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Amber McDaniel | 03.06.2019

Tension Climbing Grindstone Pro specs

  • Poplar wood construction
  • Dimensions: 22” x 2.75” x 6”
  • Weight: 4 lbs.
  • Edge Sets: 35 mm, 20 mm, 15 mm, 10 mm, 7 mm
  • Single Edges: 30 mm, 22 mm
  • Pull-up jugs
  • Top phone slot
  • Ethically sourced from local American hardwoods
  • Sustainably made with chemical-free, nontoxic manufacturing

Where to Buy

$115 • Tension Climbing

The Bottom Line: The Grindstone Pro, released in July 2017, is a “no nonsense” improvement on the company’s original Grindstone aimed at harder climbers and more focused training, with added mono pockets, two-finger pockets, and perhaps most importantly, thinner edges. (Hallelujah for that 7 mm, as painful and biting as it is.)

 


Hanging from the 7-millimeter edge, Tension Climbing's most aggressive training edge yet. Amber McDaniel.

Crafted masterfully and sanded to near ergonomic perfection, the wood grips provide just enough added challenge to the board, though the smaller edges do not perform well in too hot of an environment (such as a poorly ventilated rock gym). No one likes dry-firing. Tension uses wood grips because they are a "less abrasive option for those looking to maximize training while keeping skin in top condition."

Spaced with an asymmetrical design to keep width consistent across edges, you won’t ever find yourself hanging with shoulders too narrow or too wide to properly engage.

The single edges are engineered for one-arm hangs, small enough but too small for this high-level form of finger training, and it avoids the redundancy plague of multiple jug slots that so many other hangboards suffer from.

Overall, it’s a solid training tool for serious climbers of intermediate to advanced skill to keep fingers strong and send-ready over long winter or rainy weeks. As Tension’s motto states, “Go forth and crush.”

When I decided I would move into a van to be a full-time dirtbag, I didn’t really give much thought to how I would implement training tools into the van. The crag would be my gym, duh! But the further I got into the build (in the dead middle of an Alaskan winter), I began to realize that I wouldn’t always get the luxury of climbing as training, and that I might still need to put some effort into it. I knew I wouldn’t always have access to a climbing gym. But how to fit a gym’s worth of training into a cargo van?

I had previously been using the Trango Rock Prodigy, a finely made but clunky two-piece board with a bit too much of an outstanding profile. I really couldn’t seem to make it work in a small space. Then my local gym built a brand new hangboard station, including the Grindstone, Grindstone Pro, and both the Beastmaker 1000 and 2000 boards (which are also wooden grips but I do not recommend). After having had the opportunity to try them all, I went all in with the Grindstone Pro.

Why? Two words: edge depth. For vanlife, I obviously didn’t have the storage space (nor the practical means to actually use) a set of weights with which to do weighted hangs. The Grindstone Pro is not only lightweight, low profile, one solid piece, and easily mountable in small spaces, but it has the coveted 7-millimeter edges! With that edge, I am able to achieve the same finger strength training hanging at body weight or with only minimal weight added that once required adding around 50 pounds on larger edges. I'll be moving into my van full time in a couple months, and I'm stoked to move my training over to it as well, with nothing more than my hangboard, a weight vest, and a few blocks of weights. Super simple and easy to store.

For anyone short on space, the Grindstone Pro is a fantastically light and portable board that really does it all. The only one lighter and more portable is Tension’s free-hanging at-the-crag warm-up Flash Board, which has a fraction of the holds and edges, and no static mountain capability. For marginally more weight and bulk, the Grindstone Pro is the way to go.

The top phone slot is a great addition, a really simple concept, but yet somehow revolutionary as far as hangboards go. It even automatically orients your phone screen on a downward angle so you can easily see the timer without craning your neck awkwardly upward.  Sometimes, it’s just a little clunky to reach the stop/start button of your timer, depending on what kind of timed sets you’re doing.

The wooden grips are admittedly a bit slippery when compared to the traditional texturized plastic of hangboards and climbing holds. However, if you have cold enough conditions in which to train (like a van!), it’s great. Sending temps equal training temps.

My two complaints about the board are:

  1. The slope of the 10-millimeter edge: This is such a useful depth, but it’s also so hard to hang on because it is incredibly sloped. While its forefather bore a 10-millimeter edge that felt suspiciously too good to actually measure at 10 millimeter, the Pro’s 10-millimeter edge feels too bad, even at body weight. I only wish they had taken just a bit of the bite of the 7-millimeter edge and given it to the 10 millimeter.
  2. No 12 millimeter edge: This is a great progression edge that I frequently find myself wanting, especially given how poor the 10-millimeter edge can feel. I would gladly trade in any of the two-finger and mono pockets (or all of them really!) for this edge.

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