As the year comes to a close, we're left to reflect on our accomplishments of the past 365 days — miles driven, friends' birthdays Facebook had to remind you of, tinder dates never texted again — and for us climbers, routes climbed. For every route or problem you've climbed this year, there was a routesetter behind it — setting every hold, move, and tweaking every angle. It's actually a pretty insane amount of work - in 2016 alone, Summit routesetters set over 4,600 different routes and boulder problems.
I mean, seriously, what.
If it seems like a lot, it's because it is. Our routesetting crew works really hard to get fresh sets on the walls for you guys to enjoy, and this post is to give them some hard-earned recognition! They're more than just initials on neon tape - they're REAL LIVE PEOPLE and this is how they help make our gyms so darn AWESOME.
A routesetter's day starts at 7 am each work day, where they spend an hour stripping the walls they are about to be setting on, as well as installing all the volumes they'll be utilizing for that set. Volumes vary from the small little triangles you'll see a foothold or two on, to something as big as the giant stars we have installed at Grapevine, Carrollton and Dallas. As a gym employee washes the old holds, the setters start setting at 8 am, and will set for three hours straight until usually around 11 am. Sometimes it's longer! After a brief break for lunch, they return and spend the next 3 hours forerunning every single move of every single problem. Each move is forerun at least once, but often it's a lot more than that, though. When setting problems, the routesetters aren't just visualizing moves — they have you guys in mind! Sometimes they'll set a problem with a particular person or subsection of climbers' climbing style envisioned.
An average day for our routesetting crew is setting up to 36 routes, or 40 boulder problems a day. The work itself is actually insanely tedious. Set a move, move the ladder. Set another move, move the ladder. Remember — every hold on the wall was bolted on by someone, and then fussed with as they worked and reworked it to capture the movement that the routesetter originally envisioned.
At the end of forerunning, WAIT — they're not done. It's up to them to sort and put away all the unused holds. And this is the setting life Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (Wednesday is their "rest" day, but they actually spend it doing maintenance work at the gyms.)
This work is magnified during competition weeks. Summit currently hosts six competitions a year that need setting. For each of these, the setters spend two 12-hour days setting for, and forerunning tons of routes and problems, rated as hard as V11 or V12.
When the setting life starts to get a little dull, we bring in professional setters to guest set and host clinics for our setters. Their different styles and viewpoints can help inspire our setters!
So thanks to our crew of routesetters who have made this year in Summit climbing so great! They might not even read this blog post, but a big shout-out anyways to:
Chris LoCrasto: Head Routesetter
Tucker Black: Crew Boss
Jenna St. Germain
and Canon Huse!
Have a great New Year everyone, and get excited about the sweet sets this crew will bust out in the New Year!