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Climbing Holds?

Original Post
Dave Alie · · Golden, CO · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 70

Hey Everyone,

Quick gear question I couldn't find in the old threads: I'm building a home wall for the first time and looking for more holds. Prices on holds vary wildly online (from about $1/hold to $8/hold, etc) and I was wondering if there is such a thing as a shitty climbing hold, or is hold (and material) quality more or less the same and all I have to worry about is the shape and size?

Related question: anyone in the Denver area looking to get rid of some old, unused climbing holds?


Andy Librande · · Denver, CO · Joined Nov 2005 · Points: 1,865

yes there is such a thing as a shitty climbing hold and unfortunately price usually doesn't always help determine quality.

Holds from different companies vary quite a bit in terms of texture, material, and design and a lot comes down to each specific set of holds and what works with your wall.

When you start you should keep the holds pretty basic and not go all crazy yet. The standard sets from Metolious, Atomix, and others are safe bets and if you watch these forums long enough usually people are selling those holds used. Wilderness Exchange in Denver sometimes has decent deals on starter holds as well, but they are pretty inconsistent. Also the nice thing with buying used holds is that they clean up pretty easily with some hot water, soap, and a brush so buying used is a great way to start.

More importantly it all comes done to wall angle and shape. I started with a wall at 30 degrees and built up my collection around that angle over a few years. Then I added a big ass roof and it took me awhile to fill in with the proper holds for that incline.

This website also does a great job of reviewing holds: climbingholdreview.blogspot…

Monomaniac · · Morrison, CO · Joined Oct 2006 · Points: 17,425

I agree with Andy, there is a difference. However, you really only need good holds for your hands, and since you should be making ~3 foot movements for every hand movement, you need a lot more footholds. Go cheap on the footholds. You can get bolt-on footholds for ~$1 each, and they are fine, but I almost never change the location of a foothold, so if I were doing it again I would get screw-on jibs.

For hand-holds, its worth paying extra for smaller holds like crimps & pockets. IMO, E-grips are the best, and you can get great holds for ~$5 each. For jugs, i think the hold quality matters less, and IMO the best combination of cheap & good is Atomik. Pinches & slopers are tricky because hold friction is a lot more important. I suggest you shop around for texture that suits your climate and taste. Atomik has some good pinch & sloper shapes, but I would prefer more texture. They are a great place to start if $ is the key consideration.

IMO Metolius holds are over-priced. You can find much better valule elsewhere. Their jibs are a good value though.

Rschap · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 415

I agree but disagree on the foot holds. We break foot holds all the time at my gym and it's always the cheep crappy ones that break.

Aaron Lowry · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 0

I've got a bunch of smaller screw on holds for sale if you're interested. I bought them from a smaller local company here in Utah and don't remember the name, but never had a problem with the holds. I'll ship them for free if you're interested in them. They have been used, but very mildly.…

Climbingholdreview · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 0

@ Andy Librande, thanks for the props on Climbing Hold Review. We've been working long and hard to get to where we are and we always strive to do better. If there's anything that we're missing drop me a line and let me know what it is that we can do to improve ( we're always open to suggestions

@Dave Alie
Dave, there is such a thing as a crap hold, they are out there... what you really want to start with is going to your local gym and seeing what you like and then buying from there. Starter sets are a good way of starting (Metolius / So Ill / Atomik / Rock Candy the list go's on) it comes down to what you're building and what angles / training specifics you're looking for. I can suggest holds, or you can just search on my site (top right hand corner) and you can go by company / shape or size

Don't overlook people like Uncarved Block in Australia they have cheap shipping or Atomik which I believe runs free shipping on the lower 50 states (check this thou)

It depends upon your budget. We asked a bunch of climbing co's what they'd send out for a certain price / certain wall. It was called the $200 question (i'm going to run it again soon I think so it gets updated) here are what some people said:
Metolius / Rock Candy & Halo: climbingholdreview.blogspot… (ignore Halo they went ass up)
E-Grips: climbingholdreview.blogspot…
Revolution: climbingholdreview.blogspot…
So Ill: climbingholdreview.blogspot…
Climb It: climbingholdreview.blogspot…
Project Holds: climbingholdreview.blogspot…
Contact Holds: climbingholdreview.blogspot…
Hope that helps boss, mail me or reply here and I'll get on to a reply for you (BTW: we just built a new wall, that might help you building yours)

You never change your footholds? Really? I change mine every two months (even if I don't change the problem) as it adds and extra challenge to climbing. Once you know where the good feet are on the wall you'll use them more often. Change up your footholds and it'll make the wall feel like new!

