18 December 2009
Scott from Dream holds lent me some of his new range of Dumbarton Basalt holds to try out a while ago. If you remember my previous review of Dream Holds initial ranges, they make the holds from lumps of the real rock they imitate, the texture of the rock being an amazingly close match as well. In general the holds really do feel like climbing on the rock types they imitate and this has an effect on the way you move (good for training for real rock obviously). The Dumby range is the latest rock type to get the Dream Holds treatment.
Out of the range, about 6 or 7 of the holds were brilliant - really like the actual experience of pulling on the real Dumbarton basalt and make excellent problems. It’s nice that some of them are big (area wise) so matching is common just like on real rock. Indoor climbing is normally much more laddery and therefore boring without really good problem setters. The only problem for me was, the rest of the Dumbarton range were not so nice shapes and I found myself struggling to make nice problems with them. Like the rest of the dream holds, I think part of this comes down to where they are best suited: My board is 48 degrees overhanging and very intense bouldering. The Dumby holds that do suit this (the big flat pinches are best) are superb, but the rest would be interesting and most suited to low-mid grade climbing wall routes rather than bouldering. In my opinion they’d make infinitely more fun and mentally challenging F5-7b routes than your average boring blog ladder that was just like the last.
I must say the Dream Holds team has done an impressive job getting the texture right. It’s really is just like Dumbarton! - slick and unforgiving of unchalked hands, skin friendly where it’s not sharp edged (I filed some of them down) but with a nice friction too.
The range still has the feel of a first generation product (understandably, because it is!). I still feel the main prize out there - when they figure out a viable way to mould artificial holds from real holds on famous routes/problems. Not only would the shapes be nicer, but it seems to me they would be much more marketable as well! I’d certainly part with cash to train on replica holds from famous routes around the world.
If you want to see the Dumby range, it’s here.