Archive for the ‘Holds’ Category

IFSC Bouldering World Cup 2015 #1 – Toronto + CWA Dyno Comp & Stuff…

June 1, 2015 Leave a comment

Angie Payne Toronto World Cup 2015

Toronto happened last weekend and my climbing hold company Kilter was proud to be the hold sponsor. I didn’t get to watch it on time (watched it later) so no full coverage here but my friend John over at Mantle Press Media and I had a conversation about the event for his podcast Chalk Talk. You can listen to it (and find other great podcasts with a variety of climbers and industry folks) on iTunes or over at his site Listen to our conversation and rewatch semis and finals here:


2015 Toronto Round Up

I was busy with the Climbing Wall Association Conference and Setter Showdown at Earth Treks Golden all weekend. We threw a big after party for the CWA at The Spot on Saturday and had another crazy dyno comp with tons of holds from Enix, Element, Kingdom, Nicros, Kilter, UP, Enterprises, Rock Candy, and Metolius. We’re taking some of the dynos down to make some wall space and preserve the problems we had up before cramming so many holds on that wall but don’t worry, some will stay up.

The Setter Showdown was a setting competition in Golden where 24 setters from different gyms came to test themselves in 3 rounds. When the day was over each setter had set 3 problems–two individual and one coset–on pre-assigned walls with pre-assigned holds and pre-assigned grades. The judges, who were Louie Anderson, Mike Helt, and myself, had to watch the setters and give scores for how functional and creative the problems were and how technically adept the setters were. It was a long two days and fairly difficult to judge but everyone had a good time I think and lots of friendships were formed. There should be a video coming soon and I’ll post it.

That’s all for now, sorry there aren’t more photos. Scour Facebook and I’ll post more soon.

Hold Company List Update – Namaste Climbing

November 24, 2014 Leave a comment

There’s a new company on the Big Hold Company List – Namaste Climbing from Houston, Texas.

Namaste Climbing Logo

Namaste Climbing ~ ~ Houston, Texas, USA

Update – website –


Sorry for the general lack of updates lately. Been very busy with comps and Kilter. I’ve been testing out FrictionLabs Chalk still and I’m still very impressed. We’re carrying it at The Spot now and there will be a review up here soon. Check out their website for more info and to read a scientific paper that’ll make you feel even better about buying chalk with a unicorn on the package (like you needed another reason): FrictionLabs

Categories: 2014, Holds, Reviews

Big Hold Company List Updates

August 23, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s that time again. This industry is growing like crazy. Please continue sending me updates. Here’s what I added (or finally added) today:

Bloc Syndicate

Bloc Syndicate is the European distributor for all the fantastic brands listed above. To see their online catalog (no website yet) click here: Bloc Syndicate Digital Catalog 2014


Speaking of Kilter, somehow in my bid to avoid favoritism I’d completely neglected to put Kilter on this list at all. Now it’s added:

kilter-grips1 logo ~ ~ Boulder, CO USA


Also from the USA is Kingdom Climbing:

Kingdom Climbing Holds ~ ~ So Cal USA


And distributing many European brands in the US including Artline, Cheeta, Holdz, God Hand, HRT, and Expression, we have Holdtopia:

Holdtopia Logo ~ contact via website ~ Pennsylvania/Salt Lake, USA


Speaking of Cheeta, they’ve been added to the Europe list as well:

Cheeta climbing holds ~ France


And God Hand has been added to the Asia/Australia/New Zealand list:

God Hand Climbing Holds ~ ~ Asia


Update: Also Squadra:

Squadra Climbing Holds


I think that’s it for now. More on the way!

Prinz – The (Long Awaited) Hold Review

April 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Prinz Climbing Holds

You may recognize the Prinz logo from Bomber Holds. Prinz bought the shapes and the logo from them and began shaping and pouring a bunch of new shapes as well. Owner Ryan came around Boulder with some samples for all the gyms to check out. He gave us a sample pack, plus I talked him into giving us a couple of edges and slopers and two bigger holds, a large blocky pinch and a mega sloper, to test.

Prinz Sample Holds Prinz Sample Slopers

A little bit of everything! The standard sample pack is 5 different holds and you can order one off the Prinz website to check Prinz out for yourself.

This review is in a slightly different format than the others as we started writing it a while ago. We really wanted to see how the holds held up over time and that is part of the reason for the delay. Thanks to Ryan for his patience in waiting for this review to come out!

