Archive for the ‘New 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.


Psychedelia 2014 – Alien Abduction!

October 18, 2014 2 comments

SBSX poster

The theme for SBS X Psychedelia is Alien Abduction!

Hunter Damiani created this awesome SBSX art around our Psychedelia theme. Don’t forget to get your limited-edition t-shirt before we sell out. T-shirts are free with a SBSX Season package or you can get one for $25 at the front desk.

Part of what makes Psychedelia amazing is all the tape art and props and special performers, and part of it is all the amazing glowing costumes! We’ve been hard at work getting the gym ready, and we hope you’ve been finding creative ways to make yourself glowingly amazing.


Every year we get tons of questions about what glows and what doesn’t. To help clear things up, last year we made a long post about all kinds of costume fluorescents. Read it here: Psychedelia – What Glows and What Doesn’t?. Remember, this year’s theme is ALIEN ABDUCTION!


Be an alien, be a UFO, be an abductee! We love seeing how creative everyone gets with their glowing costumes and we can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with this year!


Oh yeah, and if you haven’t been before or don’t know, every year Psychedelia puts the gym at capacity, so if you want to come (and you do, trust us) we recommend pre-registration for spectators and climbers. Click here to pre-register for Psychedelia.

See you at The Spot!


SBS X Parkour Jam Rundown + Open Final Results!

September 28, 2014 Leave a comment
Paul flipping out the window at the start of the Parkour course.

Paul flipping out the window at the start of the Parkour course.

Parkour Jam was pretty amazing. We’d never done a comp quite like this before and it took a little  longer with setting and forerunning to incorporate the parkour course elements but when all was said and done we ended up with 52 new boulder problems and 2 parkour courses.

The first six hours of Saturday were staggered groups of youth climbers. Teams from all over the place came to compete and we had over 250 kids!

Colin Duffy working hard on O3.

Colin Duffy working hard on O3.

The adult session was from 5-8 and it was cool to see the rest of the problems get sent, even O10 got done! After the adult session scorecards were in we quickly shifted to the parkour demo race.

Our partners at Apex Parkour jumped out our office windows, jumped from boulders to I-beams and back again, ran up walls, and cleared huge gaps. The end of the first course was a jump to double downward dyno to wall run to jump and grab a swinging bone. Only Paul was able to stick the last move for the win. The second course ended with the guys clearing the huge entryway gap by jumping from the railing by the Font boulder to the railing by the Beach. The courses were crazy to watch and the Apex guys went all out, with more than one of ’em taking a big fall while trying their hardest.

After the Parkour course wrapped up we jumped back to the Open Final. The top 6 men and women from the redpoint round were the open finalists.


kilter-grips1 logo

Kilter Women Finals

The Kilter Women’s final was set almost entirely with 2 sets of Kilter’s newest holds, the Teagan Kaiju 1-3.

Teagan Kaiju 1-3 in purple.

Teagan Kaiju 1-3 in purple.

These holds aren’t even on the website yet, but you can order them by emailing There were also three Sandstone medium 2 slots at the top, the same set that was used in the Toronto World Cup.

The female finalists were all from Team ABC as athletes or coaches so we got several nice shots of the group. Here’s me showing ’em off:

Lillian Freifeld, Megan Mascarenas, Margo Hayes, Brooke Raboutou, Nina Williams, and Stella Noble. Jackie presenting.

Lillian Friefeld, Megan Mascarenas, Margo Hayes, Brooke Raboutou, Nina Williams, and Stella Noble. Jackie presenting.

Qualification order:
1. Megan Mascarenas

2. Nina Williams

3. Stella Noble

4. Margo Hayes

5. Lillian Friefeld (first Spot final!)

6. Brooke Raboutou


Here’s how finals went. All photos from JoAnne. Thanks JoAnne!

Brooke on the 2nd Kaiju hold on the Kilter Women's final.

Brooke wrestling the 2nd Kaiju hold on the Kilter Women’s final.

Brooke came out first and we were worried cause she’s so short but she quickly perched up on the start Teagan Kaiju horn and made her way to the next. The 2nd big move required flipping your right hand and Brooke didn’t flip but she did give a few really solid jumps for the 3rd Kaiju and she almost stuck it. Good effort Brooke!

Lillian giving it her best shot.

Lillian giving it her best shot.

Lillian is a new face in finals for us and she gave a great effort, getting up under the roof before falling off.

Margo staying tight at the end.

Margo staying tight to move off the Kaiju to the Sandstone slots.

