Outdoor Insider Fall 2015 - Page 15

College and university climbing gyms should have an easier grade distribution during fall semester as new climbers come in and a slightly harder distribution during spring semester to match the new climbers’ progress. Document the grade distribution for reference—a simple spreadsheet works well. This becomes the benchmark for your facility’s setting. For example, at the gym I manage, we use the following grade distribution for bouldering: Grade Quantity VB 1 V0 2 V1 3 V2 4 V3 5 V4 6 V5 5 V6 4 V7 3 V8 1 V9 1 Total Routes 35 Ideally, grade distribution also includes a route map that distributes different grades relatively equally across the wall. A gym should have difficult routes next to easy routes. Newer climbers need to learn how to climb on steeper terrain, and experienced climbers need to learn how to climb technical routes on lower-angle terrain. A good route map also requires climbers of all abilities to mingle, which creates a more supportive and democratic social environment at the climbing gym. Route Turnover Once the grade distribution is established, a gym needs to plan a schedule for taking down old routes and setting new ones (route turnover). Having fresh routes is critical to keep your community of climbers engaged and happy. Without adequate route turnover, participation will decrease. Resetting the climbing wall at the beginning of each semester is not enough for most gyms. As a guideline, a gym should take four to six weeks to turn over bouldering routes and eight to ten weeks to turn over rope routes. There are three primary ways to structure route turnover: full different position on the wall, as you are starting with a blank canvas. gym resets, resetting sections, and resetting grade ranges. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. routes for climbers of all abilities after each reset. Setting sections allows for a high route turnover, with new routes every week to two weeks. A larger hold inventory is required, and certain holds can become “locked” in one section because of lack of rotation in other sections. Full gym resets: In my opinion, this is the least effective way to structure route turnover. I recommend full gym resets only before climbing competitions. Full gym resets require significant time and effort and therefore happen infrequently. They can also require shutting down the gym for a day or two. One advantage is that all of the holds get rearranged. If the gym uses volumes, this is a good opportunity to move them to a aore.org | nationaloffice@aore.org Resetting sections: Divide the wall into sections that can be reset by two to five staff in four to six hours (about four to six boulder routes and three to four rope routes). Use prominent wall features to designate the sections. Setters begin by stripping holds from the entire section and then putting up all new routes. Setting can be done outside of open climbing hours. There are new Resetting grade ranges: Similar to setting sections, resetting grade ranges allows for a high route turnover and can be done outside of open hours. Setters strip all routes of the grade range and set new routes in this range. Climbers of diff \