Climbingholdreview · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 0

A while back we ran something we called the $200 question.
We asked a bunch of companys what they'd send out to someone that didn't know their brand or their shapes

After reading (and replying) on this forum we're running it again
The first time was in Feb 2008 (check the archives and you can see the original answers), well it seems as there are more shapes out there that it makes sense to do it again

I mailed the questions out yesterday and my inbox has been going crazy with the replies. Hopefully I'll have the full results posted sometime next week on CHR

Woodchuck ATC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 3,110

Agree Climbing Hold Review site is the leader as a 'clearing house' of holds available. Just skip the foreign ones, as the shipping is terribly expensive and lengthy. Atomik is one of the best for price and quality. Some newer ones I've seen on CHR in the last year and purchased are Element, Escape and Atxarte holds. Agree that Metolius are soo overpriced and over rated. Boring gray color for most too. Don't forget to go to ebay for some cheaper generic off-brand foot holds to fill in the parts of the wall as needed.

Andy Librande · · Denver, CO · Joined Nov 2005 · Points: 1,865

Just want to clarify that Metolius holds are really only good when you find deals on them as a ton of people are always selling them used. Recently I bought a bunch used at a local gearswap and got some pretty large holds for $1-3 each which was nice but I would never buy Metolius at retail price.

Also thanks for showing up Climbing Hold Review, I have found your site to be invaluable to making hold purchases and I hope those manufacturers are hooking you up.

Purchased some Climb IT XL Font Jugs based on your videos for my Roof and they are awesome for near-vertical climbing: climbingholdreview.blogspot…

And some DRCC Slots which are easily the highest quality holds I have ever touched (not to mentioned they did a custom dye job just for the fun of it): climbingholdreview.blogspot…

For everyone else's benefit here is a list of some of the major climbing hold companies that I have just to show the insane assortment/options out there:… (European)

Woodchuck ATC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 3,110

Many more nice looking holds by Euro and New Zealand companies at climbingholdreview too, but doubt it is worth the shipping to the US. Climb-IT is definately the best for giant holds of spectacular size, shape and price. Go for it if you need a feature sized item.

Climbingholdreview · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 0

If you look at Uncarved Block (from the land down under) they have airmail which is $ and they used to run via ship which was either cheap or free!!

When it comes to European holds it is expensive, look at loosing at least half your budget on shipping :( But in the long run they're well worth it.

On the left on CHR are the European companys, on the right US and Oz / New Zealand. We have pretty much everyone that is making holds. Excepy a few that I'm contacting now

James Arnold · · Chattanooga · Joined Dec 2008 · Points: 55

I tend to agree with having the worst holds possible for the feet, unchanged as is your wont. The best wall I ever trained on was short and traversy, the biggest footholds profile was no larger than this text. It really emulated outdoor climbing. He glued on chips iirc. Your feet actually could hurt from pressing so hard. It was just like nasty overhanging granite, ...I'll call him sometime and ask him if he remembers the specifics.

I've made wooden holds (old bannisters and rails are sick) and mad bondo/sand "blobs" that were decent...if you are crafty and use some creativity you can keep a pretty low budget.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,365

Our gym is full on clay holds made in house, (See the FaceBook page below).

Not the cheapest option but many say the best!!/gr…

Woodchuck ATC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 3,110

A few of the old hold companies, now long gone from late 80's and early 90's had some fantastic tiny chips and crimps that really have never been duplicated. Great for tiny foot moves or rippin' finger stuff. U.S.Sportstone(made of ground granite and recycled plastic) and Krimpers were two I remember. Some of these 20 yr old holds are still on my home wall. As for total eye pleasure, nothing was as much a real piece of artwork as the original set of CARP holds. Most were made of resins and bullet hard surfaces back then.

Climbingholdreview · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 0

hey, I mentioned this before... because of this discussion I ran the $200 question to pretty much every company on the planet, some answered, some didn't…

The document is on climbing hold review here: climbingholdreview.blogspot…

You can download it, it's 56 pages long and had us up for a long time to get done

Thanks to Dave Alie for starting the discussion and making me think of running this again

kachoong · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 180
Climbingholdreview wrote:hey, I mentioned this before... because of this discussion I ran the $200 question to pretty much every company on the planet, some answered, some didn't… The document is on climbing hold review here: climbingholdreview.blogspot… You can download it, it's 56 pages long and had us up for a long time to get done Thanks to Dave Alie for starting the discussion and making me think of running this again
Interesting write-up! Your table at the end is quite helpful and it seems you were quite thorough with your inquest. Unlike some of the responses.

Your info kind of parallels something I did about 8 months ago as a new customer in the home wall world. I'm in the middle of making a home wall and at the time I was interested in the monthly hold clubs as a possible (and interesting) way of increasing how many holds I have with time.

I emailed quite a few companies with the help of your website (to find out who was out there). I also asked the companies if it was possible to get a sample, stipulating that I didn't mind paying shipping. I did infact receive samples from Element, Rock Candy, Climb-It and So-Ill (the latter of which were VERY generous in what they gave me for the price of a "sample" pack)...

