We exist as a company to enable the sport of indoor climbing. Our mission is to get every hand on a hold. We want to tear down the barriers of climbing by making our sport more accessible to anyone. By designing great climbing holds we hope to bring out the best in route setters, which in turn leads to a better climbing. By being a bulk importer of hardware we can drive down the cost of bolts and t-nuts which leaves a bigger budget for holds and makes building a wall affordable. By offering a wide range of training tools we give you that opportunity to take your climbing to the next level and push your limits.
At the heart of who we are, we believe in promoting a healthy lifestyle. Health is more than just fitness. Health entails a mental, and an emotional aspect as well. Climbing is a sport that is more than just fitness too. There is a mental aspect of climbing with the problem solving, and climbings social driven nature meets many emotional needs with our community bonds. Enabling the sport of climbing means we get to open up an avenue for happier, healthier, stronger people every time we ship a package from our facility.
The first Escape Climbing holds were made and sold in 2006. Founder Ryan Angelo fell in love with the sport of climbing during college, but unfortunately living in the middle of Wisconsin made it challenging to be a climber. He built his first home woodie in his parents barn (lead routes and all) but the holds were sparse due to his bootstrap budget. Having an art degree and no budget for climbing holds was a recipe for DIY holds. This was at a time where you could not YouTube how to make climbing holds and no blogs were willing to talk about it. The first holds were shaped out of clay, window calk was used to make silicone molds, and then molds filled with bondo to make the climbing holds. Fortunately we have come pretty far from the original bondo holds. In 2009 Ryans hold knowledge really developed as he managed the setting crew at Vertical Endeavors St. Paul. This is where he met his partner Richard. The two of them quit their full-time jobs and dove head first into Escape Climbing in 2012. Through a supportive climbing community, lots of friend and family support, Escape has continued to grow significantly each year since. In 2017 Escape purchased Project Holds and The Detroit Climbing Company’s hold designs. Escape also partnered with the Canadian company Friction Climbing to bring manufacturing into the USA. In 2018 Escape acquired Kingdom Climbing and Working Class Climbing to round out our hold selection. Our community has supported us in a big way for the last 12 years and we can’t wait so see what we can do for the community in the next 12 years.
Question: HOW MANY HOLDS DO I NEED FOR OUR WALL?
Typical wall – 1 hold every 2 square feet
High density wall – 1 hold every square foot (dense bordering wall with criss crossing problems)
Spray wall – 2-3 holds every square foot
QUESTION: ARE CLIMBING HOLDS TOXIC?
Our climbing holds are non-toxic and inert. Our climbing holds are produced from a thermoset polymer known as polyurethane. Polyurethane is produced by the reaction of two component raw materials. These components are the polyurethane intermediates known as isocyanate (Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate) and a polyol. These components in their unreacted forms can be hazardous to human health. However, the reaction between the two components converts all of the isocyanate and polyol from their original forms into the urethane polymer, no isocyanate or polyol remain after this reaction. Research from the Krone and Klinger1 published in the journal of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology showed that completely cured polyurethane products are fully reacted and therefore non-toxic and inert. Climbing holds produced at Escape Climbing are completely cured so unreacted isocyanate or polyol no longer remain.
The only known health risk associated with climbing holds occurs when heated significantly or involved in a fire. Polyurethane climbing holds contain organic nitrogen, as with many natural and man-made materials that contain organic nitrogen there will be dangerous combustion products including carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide gas produced in the event of exposure to temperatures greater than 350O F. 2
What about VOC’s and plasticisers?
Unlike many other plastics and coatings, Escape Climbing holds are produced with no solvents and no non-reactive plasticisers. Therefore there is very little concern about free chemical species available for human exposure with a cured polyurethane product.
Other consumer plastic products (not climbing holds) can contain non-reactive plasticisers and VOC containing solvents. Non-reactive phthalate plasticisers are used to reduce the hardness of many polymers such as PVC and polyurethane. These plasticisers are released when heating or during food contact with a plastic product. The second concern for other consumer plastics and coatings are VOC containing solvents. These compounds are primarily used in paints and coatings that are produced by dispersion in a solvent. These compounds evaporate upon the drying the coating and can release VOC’s into the environment. Since Escape Climbing products are completely cured, do not use non-reactive plasticisers, and do not use VOC containing solvents, our climbing holds pose no known health risks when used properly.
- Krone, C. A. and Klingner, T. D. (2005), Isocyanates, polyurethane and childhood asthma. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, 16: 368-379. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3038.2005.00295.x
- “Health and Safety.” CASTABLE POLYURETHANE ELASTOMERS, by I. R. CLEMITSON, CRC PRESS, 2017, pp. 60–60.