Crazy times… Good times, but lots of plates spinning. Unfortunately that has meant less writing. And this post especially is long overdue. I hope that you’ll find that good things do come to those that wait.
A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to review some holds from Red Point Holds. I wrote from a home wall owner’s perspective. Well, I’ve gotten another shot at some new holds from a new hold company, Meuse Climbing Holds. And again the premise of my review is that the holds that are “best” for a homewall are often different from the needs and wants of a Commercial Gym.
I received a box on my doorstep from owner Brian Meuse, and needless to say, I didn’t wait long to open it and get my hands on them. And that is exactly what I did. Yes, I was interested in the shapes, as Brian mentioned that he prides himself on the uniqueness of his shapes. But we’ll get to shapes a little later. I began my exploration by checking out the texture of the holds. Texture is a delicate balance for both gyms and homewalls alike. If they are too slick, they won’t get used, but if they are too rough, they can wear down the skin too much. This is especially important as a homewall is a training device, like a treadmill is for runners. So where do Meuse Holds fall on a texture spectrum. I’d say that Meuse Holds and Redpoint Holds are very similar in texture. It really is a comfortable texture. In the couple months I’ve climbed on them, they have really held up well. In the mix were a few technical foot holds. These will prove to be the real durability test, as on my homewall, footholds are by far integrated into the most routes. So far, so good.
I then started checking out the shapes, and something jumped out at me as positively unique. Several of the holds were hollow-backed. No big deal normally, but these were not oversized holds. These were some of the smallest hollow-backs I’ve ever come across. Super light but still solid, both hand wrenched and impact driven.
There were a lot of different shapes to be investigated. A few of them could definitely be identified as sets. And as Brian alluded, there were some quite unique shapes in the box. Some of those unique features really worked and only a couple didn’t suit my preferences. Since there were so many holds and varieties to pick from let’s touch on three categories: the sets, the ‘not-for-me’ holds, and the top picks.
Right off the bat, I noticed the 3 similar crimps/mini-jugs called Rolls. They have a good radius and the subtle ridges feel solid when gripped. They are low-profile and have a small footprint, so they don’t take up a ton of valuable real estate. They also are great as footholds as they require precise placement.
I also got to grab onto 2/5 of the Cakes jugs; nice, comfortable, deep jugs with ‘eroded’ pockets to dig in with the thumb. I really liked these, and for a different reason. I liked that if they were oriented as a sidepull or undercling, those ‘erosions’ made for very precise foot targets. One thing I look for particularly in climbing holds is for a way to make it so that handhold you just used doesn’t end up a GIGANTIC ledge to stand on as you progress upward.
And lets not forget 3/5 of the Perch set. These are a set of flat edges with clean rounded edges. Solid standard holds with friendly surfaces.
I actually really liked most of this hold, the Moldy Loaf. But the side pictured here is designed to mimic real rock. There is a lip near the wall edge that is not wide enough for fingers to crimp inside, so when it is grabbed, the lip just digs into my finger-tips. Although, I’ll be the first to admit that there may be some application of this feature that I’m not thinking of.
And then there were two holds that were just plain painful. The shapes, Twister and Newt, look really cool and definitely unique. But the ridges felt like this:
Truly, those were the only shapes/concepts that I didn’t care for. There were many holds that were great… but now I want to share the holds I consider…
My Top Picks:
Wrapping things up:
Meuse Climbing Holds are high quality. In almost all cases, they expertly blend form and function. Creative uses of their holds are only limited by the mind of the setter.
And I leave you with this bit of amusement… a video of a “Yellow” route I set on my 45* wall in the garage… and then me climbing it. If you look close, you’ll see our friends Moldy Loaf, Grenada, Chisle, Fang, and Lox.
~ Climb 4 Real ~
It was nice outside all during the work week… and then it rained on Saturday. I had made plans for Saturday with several climbing friends three whole weeks in advance. But worry not, our plans were not foiled by the rain.
Backstory: I met a group of climbers at the climbing wall of our local YMCA. It’s no climbing gym, but is is well kept, and the Wednesday Night Adult Climb attracts a loyal crew of great climbers and above all great people. I got to know them just a bit this winter as I would utilize the wall for some of my endurance workouts. Many times the the topic of my Homewall would come up. And many times we discussed that we should all get together and climb at my house. So we made it happen.
As often is the case for climbers in the ‘Real World’, lining up schedules is often a challenge. I often have a hard enough time lining up schedules with just my wife and two sons. So to arrange for several families, we had to start early. Three weeks in advance. When we approached the 1-week mark, I was pleasantly surprised how many RSVP’d to attend.
