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Is this a reasonable request for route setters?
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linteater


Jul 29, 2012, 7:00 PM
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Is this a reasonable request for route setters?
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I know being short is no excuse...Lynn Hill, etc. but lately the route setters at the gym I frequent have just been getting lazy and have started making problems difficult by throwing in huge moves instead of focusing on movement.

I don't think it's a matter of working on my lock off or getting higher feet. (unless hand/foot matching on crimps is a reasonable workaround). Lately there have been an increasing number of routes/boulder problems that have horizontal reaches past my arm span. Now I know with a 4'10 arm span there are just going to be some problems I just can't do, but it's starting to be a majority of climbs at this gym. It's frustrating to see my "climbing grade" slip from an 11+ to stagnating at a 10+. Heck, there's even a 5.8 I just barely sent.

The gym manager, a short gal herself, used to test all the routes for short-friendliness. But the last few times I asked for beta her only solutions were to cheat.

Is there a polite way to ask route setters to start putting some thought into the climbs? Or shouldijust accept that I'm SOL, stop whining, and take this As s sign to find a new gym (options are quite limited). I do enjoy climbing outside, but with frequent thunderstorms I do like having the gym option.


Traches


Jul 29, 2012, 8:34 PM
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Re: [linteater] Is this a reasonable request for route setters? [In reply to]
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Nah you're right, it's the sign of a poor setter if they can't make a hard route without just making it reachy. Heck, outdoors even if the route is reachy there are usually crappy intermediate holds that can be used/bumped off of if necessary that taller people tend to just skip.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be reachy routes in a gym, they just shouldn't be the only ones; and I'm not even short! If the gym owner's a short girl and has to cheat on the routes, I'd imagine you've got a pretty easy case asking her to have a word with her route setters.


patto


Jul 29, 2012, 9:15 PM
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Re: [linteater] Is this a reasonable request for route setters? [In reply to]
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Route setting is HARD. (Not that I've ever done it, but it just strikes me as something that is hard to get right.)

But a good route setter is the difference between a gym with a bunch of boring climbs and a fun gym.


lena_chita
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Jul 30, 2012, 5:58 AM
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Re: [linteater] Is this a reasonable request for route setters? [In reply to]
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linteater wrote:
I know being short is no excuse...Lynn Hill, etc. but lately the route setters at the gym I frequent have just been getting lazy and have started making problems difficult by throwing in huge moves instead of focusing on movement.

I don't think it's a matter of working on my lock off or getting higher feet. (unless hand/foot matching on crimps is a reasonable workaround). Lately there have been an increasing number of routes/boulder problems that have horizontal reaches past my arm span. Now I know with a 4'10 arm span there are just going to be some problems I just can't do, but it's starting to be a majority of climbs at this gym. It's frustrating to see my "climbing grade" slip from an 11+ to stagnating at a 10+. Heck, there's even a 5.8 I just barely sent.

The gym manager, a short gal herself, used to test all the routes for short-friendliness. But the last few times I asked for beta her only solutions were to cheat.

Is there a polite way to ask route setters to start putting some thought into the climbs? Or shouldijust accept that I'm SOL, stop whining, and take this As s sign to find a new gym (options are quite limited). I do enjoy climbing outside, but with frequent thunderstorms I do like having the gym option.


If this is a new trend in your gym, and you have been there long enough to know that things didn't used to be that way, I think it would be reasonable to mention this to the gym manager. Maybe there was a change of route-setters, maybe someone left... in any case, you are the customer of that gym, you definitely can express your opinion about the routes!

Whether it would result in a desired change though... who knows! Maybe it will, especially if you can round up a few other short climbers who would agree with your assessment of the situation, and will add their voices to yours.

You might just get labeled the whiny shortie who just needs to get over herself and start dynoing already! (Ask me how I know, LOL!) But IMO it is worth speaking up.

I can say that route-setting is hard. Someone is going to feel that the route is much easier for certain body type, someone would disagree with the grade, and someone would just complain that the moves are funky, weird, contrived and stupid. It is possible to set a route that everyone likes, but it doesn't happen easily, or all the time.

In the end, gym climbing is training. So what if you can't climb 5.10 in this particular gym, when you can comfortably send 5.11 outside? Work on the moves that are hard but theoretically doable, skip the ones that feel completely unrealistic (but give them a good try or 20, before declaring them impossible), add feet as needed, and measure your progress by routes you send outside, not by gym ratings.


petsfed


Jul 30, 2012, 8:25 AM
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Re: [linteater] Is this a reasonable request for route setters? [In reply to]
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I've set for a college gym for a long time, which doesn't permit children for the most part. As such, we've never had to intentionally set for folks under 5'2". If I try to set enough small crappy holds for people to use as intermediates, then there are also now too many footholds for the original sequence at the desired grade, so I have to rework it again, back and forth, all provided there's somebody on the route setting staff short enough to test for that body type.

That's not to say that setting for short people isn't worth the trouble, just that its a question of market share. As others said, talk to other climbers, get a group of short folks together and prove that it is worth the trouble.


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