The follwing list is the information I received at the time as far as their monthly hold "subscriptions" (and could be something you could tabulate on your website):

-Element: "Periodic Table" choice between two new sets with a third "combined" set, 12 month minimum, incl shipping and hardware, $40, $60, $80

-So ill: "Sick Kit" new sets, 12 month minimum, incl shipping and hardware, $39

-Climb-It: good variation of hold sizes each month, 12 months minimum, incl shipping and hardware, $45

-Rock Candy: new designs, can exchange if not happy, value + 25-50%, 12 month minimum, incl hardware and shipping, $39

-E-Grips: "First Dibs" new designs, size varies through year, can exchange if not happy, 12 month minimum, incl shipping (hardware?), $40

-Project: "Monthly Fix" three subscription levels $39, $59, $99, can switch subscription levels or put on hold, includes hardware (shipping?)

-ThreeBall: no contract, value +20%, good variation through year, tailored, incl hardware and shipping, three levels $50, $75, $100, $200

-Contact: [your article says they don't anymore] new designs, tailored to your wall angle, good variation through year, semi-annual or annual sign-up bonus holds, no contract if monthly, incl shipping (hardware?), $45 (quarterly also available)

-Atomik: choice w/w'out hardware, choice of color shades, tailor to angle of your wall, value + 20%, incl shipping + hardware, three subscription levels $50, $75, $100

-Asana: new designs, shipping?, hardware?, $35 (6 months), $30 (12 months)

-Nicros: "Get-A-Grip" free t-shirt on sign up, 12 month minimum, new designs, hold sets pre-determined for the year, variation through year, shipping $6-$12 each month, hardware?, $50 and at 20% discount of normal pricing.

-DRCC: "Gang Membership" featured "center" holds each month, include shipping, hardware ?, 12 month minimum, three subscription levels - $40, $75, $140

Since last year, and from the levels of positive feedback I have received from certain companies I've purchased sets from those I felt were worthy of my money (part of my decision was based on the choices from their collection that I thought looked decent)... for me it was Element, So-Ill, Rock Candy and Contact, with the interest in also purchasing from Climb-It.

After reading your article I'd be happy to also consider E-Grips, DRCC and Escape.

To me, the most important factor when buying something... ANYWHERE... is customer service!
Mark Kauz · · Madison, WI · Joined May 2009 · Points: 65

I agree with Rhoads. Check out NU Climbing. The holds are fantastic. They keep grip in a way that plastic can't even come close to. The closest thing you'll get to climbing outside while being inside.

Climbingholdreview · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 0

We're waiting on NU to send on over some stuff for review, it's always nice to see a new company pop up on the radar.

I'll look at what you have and see if it's still pretty current
Without sounding all bias and stuff, I rep DRCC in Canada, I also have great relations with Element... they're both super stable co's that aren't that big and have just amazing customer service. I'd not work with them otherwise on promoting their brands and generally working my ass off for no pay :)

In my doc is the contact details for Chris Danielson from e-Grips, if you have any questions he's THE MAN to ask, he's a great routesetter and works very hard for e-Grips. There's not much he doesn't know about indoor climbing!

I'd be interested in hearing peoples good and bads on climbing hold companies as I try to make a difference by passing the information on... sometimes it helps to vent a little as well :D

I hope that the info that we put together is of some help. IF there's anything you'd like to see us look at on the site, just drop me a mail: or just reply here and we'll see if we can make it happen


Woodchuck ATC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 3,110
Willa wrote:Check out Detroit. I've been able to try almost all of their shapes and they are amazing! Great texture, creative shapes, fun to climb on.
Great holds, yes. But quite pricy for a low budget wall builder.

Shop around at Climbing hold review for the very best stuff. Slow delivery from some smaller hold companies has been my biggest beef. Some don't pour the holds until you order, thus are weeks behind on shipping.
Climbingholdreview · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 0

@Woodchuck ATC
The reason some people pour to order is because there's really not that much $ to be made in holds, plus storage of say someone like Climb It's holds is going to be completely mental. Can you imagine having multiple versions of 600+ holds?

So that's what makes slow ship times, although, if the company isn't back ordered then they should be able to get the holds in the post within 3 days.

I shipped an order in 2hrs the other day

Woodchuck ATC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 3,110

I have had companies right on the phone tell me they 'have it in stock', then they wait over 2 weeks before it is even shipped out. Some were over a month, for a small (<20 holds) order. Live and learn, and I've thinned out my listings of who I order from since then.

Does NU holds have a webpage ? The climbingholdreview link only sends me to a facebook' sign in,thus I can't see whatever they've posted up;... me being old I have no use in life for 'my-face' kind of memberships.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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