The 2015 Grip List

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How the List Was Created

The method for determining the 2015 Grip List was slightly different than last year. For the inaugural Grip List in 2014, we did an informal survey of routesetters in the fall of 2013 to determine what climbing hold companies they were most excited about for the coming year. That list was forward looking, and seemed appropriate given the tremendous number of new climbing hold companies that had just launched or were preparing to launch in the new year.

In its second year, we wanted to make the Grip List more fair and scientific, and therefore designed a formal survey we could release to any and all routesetters that wanted to participate. With this in mind, we also wanted the list to be based on routesetters’ actual experience with holds, not any speculation or hype about what might be coming out in the coming year.

The 2015 Grip List survey was released online on Dec 11, 2014 and remained open through Dec 31, 2014. We promoted the survey through CBJ’s website and newsletter, social media outlets and routesetting hangouts like the Routesetters Anonymous Facebook group. By the close of the survey we received a total of 506 responses from routesetters in the United States and Canada.

In the survey we asked setters “Which company produced your favorite holds in 2014?”. The responses to this question were used to rank the most popular hold companies of the year and were the basis of the 2015 Grip List.

We were pleased to see that the results were consistent from the time the first wave of surveys came through until midnight on closing day. The most popular brands, Kingdom, Teknik, Element and Kilter, retained sizable leads during the voting process, and Kingdom ended the survey with a significant lead.

The survey also asked demographic information about each respondent, such as whether they set at a commercial climbing gym, university climbing wall or home woody; whether they were a head setter, part-time routesetter or volunteer routesetter; and whether or not they had any affiliations with a climbing hold company, such as being a sales rep, shaper, employer or had close friends or family that worked at or owned a hold company. We used this information to segment responses and look for any significant differences between their votes. Our analysis shows that while some groups voted slightly differently than others — for instance commercial routesetters and head routesetters voted in even greater numbers for Kingdom — the overall ranking was consistent for every voter group except for routesetters that were also gym owners. This voter group still voted overwhelmingly for Kingdom, but voted Element into second place versus fourth place in the general vote.