One of my jobs, and probably my favorite job, is setting routes for competitions. I started route setting shortly after I started climbing when some guys at the gym where I climbed invited me to a routesetting clinic they were putting on. We had a meeting at a Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall restaurant that we like, and then went back to the gym after it closed and set some routes. My friend Patrick and I were given a dihedral to set together--I set the bottom, he set the top. We set our route pretty quickly, and the head setter came over to try it out. He tied in (it was a toprope, fortunately) and headed up. About 1/2 way up, where the route transitioned from my setting to Patrick's setting, all four holds the head setter was holding on to and standing on spun simultaneously. Because he was doing a stemming backstep in a corner at the time, he spun in a circle and scraped up most of his appendages. It was pretty funny, but we learned something quick about the importance of properly tightening holds.
Since then I've gone on to set commercially (i.e. day-to-day gym setting) for both ropes and bouldering at a couple of different gyms (Rocksport in Reno, where I learned, The Spot in Boulder, where I still work now, and The Boulder Rock Club in Boulder, where I helped out for a while). I've also been lucky enough to set many competitions on all levels from local/regional to national level pro comps for both youth and adults. I really like setting in all forms, and though it's been over 12 years now I'm always learning something new from it.
I am excited to announce that my gym, The Spot in Boulder, Colorado, is throwing a huge event this May (so soon!) during the Climbing Wall Association conference. The CWA Conference will be the biggest gathering of artificial climbing wall owners, managers, and setters in this hemisphere in 2010. Since it's happening in Boulder, we decided we'd put on a pro invitational to go with it.
I am particularly excited about this event because I am helping set it. The other week fellow setter Jonny Hork and I went up to Flagstaff Mountain with Cedar Wright to make a promo video for the event in which we explained the format a little bit. You only see me for a minute, but you can see my awesome Flashed hat that my mom knit for me.
While Cedar was filming Daniel on one of the problems he climbed up in this tall half-dead pine tree to get a good overhead shot. Then he had a really hard time getting down. We surreptitiously turned the camera on him in case he fell out of the tree and bounced down the rock. There is a little bit of his eventual escape at the end of this other promo video:
And here's the first one, for good measure:
For more on the comp check out The Spot Route Setting Blog.