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Edge climbing gym


Original Post
dale polen · · arivaca, az · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 95

This is what was emailed to me from the gym, when I complained that the routes were too easy. The 12s in this gym are only tens,like 10a. Crazy easy. These are the ropes climbs...


I'm sorry, didn't realize that you actually wanted a response. We assumed that you're just a really grumpy person who wanted to complain and vent a bit. The gym is meant to be a friendly fun place where people come in to socialize and have a good time. If your intent is to bitch and complain about everything at the staff and other guests in the gym, then this probably isn't going to be the place for you. It also seemed that the purpose of your messages was to continue to make a lot of noise about how strong and awesome you are. And it seemed that everything in your messages were greatly exaggerated. So I assumed you weren't interested in a real discussion or any real answers. I just assumed that you obviously have some low self-esteem and confidence issues. But maybe I was wrong? Is that not the case? Have you really been climbing as long as you say and you still don't understand the differences between outside and indoor grading? They're not the same thing. They never will be. If that somehow is so offense to you, I don't know what to tell you other than just get over it. Do you really think that we've never been to any other indoor climbing gyms? We frequent many gyms with our youth climbing team. We have staff that have worked at gyms from Arizona, SLC, Washington and California. I've personal been to every gym from Portland Oregon to Las Vegas and everywhere in between. Our grading is in line with every gym I've been to. It's always very close one way or the other. However, our boulder grades are unfortunately more difficult than any gym I've been to so far. So we actually ought to soften those up a little. So when you say "I've never seen anything like it", I know you're full of shit. You either haven't been to very many gyms or you just wanted to complain. I'm sure you've been to a handful of gyms in your life. But if they've been very small, very old, or university gyms, you're going to find something different and a little unique unto itself. Also, if you haven't been to any large commercial gyms in the past five years or so, things have likely changed a little bit. But I wouldn't expect you to be an expert in gym grading. Why would you be? You like to climb outdoors, right? You would only step foot in an indoor climbing gym in the winter to train, correct? Well here's a newsflash for you, gyms don't cater to people like you. It'd be great if we could, but we can't. There aren't enough people like you. You're in the super minority. We can't keep our doors open with the $12.50 of "good money" that you paid to use our facility. You can't pay for a  2 million dollar facility with the day pass revenue from a small handful of serious climbers in the entire region. The math doesn't work. However, the strongest climbers around can still come in and have a good time and get a workout. I know, because I know them and have climbed with them in the gym. Many that have been climbing as long as you have and some that are much stronger climbers than you, if what you tell me is true of your own abilities. That's not meant to be an insult. I'm just going off of what you've told us. As for the experience of our setters, our Head Routesetter is a two time US national bouldering champion and likely one of the strongest climbers you could ever meet. He's sent V14. (Obviously outside) He's also worked many years for the largest chain of gyms in California. Touchstone. He has more commercial setting experience than anyone we're likely ever to find in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana combined. He has finally say on all the grades in the gym. He knows what he's doing. But of course we have other setters in the gym as well. Routes can be set and graded when he's out of town. You ought to know it's not a perfect science and everyone has their own opinion. So there will always be outliers depending upon the strengths or weaknesses of any particular setter or climber. That's just the way it is. However I've never seen it offend anyone the way it seems to have done to you.
The more challenging routes are always going to be on the lead terrain. If you're only top roping in the gym, you're going to be limited to the easier routes. Also, the strongest climbers in the gym are usually a lot more into bouldering. So the most challenging stuff in the gym are usually boulders. So if your not going to boulder and you're not going to lead, then yes, your going to have a harder time finding something difficult to climb. I  would have thought that would be fairly obvious to any experienced climber that comes into the gym. Newer climbers that are going to top-rope only, make up at least 95% of our customers. So we are going to set easier stuff on that terrain that they can have a good time on. As our climbing community grows and gets stronger, we will adjust the difficulty of the routes accordingly to match the clientele. I hope I've answered all of your questions.
So, I don't know if what we have to offer is "worth" coming back for you. I suppose that would depend upon how much $12.50 is worth to you. For most, that's not very much money. But for others, that might be a real hardship. I really couldn't guess what it means to you.
FYI - If you do ever decide to come back, and you want to lead climb, you would first need to take a lead test. That can only be administered by certain staff members. So you would want to call ahead first to be sure that there would be someone around who could help you with that.

