Adam Healy: Hold Shaper

posted by dpm on 12/15/2010

Adam Healy may not have been featured shirtless in the most recent issue of gym climber magazine, nor has he climbed any V16’s (yet). His contributions to the community have received far less notoriety, but are more tangible. It’s likely, however that many of you have been impacted by his work.
Q:  You shape holds for Asana. How did this get started?
A:   I started working for Asana in April 2010. Just after starting, I asked Jamey (owner of Asana) if I could try shaping some holds. He was nice enough to give me a shot at shaping. I guess he liked how the holds turned out. Also, I show all new shapes to the crew working at Asana to get some input. So in a sense it is a team effort. 
Q: You used to be a routesetter at The Circuit Bouldering Gym. Does routesetting experience help for hold shaping?
A: It definitely doesn’t hurt, and there is no better place to set problems. The terrain at The Circuit is amazing and allows a setter to create interesting boulder problems. When shaping holds I think about how it would climb at The Circuit.
Q: What styles of holds are your favorite to shape?
A: The types of holds that are good for climbers of all abilities and gets people stoked to climb. I like big shapes that beginners can hang on to and that challenge experienced climbers on steep angles. Pretty much the type of holds that climbers can monkey around on and that make people smile and be happy to be climbing. That’s the goal of shaping for me.
Q: Tell us about the holds you’ve created thus far.
A: Well, almost all the holds so far are big XXLs that are pretty hand friendly. I’m not a fan of bearing down super hard on tiny crimps in the gym, so the shapes tend to have smooth rounded edges or features. Also, I think it is important for holds to be utilized on multiple angles. It gives a setter the opportunity to set a wider variety of routes. The Toadstool is a giant roof jug designed to open up steep walls to beginning climbers. The Teratoma and Ten are both super positive big pinches. Put these on a 60 degree overhang and they will provide awesome training for stuff like The Worm Turns in Joe’s Valley, or teach beginners pinching skills on more vertical walls. The Matador is a sick sloper with font texture on 2/3 of the hold and a monkey grip horn with no texture on the other part of the hold. Hades is a wild knob feature unlike anything you’ve seen before. It can be a jug or a pinch depending on the angle of the wall.
Q: Do you derive inspiration from any one source?
A: Not one source but many. Cool features and holds from outdoor bouldering areas always inspire me. You just can’t get any better than real rock. Granite, Sandstone, Limestone, Basalt, Gneiss, etc., it’s all rad! Bouldering in Leavenworth, WA has had a huge impact on my hold shaping. That area is amazing and the rock yields some of the coolest holds around. Problems like The Peephole, WAS, The Sleeping Lady, Musashi, Big Happy or Legs Go Snappy, The Practitioner, Strainer, Where the Swamp Donkeys Lie, The Mothermilker, La Hacienda, and The Sword (just to name a few) are super sick! Also, the walls at The Circuit are super inspiring from an indoor/routesetting point of view. I can’t wait to take some shapes over to The Circuit 2 and set some problems.
Q: Any ideas for the future?
A: Hopefully shaping more holds that people enjoy climbing on! Who knows, maybe a 12 foot long tufa or a giant pocket feature like the holds on Gurkha Knife (Joe’s Valley) may be in the near future.