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Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs?
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Poll: Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs?
Give me the feet 11 / 73%
Make me track (handholds for feet) 4 / 27%
15 total votes
 

socalbolter


Jun 15, 2007, 8:55 AM
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Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs?
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Just about every route setter tends to go one way or the other with this. There are those that like the technical intricacy that can be created by using lots of footholds and there are those that like their climbs to be a little more powerful, by requiring climbers to track their feet. And then of course there are the majority that tend to fall in the middle somewhere.

When climbing indoors, which do you prefer? Why?

Pros and cons of each in your opinion?

If there are any setters lurking on the thread, which do you do more often? Why?

Thanks for the feedback.

- Louie


anykineclimb


Jun 15, 2007, 9:07 AM
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Re: [socalbolter] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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At times, Tracking feels too much like a ladder.
move feet to hands, repeat..

Like you said, I like the "technical intricacy" of having foot holds.


overlord


Jun 15, 2007, 10:42 AM
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Re: [anykineclimb] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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depends(tm)...

tracking works on some routes/probs, footholds on other.

i use both about equally, plus sometimes i make up a thing where you have some additional footholds when tracking. i cant even say i prefer one over the other. general rule is in my experience is that routes/probs with footholds tend to be more 'tecnical' (as in you have more options for footwork) and tracking tends to be more 'power-based' (as in you have to make do with what you have).

i also think that SOMETIMES tracking is more like 'real' rock because on 'real' rock you dont always have a footjib everywhere you lookWink


lena_chita
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Jun 15, 2007, 11:18 AM
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Re: [socalbolter] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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Depends, of course.

In our gym, about 90% of bouldering routes are jibs-on, and 10% are track.

When it comes to roped climbing about 90% are strictly track, and the rest allow for the use of jibs or wall features.

When I set routes I usually go with the same scenario-- e.i. the routes I set on toprope walls are track and the ones on bouldering wall aren't.

I do very much like having the choice in feet myself b/c I'm short and often climb a route differently than the setter has envisioned it.

But I'm too lazy to get the jibs and screw them onto the high wall-- usually when I think of needing a jib, I don't feel like coming back down to get a drill and screws, so I just stick a smallish bolted hold on and label it as part of the route, or plan a move involving smearing.


cole22


Jun 15, 2007, 12:08 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
Depends, of course.

"In our gym, about 90% of bouldering routes are jibs-on, and 10% are track.

Same thing at my gym and I prefer it that way. When I go to other gyms around where I live, not often, I hate that they don't have jibs. Mainly for the same reason as lena chita just on the other end of the spectrum. I'm a little over 6'4 and without choices...it just sucks. makes it more difficult to be smooth or figure out something a different way.


(This post was edited by cole22 on Jun 15, 2007, 12:11 PM)


alderak


Jun 15, 2007, 12:32 PM
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Re: [socalbolter] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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occasionally problems/routes don't require added feet, but most of the time, a good, winding route will need a few feet to make it less awkward.

I think that indoor routes should be as comfortable and fluid as possible. Add difficulty through turned holds, slopers, etc... not by making people highstep and hop around all the time.

The gym i climb at now doesn't mark anything but handholds, but all screw on holds, and small bolt on holds are automatic feet. I think it is a product of 75% of their climbing surface being super featured panels.
(I hate having to use all small holds because the panels aren't flat, too!)

Drives me berserk! Maybe its a waste of tape, but I like to be able to tell people where they can use feet, not have them choose from 5000 options. If nothing else, it helps me suggest/force a sequence easier.
(Louie, is that reasonable or maybe just a shortcoming of my routesetting ability?)


socalbolter


Jun 15, 2007, 12:57 PM
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Re: [alderak] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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alderak wrote:

Maybe its a waste of tape, but I like to be able to tell people where they can use feet, not have them choose from 5000 options. If nothing else, it helps me suggest/force a sequence easier.
(Louie, is that reasonable or maybe just a shortcoming of my routesetting ability?)

Davy -

I go back and forth on this one. Personally I like setting (and marking) certain feet, but at the same time I can see the mindset that leads to all jibs being on. More and more gyms are adopting the "all jibs for feet" approach in at least their bouldering areas. I think that it shows laziness on their part. A lot of the setting I do features foothold-driven movement. If people can pick and choose from too many foothold options - the movement gets distilled and broken down.

