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Help Route Setting on Home Wall

Original Post
Henry Holub · · Altus, Ok · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 525

I guess this is as good a place as any to ask this question. I have a 16 feet wide x 10 feet high training wall on my back porch. I've been climbing just over a year and do the vast majority of climbing outside. I've only spent probably a combined total of 8 hours in climbing gyms in the last year.

All that to say, I love climbing but have come to the conclusion that I am a piss-poor route setter. I'm really good at setting essentially the same route over and over again, but in opposite directions. For the next several weeks this will probably be good enough but here shortly I'd like to be able to set some at least slightly more creative, difficult routes. I know spending more time in a climbing gym would be one way to get ideas, but I'd have to drive past really awesome granite to get to the nearest gym and just can't get myself to do that.

What tips/suggestions do those of you with significant route-setting experience have for me as I begin?

Would anyone else have an interest in creating a thread with pictures of set routes with basic details on hold type/pad depth/etc for idea purposes and replication?

ChadMartino · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 45

Instead of going to the gym for ideas, just steal some of its patrons with offerings of free climbing and beer, you will have routes set in no time. Trust me it's much better to climb on something you didn't set, gets really boring after a while, but I'm not super creative or a good setter.

ChadMartino · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 45
Nathan Self · · Louisiana · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 90


I've had that problem, too. Here are some things I've tried:

1. Set a few starting points--just easy places to get on the wall. I generally train for endurance, so I was really making things difficult on myself with hard starts.
2. Fill in your wall. Put a hold in every single t-nut. This will give you increased options and allow you to practice route reading--sort of.
3. Stop setting routes. Instead, get into a starting position and then a) make a hard move, b) make an easy move, c) pick a color or two to limit yourself, d) alternate hard and easy moves, or e) do every move you can think of from the start holds--returning to position after each one and try another.

Other things:
Ladders--go up two rows, over two and then down. Repeat.
CanyonWalk--traverse back and forth, moving hand and feet up at each end. You can also try moving your feet up while leaving your hands on the same row--so that your hands and feet are getting closer and closer (once you've crossed with your feet on the row just under your hands, move your hands up a few rows).
Matching & Tracking--you can match all hands or track with you feet.
Slow-Go--climb in slow motion, or wait several seconds between each movement
Hi-Step--do ladders but skip 4-5 rows between each step up
Missing Fingers--without chopping them off, eliminate the use of a finger or two (ie, use only your middle and ring fingers for a move or two)

I hope that's helpful. Goodluck,


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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