By Greg Chapman
Everyone loves wood, and if you don't you should! This phenomenal stuff we so often take for granted is almost limitless in its uses; from toothpicks to cricket bats, from yachts to text books, this sumptuous composite of cellulose fibres we call timber is a miraculous material. You can even burn it to keep yourself warm!
And before it ever gets near a saw, belt sander or drill, it of course formed the framework of a living tree: architect of clouds, filterer of pollution and the second most prolific oxygen factory (after phytoplankton) on this Pale Blue Dot we call home.
So with all that in mind it's not a huge leap of imagination to see why wood might make such a good material for climbing training apparatus. Below we take a brief but detailed look at what's so good about wooden climbing holds and more specifically those from US climbing manufacturer Metolius.
Wood Grips Series
Metolius have been making wooden holds and fingerboards alongside their PU resin range for years, although, I think it would be fair to say their original offerings were not quite the best. In recent years however, they've really got their act together and the Wood Grips series is now one of the best offerings available for home training.
These carded holds come as sets of five - generally a mixture of decent edges, crimps and pinches - and include T-Nut and bolt fixings for each hold. As well as as being super tactile, these wood holds are extremely skin friendly and, unlike a standard resin bolt on hold, can be sanded back into shape if damaged or over scuffed. Perhaps the single best selling point over resin is the strength gains from wooden holds. Put simply, without the aid of artificial textures, you have pull, squeeze and crimp harder! Finally, I really like the look of timber holds - training walls consisting entirely of wooden grips certainly have a more aesthetic appeal over those adorned with resin holds.
Pleasing to the eye, a pleasure to pull on and fashioned from a renewable resource, are just three (good) reasons why Metolius Wood Grips have rapidly become some of my favourite home training holds.