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Setting routes, the mechanics of movement and sequence

Original Post
Howrad McGreehan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 0

Hey all,

A while ago I stumbled across a great blog about setting routes in gyms, which primarily focused on individual moves and sequences of said moves. I read a little bit of it when I had time, and eventually lost the page in my internet expeditions.

The blog was very well written, and spoke a great deal about setting good routes. I have been very interested in movement and sequences of climbs lately, and I would like to know if anyone has any good reference material that they might look at. I boulder more than I hop on ropes, but any information would be greatly appreciated.

I'd like to improve my route quality overall, and make more comfortable climbs for folks. I've been drawing up ideas when I get good ones, and I think, well, the more the better. I'm not necessarily looking for gym, bouldering, or rope explanations, specifically, though anything helps!


Anyone know of high-quality information on setting routes?

frankstoneline · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 20

Was the blog Routecrafting? I really liked the stuff that was written there but it hasn't been updated in a while.

Howrad McGreehan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 0

Yeah!!! It was!

Thanks for the information!

It's a great blog; does anyone know of anything similar to it?

Chris Bersbach · · Arroyo Grande, CA · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 206

There don't seem to be a lot of online resources with good, reliable info about training for routesetting. Routecrafter was great, but as noted, hasn't been updated in quite a while. One book that I've found helpful in a lot of places is The Art of Coursesetting, by Louie Anderson:…

In addition to that, you might also look into signing up for a level 1 routesetting clinic with USAC:

shotwell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 0

I would actually recommend against taking a level 1 clinic unless you intend to set a lot for USA climbing. The clinic I took wasn't very helpful as the attendance 'requirements' weren't met. A significant portion of the attendees had less than a month of setting experience and received a tremendous amount of the instructors focus. The problems with the clinic are exasperated by the fact that it is attendance based.

None of this would be an issue if level 2 clinics were easier to get into. As things stand, the level 1 clinic needs a major revamp. It is totally worthless for anyone with sufficient experience to meet the so called 'requirements.'

Petsfed · · Laramie, WY · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 925

Something that significantly improved my setting was a better understanding of climbing movement. I read "The Self-Coached Climber" and a few others just to improve my own climbing, but I also set problems specifically to practice the exercises in the book, and I ended up setting problems and routes that flowed a lot better, while still being as hard as I wanted them to be.

Russ Keane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 150

I find that the best indoor climbs are the ones that "seem" like outdoor lines. I don't know, somehow certain indoor bouldering routes feel more real than others. And I like that.

Sys Ex · · Lake Forest, CA · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 65

Forum run by Louie Anderson:

Facebook Group by Louie, also:
"Routesetters Anonymous"

Rajiv Ayyangar · · Portland, ME · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 210

Yo Howrad!

In addition to Routecrafting, I'd recommend listening to this interview with maybe the most famous setter in the world, Tonde Katiyo:…

In particular, the way he describes good setting as teaching was transformative for me. Think about the 5.8's at the MRG - are they just easy routes? Or are they designed to show people at that level how to climb with 5.8-appropriate technique?

I remember trying to help a beginner climb the start of a 5.6 that only had one starting foot, off to the side. For a V6 climber, you just put a left foot on and smear the right foot and use core tension, and it feels 5.8. For a 5.8 climber, it felt simultaneously impossible and incomprehensible. And if they do learn that move, they haven't learned grade-appropriate technique!

Another example would be a black "v1" in the cave a year ago, where you could keep your feet on with V5 footwork and core tension, but the holds were such jugs that it made more sense to just monkey your way through the awkward problem. Fun? Maybe. But what did it teach V1 climbers? Nothing!

I look forward to sampling some of your problems in February :)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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