In case you missed it, here’s the first half of our Prinz review: Prinz Initial Impressions

Prinz Review Part 2


The Material

Prinz holds are made of urethane, and it’s the more resin-like urethane (semi-rigid) instead of super flexy urethane. Some gyms prefer this, some prefer the other, most that I know use both. We are skeptical of this type of urethane at The Spot because of our walls, but Ryan brought some in for us to try and break, and we were pleasantly surprised. Read on:


Break Testing

Ryan knows how we break everything at The Spot and he was anxious to find out if his mix would break. Upon first glance I said yes, it definitely would break, but he challenged me to break one so we took one of the samples and proceeded to abuse it in all the ways we normally abuse holds here at The Spot.

1. The Concrete Floor

Ryan and I hurled the hold over and over at the concrete floor. It did not explode. Eventually a bit of the edge dented in and broke as you see here:

Prinz Breakage

Shorn plastic. Not brittle-explody plastic. Pretty good break, didn’t interfere with the integrity of the hold, and it was easy to sand into a thumb catch. UPDATE: It’s now been broken like this for over a year and still works great.

2. The Uneven Wall

Sadly I can’t find a picture of this, but we took the hold and put it across the most concave section of wall we could find, then tightened it down. Surprisingly, the hold flexed into the concave without breaking. I loosened it and did it again. Same result. Impressive.

3. The Test of Time

Despite the strength of the holds I was concerned that over time they’d become more brittle and more prone to breaking. Not so. Our Prinz holds have held up great and I don’t think we’ve broken even one in the time we’ve had them. The edge of one has become a bit polished though:

The edge of this one has got a bit polished over time, but since we've got a vinyl-topped floor it seems all our holds are falling victim to this.

The edge of this one has got a bit polished over time, but since we’ve got a vinyl-topped floor it seems all our holds are falling victim to this.

The hold still climbs fine and, again, we’ve got holds from every company doing this right now because the vinyl topped floor means more dust and people don’t clean their shoes. Sigh.



We definitely feel that Prinz is strongest in its larger shapes. Of the holds we have, the big yellow pinch is a joy to use and the huge purple feature is one of my top 10 favorite holds.


Big Pinch #88

Big Pinch! Ours is yellow.

Big Pinch! Ours is yellow.

See it on their website – Prinz Big Pinch #88

The Big Pinch #88 is basically a large (comparatively, the size is between XL-3XL depending on the company) square cut pinch with a twist–it’s a bit of a sloper on one side and quite a jug on the other and it isn’t perfectly straight so you can use it in a variety of ways and it’s easy to tweak to make it harder or easier. The Pinch is quite comfortable and makes a good hold for any grade of route depending on how it is used. We’ve underclinged it, mantled it, jumped to it, flipped it, etc… A popular hold that we could easily use more of, and is definitely worth the $$.



The Grip

Prinz Holds "The Grip" Feature

Prinz Holds “The Grip” Feature

The Grip on Prinz’ site.

Our Grip is purple and we love it. The main feature is basically a big slopey edge that is pretty good once you get onto it but the large rounded bulge makes it hard to hit properly. Upside-down the volume makes a cool 3-angle sloper/pinch. It’s comfortable, fun to use, challenging, looks great, and has held up fantastically. A very solid hold. We keep finding new uses for this thing and we want about 3 more and think every other gym should get some too.



We didn’t get any of Prinz’ other big features but he has several cool 5XL features and here are the three in particular that we are excited to check out next:

Prinz Mr. Slug

Prinz Mr. Slug

Mr. Slug on Prinz’ Site

Prinz Half Moon

Prinz Half Moon

Prinz’ Half Moon

Big Pinch #86

Big Pinch #86

Prinz Big Pinch #86


One more cool thing about Prinz–Ryan has this tattoo on his leg with all the places he’s been in the world filled in. He’s got a way to go still, but I think it’s pretty sweet!

Prinz Ryan's Leg Tattoo 1

Prinz Ryan's Leg Tattoo 2


Other Yay:

You can get all holds with bolts or bolts + t-nuts if needed.

Large variety of weird small crimps and feet which are perfect for home walls and for mixing it up in a gym where customers are too used to a certain style of shape.

Potential spinners have pre-recessed screw points.

The features are really cool.


