There was always that one kid in class who had the eraser that smelt, and was shaped, like a block of chocolate. No matter how many times you told yourself it wasn’t, all you wanted to do was take a bite, sure that it would taste at least a little bit as delicious as it looked. It never did. It’d taste like crumbly rubber and nothing like chocolate at all. Feeling cheated, you’d tell yourself never again, after every time.
Using Uprising’s previous batch of holds felt much the same. Made from hyperbolictetrapolypropalenepetrochemicalcyanidecandylandithane, they had the consistency of three week old chewing gum; hard, but oddly soft at the same time. Sure this meant that they never shattered when dropped from great heights or tore free of their embedded washers, but whenever I went to climb on them, or use them for setting, I found myself compulsively biting them like a teething two year old who’s found the remote. Nom, nom, etcetera. Don’t laugh, I know you’ve all done the same thing. I’m sure if Uprising used brown colouring and shaped them into rectangles, there would’ve been a spate of people being taken to hospitals because they thought they’d been eating very hard brownies.
Enter Uprising’s NEW BATCH. I used capitals there to make it sound more exciting. They’re resistent to damage and accidental fumbling from on high, just like the last lot, but a whole lot firmer, so they won’t bend when pulled on. They can also stop bullets, resist UV if they’re outside, and make a nice colourful addition to any mantelpiece or antiques cabinet. And like the last ones, these new entrants into the range are bright, beautiful to hold, and hollow, making light work for setting, which is a thankless, elbow-wrecking task at the best of times.
In particular I’ve lately been thrashing this new three-hold ‘Rotund’ set:
They’re nice and rounded and fit perfectly into the hand like a good muffin, or a granny smith, with no unnecessary crimping on the tops like other, less ergonomic slopers. You all know the ones; big heavy lumps of resin that twang pullies because you’ve spent way too much time crimping the damn things. My particular fave Rotund is the one shaped like a loaf of ciabatta, or sourdough, or a rugby ball. Slant it horizontal for downwards gripping, or on its end to make a mean pinch. The bevelled dimples make good thumbcatches, or not, as you prefer. I immediately shipped these straight onto a 45, where they make perfect catching holds for dynos and big moves that make me look super-badass. The other two are more circular, and generously incut, making them good on every angle barring roof. Scratch that. Probably they’d be awesome on a roof, now that I think about it. They’re good honest thuggy crowd-pleasing shapes. Bright colours mean they won’t get lost even in the dankest, murkiest of home woodies, or that one annoyingly dark corner that every local climbing gym has. The one downside, I would have to say, is that there aren’t enough of these shapes to go around. A complement of a good round dozen different slopers to flesh out the line would be neat. Hint. Hint. And so forth.
The reason why I’ve waited so long before reviewing these fatty round bad-boys is because I wanted to see how they’d stand up to the abusive traffic of a thousand greasy graspers, and the torture of their poor footwork. I’m talking about the type of climber who hasn’t quite learned what those flapping things on the ends of their legs are for yet. On a home woodie polishing isn’t really a problem, but if you’re using them in a gym or setting with them, holds can quickly turn from tacky slopey nuggets of sickness, to slurpy balls of congealed baby oil. And nobody, not even actual babies, likes congealed baby oil. No hold can withstand the punishment dished out by a commercial gym. That’s a simple Fact. In fact, it’s a Fact with a capital fuh, even. And really, that’s what gyms are all about, after all; dank, seedy, cold hovels full of shifty, pale-eyed apes speaking in monosyllable grunts and slipping off glassy holds. Right? Right? Where am I going with that? Not sure. Polish, yes that’s right. This new Uprising batch puts up a good fight against it, and once it sets in, their holding surfaces are so generous they often stay usable long after you can see your reflection in them. And although we climbers like to make sure we look nice, we’d rather some texture thanks very much. The smaller footers, maybe, will become nasty and gooey, but like the death of a star, or the downfall of Justin Bieber, it’s inevitable. Poor metaphors aside, these holds are perfect for both commercial traffic because they’re bright and round and simple, and the grunter in his/her training cave because they’re all of the above, as well as grippy and friendly on those all-important digits. More please.
Now, where’s that eraser gone?