Friction Holds Strong For 16 Years

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The Canadian climbing hold manufacturer, Friction and its founder Luigi Montilla have been providing the setters of Canada with impeccably shaped grips since 1999, making them one of the oldest hold makers in North America.

Lugi Montilla hard at work on a new shape.
Luigi Montilla hard at work on a new shape.

Ontario Climbing sat down with Montilla and found out that Friction was started simply out of a desire to see holds in his climbing gym that were made right there in Canada. “And the rest,” Montilla said, “is climbing hold history.” Here’s a sampling from the Ontario Climbing interview.

On Friction’s shaping philosophy:

“When it comes down to it, a hold is a hold, but we want setters and climbers to gravitate towards our product when selecting grips for their new route or problem. Form and function go hand-in-hand when we design our holds. Aesthetically, they have to be appealing to the eye but more important, the holds have to be functional.”

On what is the most transformational technology to hit the climbing hold industry.

“It would have to be the introduction and subsequent mass conversion to polyurethane as the preferred raw material for hold production. I think the switch moved the industry forward as urethane holds are far superior to there polyester resin predecessors.”

On using an offshore, US-based production facility.

“Outsourcing has definitely been on our minds. We are looking into increasing our capacity as well as getting a foothold (pardon the pun) in the US market so producing our product down there would make sense. It’s something that we are strongly considering.”

On the best and worst trends.

“Best Trends = Font style slopers, dual textured holds, screw-on holds.
Worst Trends = Font style slopers, copying designs and passing them as your own.”

Read more about Montilla, shaping and his comp series, Tour de Bloc at OntarioClimbing.com