T Roper · · Chosstown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 865
dale polen wrote:

This is what was emailed to me from the gym, when I complained that the routes were too easy. The 12s in this gym are only tens,like 10a. Crazy easy. These are the ropes climbs...


I'm sorry, didn't realize that you actually wanted a response. We assumed that you're just a really grumpy person who wanted to complain and vent a bit. The gym is meant to be a friendly fun place where people come in to socialize and have a good time. If your intent is to bitch and complain about everything at the staff and other guests in the gym, then this probably isn't going to be the place for you. It also seemed that the purpose of your messages was to continue to make a lot of noise about how strong and awesome you are. And it seemed that everything in your messages were greatly exaggerated. So I assumed you weren't interested in a real discussion or any real answers. I just assumed that you obviously have some low self-esteem and confidence issues. But maybe I was wrong? Is that not the case? Have you really been climbing as long as you say and you still don't understand the differences between outside and indoor grading? They're not the same thing. They never will be. If that somehow is so offense to you, I don't know what to tell you other than just get over it. Do you really think that we've never been to any other indoor climbing gyms? We frequent many gyms with our youth climbing team. We have staff that have worked at gyms from Arizona, SLC, Washington and California. I've personal been to every gym from Portland Oregon to Las Vegas and everywhere in between. Our grading is in line with every gym I've been to. It's always very close one way or the other. However, our boulder grades are unfortunately more difficult than any gym I've been to so far. So we actually ought to soften those up a little. So when you say "I've never seen anything like it", I know you're full of shit. You either haven't been to very many gyms or you just wanted to complain. I'm sure you've been to a handful of gyms in your life. But if they've been very small, very old, or university gyms, you're going to find something different and a little unique unto itself. Also, if you haven't been to any large commercial gyms in the past five years or so, things have likely changed a little bit. But I wouldn't expect you to be an expert in gym grading. Why would you be? You like to climb outdoors, right? You would only step foot in an indoor climbing gym in the winter to train, correct? Well here's a newsflash for you, gyms don't cater to people like you. It'd be great if we could, but we can't. There aren't enough people like you. You're in the super minority. We can't keep our doors open with the $12.50 of "good money" that you paid to use our facility. You can't pay for a  2 million dollar facility with the day pass revenue from a small handful of serious climbers in the entire region. The math doesn't work. However, the strongest climbers around can still come in and have a good time and get a workout. I know, because I know them and have climbed with them in the gym. Many that have been climbing as long as you have and some that are much stronger climbers than you, if what you tell me is true of your own abilities. That's not meant to be an insult. I'm just going off of what you've told us. As for the experience of our setters, our Head Routesetter is a two time US national bouldering champion and likely one of the strongest climbers you could ever meet. He's sent V14. (Obviously outside) He's also worked many years for the largest chain of gyms in California. Touchstone. He has more commercial setting experience than anyone we're likely ever to find in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana combined. He has finally say on all the grades in the gym. He knows what he's doing. But of course we have other setters in the gym as well. Routes can be set and graded when he's out of town. You ought to know it's not a perfect science and everyone has their own opinion. So there will always be outliers depending upon the strengths or weaknesses of any particular setter or climber. That's just the way it is. However I've never seen it offend anyone the way it seems to have done to you.
The more challenging routes are always going to be on the lead terrain. If you're only top roping in the gym, you're going to be limited to the easier routes. Also, the strongest climbers in the gym are usually a lot more into bouldering. So the most challenging stuff in the gym are usually boulders. So if your not going to boulder and you're not going to lead, then yes, your going to have a harder time finding something difficult to climb. I  would have thought that would be fairly obvious to any experienced climber that comes into the gym. Newer climbers that are going to top-rope only, make up at least 95% of our customers. So we are going to set easier stuff on that terrain that they can have a good time on. As our climbing community grows and gets stronger, we will adjust the difficulty of the routes accordingly to match the clientele. I hope I've answered all of your questions.
So, I don't know if what we have to offer is "worth" coming back for you. I suppose that would depend upon how much $12.50 is worth to you. For most, that's not very much money. But for others, that might be a real hardship. I really couldn't guess what it means to you.
FYI - If you do ever decide to come back, and you want to lead climb, you would first need to take a lead test. That can only be administered by certain staff members. So you would want to call ahead first to be sure that there would be someone around who could help you with that.

