The 2014 Grip List

Photo: Menagerie FB

2. Menagerie

This upstart hold company is chomping on the heels of every grip maker who thought they knew how to sell holds. Starting out with 700 new shapes is one way to impress the buying public, but setters want more than a large inventory, they want great shapes with great texture that will not break. Menagerie has all of the above.

Owner and lone shaper Andy Raether is taking a huge leap of faith by releasing all 123 sets to the public at once. But from what setters told CBJ they like what he’s putting out. Menagerie’s Font style shapes, which is one of the best uses of the style since it was invented, are what is drawing the attention of many setters to this brand (their great photo marketing has helped with this). Because almost every hold has only one grip surface – in the trade that’s called a directional hold – they would go well in a comp setters bucket.

All holds in the Menagerie line fall into two categories: simple-functional or real rock-functional. You won’t find light bulbs, ailens, pipes, thingamagigs or wookiedoos. Raether likes to climb on real rock and finds his inspiration at the crag. In the future this could hurt the brand as more and more setters (and climbers) grow tired of real rock, or forget what it looks like, and chuck the holds to the bottom of the wagon in search of something more interesting.

But it’s nice to see a company that has focus and isn’t just putting out whatever the pro-shaper sends in. But it’s a shame that many of the holds are near replicas of existing holds from other companies. This is to be expected in a neophyte shaper but after 700 shapes Raether is no beginner. It will be nice when the line is pared down to only those shapes that stand out as true Menagerie grips.