Margo looked like she was trying hard but she made good choices and managed to flash the final!

Margo winning.

Margo sizing up the final Kaiju. She stuck it and won!

Since there were still 3 competitors to go everyone was wondering if the final was too easy, but Margo is one of those strong climbers who will come out of the middle of a field and win (she’s done it at SBS before) so I wasn’t too worried.

Stella on the final.

Stella on the final.

Next up was Stella, who is another strong small climber. Stella amazed everybody several times with the crazy moves she was doing to make her way up the Kaiju. I really hope someone got video. I’ll share it if I find it, because at one point both hands came off but she had a heel-toe cam and a foot press and stayed on long enough to recover her hands. The entire crowd was enraptured with her efforts. She made it quite far, falling off the final Kaiju before the crimps. Amazing job Stella!

The last two up, Nina and Megan, are always neck-in-neck for first at SBS comps and came into this final separated by one fall. Nina knew Margo had flashed so she knew she had to flash too and it looked like she got quite pumped trying to figure out the boulder as she was climbing on it. She put a lot of effort into going out the roof upside down, which didn’t work and probably made her very tired.

Nina under the roof.

Nina under the roof.

She finally figured out to go hands first but didn’t have enough gas to finish. Next go she did a bit better but the sandstone crimps at the end proved too much and she fell. Good goes Nina!

Megan Mascarenas setting off through the sea of Kaiju

Megan Mascarenas setting off through the sea of Kaiju

Finally Megan came out. She knew that Margo had flashed so she’d have to flash to maintain her 1st place. She gave a good effort but in the end it took her several goes to figure out the Teagan Kaiju before sending the problem for 2nd place. Good job Meagan! Want to see a video? Megan Mascarenas sending the Kilter Women’s Final at SBS X Parkour Jam.

Women’s Final Results

1. Margo Hayes

2. Megan Mascarenas

3. Nina Williams

4. Stella Noble

5. Lillian Friefeld

6. Brooke Raboutou

~Urban Plastix Logo big

Urban Plastix Men’s Finals

We got a bunch of new UP to compliment our older UP and Jake put together a problem that he said “might be too easy or might be too hard, so probably it’s just right.” He used two of one of our favorite shapes, the Big Font Jug, some brand new Tremors (Tremor 3 and Tremors XL), El FinThe Squeeze Set 2, an Epicenter jug for the undercling finish, and the Beanes ball slopers.

The male finalists were, in order of redpoint qualification:

1. Shawn Raboutou. We all know Shawn, and in this comp Shawn was the only climber to climb O10 for his first ever first-place qualification into finals.

Shawn laid out on the Urban Plastix Men's Open Final.

Shawn laid out on the Urban Plastix Men’s Open Final.


2. Will Anglin is our buddy who moved to Golden Colorado to set and coach at Earth Treks. Will started shaping with Kilter and his Lost Slots were the challenging holds on the Open 3 problem on the Beach (in the pic of Colin Duffy above). Will flashed up to O9 but couldn’t quite do O10, falling repeatedly at the last move and ending up just behind Shawn going into finals.

Will showing off his first hold set, the Lost Slots.

Will showing off his first hold set, the Lost Slots.

3. Remi Arata is strong young climber and a regular at Spot finals and we were glad to see him back.

4. Nicholas Milburn has a history of 2nd places in SBS finals and we always expect great things from him.

5. Andrew Lee is a new face for us. Originally from Anchorage, Andrew now lives in Fort Collins where he runs a huge college climbing team.

6. Derek Anderson is also new for us and all I know about him is that when he got into finals (he was originally in 7th but one of the qualifiers, Tristan Chen, left before finals) all the Earth Treks guys went crazy. I’m assuming he’s a Golden boy then. Will update as I know more.


Men’s final rundown

Shawn at the top.

Shawn at the top.

Derek and Andrew both gave good efforts but had trouble establishing on and moving off the Squeeze pinches.

Nicholas Milburn came out next and did some work, sending the problem 3rd try after falling twice on the cross to the first UP Font hold. Again, some were concerned the final was too easy if the 3rd person to try it sent it, but Nicholas is a strongman and a wildcard and we know he can do well on any final we set.

Remi Arata came out next. I thought there was a good chance Remi would send as well and he gave some solid efforts but couldn’t quite finish the problem, falling near the top on his final go.

Will Anglin looked super strong and after slipping on his first try re-calibrated himself and sent the problem 2nd go in good style.

Shawn knew he’d have to send quickly to keep his first place and he flashed the problem in good style for the win.