I'd love to see what you wrote as well. 


Bill Shubert · · Lexington, MA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 55

Well, sounds like maybe this isn't the gym for you; they don't want you, and you don't want them. The response you got back has some sound advice you should take: Go elsewhere. I'm not sure what you hoped to gain by posting the letter here.

Draw Thief · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 30

Ty Gregory · · Salt Lake City · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 115
Luke Bertelsen · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Feb 2005 · Points: 3,292
Bill Shubert wrote:I'm not sure what you hoped to gain by posting the letter here.

This

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,360


dale polen wrote:

This is what was emailed to me from the gym, when I complained that the routes were too easy. The 12s in this gym are only tens,like 10a. Crazy easy. These are the ropes climbs...


I'm sorry, didn't realize that you actually wanted a response. We assumed that you're just a really grumpy person who wanted to complain and vent a bit. The gym is meant to be a friendly fun place where people come in to socialize and have a good time. If your intent is to bitch and complain about everything at the staff and other guests in the gym, then this probably isn't going to be the place for you. It also seemed that the purpose of your messages was to continue to make a lot of noise about how strong and awesome you are. 

And it seemed that everything in your messages were greatly exaggerated. So I assumed you weren't interested in a real discussion or any real answers. I just assumed that you obviously have some low self-esteem and confidence issues. But maybe I was wrong? Is that not the case? Have you really been climbing as long as you say and you still don't understand the differences between outside and indoor grading? They're not the same thing. They never will be. If that somehow is so offense to you, I don't know what to tell you other than just get over it. Do you really think that we've never been to any other indoor climbing gyms? We frequent many gyms with our youth climbing team. We have staff that have worked at gyms from Arizona, SLC, Washington and California. I've personal been to every gym from Portland Oregon to Las Vegas and everywhere in between. Our grading is in line with every gym I've been to. It's always very close one way or the other. However, our boulder grades are unfortunately more difficult than any gym I've been to so far. So we actually ought to soften those up a little. So when you say "I've never seen anything like it", I know you're full of shit. You either haven't been to very many gyms or you just wanted to complain. I'm sure you've been to a handful of gyms in your life. But if they've been very small, very old, or university gyms, you're going to find something different and a little unique unto itself. Also, if you haven't been to any large commercial gyms in the past five years or so, things have likely changed a little bit. But I wouldn't expect you to be an expert in gym grading. Why would you be? You like to climb outdoors, right? You would only step foot in an indoor climbing gym in the winter to train, correct? Well here's a newsflash for you, gyms don't cater to people like you. It'd be great if we could, but we can't. There aren't enough people like you. You're in the super minority. We can't keep our doors open with the $12.50 of "good money" that you paid to use our facility. You can't pay for a  2 million dollar facility with the day pass revenue from a small handful of serious climbers in the entire region. The math doesn't work. However, the strongest climbers around can still come in and have a good time and get a workout. I know, because I know them and have climbed with them in the gym. Many that have been climbing as long as you have and some that are much stronger climbers than you, if what you tell me is true of your own abilities. That's not meant to be an insult. I'm just going off of what you've told us. As for the experience of our setters, our Head Routesetter is a two time US national bouldering champion and likely one of the strongest climbers you could ever meet. He's sent V14. (Obviously outside) He's also worked many years for the largest chain of gyms in California. Touchstone. He has more commercial setting experience than anyone we're likely ever to find in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana combined. He has finally say on all the grades in the gym. He knows what he's doing. But of course we have other setters in the gym as well. Routes can be set and graded when he's out of town. You ought to know it's not a perfect science and everyone has their own opinion. So there will always be outliers depending upon the strengths or weaknesses of any particular setter or climber. That's just the way it is. However I've never seen it offend anyone the way it seems to have done to you.
The more challenging routes are always going to be on the lead terrain. If you're only top roping in the gym, you're going to be limited to the easier routes. Also, the strongest climbers in the gym are usually a lot more into bouldering. So the most challenging stuff in the gym are usually boulders. So if your not going to boulder and you're not going to lead, then yes, your going to have a harder time finding something difficult to climb. I  would have thought that would be fairly obvious to any experienced climber that comes into the gym. Newer climbers that are going to top-rope only, make up at least 95% of our customers. So we are going to set easier stuff on that terrain that they can have a good time on. As our climbing community grows and gets stronger, we will adjust the difficulty of the routes accordingly to match the clientele. I hope I've answered all of your questions.
So, I don't know if what we have to offer is "worth" coming back for you. I suppose that would depend upon how much $12.50 is worth to you. For most, that's not very much money. But for others, that might be a real hardship. I really couldn't guess what it means to you.
FYI - If you do ever decide to come back, and you want to lead climb, you would first need to take a lead test. That can only be administered by certain staff members. So you would want to call ahead first to be sure that there would be someone around who could help you with that.