The Nay:

The Prinz website shows most of their holds in 90’s multicolor. It makes it a little hard to tell what’s going on and we recommended using solid colors in the future, which it seems Prinz has been moving towards. For ordering, it’s no issue to get whatever color you want.

Some holds are martini or mixed bolts/screws.

We think their newer shapes are better than their old shapes and we can’t wait to see what other features and new holds they come out with next!



Prinz has recently lowered prices making them one of the more affordable brands on the market. Prinz offers gyms a 25% discount and offers free shipping to all domestic (in the continental US) customers–meaning gyms and retail customers can easily figure their total cost using the website.



Prinz makes some great big features and for their smaller holds you’ll want to pick and choose depending on your needs. Perfect for wood walls and surprisingly able to stand up to the abuse meted out at an uneven concrete-walled gym like The Spot. Ryan is a nice guy who cares about climbing, and it’s worth supporting this small company with an order.

So that’s it for now with the Prinz Review. Go check out their features and make sure to get yourself The Grip!

Hold Review – Capital Climbing

March 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Capital Climbing Logo

Up and coming yet accomplished hold shaper Chris Neal has started his own company, Capital Climbing. From all the photos we’ve seen Capital’s initial offerings look pretty awesome, and a few months ago they sent us a few holds to try out. See packaging and initial impressions here:

Capital Climbing Initial Impressions



The holds are poured by Element Climbing. Element has a solid mix with high-quality texture that has been holding up great with all the holds we’ve gotten that were poured by them (Element, Enix, and Capital) so we feel comfortable ordering from them. We haven’t had any polishing issues thus far. Their colors are great and this green in particular is a favorite–it really pops!



You can find these on the River, on a yellow problem mid-right river, a pink 4 by the river arete, and on a dark green 5- that runs across the left river.

Close-up of the Capital Climbing Small Clasts

Comfortable rounded edges.

The Small Clasts are comfortable rounded edges.

The Yay

These little holds are some of my new favorites.

Nice, comfortable, slightly incut rounded edges that make good gastons and side pulls.

Capital Climbing Small Clasts

Side view.

Fun to climb on.

The artistic touches are well done and add visually to the shape.

The Nay

The smallest of the 10 is a little smaller than I’d like it to be in that you load 1-2 fingers instead of three or all four like the rest of the set. This is fine, probably good for creating options, but it just isn’t as comfortable as the others.

The edges of the holds are a tad soft so if you rub them together you can dent the edges a little, so we were worried at first. We got them in the late fall and six months later they are holding up great and we haven’t had any quality or breaking issues.


Font Slopers

Pink Font Slopers. You can find one on the Beach and the other four on a cool outward-facing problem just left of the River arete.

Large Font Slopers.

Fun blob slopers with Fontainebleau-style detailing.

The Yay

Good shapes, useful for pressing problems and good for pulling on as well.

Nice sloper and slopey pinch set.

Pretty to look at.

Capital Climbing Medium Font Sloper

The Nay

Like the Clasts, these Font Slopers have soft edges. Also like the Clasts, it hasn’t been an issue in the 6+ months we’ve had them.

The cuts between the font texture are narrow and deep. I think it’d be nice if they were a bit smoother and shallower, like the actual rock, so the texture was a bit more useful for the climber. The sharp lines don’t affect your climbing experience negatively at all, but a bit smoother in the lines could give you more of the texture he was probably going for here.


Striation Sloper

Another shot of it with a wrench for size.

Side view. Can’t find my “on the wall” shot of this one. Will update when I find it.

One of a set of 3XL features.

The Yay

This thing is awesome.

A big, comfortable, moderate sloper feature with rounded edges.

Fantastic texture.

We love it.

The Nay

We’ve got nothing even slightly negative to say about this hold. It’s amazing. The other two probably are as well. Here’s a picture. Buy them.

Striations Sloper Set

Striations 3XL Sloper Set



A very professional first offering from Capital. The holds are top quality in design, texture, and material, and we can’t wait to order his Barnacles and other sets.

Big Barnacle Feature

Big Barnacle Feature

Chris Neal is constantly shaping, and he clearly is a foam whisperer. We are very excited to see what he will come up with next!


More from Capital


Fracture Feature

Capital Climbing Holds

This is a seconds pile. We don’t have any of these, but they all look great and we’re looking forward to getting some soon. The big Fonts look like he worked out the seams a bit more and they look like they’ll feel amazing. We can’t wait to get the rest of the Clast line! And check out those Barnacles!


