Friday, April 1, 2016

Capital Climbing Conglomerates Review

Capital Climbing is relatively new to the hold scene, but the owner/shaper Chris Neal’s work doesn’t reflect that.  Take a gander at his entire line (distributed by Habit Climbing) and you’ll see original, artistic shapes with no “filler” to speak of.  This kid is talented – no doubt about it.  That said, when I was looking at his line, the Conglomerates were the ones I was least excited about.  Turns out those were the ones he chose to have us review - 31 holds total: (10) Small Crimps, (5) Medium Crimps, (10) Small Incuts, (3) 3XL Jugs, Feature 1Feature 2, and Colossal 1.   Out of the box, they looked a lot cooler than they do online and we were very eager to get them on the wall.  The whole line seems like an attempt to replicate the iron flake/plate holds, much like those you’d see in sandstone areas like The Red.  They look and feel very realistic.  Anyone who has climbed on this sort of hold outdoors knows that they aren’t always comfortable, and that’s certainly part of the realism with these holds.  The Small and Mediums definitely reward accuracy & controlled movement, and punish slop.  The larger stuff is considerably more comfortable, but we certainly didn’t want to set any dynos…

The Small & Medium Crimps are all roughly single pad edges with no incut/slope to speak of.  They all feature irregular edge angles, which require precise & controlled movement, and will keep climbers guessing.  All the Mediums are matchable in some capacity, and you could potentially work out some technical matches on some of the Smalls as well.  We set only one of them (the most positive Medium) on the 50 degree wall without a volume as an intermediate between Incuts.  You’re looking at no easier than 5.10 on vert, V3 and up on 30 degrees, and what I can guess would be no easier than V8 on anything steeper than 45.  
The Small Incuts range from finger buckets to single pad incuts, and are definitely best suited for steep terrain, where all of them could be reasonably used in any orientation.  As you’d expect, the steeper the wall, the fewer comfort issues you’ll have.  Expect to set no easier than V4 on a 50 degree wall.  This set would be excellent for harder problems in a roof as well.
Large Crimps
Small Crimps
Small Incuts
The 3XLs, Feature and Colossal are the shit.  They are absolutely gorgeous and represent real rock so well.  They scream to be set on steep terrain, and had me wishing we had a roof.  They are delightfully versatile, and allow for some really creative moves – toe/heel hooking, hand foot matches, knee bars, bat hangs, leading with your feet...  The possibilities are endless.  You could literally throw a line of them up in random orientation, and have a fun thought provoking sequence.  They all feature well executed hollow backs, though given how shallow the holds are, they are still pretty heavy.  The Colossal is a space hog, and while it looks really cool, it really doesn’t have to be so big.  It could be considerably lighter, and less prone to chipping if the footprint were reduced.  The 3XLs and Feature could probably be considered for use on a larger homewall though. 

3XL Jug
3XL Jug
Hollowback on Colossal 1 
All of the holds have a countersunk set screw dimple(s), but we really wish they were predrilled.  All of the holds taper out super thin at the edges and are definitely prone to chipping (we chipped a particularly vulnerable spot off the Colossal pretty early on, and a few of the smaller ones as well.  The tendency to chip is entirely due to the hold geometry though, as the plastic passed our break test with flying colors.  We also found that on a few of the smaller holds, the shiny surface detail pebbles protruded enough that they would “stab” your fingertips.  We brought this to their attention, and he said he will depress them completely into the foam on any additions to this line.  

Chipping on Small Crimp
Chipping on Colossal 1
Break Test Pass
Overall, these things are fantastic.  Sure, they aren’t the most comfortable holds, but that’s just part of replicating real rock indoors.  The aesthetic is impeccable, the shapes are versatile, and they are a blast to climb on.  

One more thing…  We are giving the Feature and a 3XL Jug away!  See the video for details!

- Chris


  1. I pulled on these babies at Momentum in Utah recently. For real-rock aesthetics, I actually found they were pretty comfy. At least the XXL and feature holds. I also love that new water drop art. Never seen it and it rocks.

    1. Couldn't agree more!

      The water drop appearance is actually a successful representation of pebbles sometimes found in otherwise fine-grained sedimentary rocks. This is sometimes referred to a a conglomerate sandstone. Geology lesson. Impress your friends. =)