Why Synrock Ceramic is the best material for home climbing walls.

Synrock ceramic, not Polyurethane is the best material for home climbing walls. Polyurethane got it's reputation as the standard for climbing gym walls because it's flexible nature enables it to conform to irregular cement-based climbing wall surfaces. But for home gyms with wooden walls polyurethane is the WORST choice possible.

No Hold Rotation - Polyurethane is technically not a plastic but an elastomer (rubber). It's soft and flexible. This may sound like an advantage with regard to holds breaking but it's a pain when it come to mounting them on a wood wall. With polyurethane holds you need to tighten and tighten and then tighten some more to keep them from rotating. A day later they need more tightening. When you tighten a polyurethane hold the force is concentrated near the bolt hole - little force is transmitted to the outer part of the hold - but that's where the leverage to rotate the hold is. Ceramic is literarily millions of times more stiff than polyurethane. When you tighten a ceramic hold the force is transmitted directly to the edges of the hold and this keeps them from rotating. Ceramic holds get tight quickly and don't loosen over time. This really saves wear on t-nuts as grade 8 mounting bolts will cut into softer t-nuts with time. Commercial gyms have resorted to impact wrenches in an effort to keep polyurethane holds from rotating and this is very bad for t-nuts. Almost all newer polyurethane holds now come with a set screw hole to keep them from rotating on wooden walls. Synrock ceramic holds never need a set screw because they just don't rotate.

Polyurethane makes lousy screw-ons - Ever wondered why polyurethane holds come with just one set screw? Why not add two more and just mount them with screws? The small hard head of a screw will eventually pull through a soft polyurethane hold with time unless it has washers embedded for the screw holes. That is a major manufacturing expense and hassle and many companies don't bother. Never buy polyurethane screw-ons without embedded washers. Polyurethane screw-ons can loosen with time. It's flexible so the screws can move and bend a bit with climbing force. Over time this can loosen the screw. Synrock ceramic is so stiff the mounting screws can't move a bit so they don't get a chance to loosen up.

Durability - Synrock ceramic is hard as rock. Polyurethane is soft and it WILL polish. Polished plastic holds are just about the most nasty thing to climb on imaginable. Ceramic is going to feel like choice sandstone for a long long time. Ceramic holds never deform, lose strength or suffer from fatigue over time like plastic.

Comfort - Climbing is such a unique sport because it is so hand and finger intensive. With the convenience of a home wall you can spend hours hanging from your holds - until the "plastic burn" causes you stop or tape up for comfort. When you train hard your hands are going to get hot. Polyurethane is an insulator - it can't remove that heat from your hands. Ceramic feels cool and sucks the heat away eliminating part of the plastic burn effect. With the exception of one company (HRT) all plastic holds are molded from carved foam as the master shape. Foam gives a negative texture with bubbles separated by cell walls (negative texture takes longer to polish). When you climb on a plastic hold you are climbing on foam "cheese grater" texture. Fall off a foam texture hold and skin gets cheese grated off your fingers. Less skin and hot hands = "plastic burn." You can climb on ceramic holds with skin friendly positive texture all day. No need to tape up.

Maintenance - Polyurethane hold texture that comes from a foam master has all those holes to get filled in with chalk, shoe rubber, pieces of skin and who know what else. When the holes get filled in the texture is gone and the hold needs to be pressure washed or run through the dish washer. Ceramic with positive sandstone texture stays sticky and at most just needs a brief brushing. Spend more time climbing and less time cleaning with ceramic.

Feet and small crimps - No polyurethane hold will ever be a realistic foothold or small crimp like you encounter on reel rock. The material will quickly polish and doesn't come close to the type of friction that a real rock hold has. Ceramic is essentially rock so you can train like you climb.

Price - No brainer here. You can never have enough holds for your home wall and holds cost money. Polyurethane is petroleum based and the most expensive climbing hold material. The chemicals in Polyurethane eventually damage expensive silicon molds. They don't last long - adding another expense for manufacturers. Although the equipment needed to process Synrock ceramic is expensive, the raw materials are cheap (main ingredient is sand) and the molds last forever. Ceramic will always be at least 1/2 the price of the cheapest equivalent size poly hold. You get at least twice the holds for the money. Because ceramic has better friction than poly you can get by using smaller holds saving you even more money.

What is synrock?
Top ten reasons synrock is better.

10. The texture and "feel" of synrock blows away plastic.

9. You can change the texture (rough or smooth) to suit your personal taste.

8. You can change the texture over and over again.

7. The hold backs are very rough - these babies don't rotate.

6. "Rheological Forging" makes for much more comfortable master shapes than the carved foam masters the plastic hold companies use.

5. We climb-test our shapes before we make a final mold. NO mediocre or painful shapes in the lot.

4. These babies are Cool to the touch!

3. They save your skin!

2. They save your tendons!

1. It feels just like climbing on rock!