When Kilter dropped on the gym scene it was like a bomb went off! Ian Powell, who co-created eGrips and arguably may be the best hold shaper in America, started Kilter because he had to. “It didn’t feel like a choice really,” said Powell. “I’ve put together a team of people who have all been in the business for 15 or 20 years at least and who I’m very close to personally. We care a lot about the product, our community, and each other. If you find a group like that in life then I think you have to start something.”
According to routesetters, this talented team, combined with quality urethane from Aragon Elastomers, has created some of the finest new holds on the market. It’s hard to state the impact Kilter has had on the hold world this year. Many gyms have ordered the entire 362-hold line, site unseen, based purely on Powell’s reputation. What they are getting are grips that are simple… with a twist. It’s a wonder no other shaper has made these shapes before. Powell’s genius is his ability to find a new way to look at an old subject. Though relatively small the line will double in size in 2014.
Kilter is not just making great grips, it is also doing a better job than most with their point-of-purchase website. Every hold series has a quick video of Powell handling the holds and speaking about his artistic thoughts about the grips. Finally, a company has taken the static and stale world of picture catalogs and stepped into the dynamic world of video. Holds are meant to be touched and grabbed and finally someone gets that!
Climbing holds are not the only thing Kilter has in the works. Powell and his team plan to expand the brand into a realm few climbing companies have gone. “At Kilter we will help get other artist-climbers work out there too; so we’ll be working with artists to get their work onto some shirts next. A lot of us have been wanting to see our industry follow skating’s lead and get cool graphics out there for a long time,” said Powell.
The Kilter crew has their work cut out for them if they want to stay on top next year. Every hold brand on this list wants the top spot and will work hard to get it. But Powell has put forth a great start with all the right ingredients that make a powerful brand stick. If Powell can pull it off, he will have accomplished what no other shaper has done before: create two iconic grip companies.
Climbing Business Journal is an independent news outlet dedicated to covering the indoor climbing industry. Here you will find the latest coverage of climbing industry news, gym developments, industry best practices, risk management, climbing competitions, youth coaching and routesetting. Have an article idea? CBJ loves to hear from readers like you!