A to Z Holds Breakdown From the Indoor Climbing Expo Hall

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The Hold Room booth at the Indoor Climbing Expo 2023
All photos by Zachary Joseph, unless otherwise noted

Over 50 climbing hold companies from around the world were represented at the inaugural Indoor Climbing Expo last December. Cutting-edge macros and volumes, recyclable holds, modular climbing holds…the Expo had it all.

Couldn’t make it to the show? Here’s a breakdown of all the grips-related booths that were in the Expo Hall. In tandem with this bonus report, be sure to check out the full recap of the 2023 Indoor Climbing Expo here.

Trango Holds Pardners

BRANDS INCLUDED BELOW:

Bold Climbing/360 Holds/ArtLine/Blocz/Bluepill/Chapter/Community Climbing Equipment/Rockcity/Simpl/UnitCapital Climbing/AG Holds/Enix/ToejamContact Climbing/Absolute ClimbingEcho Stone HoldsEP USAGrizzly HoldsIndustry Macros/Arctic Grips/Boulder Recipe/Digital Climbing Holds/Giant Grips/T-WallKilter Grips/Urban PlastixLacuna ClimbingMagic Wood Distribution/FU Macros Next Climbing/Illusion/sToKed Climbing/Under Blue Holds/Vertex Climbing/WideBoyzMethod GripsOcelot GripsSolution ClimbingSpark Climbing/Agripp Climbing Holds/Lynx Holds/Neo Holds/SNAP Climbing HoldsThe Hold Room/Elevation Climbing/IBEX Climbing Holds/Supr Climbing/Thrillseeker Holds/Thrive Climbing/Trickit Holds/UnleashedUsable Surface


Bold booth

Bold Climbing / 360 Holds / ArtLine / Blocz / Bluepill / Chapter / Community Climbing Equipment / Rockcity / Simpl/Unit

Bold Climbing is a company based in Los Angeles, California, which distributes holds, macros, volumes and more from multiple European hold companies. At the Expo, Bold had a mega-booth which showed off many of their newest products.

The company announced the return of distribution for 360 Holds in North America, featuring the Ghost series from the IFSC World Cup circuit that has a striped pattern which hides where the dual-tex is located. 360’s high-profile Volcanos and fun Kids Monkeys grips were onsite, too.

Blocz

Also in the booth were vacuum-thermoformed grips from Blocz, the new Liquid Art PU and Baguette PU poured by Proxy, Hexatite and Hexamite column volumes, flat-topped Chips triangles, and Triangle and Pentagon volumes in many different textures and colors.

Bluepill was represented, as well, with the new, hueco-like Dopes line and dual-tex plastic versions of the Impossible line, plus the full line of dual-tex Split Group creations by Proxy.

Bluepill

Unit had a practical spray wall which sported the brand’s macros in bright neon colors, such as the K9 line, Cruise Control sloping jugs, and dented, spherical Force Majeure slopers.

Around the corner was a wall full of ArtLine’s hueco, dual-tex Abyss line, complementary Vortex line, and full-tex Mercy sloping edges.

Unit

Adjacent was Chapter, a newer company that exhibited the giant pinch Shallows line and “reverse dual-tex” Mirrors line, where the slippery portion is in the center of the hold.

Featured from Community Climbing Equipment were the blockable/stackable Scoops from Proxy as well as the French Connection pockets and the Crescents line.

ArtLine

Rockcity, whose macros have been hard to miss in recent IFSC comps, had massive, dual-tex UFO plate/hueco slopers at the Expo, in addition to the Fontainebleau line modeled after classic climbing destinations.

Simpl was present with familiar, partially dual-tex and aptly-named shapes, such as the triangular Flats, circular Wheels discs/flakes, and Wannabes rails with varying levels of positivity.

Capital
Photo by Scott Rennak

Capital Climbing / AG Holds / Enix / Toejam

Christopher Neal is an owner and shaper of Capital Climbing and Toejam Climbing, poured through Proxy, and owns Enix Climbing, poured through Aragon Elastomers. Neal showcased holds from each of these brands, and showed off brand-new, dual-tex macros from AG Holds, which is based in China. He and Louie Anderson also led a shaping class at the Expo with many aspiring shapers which was standing room only.

Contact

Contact Climbing / Absolute Climbing

Contact Climbing is a company based out of the UK that was started in 2021 by routesetter Max Aryton and competition climber Alex Waterhouse. The pair have released six new dual-tex and full-tex ranges, such as the sloping edge Pods, and debuted their glittery, fiberglass, dual-tex macros and holds with a PU base but fiberglass-textured surface. They also have a strong focus on sustainability, with a new re-texturing service and a new company, Absolute Climbing, that’s all about vacuum-thermoformed grips.

