“A day of route setting runs from 8am to 5pm. It takes up the biggest portion of my day, and is the most intense of my many activities. It is a laborious, male-dominated industry and there are a lot of physical and mental requirements. Nevertheless, I really enjoy the craft.
Climbing gyms rely on well-planned routes for a range of customers, making route setting an important and demanding job. Led by the head setter, we set between 18 and 24 routes each day, usually in teams of 5 or 6 setters.
The hardest part is the creativity it requires. We have to consider multiple factors: difficulty grades, hold choices, movements, climbing styles, safety, and aesthetics, just to name a few. Right after, we try out and adjust the routes we’ve set.
I started climbing because I had to. As an 18-year-old service crew member at the local climbing gym, I was asked to explore the sport to better serve customers. I took a liking to it and 4 months later, I found myself on the podium at my first climbing competition. It’s been 14 years since. I haven’t stopped climbing and have no intention to.”