I will find pictures of everybody soon when more pics are posted. Til then, here’s a video of Shawn’s flash

Check out Urban Plastix holds here: Urban Plastix


Men’s Final Results

1. Shawn Raboutou

2. Will Anglin

3. Nicholas Milburn

4. Remi Arata

5. Derek Anderson

6. Andrew Lee


Unofficial results for the redpoint round in these links. Please let us know if we got anything wrong by emailing

Parkour Jam Youth Results

Parkour Jam Adult Results


Thanks for coming out. See everyone at Psychedelia next month. Better start on your alien abduction themed costumes!!!

SBSX banner

SBS X – Spot Bouldering Series 10 – Comp 1 is coming!

September 14, 2014 1 comment

SBSX banner

Competition #1 of the 10th season of the Spot Bouldering Series is almost upon us! ABS Sanctioned Parkour Jam will feature all your favorite aspects of Spot comps – food, beer, lemonade, a huge raffle, music, a special event, and 52 new boulder problems (10 for each category: youth, rec, int, advanced, and open) plus 2 open finals where you can watch the top 6 men and women battle it out.

At Parkour Jam the special event is going to be a Parkour contest put on by the professionals at our neighbor Apex Parkour. These guys are some of the best in the world and they’re sure to put on a fantastic show for us. Someone might even get defenestrated.


Thanks to Scott Rennak and our generous partners we’ve got tons of sponsors for the season meaning huge raffles and giveaways. We’ve also got eight hold sponsors who are providing special holds for each comp and will each have one final problem during the season. The finals hold sponsors for Parkour Jam are two of our favorite companies–Urban Plastix and Kilter Grips.

Urban Plastix Logo big

Urban Plastix!!!

Urban Plastix!!!

kilter-grips1 logo



If you’re going to be around (or even if you’re only around for 3 comps) the best deal is to buy the season! It’s only $125 and you get preregistered for all four comps (and we’re gonna have even faster pre-reg lines this year) plus you save $5 over the regular price, and you get a special gift bag with over $100 value worth of stuff and coupons and one of our custom SBSX Alien Abduction shirts designed by local artist Hunter Damiani. You may remember Hunter from the cool art pieces he does at Psychedelia each year, like this one:

Hunter's Skull at Psychedelia SBS 9

Hunter’s Skull at Psychedelia SBS 9

So pre-register for the season (or comp by comp) and learn more about the prizes and sponsors here: SBS X Pre-Reg


Want to earn a free membership?

Finally, we have some volunteer opportunities available in the setting department, so if you’re interested in earning a free membership by helping us out, please email For Parkour Jam we need help Wednesday, Sept 24th, from 10pm to midnight, Thursday Sept 25th all day in 2 hour shifts and again at 10pm – midnight, and Friday September 26th all day in two hour shifts.

That’s it for now. See you at Parkour Jam!

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!

Hold Review – Escape Climbing Holds

July 14, 2014 Leave a comment

Escape Climbing Holds Logo

Escape is a small company out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, that sells custom climbing holds and a small variety of clothing and training and gym accessories. We’d seen a sample hold from them a few years ago and we thought it looked like a copy of a bubble wrap. Then someone accidentally dropped it on the concrete floor and it promptly broke. We weren’t even trying to break it, which is a standard part of our hold reviews, and it broke, so we kinda wrote them off.  We continued not paying much attention to what they offered until this year when a mutual friend reached out to tell us that Escape had grown and changed and asked if we’d be interested in doing a review. After looking over their website it became clear that Escape climbing is serious about becoming a mature hold company and that their small but worthy selection of holds looked quite fun to climb on. We said we’d be happy to do a review, and here’s what we got:

What we got

What we got

From the top left picture you can tell they did a nice job packaging their holds for shipping. They chose a variety of styles to send us. Everything arrived in great shape, and we were very excited to unpack it all and put it up on the Dojo.



Escape is a small operation. The owner and main shaper is Ryan Angelo, and his wife Karen is the other half of the business. Occasionally they have interns or get extra help for big orders, but most of the time it’s a two-pony show. According to their honorable mention on CBJ’s 2014 Grip List, Escape will stay small because Ryan will only produce the best of the best. “My goal is to have a very refined line of holds,” he says. “I won’t ever have a huge selection because I retire/replace sets that I don’t like or don’t receive good reviews from routesetters.” (Read the article: CBJ 2014 Grip List.)