I did tell them that I would grill for them. They all brought snacks, I fired up the grill and charred some meat product and we all had a great time. Even though it was cloudy and rainy most of the day.
The morals of the story are:
(1) Plan Ahead… WAY Ahead!!!
(2) Good people = Good times!!!
(3) Climbing is a very social activity and we feed off of the energy of those we climb with.
~ Climb 4 Real ~
So the story goes like this: I was in our local skate shop picking up an addition for my Garage Climbing Wall. … Wait a sec, I was where??? Yes, you read correctly. My latest upgrade to the garage wall was found at a Skate Shop. I went there on a mission for a roll of … Grip Tape. Let me show you the reason behind the madness.
I took the roll home and I rolled it out. It comes 9″ wide and pretty much any length you want. I asked for 8 ft., but upon measuring I found I got 7 ft. I am totally cool with this since the employee was giving me a deal anyway and making sure it landed on exactly $25 to fit my gift card.
I marked it on the back in 3″ increments. And then I cut it. All the way down the length, three strips at 3″ wide. Scissors worked better than a razor blade but I’m positive they are less sharp now than before I began.
My next step was adhering the strips to the aretes of the wall. So far I have strips up on both sides of the 45* wall and a little bit in an odd crease between my 23* and transition walls (one more to go on my far right 23* arete). They work great for bumping up the arete and liebacking. Adding just enough texture without ripping the skin.
And that is my Sneaky Skate Shop Solution. What unusual climbing solutions have you come up with???
~ Climb 4 Real ~
These videos are long overdue. I did attempt to smash them together and have some crisp cuts and background music (other than my breathing), but the converting from Flip Video was not being very cooperative.
To remember the specifics about my review of Red Point Climbing Holds from a homewall owners perspective, Click HERE
This first video features the Commudum Pinches (used as crimps), the Cthulu Tufa, and the Diffraction (hidden behind arete).
This second video features the Commudum Pinches (again as crimps) and then how they are good as slopey footholds when tracking.
This third video features the Cthulu Tufa and a pretty intense spinner test. I do believe these come with set screw holes now, but mine did not and I was certain it would spin. The grey wall on the left is painted with NicroTex paint and the straight on wall is pure plywood. I was pretty impressed.
Check these all out, and more at www.redpointholds.com
~ Climb 4 Real ~
I was going to jump right in and share a bit of my climbing background … and I will … later. But today I would like to share my #1 favorite tool for the climber with a busy schedule. Of course this is my opinion, but I am absolutely fascinated with the HomeWall.
I am currently living in home #3 of my ‘adult’ life. Which means I am also on homewall #3. My first homewall was a freestanding A-frame in my basement den. With spatial limitations, this wall was small. But it accomplished what it was intended to do, and that is … to inspire and teach me for future renditions. Secondarily, I did gain good finger strength, but very little footwork and movement technique was allowed. Whilst training on this, we were in the process of planning and executing a move. Of course, the option and scope of a homewall in our next abode was one key factor in our decision making.
Home #2 ended up being a townhome with an average sized garage. I got 3 good years out of this wall, constantly adding little tweaks. The main sections were 15* & 30* overhanging. My favorite angle has by far been the 30*. It’s steep enough to set powerful moves at the same time as fingery/technical moves. I built the vert section for my son. He was 2 years old at the time and quickly progressed to the 15* overhang.
2012 brought another move, of course, bigger and better. Home #3 came with a bigger garage with a higher ceiling. I knew I wanted a 45* section. Based on available space, and all while still allowing 2 vehicles to park inside, I did my most extensive planning yet. I busted out the trigonometry archives and calculated every major cut down to the 1/8th inch. I love it. I even ended up adding an extension to a 4’x4′ section to add vertical height. The left section is 45*, then a 28*, a 17* transition, and a 23* on the right.
I will concede ahead of time that a homewall will never replace or bypass the vast benefits of a commercial or co-op climbing gym. My main complaint to this day is the boredom that so easily sets in while climbing alone. But for those of us where carving out the time to get to the gym is a challenge, this may just be the next best thing. Put the kids to bed and vio’la. Other challenges include: heating it in the winter, having/storing enough padding, AND my current dilemma … keeping the garage dry when Minnesota weather dumps 14″ of snow on you.
I would love to read your comments. Do you have your own Homewall? What do you do to make it fun? Would you like to hire me to design/plan your homewall project? 😉
~ Climb 4 Real ~