Outdoor Insider Fall 2015 - Page 16

wait longer for new routes that they can climb. Setting grade ranges, especially when setting hard routes, is not the most efficient way to use individual setters’ strengths. Setting around other routes on the wall makes it difficult to use or move volumes or large, feature-type holds. At the University of Minnesota climbing gym, we reset sections every Sunday and host one climbing competition each semester to help rearrange all the holds. I have found this to be a good balance, but there is no perfect solution, and I am always trying new things. Play around with route turnover to find what works best for your gym. Setting often allows new setters to get the requisite practice for skill development. Many setters at college climbing gyms are students with little or no prior experience. Student setters generally have two to three years at the gym. For example, if a climbing gym resets at the beginning of each semester and for one competition each year, the average setter will have 16 only six to nine opportunities to set in his or her college career. If, instead, a gym sets some routes every two weeks during the school year, setters will have 28 to 42 setting opportunities. The more often routes are turned over, the more experience setters develop, which leads to higher quality routes. Setting Assignments During each reset, creating route assignments maintains the gym’s grade distribution. This can be as simple as making a list of the grade and quantity of routes that need to be set and letting setters select the routes they want. On the other end of the spectrum, managers may choose to assign each setter specific routes with a desired grade and style. Setting assignments can be a tool to change setting culture and develop skills. Experienced setters and strong climbers generally choose to set hard routes, while newer setters are left to set the easy routes. In terms of the gym’s quality, easy to intermediate routes are the most important, AORE Outdoor Insider | Fall 2015 because they see the most traffic and affect the learning of newer climbers. By assigning experienced setters a mix of easy and hard routes, managers can establish the importance of setting for the gym’s users rather than setters’ personal interests. Similarly, setters gravitate toward styles of routes that match their strengths. This is not how one learns to be a better setter. If, for example, a setter usually sets powerful routes on overhangs, assigning the setter a technical route on a vertical wall will push him or her to try new things and develop a repertoire of movements. Still, maintaining the gym’s grade distribution is the most important outcome of setting assignments. Route Grades There are three options for communicating route difficulty to the users at a climbing gym: specific YDS of V-Scale grades for each route, grade ranges, and circuits. Specific grades: Every route in the gym has a specific grade assigned to it, just like you would