Ryan has stayed true to his statement and perusing their offering we saw more “I’d buy that” than “meh”. They’re still selling the bubble-wrap-like holds, aka Nemesis series, but they’re not really bubbles, instead they’re tiny hexagons, and apparently they’re quite popular and as now texture sharing seems to be much more common we won’t hold it against them. Ryan’s also come up with his own texture–a cool-looking all-over design of different sized octopus suckers he calls Craters. We got a Crater sloper to review.

Close-up of the Crater texture.

Close-up of the Crater texture.


Mix & Molding

Escape pours their own holds. The mix is urethane, similar to what Element produces (vs the Aragon elastomeric or the Habit urethane). All the holds we got were this green color (below) and the color was consistent. We didn’t try hard to break any yet but they did well when we set with them through several cycles on our uneven walls and did not seem brittle at all. So far we haven’t had any polishing issues.

The bigger holds are hollow-backs and they are nicely done and seem stable (photos below).

The dual-tex is more matte than shiny, but it’s a really nice smooth matte that is effective as a dual-tex and looks good.

The logos didn’t bother us at all on any of the holds.

The bolt hole edges aren’t rounded out at all which is ok but makes a sharp mono if you can get a finger in it.

detail on the dual-tex edges with the thumb ball

Detail on the dual-tex edges with the thumb ball. There’s a scrape on this one, but it’s no big deal.


Dot Crimps


Dot Crimps

A nice little set of six flat to slightly incut edges with dual-tex faces and a small textured ball for the thumb.

The Yay

Nice matte dual tex. Feels smooth and looks good.

Handholds are good full pad edges and are comfortable to grab.

Nice hand positions.

Textured ball thumb catches are nice.

Pre-cut set screw hole.

Great little set.


The Nay

Sharp edged bolt holes (but you can’t get your fingers in ’em so no biggie).

Not elastomeric so could crack on an uneven surface. No issues with that so far though at all. I will update if we do break one. Besides that, nothing. We loved these.

Escape Climbing Dot Crimps


XL Chicken Head

Escape climbing XL Chicken Head

Escape Climbing XL Chicken Head

One big stalactite.

The Yay

Really cool looking.

Texture is comfortable sandstone style with nice rounded contours.

Good enough to use on a roof on harder climbs. Would be a good mini-mantle hold on vertical.

Everyone wants to grab it when they look at it so great customer awe value.

Pre-drilled set screw hole.

We want 3 more.

Stalactite on a volume

XL Chicken Head on a volume

The Nay

Too hard to use on the roof on easy or moderate climbs.

Sharp edged bolt hole.

Again, overall pretty solid material though we have had a few edge chips. Not worried about the whole thing cracking though (ala resin) and even some elastomerics have been chipping lately so with good handling shouldn’t be an issue.

XL Chicken Head


XL Crater Sloper

Escape climbing XL Crater 3 Sloper

Unique octopus sucker texture, like collapsed bubbles. You can buy this as a single hold or in a set with four other Crater slopers.

The Yay

Nice brick shape.

Cool looking texture.

Interesting grip positions.

Sometimes your fingers fit right in the dots, which makes this somehow more fun than your normal hold to grab.

The Nay

Some people don’t fit in the suckers very well.

Sticks out from the wall far at the top so you can ham-hock it. That can be a plus or a minus depending on what you’re trying to set.

XL Crater Sloper #3



Overall the holds looked good and were fun to set with and climb on. The material is my only concern, as it isn’t an elastomeric like Kilter/Urban Plastix/E-Grips, but again, our walls are more challenging than most everyone else’s and so far the material has held up fairly well with only a few slight edge chips against it. I will update if that changes.

Escape has clearly transitioned into a professional company worthy of attention from setters and orders from gyms.  Though they are small, all the holds we’ve seen are worth having multiple copies of and Ryan says they are capable of filling big orders. Ryan said a few more things I’d like to share, but read the next part first:



We liked the test holds so much that before we finished reviewing them we ordered more from Escape. We got the Disc Sloper, the Ball Sloper (the dual-tex ones at the top), the Large Ledges, the Crater Mini-Jugs, the Crater Pinches, and two more Crater Slopers.

Escape Holds

Our newest Escape Holds

We actually had more issues with our follow-up order than our hold test order in terms of quality. One of the follow-ups arrived with a chipped edge and the color isn’t consistent across the holds. They’re all red, but some are a lighter or dustier red than the others. Specifically the bottom middle pinch in the picture above is different than the rest, and the little jugs are lighter than the big craters and big slopers.

Edge chip.

Edge chip.