Some people use the whole height dependency argument (The climb has to be good for really short climbers and really tall climbers also), but again this is laziness. A good setter knows how to accommodate everyone with their setting.

I started this thread, because this topic comes up in setting discussions a lot and it seems as though the norm is starting to lean more toward the "lazy" approach when it comes to commercial setting. I hope I'm wrong about where things are headed, and if it turns out that I'm just the old guy with some dated opinions then so be it, but I figured I'd put the question out there and see what kind of responses are given.


lena_chita
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Jun 15, 2007, 1:34 PM
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Re: [socalbolter] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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I am sure this is more relevant to people who set routes for competitions.

I think in our gym it all evens out in the end b/c there are many people setting routes, everyone has their own style and "favorite moves", you end up with a mix of routes in different styles, everyone is happy. (LOL, though of course you'll find people grumbling about any specific route-- usually when they find that they can't climb it, though in their mind they should be able to. Then, of course, it's the setter's fault and a bad route...)

I do go back and forth about likeing open feet vs. track. Yes, sometimes you really want to force people to make a certain move in a certain way. But I find that even when you have a track route with all taped holds people would still often find a different way to do that move, instead of doing what the setter envisioned.

On the other hand, having a choice of jibs and wall features is to me more like outside climbing. You dont have bright tape telling you: "STEP HERE!!!". You have to figure out which feet will make the move work for you. It also trains you to look down and search for feet, instead of going for that big obvious knob... To me this is a large part of climbing.


ja1484


Jun 15, 2007, 2:25 PM
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Re: [socalbolter] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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Most of the better stuff I've been on indoors involves creative use of tracking. I wouldn't say there's anything wrong with feet, but it seems kind of silly to have a hold available for the hand and then not for the foot...

I'd say tracking just because it ensures consistency if nothing else.


jt512


Jun 15, 2007, 2:36 PM
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Re: [socalbolter] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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socalbolter wrote:
A lot of the setting I do features foothold-driven movement.

And you can't have foothold-driven movement without footholds. I don't mind the occasional tracking problem, but I hate gyms where the preponderance of moves rely on tracking. The problems tend to feel too contrived, too static, and just not much fun.

Jay


(This post was edited by jt512 on Jun 15, 2007, 2:37 PM)


socalbolter


Jun 15, 2007, 2:51 PM
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Re: [jt512] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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OK, there seems to be some misunderstanding of terms here.

By tracking, I mean that there are no holds placed on the climb that are intended to be only used as footholds. Instead the hand holds are the only foot options. That would be the one side of things.

The other is when setters place several additional holds on the climb that are intended to be used primarily as footholds.

The third option is the kind of "anything goes" approach to footholds, where setters litter the wall with a ton of foothold options and/or jibs and place no real limits on what can be used as a foothold for a given climb.

Hope that clarifies where I'm coming from with this question.


coolcat83


Jun 15, 2007, 3:44 PM
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Re: [socalbolter] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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i usualy like having feet, to highstep or backstep every move just get's old. some of the best ondoor routes i've climbed were where there was a tiny foot hold at just the right angle that your shoe locked against it in a smear.
that said i've also climbed some really creative routes where handholds that were decent for hands were arranged in such a way that your foot had to be on it in a different way than just jamming you toe on the hand hold or stepping on the thing.


jt512


Jun 15, 2007, 5:06 PM
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Re: [socalbolter] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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socalbolter wrote:
OK, there seems to be some misunderstanding of terms here.

By tracking, I mean that there are no holds placed on the climb that are intended to be only used as footholds. Instead the hand holds are the only foot options. That would be the one side of things.

The other is when setters place several additional holds on the climb that are intended to be used primarily as footholds.

The third option is the kind of "anything goes" approach to footholds, where setters litter the wall with a ton of foothold options and/or jibs and place no real limits on what can be used as a foothold for a given climb.

Hope that clarifies where I'm coming from with this question.

Well, I wasn't confused. In my experience, tracking problems tend to feel contrived and force static moves, and, although I don't mind a few such problems in my workout, I don't like a steady diet of them.

On the dedicated feet vs all jibs on issue, I don't have much preference.

Jay


alderak


Jun 15, 2007, 5:27 PM
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Re: [socalbolter] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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When I was learning, one of the first big steps to becoming a better setter was learning to recognize when a foothold was necessary and then adding it effectively.

I'd agree that the "all jibs on" thing is just lazy.


