The Metolius Contact Board



This is probably one of the biggest fingerboards around. It measures, according to Metolius: 826 mm x 279 mm x 67 mm. Notably, this is wider than the average door frame!
For something made of resin of that size, it's surprisingly light, weighing in at around 4.5 kilograms. This is perhaps because the board is only as deep as it needs to be and Metolius hasn't felt the need to 'pad it out' to make it look bigger.
It's also very efficiently designed, with somewhere in the region of 20 different types of hold ranging from crimps, through pinches to slopers, and several different types of pocket for two, three and four fingers (although by the time it's a four finger pocket I'm inclined to equate it to an edge...)

The Holds

I've not been able to find anywhere on the internet (or off) with a complete description of holds, so I've had a measure and included a picture. Please note that I measured depth of holds by drawing a line on my finger whilst hanging the holds, so the measurement should be taken as a rough guide.
Widths of hold are measured in terms of how many fingers the average climber (not the average female climber with smaller hands, don't worry!) would be able to hang the hold with.
The edges: The edges are... well, edges. You don't lose too much space to the rounded edges but they're rounded enough that they're pretty comfortable to hang without feeling like you're slicing your finger tendons. They can be hung comfortably either half crimped or by dragging. They come in pretty much every size from two pads to significantly less than one and should keep you busy for a while.
The two finger pockets: These are nice and rounded, although quite close to other holds. I did not have a problem with this, but you do have to be careful not to drag your leftover fingers on other holds.
The slopers: The friction on the flat slopers makes them easy to hold when you're fresh, although they get increasingly harder as you move through the workout. The great thing about the rounded slopers is that the further down you hold them, the greater the angle of the slopey-ness.
The jugs: The jugs are nice and positive and you can comfortably hang of all four fingers. It's not a palm-of-the-hand jug, but it's certainly big enough for a warm-up.
The pinches: I wasn't sure if the teardrop-shaped pinches would be anything more than just a gimmick. However, I was pleasantly surprised. They're spaced nice and wide apart, so hanging them with bent arms gives the shoulders a decent workout too. The teardrop shape means that you can hold a narrow pinch, a wider pinch or anything in between.
The middle rails: Like most fingerboards the Metolius Contact has a vertical line of symmetry down the middle, allowing you to stay symmetrical as you hang. The rails in the middle can hold two hands, and I'm reliably informed they're useful for one-armed hangs.

What's it like to use?

Hanging off the central crimp rail
The fingerboard is made out of a fairly gentle resin. By gentle, I mean that it doesn't wreck your skin as much as grit stone. Inevitably, being made of resin it isn't as kind on the hands as a wooden board. But by the same token it doesn't need breaking in which is useful.
The huge number of open handed holds that accompany the crimps and edges mean that it's actually possible to warm up on the board- something I've had trouble with in the past. This makes the board particularly useful if it's your only home training device, as you can do pull-ups on the jugs quite happily.
I've had easily my best finger boarding session yet on this board, and I'm happy that there's plenty of room for progression!

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