Route Setting: How to Build Gym favorites and Avoid Common Mistakes

Climbing-Tips-for-route-setting bouldering gym

Route setting isn’t easy. Every route setter knows that it is hard work and needs dedication. Setting isn’t just bolting the climbing holds to walls. Setting routes can be described as a form of art. Good routes challenge climber’s physique and brain and also teach climbing techniques in a natural way. Whether you’re just starting out, or already had some experience, here are some helpful tips for route setting.

Avoid monotonous, ladder type setting

By far the most common error is to set routes, that feel like climbing a ladder. Feet follow hands, and you are repeating same sequence over and over. Boring! You cannot avoid it in the most beginner friendly routes, or boulder problems. As the most important thing for beginner climbers is to have fun getting to the top. However for routes ranging from 5 to 6a, you can use holds more creatively, by making some under moves, siders, easy heel hooks, dynos etc.

route setting bouldering

Many novice setters set by a linear plan. Sometime even the more experienced route setters are guilty of letting it slide when they are making some of the easier routes. The lack of motivation often leads to thoughtless setting and bad routes. You can avoid this by thinking ahead. What is the purpose of this route? Is it meant as a warm-up, is it trying to teach some specific climbing technique or what?

Route setting : Don’t set far above of your own climbing ability

Build routes that you feel comfortable climbing yourself. As tempting as building a hard project for yourself sounds, you should think twice. If you climb 6b, you do not have skills to make good 7a routes, period. Set your own personal projects on the training wall!

Route setting : ramping up difficulty by reachy moves

Maybe the most common mistake of a novice route setter is that they tend to make climbs more challenging just by increasing the reach. And for a tall route setter, it’s an even bigger problem, as your normal moves are too reachy for most clients. You can make route difficult in many other ways than increasing reachy moves.

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  1. 22 July 2020

    […] the route setters and their setting schedule determine what you climb on. Route setting is an incredibly difficult job. But remember their job is to produce a commercial product (boulder problems) that keep people […]

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