At the start of the training season I received a box of holds from a company I must confess I had never heard of - Planet Holds.
I opened the box, quickly flicked through the holds and thought - oooh, what lovely bright colours, and then I sent the box off to the training board near to Llanberis and forgot about it.
I wasn't training at that time as I was injured, so I didn't climb on the holds for a while, but bumping in to various (very strong) board users they were all full of compliments:
Pete Robins said: "Really good holds those new ones you got Jack, really good."
I saw Chris Doyle at Parisella's cave and he said: "Those new holds at the Mill are good. You should give them a good review".
I would, I thought, if I could bloody climb on them! A few months passed and my finger got better and I managed to do a few sessions on the board. But still didn't feel as if I'd tested them enough to give them a proper review.
I was partying with Dave Noden and he said: "They're pretty good those new holds." And Dave sets boulder problems for a living, so I guess he knows.
I thought - bloody hell, they must be good - everyone keeps telling me how good they are!
Slightly frustrated at my lack of reviewing ability due to injury and at constantly being told how good these holds are I said: "Right - well exactly what's good about them then!" I thought - if I can't review them myself, I'll get some info out of Dave!
"Well, mainly the shapes" said Dave. "They're really good for training. Really good and friendly shapes for hard board training. They're not tweaky and not too sharp, but small enough to really pull hard on."
"What about the texture?" I asked.
"That's good too, not too rough, in fact they're really good all round. The ones we've got wouldn't be perhaps great for easy routes on steep climbing walls, as the shapes are small, but they are perfect for what we want".
I dragged myself back to the wall and started cranking again, testing the friction and the shapes and I had to agree with the rest of the team, they were good.
The holds in general are very basic in shape, no bumpy lumpy weird bits that look cool but are funny to train on. The build quality of the holds was very high, no irregularities or mis-shapen holds, and none of the holds, even the small holds broke when being set.
I can't comment on how the texture of the holds will last, as our board doesn't have anything like the volume of traffic that somewhere like the Climbing Works in Sheffield would have, but I spoke to Graeme Alderson from the Works and he said that the texture lasts a long time on virtually all holds at the Works now due to the washing of the holds with grip wash.
Graeme had seen the Planet Holds shapes and liked them, although they didn't have any at the Works. "We saw the holds and thought they looked good. Some of the shapes were similar to the angular Revolution holds that we have here, and these are holds we really like, so that's a good thing". Graeme told me.
Over all, although I haven't busted too many moves on the holds myself, I and the rest of the training team at our board have found these to be amongst the best holds we have used.
So, in the words of Chris Doyle "I'll give them a good review".
Not an issue for a domestic buyer, but for a huge wall there might not be enough different shapes as Planet Holds don't have the biggest range of holds out there.
- Price: Sets of holds range from around £16 to £50 and there is the option of buying a large collection at a bulk discount.
Full details here: Planet Holds
Superbly designed simple holds, with some great shapes ideal for training. Averagely priced. A strong recommendation from the North Wales climbers.