Wow, alot to unpack here but first of all you definitely don't respond to a customer complaint this way. To know for sure I would have to know what you wrote Dale. 

That said a few talking points:

-This is maybe semantics but indoor and outdoor have the same grading system (YDS, mostly), the difference is simply the context. As long as the grading is consistent, ie a 5.12 in the gym is the same difficulty as another 5.12 in the gym, then I would consider their grading fairly solid.

-Just because someone climbs hard this does NOT make them a good setter, in fact it can be a real detriment because they have lost touch with the lower grades. It's a good idea to have good diversity on a setting crew, some medium climbers and some hard climbers + some women, which most gyms really lack in. 

-Yes, gyms are going to pander to their base, which is weak ass noobs. This puts the "real" climbers to the side admittedly but I would definitely argue that the "real" climbers are a huge asset to any gym and should not be ignored entirely because they bring a legitimacy to the operation and can help gym climbers make the transition to the outdoors. 

-If the 12s are in fact like 10s, this is a bit of a faux pas. It gives the gym climbers a extreme false impression of their abilities and can lead to some dangerous scenarios if they ever do get outdoors. It would be fair to make the 12s like mid 11 for reasons the gym owner stated but not 10. To sum it up, it's just lame and manipulative to go that soft.

-In my extended period in gyms there was always the asshole who hated us because we didn't set for his/her abilities. It's was always pretty easy to walk them around the gym and have a civil conversation about why we set the way we do. This almost always resulted in the "asshole" being satisfied and continuing to patronize the gym. I think that would have taken less effort than the rant that this gym owner wrote.

Andrew Krajnik · · Plainfield, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 324
Tradiban wrote:


Wow, alot to unpack here but first of all you definitely don't respond to a customer complaint this way. To know for sure I would have to know what you wrote Dale. 

That said a few talking points:

-This is maybe semantics but indoor and outdoor have the same grading system (YDS, mostly), the difference is simply the context. As long as the grading is consistent, ie a 5.12 in the gym is the same difficulty as another 5.12 in the gym, then I would consider their grading fairly solid.

-Just because someone climbs hard this does NOT make them a good setter, in fact it can be a real detriment because they have lost touch with the lower grades. It's a good idea to have good diversity on a setting crew, some medium climbers and some hard climbers + some women, which most gyms really lack in. 

-Yes, gyms are going to pander to their base, which is weak ass noobs. This puts the "real" climbers to the side admittedly but I would definitely argue that the "real" climbers are a huge asset to any gym and should not be ignored entirely because they bring a legitimacy to the operation and can help gym climbers make the transition to the outdoors. 