Capital is poured at Element, which now owns Cheap Holds as well. See what Capital has to offer on the Cheap Holds website here: Capital Climbing Holds

Email Chris with questions, ideas, orders, etc:

Like Capital Climbing on Facebook to see all their newest shapes!


Click here to read more Spot Test reviews

Etch and Atxarte Holds – Initial Impressions

January 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Etch and Atxarte sent us some holds to try out. They’ve been poured at the same facility, and the material is so far quite impressive. We’ve been Etch fans for a long time but have held off ordering new holds because their material was a bit brittle for our gym. NO MORE! These holds have the strong, flexible feel of our favorite grips from Kilter, E-Grips, Teknik, So Ill, etc… We will keep you updated on its longevity, but we are very optimistic. We’ll post more on the holds once we’ve climbed on them a bit, but here is what we got:


The feature.

The feature.

another angle

another angle

This is a cool feature. It’s comfortable and cobble-like, but with detailing that makes the grip unique.

The set.

The set.

another angle

another angle

Connor set an Advanced (red tape) problem on the front font arete with these. Check it out and let us know what you think!



The Feature.

The Feature.

bottom view

bottom view

The hollow back seems good and the hold is cool. Danny put it on an advanced problem on the left river and it worked very well as a hold you could grab the top of, undercling, then throw a heel on. A nice feature for beginner – advanced problems.

The set.

The set.

The boys were pretty skeptical about these, because they’re a bit of a gimmick. They basically have jibs molded onto them. The boys felt the holds without the jibs were cooler and then setters would have the option to add the jibs if they wanted them. Ian Powell and I think these are cool, a bit different perhaps, but they work. I do also think that the boys are right, the pinch on the right especially would be sweet without the jib on it making it into a jug. It’d be nice to have the option of using it either way, and with perma-jibs you’re stuck with the jug, as it were. Also, the logo on all of these is a big crest, and everyone felt it was a bit much. Despite those small things, the mix seems solid, the lines are clean, and so far (as of the comp) they worked well.

I’ll post more once we’ve set with them a bit.

New Holds – Capital Climbing!

November 16, 2013 1 comment
In packaging.

In packaging. Poured/shipped by Element.

Hold shaper Chris Neal sent us some new holds to check out from his new company Capital Climbing. Here are some pictures of the holds, and where to find ’em on the walls to check ’em out. We’ll report back with a more thorough review (and the names of the sets) in the near future.

Pink Font Slopers. You can find one on the Beach and the other four on a cool outward-facing problem just left of the River arete.

Pink Font Slopers. You can find one on the Beach and the other four on a cool outward-facing problem in the scoop just left of the River arete.

Comfortable rounded edges.

The Clasts. Comfortable rounded edges. Another angle below:

You can find these on the River, on a yellow problem mid-right river, a pink 4 by the river arete, and on a dark green 5- that runs across the left river.

You can find these on the River, on a yellow problem mid-right river, a pink 4 by the river arete, and on a dark green 5- that runs across the left river.


Awesome feature!

Another shot of it with a wrench for size.

Another shot of it with a wrench for size.

The feature is on the River as well, just right of the arete about head-height on the pink problem that also has two of the green edges on it.

First impressions are very positive. The texture of the holds is great, the shapes are comfortable and professional, and they are poured by Element, which we’ve had good luck with so far. The edges are a bit softer than an Aragon hold, but nothing we’re concerned about. All in all an impressive offering from a brand-new company.

Check out the holds and let us know what you think!

New Hold Company – Thrive Climbing

September 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Thrive Climbing  ~  ~  Phoenix, AZ, USA


Thrive climbing out of Phoenix, Arizona, has been added to The Big Hold Company Lists for All and North America. This small company started by setters has been experimenting with their own urethane blends and we are excited to try some of their holds out soon for the Dyno-Mite comp on September 21st. Stay tuned for more on the holds we get and how we like ’em!

Element Climbing New Holds and Excellent 4th of July Sale

July 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Element Climbing Logo

We recently got some new shapes from Element Climbing including some of these Acid set holds.

Element Climbing Acid holds

Element Climbing Acid holds (typo above, Tony Reynaldo is the shaper)

I have to admit, when I first saw the Acid holds I thought they looked like a waste of material. Too much gimmick. Then I went to CWA and ended up handling a few and finding that the shapes were actually really comfortable, nice edge radii and comfortable hand positions for the ones I grabbed (like the top left in the photo above). We bought a few at that show and brought them back to the Spot and we used them during the Back Hueco set. Ours are red. We liked them. Check ’em out if you haven’t seen ’em and tell us what you think. I also checked out the large Acid feature and it’s pretty awesome. A big, comfortable hold.

