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Make Better Rock Climbing Holds with Polyurethane
Rock Climbing Hold - Polyurethane

Better Rocking Climbing Holds

Indoor rock climbing was once a marginal activity for a few enthusiasts. But now general interest is going up as people discover the health benefits and heady thrills of scaling indoor walls like Spider-Man.

In the United States, the New York Times reports that there were 414 commercial climbing gyms across the country at the end of 2016, up from 388 the year before. And in Canada, the number increased by 13, up to 84, for a growth rate of 18%.

To scale the climbing walls, participants use a series of holds (coming in different sizes, shapes and materials) that are laid out in different routes of varying complexity.

Different Hold Materials

In the early days, rock climbing holds were often made of natural materials, like wood or rocks cast into concrete blocks, or drilled with holes and attached to the wall. The former often splinter and age poorly; the latter are heavy and hard to manufacture.

These materials were overtaken by polyester resin. At first, the material had problems with chipping and cracking (especially when tightened down to the wall), and wear and tear. While modern resin mixes make improvements in these areas, there is still a problem with weight as hold sizes increase, calling for “hollow backing” to reduce.

This is why more and more rocking-climbing holds are being made of polyurethane, whose compounds are extremely versatile and abrasion resistant.

Stronger, Faster, More Flexible

At Crosslink Technologies we offer flexible urethane solutions for rock climbing holds, which offer considerable advantages over other materials and competitive products.

“Compared to resin,” says Head Research and Development Chemist at Crosslink, “holds made from our thermoset urethane solution last longer, are less prone to tearing, and more water resistant.”

He points out the two-part system – resin and hardener – when mixed according to the supplied instructions (1:1 mix ratio according to weight), create holds that are more durable, require less demould time, and offer faster processing and turnarounds. While competitive products can take an hour or longer to cure, the Crosslink solution is usually ready in half that time.

Less Bubbling, Better Performance

While silicone moulds will soak up moisture from the air that will cause bubbling in resin holds, polyurethane keeps this problem to minimum. Failure rates for silicone moulds can be as high as 20% but greatly reduced when using Crosslink’s polyurethane system during customer trials.

Crosslink’s polyurethane system can be use to produce rock-climbing holds that are impact resistant, so don’t crack when bolted to the wall with compressors, or are drilled or screwed.

The holds perform well in temperatures up to 50°C. And Taber Abrasion Wheel tests show that they have three times better abrasion results than competitive products at room temperature, so the holds last much longer. Because they don’t wear down and get smooth so quickly, they remain better climbing holds for longer use  – providing peak performance to avid climbers.

To learn more about our great formulations Contact Us and speak with a technical specialist.

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