Echo

Echo Stone Holds

Echo Stone Holds is a newer climbing hold company dedicated to creating fun shapes for the climbing industry. Echo had a battery of holds on display, including the life-like Peanuts holds. The brand also had some small micro-holds for keychains and single-screw use.

EP

EP USA

The walls of France-based Entre-Prises have appeared at the Olympic Games and many an IFSC World Cup, but the company also specializes in holds and volumes, such as the new dual-tex Bone and Pulse volumes from the Bio range and the slopey Wrasslers from shaper Connor Auchterlonie. Notable at EP’s booth in the Expo Hall were the shiny, dual-tex Dish macros from European shaper Florent Bonvarlet.

Grizzly

Grizzly Holds

Grizzly Holds, poured by Aragon Elastomers, is a Canadian hold company owned by shapers Tomasz Wojtkowiak and Anthony Richard. They had striking, dark wood panels at their booth and a brightly colored front wall. On the walls were new dual-tex Carbon slopers/jugs and giant Meridian fins. Also present were the aptly-named Flakes, shaped by Joey Jannsen of Ocelot Grips, as well as the geometric Tectonic Plates and small, dual-tex Microbes.

Industry Macros

Industry Macros / Arctic Grips / Boulder Recipe / Digital Climbing Holds / Giant Grips / T-Wall

Tomasz Wotjkowiak and Anthony Richard also announced a new climbing hold/macro distribution company, named Industry Macros, which is currently exporting from multiple European and Asian brands. On the roster is Arctic Grips, a Norwegian company with the oversized Nordic Flowers that look like giant flower petals with sweeping, sloping lines carved across the surface; Digital Climbing Holds from France, co-owned by Roisin Boileau and her husband, who debuted the dual-tex, gold and black Cha Balls and tufas/pinches in the Slenders series; holds and macros from Giant Grips based out of South Korea; and the V01 line of macros from Japan-based Boulder Recipe, with the tagline “set easy” on their Instagram account.

Kilter
Photo by Scott Rennak

Kilter Grips / Urban Plastix

Since the company’s inception 10 years ago, Kilter Grips’ creations have been ubiquitous in the industry and have won many a Grip List award. At the Expo, Kilter presented a smorgasbord of red, yellow, blue and green polyurethane holds that showed off a plethora of their most popular lines from shaper Ian Powell. Urban Plastix was also onsite, with new shapes by Peter Juhl which were also visually inviting and comfortable to grab. Both brands are poured by Aragon Elastomers.

Lacuna

Lacuna Climbing

Lacuna Climbing is owned by Kelly Soohoo of Climb Co Group and made its debut in the United States at the Expo. Shaped by Andy Nelson and Kegan Minock, Lacuna brought a buffet of comfortable and equally aesthetic lines to the show. The brand has a number of larger lines—such as the Foundation crimps, jugs, slopers and pinches—which are designed to offer one massive, super-family of polyurethane climbing holds, all with compelling texture.

Magic Wood

Magic Wood Distribution / FU Macros Next Climbing / Illusion / sToKed Climbing / Under Blue Holds / Vertex Climbing / WideBoyz

Magic Wood Distribution has been around for several years as an international hold and macro distributor which is owned by Expo creator Travis Williams. On hand were some of the inaugural brands, such as Under Blue Holds from Japan, which showcased the Tunas that were heavily featured in the 2023 IFSC World Cup season and several other fiberglass macros.

Also featured in the booth was Next Climbing, based in Spain, which showcased its spherical Boootes, swooping Anatares, sloping Cygnus edges, and other dual-tex and full-tex, fiberglass shapes.

Vertex Climbing displayed a mix of fiberglass macros and polyurethane shapes made by Walltopia and poured by Composite-X in Bulgaria, including the fiberglass Symbiosis and Da Vinci lines and polyurethane Dualism line.

FU and Next

Volumes by sToKed Climbing were also on display in the Magic Mood booth, such as the stacked Dillos, and so too were the shiny, dual-tex Sharks (think shark fin shapes) from Travis Williams’ FU Macros fiberglass brand.

Wideboyz, started by well-known crack climbers Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker, now makes fiberglass crack volumes with patented, soft-grip inserts designed to make learning crack climbing more fun and less painful, and the Full Crack setup was in action at the Expo.

Illusion Climbing Holds also debuted U.S. distribution through Magic Wood at the event, showcasing several full-tex, stackable Nose macros that were used on the IFSC World Cup circuit.

Method

Method Grips

Method Grips has been around since 2018 and has featured shapes from Louie Anderson, Kegan Minock, Andy Raether of Menagerie Climbing, Vice President Kevin Branford and President Andy Nelson. Some new additions at Method of late have been the comfy Lip Pockets by Nelson and the large line of positive Shards jugs by Kegan Minock. At the Expo, Method also handed out some smaller, “blister” packs of hold samples which were popular with attendees. The company also announced Method Asia, distributing through Climb Co Group, which describes itself as an American hold factory located smack-dab in the middle of China.

