This week I will review two very basic looking positive crimps, one shaped very well and the other not so well.
First up for our Best Hold of the Week we have this black, well aged, E-Grips Comfy Crimp. The E-Grips line of Comfy Crimps is an old school classic that is still very much in production and is essential to any overhung wall. Throughout E-Grips' history, I, personally, am aware of three generations of texture: Old Exfoliating, Old Glass, and Modern. Between the Glass and Exfoliating textures I am not actually sure which is older, the Exfoliating generation is however much more common in CATS compared to the Glass generation. The Comfy Crimp that is featured here is a member of my favorite generation of the three; the mythical glass generation. Having a hard glassy surface has a number of advantages. Because the surface of the hold is not very porous it does not get shoe rubber or chalk embedded in it, the hold can get chalk stuck onto the surface, but with a proper brushing it is as good as new. I will not restate all of my texture points made in the previous post, but it is also great to be able to pull hard on these holds for hours and days without any wear to your skin. I am not even entirely sure why holds are not this texture now, perhaps they chip easier.
Now onto the shape. Once again I apologize for not having posted a Grip A and Grip B blog post yet. For now just know Grip A is full closed and Grip B is what is pictured to the left. It is very easy to shape a hold which feels fine for a full closed crimp, it takes much more subtlety to shape a good Grip B. But this crimp does a great job. Sometimes Grip B works well simply because there is enough texture for the skin to grip the bottom of the hold well. But it is much cooler and more motivating if there is actually micro-features that you are pinching. Micro-features here are quite crucial as mentioned earlier this hold has very little texture. So the subtle little divots in the hold actually play an important feature in making the hold a pinchable edge. The simplest reason though perhaps that I like this hold is simply the way the actual grab of the hold is shaped. This may be somewhat subjective, but I really love gently rounded incuts. I am known for loving razors and such but really my favorite holds are rounded edges with a very small incut in the back. In the case of this hold the incut is quite large, but it is the same idea. These holds allow you to hit the edge with quite a lot of speed without hurting your fingers, there is no edge to catch on your pad, there is no texture to grate your skin. In addition the sides of the hold are in effect "open" which make the hold much more versatile as a side-pull of gaston, I will discuss how some holds fail to take this into account shortly within this post. In summary this is very positive friendly hold that is great on the steep and can be used anywhere from V4 to V11 or to VGodKnowsWhat if turned aggressively enough.
Now we move onto the worst hold of the week. An overly lippy, close sided, oddly lengthed crimp. First I will address a very obvious issue when you grab it. It is not really 4 fingers but feels odd to use 3. Because this hold was for some reason designed like a watering trough, if you put only 3 fingers in, your fingers sort of slosh around in the hold, there is not something in the back where you can bite into to hold your fingers in place. On the previous hold, if you decide to crimp for 3 fingers for the hell of it, you are fine as you can crimp down into the back of the hold. But this hold is designed completely differently. Like I just said, seriously this crimp is like a watering trough, there is a flat surface on the inside and a big lip surrounding it. You can technically fit 4 fingers in the hold, but it is not comfortable as your fingers start to want to break free of the stupid cramped urethane walls imprisoning them. If the hold was not close sided it can sometimes be ok to scrunch 4 fingers on a small hold as the pinkie may just barely wrap around the side of the hold or something along those lines, but with this design that is not possible. There are even more problems with this close sided design. It makes this hold extra uncomfortable if used as a gaston or side pull. This is because, lets say the hold is turned 55 degrees clock wise and is intended to be a left hand gaston, what ends up happening is that your pointer finger will be smooshed down onto the side lip that this hold has. So you will actually be pulling down onto the side of your finger, the same thing happens as a sidepull except with your pinkie. This is dumb for a few reasons. First this is very uncomfortable on your fingers. Secondly, thank God, there are not too many problems with down pulling slot crimps. This is what that type of pulling is replicating. I am not saying they are not out there, my first V9 revolved around a downpulling vertical slot/seam. But let me tell you they suck, massive blood blister on the side of my left ring finger for the exact reason I was discussing above; you are pulling down onto the side of your finger. Even for use as a foothold this closed design is useless and inferior. When the hold is rotated you either have to turn your foot oddly to toe into the good part of just edge on the stupid lip. I am not saying having bad feet is bad but I rather it be an actual bad foot not this weird standing on the side of a lip business. So we have now established that these holds are quite poor for sidepulls or gastons. But is it good for downpulling if you have either really small or really fat fingers? The answer still, impressively, is no.
Here is a slightly out of focus shot of the hold with my fingers on/in it. The pointer is dropped for a better view. It would be better if I had more photographs but I was having trouble shooting this hold. But one of the problems you should be able to see here. When you are established and pulling on the hold there is excessive contact from the lip of the hold onto random parts of your finger. I say random because where the lip is contacting your finger is not where you want to or can really pull from. This makes pulling on the hold actually quite painful as much of your weight hits low on your finger near your crease. An additional problem with using this hold even in a down pulling position is when you think about hitting the hold at speed. Basically you painfully catch that stupid huge lip on the crease of your finger. This causes not only stupid pain, but also potentially injury related pain as you can actually bruise your tendon/pulley, at least in my experience.
In summary big lips cause comfort problems, potentially will lead to more injuries and suck even harder if it is a huge closed lip. Rounded glass textured incuts are very versatile and can be trained on quite easily for a variety of moves and difficulties.
I will not post a Hold of the Week this coming week, but I will make a Blog post.