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“The Climbing Business Journal presents the first annual Grip List.

This year we experienced an unprecedented amount of new hold companies bursting upon the scene, established companies expanding their lines and old brands coming out of retirement. A quick scan through the popular Routesetters Anonymous Facebook page will dizzy you with the number of new brands. But what holds are routesetters actually psyched about? What are they buying or would buy if they had the money? What are the most exciting hold companies right now?

We decided to find out. First, we talked with pro-setters, head setters, national setters and any setter that was so psyched about a company they emailed us to to rave about its virtues. Next, we put a call out to setters across the country to tell us what hold companies they are excited about, what they’re buying and which brands look like they have the best shot at making it in the rough and tumble world of grip making. Lastly, we went into gyms and actually got our hands wrapped around some of the holds to get a sense for how they felt.

What emerged is a list of America’s hottest holds for 2014. These are the brands that are rocking the world of indoor climbing and are giving setters sweaty palms.

Escape (Honorable Mention) – Coming straight out of Minneapolis, Escape climbing holds is trying to break into the very competitive hold market by keeping it small.  Owner and lone shaper Ryan Angelo tells us, “My goal is to have a very refined line of holds. I won’t ever have a huge selection because I retire/replace sets that I don’t like or don’t receive good reviews from routesetters.” From what setters are saying Angelo will not have to replace much. Escape has been in production for two years and as gyms seek to diversify their hold inventory setters are finding they like what Escape is adding to the mix. 2014 could be the break out year for this small but promising company.”