setting Factors: For the most part they have good directionality for hands, and there's at least one with two directions for easy forced matching. The amount of featuring gives the holds low directionality for foot placements.

Jugs are a pretty basic building block of routes, so what else can I really say? I love setting with these, and they just seem to stick out of a pile of holds to me, so I picked them.

Pure Slap Slopers - Slopers (E-Grips)
Comfort: Seeing as how you're always open handing them, they're pretty fun to snag. The texture can definitely be quite grainy for dynamic/slappy moves, but sometimes that's the only thing that makes the move go!
Aesthetics: These things are super flush on a smooth wall and can be quite intimidating to the climber. An entire route of these (maybe combined with some other "blob" holds) looks quite good.
Setting Factors: On a textured wall, they stick out and create crimps. In some gyms, it's almost impossible to find a placement for these that doesn't create unintentional gaps. Which sucks.

These have been one of my favorite hold sets to work with this year. They're absolutely fantastic for slabs and almost any arete / dihedral terrain. They make great palm-smears, technical feet and are really good for "I need that hold that's just barely enough..." moves.

Idea: Set a span move to a blunt arete. Place one of these pancake bad boys just around the arete, spaced so that as the climber bumps from the arete to it, their other hand comes off. (See The Groove in Progression for an idea of this move.)

Myorcan Tufa-Pinch - Pinches (E-Grips)
(see also: Mini Myorcan Tufas)
Comfort: These are quite comfortable for multiple grips per hand. In some cases the grains going against your fingers can be somewhat rough texturewise.
Aesthetics: Can be combined with the Myorcan slopers, Myorcan rail, etc and produce some really awesome looking "wrinkly" theme routes.
Setting Factors: The biggest one is about a foot and a half long or so, and definitely requires a stopper screw/hold. The smaller ones should be fine. Directionality is .. well, they're pinches. You know.

Setting this hold was a great experience - It performed very intuitively. At my USAC level 2 clinic, I was given the big Myorcan pinch and had to frog-leg hug it as a forced movement challenge. If you're looking for a fun move, that one was great, and this was the perfect hold for it. (I might write a movement analysis on that move in the future.)

Limestone Crimps - Crimps (Climbit)
(see also: Limestone Set B)
Comfort: For crimps, damn comfortable. Even hard crimping the smallest ones has never bugged me. I don't know if it's the texture or the shaping, but they just work.
Aesthetics: They're pretty small, so it means a bit less, but I think they look nice. The texture of these things is very recognizable hold to hold, so thematically they work very well.
Setting Factors: Some of them have great directionality, but others have thumb catches / two grips. A few of them have stellar directionality for both hands and feet. Additionally, they are pretty thin and I have seen them crack and break, but it took quite a while (and I'm not sure if Climb-it's material has changed since.)

As anyone who knows me (or climbs my routes) knows, I love Climb-it crimps. I think they make the best crimps on the market. I love all their crimp sets, but I think the limestone ones are a cut above.

Idea: Mess around with different levels of incut on an overhang. The directionality of some of these crimps allows you to really get a feeling for how much "give" the climber gets from different orientations and bite amounts. I think this is a really good set for that type of experiment.

Bubble Wrap Ledge Feature - Full set (E-Grips)
Comfort: These holds climb like a dream. My only niggle is that the edge on the more positive ledges can be a bit sharp on vert. (Easily remedied by not setting with them on vert!)
Aesthetics: A bubble wrap themed route is pretty easy given the number of sets available. I think there's two features, pinches, two sets of ledges, and one or two sets of feet. They look great and just feel right when combined.
Setting Factors: The two big features are definite candidates for irritating spin issues, so if you don't use screws, you will have to occupy some wall space for two stopper holds.

Love 'em. A brilliant idea well executed.

Idea: Once you tire of the fun aspect of the bubble wrap, if you want to get really devious, start setting with the ledges and big ledge turned backwards on a vert arete compression problem. That big ledge turned backwards makes an eeeeevil sloper! (You do have to worry about the bolt hole, though.)

Pinchtite - Feature (Teknik)
(No direct link)
Comfort: Good! Some bugle positions can be problematic on the wrists, but it can be avoided.
Aesthetics: This thing looks neat hanging out of a roof, and it feels very natural to occupy as much surface area as possible on it with your hands.
Setting Factors: Let's be honest, it's a huge pain in the ass. The bolt is friggin' enormous, and in some cases requires a hex bolt. It also really requires a set screw. I think it's worth it.

This thing is great fun to set with. Like some of Teknik's other shapes, it's extremely imaginative. It has very low directionality but is unique enough to still create some very interesting movement. I can think of few other holds as good for giving the climber a bicycle.

Idea: Combine with other protuding holds (such as the giant crystals - who makes those again?) in a roof to create insane knee bar, bicycle and cam action. This type of route is just a standby for me, as it's always unique and interesting to take the holds away from the climber and just give them a few huge things to work with.

Halo - Huge hold (Climb-it)
Comfort: It's there. The thing is huge and flat/neutralish, so you'd be hard pressed to find a really tweaky finger position. Heel cams in the halo can be alarmingly bomber.
Aesthetics: Like all massive holds, it sticks out, but this one has always had a special effect on me. It helps that routesetters seem to go unusually far out of their way to set dynamic movement to it.
Setting factors: Yup, it's effin huge. And it's heavy. And even if it's set with the bolt at the top it usually needs a stopper. (It's also a bit of a bank-breaker.)

This thing is just a show stopper. It was awesome in Battle in the Bubble, and it's equally awesome on just about every route it winds up on (of any grade.) There's just something fascinating about it.

I .. don't really have any favorites. I have some favorite huecos, and some favorite mega jug sinker pockets, but as far as 2 and 3 finger pockets, I'm yet to be truly impressed. It's not a style thing, I love climbing on pockets.. I'm just waiting for the perfect set. (Hold companies: sure, that's a challenge.)

Runner-ups / honorable mentions:

Voodoo Scoops Yummy dual tex slopers. Dual tex done right.

So Ill "The Growth" Are you friggin' kidding me? This thing is nuts. haven't had a chance to set with it yet, it's just impressive.

Project Landslide 7XL Intimidating and perplexing on steep walls.

Project Hurricane - one of my favorite pinch holds - can you use all 3 pinches on one route?

Teknik Fatty Long Fat pinches - so damn comfortable! Some of my favorite pinches ever. They make great theme routes.

So.. what would you guys want from your gyms this season? Have you enjoyed the shapes this year, or do you want to double up some of your old standbys?

No comments:

Post a Comment