A really good routesetter is trying to set routes that aren't just fun and challenging to climb, but routes that teach technique. This gets much more difficult with open feet.


coastal_climber


Jun 15, 2007, 9:39 PM
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Re: [alderak] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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A bit of both.

>Cam


ja1484


Jun 15, 2007, 10:16 PM
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Re: [socalbolter] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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socalbolter wrote:
OK, there seems to be some misunderstanding of terms here.

By tracking, I mean that there are no holds placed on the climb that are intended to be only used as footholds. Instead the hand holds are the only foot options. That would be the one side of things.

The other is when setters place several additional holds on the climb that are intended to be used primarily as footholds.

The third option is the kind of "anything goes" approach to footholds, where setters litter the wall with a ton of foothold options and/or jibs and place no real limits on what can be used as a foothold for a given climb.

Hope that clarifies where I'm coming from with this question.


In that case, option #2, but are the intended footholds exclusively footholds? Many jibs can be crimped effectively on vertical or slightly overhanging faces. I've cheated through routes this way before.


socalbolter


Jun 16, 2007, 2:36 PM
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Re: [ja1484] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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If the setter doesn't want you to be able to sue the feet as hands, it's up to him to select the appropriate foothold to use. If you can use it and it makes the climb easier than the setter intended, then they need to do a better job of setting.


ja1484


Jun 16, 2007, 8:07 PM
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Re: [socalbolter] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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socalbolter wrote:
If the setter doesn't want you to be able to sue the feet as hands, it's up to him to select the appropriate foothold to use. If you can use it and it makes the climb easier than the setter intended, then they need to do a better job of setting.


I 100% agree. Was just checking to see if we were on the same page here :)


pseudolith


Jun 18, 2007, 6:10 AM
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Re: [ja1484] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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I agree that the "all jibs are on for feet" mentality seems to be a bit of laziness in routesetting. At our gym in Gainesville, if it's intended to be used on a problem, it's taped. Otherwise, I feel that the routesetter would have a very hard time "forcing" certain moves or keeping the intended flow and difficulty of their problems.

It takes a little more time and thought to set a problem that way, but I think it leads to more interesting and challenging problems that make climbers better prepared to climb outdoors.


iwasasportweenie


Jun 18, 2007, 6:44 AM
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Re: [pseudolith] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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I don't think that the "all-jibs-are-feet" approach necessarily amounts to laziness. Especially with thin or slopey traversing problems, this can be a way to level the playing field for people of different heights. No one, this far, has mentioned that jibs tend to be, well, really small. If someone wants to tack on a couple of v-grades by stepping on a crappy jib instead of using the good knob I taped, more power to them. I guess what I'm saying is that this approach makes sense for traverses.

That said, I tend to set all of my climbs tracked (often with additional taped footholds), because if your goal is a route-setter isn't to try to force some particular kind of movement, then what is it? With the exception of the occasional "splitter" crack outdoors, how many times have you finished a climb where you did the same move 40 times (e.g. crimp, rockover, repeat) and lowered off thinking "wow, classic!"?

It's cool to have options, and The Jackson Pollack approach to setting is OK if you're strapped for time or resources (and can occasionally yield some interesting or even beautiful results), but in my mind the tracking-with-additional-footholds approach allows a setter to address all of the difficulties inherent in route-setting by creating interesting movement and simultaneously providing options for people of different heights.

Re: additional footholds reducing grades - this doesn't have to be an issue. Just make sure to use upside-down screw-ons or pointy knobs or dual-texture holds or other things that are difficult or unpleasant to crank on when you're placing additional feet.

My $0.02.

-ER


sinrtb


Jun 23, 2007, 11:07 AM
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Re: [iwasasportweenie] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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I am still new to routesetting but what i usually do is, hands for the whole route first, with body positioning in mind, then climb it and put in the feet as needed. I aim for foot holds half way between my perfect foot position and the shortest climber, I know, perfect foot position.


quiteatingmysteak


Jun 23, 2007, 12:26 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Footholds or tracking on indoor climbs? [In reply to]
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Aha, at first i thought this was a "Theres a problem at my gym thats got black tape, and the footholds arent on!" thread but than i saw louie posted it :D

Good quiestion! When I set i always put feet because on 5.7-5.10 range climbs (90% of what gyms will want) it forces the climbers to do specific moves, rather than just tug and pull. I definitely see downfall, and I really like setters that throw very small jibs and chips up high for shorties to make those lunges.


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