Flathold Enters the US Market

Manu Hassler and his volume.
Manu Hassler and his volume.

Flathold, the Swiss maker of climbing holds and volumes announced their entry into the American market last week.

From the Flathold Facebook page:

“After a couple years of development we are proud to announce that Flathold is officially available in North America! We are happy to announce our partnership with Chris Danielson, our good friend and distributor of Flathold with his company Thread Climbing. He has everything ready and we invite you to check out the new website that has a specific “North America” section! A new catalog is also available to download. Flathold is being produced in almost the full range, and we have re-built some sets for better combination of shapes and good pricing. We hope to bring some excitement to routesetters…”

Founded by the international routesetting Chief Manu Hassler, the Flathold line features a mix of smooth lines and natural shapes that are quite different from what’s currently available in the US market. However, in North America the volume market is dominated by geometric wood volumes and fiberglass volumes have had trouble gaining a toe hold. This could have to do with the higher cost of fiberglass volumes and the lack of consistent and quality texture. With the Swiss precision that Flathold is known for we’ll see if they can get over some of those long-standing hurdles.

All the Flatholds are shaped by Hassler and his partner Mathieu Achermann. Chris Danielson, who handles sales in the USA, Canada and Mexico, tells CBJ that the holds available in North America will all be produced in Colorado. He also adds, “These guys approach climbing holds, and their business overall, with a certain Swiss refinement and perfectionism that I greatly respect.”

N. American buyers will have a slightly modified line up available. “The costs to begin top quality production are quite high,” Danielson said. “So we made a couple choices to simplify things and keep it more cost-effective for customers as well.” The whole team at Flathold also wanted to bring the best to the US market. “We wanted to select the sets for initial production that we personally thought were only the absolute best shapes, and we believed customers in North America would be most interested in,” Danielson said.

From the Flathold website:

[For Manu] to carry his holds from one competition to another, he needed a mix that was lighter and stronger. The idea was to create a different type of holds, among which there could be more “flat” holds. This is when the name and Flathold as a brand began to take shape. Manu draws a lot of his inspiration from his work as a route setter. The goal being to create shapes that inspire more and more specific movement. With Manu, there is this idea of movement perfected by the hold. What results, among other things is a certain purity, a particular scarcity of excess. Manu is a little like his holds; edgy or fleeting with no deception. “To push route setting”, in his own words, means to develop techniques, shapes, textures, a material; contribute as much as possible to the evolution of the discipline.

Flatholds line of bolt-on holds.
Flatholds line of bolt-on holds.

In the last year Flathold has become extremely popular with the US crowd. Their volumes have been seen at the 2015 Bouldering Open National Championships and this year’s Vail World Cup, as well as across Europe for the last several years. And even though their volumes garner the most attention they also have a full line of bolt-on and screw-on urethane holds that will soon be making their appearance in a climbing gym near you.

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