Route Setting is one of the most important jobs at an indoor climbing gym. Good route setting will challenge membership and also keep them coming back for more. Variety in routes and route setters is important. Learn a little about what inspires our head route setter, Thomas Bonifield.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHEN TO ROTATE OUT ROUTES AND PROBLEMS?
Routes and boulder problems are like fruit. You just know when they go bad.
HOW DO YOU SET A BOULDER PROBLEM?
I aim for a grade and compact a few hard moves into a small space. I like to keep the boulder problems consistent. They usually involve a few different climbing techniques and will sometime involve some trickery.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHEN YOU START SETTING A ROUTE?
Before I set a route, I first think about the terrain I am setting on and what specific grade climb I am wanting to set. Next, I try to determine what holds I can use and where those holds need to be in relation to the angle of the wall, so that I can achieve that specific grade. I also have to think about who is climbing the route. Is the route for commercial climbing or competition climbing? Do I need to set the route progressively to accurately separate a field of climbers? Is the route going to be climbed by children, adults or both? Sometimes, I like to think of a cool move or sequence that can be done on a specific angle of the wall, and I will create my entire route around that specific move or sequence.
Those are just some of the things I think about before I get off the ground and start setting. Oh, and of course I have to think about what music or podcast I will be listening to while I set. This is a very crucial step! It’s usually Dirtbag Diaries , The Adventure Sports Podcast, TED Radio hour, Radio Lab Or Training BETA.
ANY THOUGHTS FOR CURRENT MEMBERS AND CLIMBERS AT EPIC?
If you like our routes let us know. If you hate our routes let us know. Tell us what/where you like to climb in the gym? Don’t be afraid to talk to your route setters and give your input. We are here for you. If you need help with a route come grab us. I have a feeling we can help you out or at least give you the intended beta.
Support your local route setters. We like cookies, beer and pizza. You can follow me on Instagram for goofy setting pictures and fun climbing adventures.
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