Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Welcome to Routecrafting


I have a lot of goals in starting this site. Hopefully, it'll be an outlet for my thoughts on routesetting. My aim is to look at both the artistic and scientific sides of the trade. I enjoy the logical side of rock climbing: causality, sequencing and problem solving. From the most obvious foot choice to the most subtle hip turnout, these mini puzzles are my inspiration to climb and set routes. However, the aesthetics of climbing are equally important: hold size, color, shape, orientation don't just affect the sequence, they affect the way a climber perceives a route.

The second goal is twofold: that through the blog, readers will be able to learn a thing or two about routesetting. Setting, like climbing, is an act that has no specific starting point. When you go to a different gym and see other routesetters in action, you might observe different techniques and methods. There is no list of "best practices" for routesetting. Instead, we have a wide range of potential styles, each with advantages and drawbacks. Much like climbers collect techniques, setters should too. It's in our best interests to have a variety of tactics available. Broader experience keeps us safe, efficient, and setting fun, interesting routes. I'll try to use the blog to introduce as many techniques as possible: general knowledge, specific tips for setting safely and speedily, and inspiration to help stoke the fire.

I'll be looking for the views and opinions of routesetters and industry professionals from all around to share their knowledge. Which brings me to my next goal: that these thoughts will help instigate a conversation about routesetting. Routesetting is complex, at least as complex as climbing itself. Pooling our thoughts and resources will help all of us evolve into better setters.

I'll try to use text, pictures, graphs and videos to illustrate points and ideas, as well as to keep things fresh. Because climbing is a personal endeavor, the blog may contain a certain amount of conjecture and opinion. These shouldn't be seen as strict guidelines for routesetting, but just as context for the discussion (and occasionally for your amusement.)

That explains the site - what about the author? To provide a background, I'm a climber and setter in Southern Oregon - obviously not the center of the universe as far as routesetting is concerned. Professionally I'm a programmer and web developer, with a fascination for data and problem-solving. Like many other gym rats, I have a very dynamic style of climbing. I've been setting almost as long as I've been climbing.

When I was a kid, I played with Legos relentlessly. I'd get a new set, put it together once with the out-of-the-box directions, then immediately tear it apart and make something new. The resemblance is uncanny, and I frequently wonder how I came so far through the years to still be playing with neon blocks.

That's all for now. Happy setting!


  1. Hey RC.
    Great writings on route setting.
    Would love to repost some of your articles on the new
    Please let me know if you're interested.

  2. Hi Vincent! Thanks for your interest. I'm actually in the middle of rebuilding the site on a real framework to make it easier for me to update and maintain. You are of course welcome to link to and enjoy any of the content posted here. I would rather that you not repost the content of the posts. I know it's lame for now, but I am working on making the site a little bit easier on the eyes. ;)

    1. RC! I've never seen a routesetting blog as detailed or scientific as this, it's been nearly 5 years since your last post, when can I expect to read more??