-If the 12s are in fact like 10s, this is a bit of a faux pas. It gives the gym climbers a extreme false impression of their abilities and can lead to some dangerous scenarios if they ever do get outdoors. It would be fair to make the 12s like mid 11 for reasons the gym owner stated but not 10. To sum it up, it's just lame and manipulative to go that soft.

-In my extended period in gyms there was always the asshole who hated us because we didn't set for his/her abilities. It's was always pretty easy to walk them around the gym and have a civil conversation about why we set the way we do. This almost always resulted in the "asshole" being satisfied and continuing to patronize the gym. I think that would have taken less effort than the rant that this gym owner wrote.

Yeah, without seeing the email(s) that this is responding to, it's tough to really judge, but this is unprofessional at best.

It's interesting to get some insight from someone who's set a lot of routes. In our gym, the grades definitely feel a bit "softer" than outside, but I think a lot of that has to do with routefinding. I've only been climbing for 2 years, and most of that has been in the gym. I have about 30 days of real-rock climbing under my belt, and outside, I'm not climbing anywhere near the grades I do in the gym. However, if I actually look at the movement and technique required to send an outdoor route vs. the movement of a similar grade in the gym, it's not all that far off. In the gym, I have a literal road map of what holds to use, and can suss out beta from that. Outside, I often can't guess the beta for a particular sequence until I'm actually at that point in the climb. It gets a little better every time I climb outside, but I still have a long way to go.

At the end of the day, though, I try not to get hung up on the absolute numbers. In our gym, I know the routesetters, and their various styles, and I know what grades will be challenging for me. When I climb at DL or the Red, I likewise have been there enough to know where to start my day, and what grades I wasn't to shoot for. If I head somewhere new, I pick something easy for a warmup, get a feel for the climbing style and rock at that particular location, and take it from there. I can't imagine getting worked up over how hard or soft a particular gym's grades are, unless they literally have nothing that's challenging for me. That's certainly not the case for me, but if it were, I guess I'd find a different gym.

Mike Womack · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 1,648

Dale, was it ammon who emailed you?  I agree with the above comments but would also like to add that the SE Idaho climbing community is quite small (I used to be a part of it. lived in Idaho falls).  I tried to stay out of the indoor scene and it's because the other indoor places were extremely limited.  Have you been to regional rock walls? sticks and stones? the YMCA in IF?  Even if the edge is providing dangerous difficulty expectations (which I can believe), it's still the safest and best thing around. I'll also add that the outdoor grades there are very soft.  I'll whip on a socal 10b, but cruise up a 12b in Idaho while talking about my latest vegetarian recipes.  That seems to be a regional thing since City, massacre, and other areas are also soft.  He probably just got butt-hurt that someone told him his grades were soft.  

Even though it's not comfy, you can still climb there in the winter (ross park, pointless, or south park are best).  Once it starts warming up, hit up heise, box canyon, teton dam, city of rocks.  Welcome to SE Idaho!!

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,576

Paragraphs are aid.  To echo what others have said, you should show what you wrote, not just the reply.

Andrew Krajnik · · Plainfield, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 324
Jake Jones wrote:

Paragraphs are aid.  To echo what others have said, you should show what you wrote, not just the reply.

Dude, you gotta warn me before you post something like that. My office door is open!

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,360

Hey "dale". If you really want to draw attention to this thread and your burden, I suggest changing the title, maybe add "sucks" or (NSFW). Tips from a pro ;)

Cocoapuffs 1000 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 10

Posting the gym's response without posting your original email is a bit of a red flag.

That said, I still don't understand the logic of deliberately making gym (roped) grades soft.  New climber's who aren't familiar with the YDS won't know the difference, and it sets up gym climbers to get in over their heads if they climb outside.  I understand the V-scale is really steep at the low end and not beginner friendly, but that doesn't really apply to roped grades.

Jack Lumber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 0

Lookng at the OP's profile, he seems to have a habit of downgrading outdoor climbs as well. I'm guessing his judgement is off.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,576
Andrew Krajnik wrote:

Dude, you gotta warn me before you post something like that. My office door is open!

My apologies.

John Roark · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Cool story bruhh

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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