Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Answer to Most Setting Questions

This might feel like obvious knowledge, but I still like to think about it. Basics are powerful.

Defined crux, or consistent difficulty?

Cryptic, beta-intensive climbs, or flash fodder?

Aggressive power moves or delicate footwork?

Big moves or small moves?

High feet, low feet, slopey feet, edging feet?

The short answer to this line of questioning is yes. Not all at the same time, not all on the same route, but yes.

If you're worried a route is too much of any one thing, don't - as long as they're not all that way.

Contrarily, if you're starting to feel like your setting is one-dimensional then you already know what to do - expand your scope. We get comfortable setting one style, and tend to neglect the others. My gym has a lot more steep bouldering than not, so it's easy to get stuck in a rut.

I went through a phase recently of setting more technical sequences on vertical terrain. Not exactly my usual style, so it felt good. For me, at least, it takes a different headspace to climb a hard compression problem in a roof than it does to climb a technical lead up dead vertical. Similarly, the techniques and obstacles for setting in varied terrain requires distinct mindsets. These skills need to be developed to be a well-rounded routesetter.

It's something I know I could do more of as a setter - work the weaknesses. Set things you suck at climbing. If you crush at Smith Rock, you might want to set in the steep for a while. If you're more of a Red River Gorge kind of climber, try getting techy. It might take some getting used to, but you (and your climbers) will be happier for it.

Happy setting!

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