Escape climbing holds red color problem

The color difference. The left pinch is much lighter than the rest.

The Crater jugs are definitely mini-jugs and are good enough for V2 and up on vertical. As soon as you get even a little steep they’re V5+ holds though.

The dual-tex sloper ball is awesome and very challenging. You can rotate it to give more or less textured surface to grab, which is neat because otherwise the hold would be similarly usable no matter how you rotated it. This way you can really dial it in to the difficulty you want. It’d be amazing to set a whole problem with a bunch of them, or the dual-tex balls + the dual-tex dishes.

Escape climbing Dual tex ball

Dual Tex Ball

The dual-tex dish (like the ball but dishy and with two thumb-catch blobs) is really hard to use and match on on less than vertical as it’s pretty hard to hold so you end up hogging it with one hand. Right now ours is on one of the hardest problems on the Hueco.

The thin Crater Pinches are cool and fun to use.

Nice hollow back on a Crater Pinch

Nice hollow back on the bigger Crater Pinch

The large ledges are smaller than I thought they’d be and also thinner (top to bottom-wise) but so far are doing fine.

Nice hollow-back on the Large Ledge.

Nice hollow-back on the Large Ledge.

Finally, the other Crater (octopus sucker) slopers are cool and fun to climb on. Everything in the Crater series looks amazing when it gets chalked up because of the way the chalk sticks to the suckers.



Ledges and Slopers

Dual-Tex Ledges and Slopers.


What Ryan Said

I wrote to Ryan re: the color discrepancy and edge chip. Here is what he said:

Hey Jackie,

Sorry to hear about the chip and color inconsistencies. I alway stand behind my product and warranty things like this (exchange the holds, credit on new order, etc), so just let me know.

Cool. Good warranty. We’ve already got ’em up on the wall though and, as he says below, we do use tape at The Spot so it’s not a huge deal to us.

Gyms that are tapeless and order exact RAL colors I am very careful with. For whatever reason I thought you still used tape at the Spot and I just pulled red holds off the shelf for you…which can be from different red batches (Germany, Japan, USA, custom reds).

Ok, that makes sense. I still feel that any order of any single color from any company should be the same color across the board as even with tape it looks nice to have identically colored holds up on the wall if they’re on the same problem or are the same style. Maybe a further labeling system with Red1, Red2, Red3 would solve this issue so every gym gets a consistent color batch. I’m sure if you specify though he will send identical color sets.

Glad to hear he distributes in German and Japan as well!

In my email I’d asked if he hand mixes each batch, since that was a guess for the color inconsistency. He said:

I have switched to a dispensing machine which allows me to do large batches of single colors. It keeps my color batches consistent and the quality of my holds higher when compared to hand mixing.


Finally, here’s what he had to say about the development of his company:

I started making holds in my garage 8 years ago for fun, and it grew to the point where I quit the local gym and started doing it full time (3 years ago). Its pretty much a 2 person team with my wife Karen and I. However, this summer I have 2 interns helping out, and I also bring in help for the really large orders. We have refined the process quite a bit in the last few years, and Escape is at the point where large commercial gyms can take a more serious look at us.

I agree, from what we’ve seen Escape is ready and able to produce high quality, interesting climbing holds that your setters and customers will enjoy. We’ve been impressed with the Escape we have and will definitely be keeping an eye on them as they come out with more holds in the future.



Escape Climbing Holds Hex Bits

Ryan also included a set of Escape impact hex bits. They are longer than normal hex bits and we were really excited about them for those times when a regular bit is too long to be practical (i.e. can’t reach the bolt cause the bolt-hole is too deep). This long of a bit with a quick-chuck end used to be quite hard to find, and I’m glad to see a climbing company making them easily available. I should say that a longer bit like this takes a bit of getting used to for stripping most holds, so I’ll probably just keep it in a pocket for those times when we really need it. Very cool, thanks Ryan!

Check out Escape’s (very nice) website to see their line and get some of your own!

Setter Profile Update: Ian Powell

July 5, 2014 Leave a comment

Ian sanding a sculpture by Robert Thoren - one of the best

If you’re around the Spot much you probably know Ian Powell. He spends most of his time shaping holds for his company, Kilter Grips, but sometimes he sets a problem or two for us and they’re always interesting and creative. His initials are IP, check out his profile here: Ian Powell Setter Profile

On a side note, we’ve got the full Kilter line 2x over at The Spot and we love setting with them. Click here to check ’em out:

kilter-grips1 logo

Categories: 2014, Kilter, Setters
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