For the 4th of July, Element is offering an amazing discount of 30% off orders of Acid holds and Formula sets. The 15% off all other holds is a great deal as well. You can get to their sale by clicking the sale banner below.


I should note that Element did not ask me to talk about this sale, I’m a newsletter subscriber and I’m sharing because I like the holds we’ve gotten from them so far and I think variety in a gym is important. If you don’t have any holds from Element I strongly suggest checking them out. Some favorites of mine:

Catalyst Roof Jugs

Catalyst Roof Jugs

Element Climbing Holds – Catalyst Roof Jugs

We first got a set of these for the Hold Review 2 years ago. They’re still going strong and I think they’re incredible. Great dual-tex, very comfortable to hold, really fun to set with. We got another at the CWA and I’ll buy more when I get the chance.


Element Climbing Vortex II

Element Climbing Vortex II

Element Climbing Holds – Vortex II Sloper

We have this on back Hueco, it is gray. Yes it looks like a likely spinner, but no problems so far. A stubby, comfortable feature that can be used on a variety of grades.


Elevation Roof Jugs

Elevation Roof Jugs

Element Climbing Holds – Elevation Roof Jugs

Ours are neon orange and they are so very incut and so very comfortable. Super super juggy but fairly low profile and small so they’re not heavy and you don’t take up the whole wall with ’em. Perfect for long steep roofs like The Dojo. Another set I will order multiples of next time we get holds from Element.


Element has lots of other styles of hold to offer, so check out their website and get ’em while this deal lasts.

Element Climbing – Rock Climbing Holds, T-Nuts, Hardware, and Accessories


Categories: 2013, Element Climbing, Holds

Setting Update for May 21 & 22 + New So Ill Holds! + Special Kilter Preview

May 26, 2013 Leave a comment


New Front Font

New Front Font

New Side Font

New North Side Font. Check out those blue chunks!

New Side by Back Arete

New North Side by Back Arete

Font Back Slab

New Font Back Slab.

New Font South Side

Font New South Side. Don’t miss the Pusher Sloper Testpiece.

I don’t have a great shot of the Front South Arete, but I will be posting again soon with that photo and a bit of a feature on some brand new holds from Kilter that we’ve got set up there. We also set with a large order of brand new So Ill holds!


So Ill Holds Logo

New So Ill!

The new So Ill holds we got are all over the Font Boulder and we saved a few for next week on the Front Hueco as well. It’s hard to miss the huge purple Cut feature on the middle of the front face:

The Cut

The Cut. Ours is purple.

Here are a few more holds from the many different So Ill sets now gracing the Font:

New So Ill!

New So Ill!

Have fun looking around the boulder and picking out all our new holds. There are several features and many smaller hand-sized holds in different colors and styles. We’ve finally finished our popular ‘Roids collection with the addition of the Big Roid:

The Big Roid

The Big Roid

And it’s even green to match the rest of the Roids we have! You can check out the rest of So Ill’s holds on their website here:

So iLL Holds


Special Kilter Preview

kilter-grips1 logo


We’ve also got some brand new sets from Kilter and we consolidated them on the Southwest (front right) arete of the Font and some on the slab so you can easily find them to check them out. Kilter is a new company from shaper Ian Powell, who founded E-Grips and who you probably know as he works at The Spot. There was an excellent article on Ian in Rock and Ice two months ago, and this video as well:

The problems with Kilter holds on the Font are exclusively Kilter handholds. We’ve got other Kilter scattered throughout the gym and we’re really looking forward to getting the rest of our order, which is the full current line, in the near future. Ian is carving up even more amazingness in his little workshop, so look forward to being the first in the country to climb on new grips from one of the world’s foremost hold shapers.

A little Kilter preview of a groundbreaking shape. If you don't know why, go find it and feel it. This hold is currently on the brown problem on the middle Dojo arete just under the roof.

A little Kilter preview of a groundbreaking shape. If you don’t know why, go find it and feel it. This hold is currently on the brown problem on the middle Dojo arete just under the roof.

So that’s all for now. More on Kilter soon so stay tuned for that and come into the Spot to check out all our new grips!!!

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