Ocelot

Ocelot Grips

Ocelot Grips is one of the newer hold companies, having emerged last year, and is owned by Rich Breuner and shaper Joey Jannsen. Ocelot’s slogan is “every hold has a purpose,” and they mean it. Jannsen was onsite at the Expo presenting their versatile hold selection, including the All Good Pinches, Good Good Jugs, and high-profile Dose Fins. They also showed off some comp-oriented Glazed Jugs, Fade Slopers and Looking Glass Pockets, as well as the modular Shade Theory wedges.

Solution

Solution Climbing

Andreas Lerch, owner of Vancouver-based Solution Climbing, featured full-tex and dual-tex, customizable volumes in Chattanooga, as well as the dual-tex Low Tides, mirrored Talons and stackable Dingos volumes, plus some t-nut plugs and drill-bit holders. Also notable were the smaller, low-profile Adjusters volumes, which allow for nuanced angle tweaks.

Spark

Spark Climbing / Agripp Climbing Holds / Lynx Holds / Neo Holds / SNAP Climbing Holds

Spark Climbing, based out of Texas, is a distribution company for many European brands. Spark had a small-but-mighty booth at the Expo that featured fresh grips from SNAP Climbing Holds, Lynx Holds, Agripp Climbing Holds and Neo Holds. The booth was run by Ben Edwards, Director of Routesetting for Crux Climbing and co-owner of Spark, who has been known to break away from traditional routesetting. The booth reflected this spirit as well, with a rotating display of products that changed daily.

Thrive

The Hold Room / Elevation Climbing / IBEX Climbing Holds / Supr Climbing / Thrillseeker Holds / Thrive Climbing / Trickit Holds / Unleashed

The Hold Room is a routesetter supply and hold/macro/volume producer and distributor based out of Arizona which encompasses nine brands in total. They showed up in full force at the Expo, with a behemoth, multi-level booth from owners Mark Bradley and Ryan Wurm. They also had the in-person presence of shapers Louie Anderson, Dario Stefanou, Will Watkins, Thiabault Toussaint and veteran comp climber Gautier Supper. Climbing holds, macros and volumes from all of them were on display in the booth, which also had a barista coffee service and screen printing of custom tees and hoodies.

Elevation Climbing exhibited shiny, fiberglass macros from newly announced Walltopia production, dual-tex and carbon-fiber versions of their massive macros, and an arsenal of wood volumes.

Unleashed

Thrive Climbing brought signature Blocks and Blubber Pinches lines, as well as ergonomic, bread-and-butter jugs, edges, pinches, slopers and footholds of the new Essentials line, plus a new dual-tex Wibbles line shaped by Kegan Minock. Thrive is poured by Aragon Elastomers.

IBEX Climbing Holds, based in Greece, was exhibiting the matte, dual-tex Nisyros comp line and the Kalymnos tufas line, as well as the bulbous, multi-purpose holds of the Beta series intended for steep roof climbing, in particular. IBEX is poured by Composite-X.

Thrillseeker

Will Watkins of Unleashed Climbing, which was previously based in Australia and now operates out of England, featured the new comfy Originals/Loves (think bread loaves with rounded slopers/incuts) and Angles lines in polyurethane and fiberglass varieties, in addition to the dual-tex Commas series that has been set on many a comp wall of late.

Thrillseeker Holds, produced at Composite-X (PU) and Walltopia (macros) in Bulgaria, showcased large, blocky Obsidian Macros, shaped by Dario Stefanou, and the new crescent-shaped Rubble Macros, shaped by Henry Kinman, who owns Lock Holds.

Supr

Trickit Holds is a newer brand that produces holds and volumes with a modern feel in full-tex and dual-tex varieties that have been making their way into climbing gyms. Some of the Trickit grips in the booth were the Balance, Pressure, Stellar, Orcas and Vacuum lines.

Supr Climbing is also a somewhat newer brand run by shaper Thibault Toussaint and pro-competitor Gautier Supper. Their shapes, produced in Europe, stepped onto the IFSC World Cup scene last year and include the thin, pinchy Cruisers; the slopey, dish-like Eclipses and Spaceships; the new circular Shields; the long, tufa-like Lances; and shiny, flat Ice Plates. Supr recently started production of polyurethane lines in the United States—such as the dual-tex, blad-like Majestics—through Peak Polymers.

Usable Surface

Usable Surface

Usable Surface, based out of Arizona, is a newer wood volume brand from USAC Level 4 setters Evan Marlatt and Cory Hanson. Their booth had large, red wooden columns featuring several custom, gray volume creations, including the rail-like pinch Toothpicks, thick Tweezer volumes, multi-angled triangle volumes, large Twisted Pentagons, and stackable Apogees spheres. All of these wood volumes come in t-nutted or non-t-nutted versions.

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