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General Climbing Discussion

Setting gym routes

Jay Woo
9:16:00 AM
During my holidays I got to visit a few gyms overseas. All of them used the 'multicoloured hold tagged with the same coloured tape' principle to set out routes. Come to think of it, gyms that I've visited outside of Victoria use this method too. Is Melbourne the only place in the world that sets gym routes with the same coloured holds? Anyone got ideas on how this Melbourne-centric phenomenon came about? It got me thinking that it must be a limiting factor for the route setters having to use the same coloured holds. I think Melbourne gyms should change their ways. Though if Melbourne was going to adopt this method, there is one thing I would change that I think would improve it further. Instead of the tape being placed under the hold, I think it would be better to place it on the top. This way you can tell which holds you should be standing on easier.

10:09:36 AM
Totally with you on this one. I mean if you are into climbing routes then tape on the top would definately be a plus. I mean my memory span is about 1 move so I often find it hard to remember which holds are good for feet! Climbing in Sydney and Canberra the gyms tend to stick to one colour for a route in my experience. But of course bouldering problems have had tape for ages - I suppose it is kind of like plastic tick marks in a way, only easier to remove...

10:17:18 AM
Every gym i went to in the UK used the coloured hold system....
10:25:37 AM
Sydney gyms in fact take it further than Melbourne gyms in that the colour type tells you something about the grade - along the lines of ski trail markers.
eg green = easy-12, blue = 12-17 yellow = 17-21 red = 21-24 black = 25+

I'm always amused to be spanked in melbourne gyms when it's "only a green"

10:41:19 AM
I think the rest of the world just hasnt caught up with Melbourne intelligence. The point of indoor sport climbing is that you stick to a single route. Part of climbing is being able to stand at the base and visualise the path and the moves. How are you supposed to do that when there are multicoloured holds everywhere??? We tried the tag system at my school climbing gym to try more creative routes but we ended up with climbs that weren't any better than ususal but were more difficult to distinguish from below or above.

12:02:34 PM
Since most gyms survive on parties and school visits, its a lot easier for kids to understand, just use the green holds etc. i know it works for my 4yo on my home woodie, prior to setting routes for her with only one colour, she thought I was mad saying you cant use such and such hold, now shes the coloured hold police and finds it much more enjoyable

7:48:23 PM
Most of the gyms I've been to in Australia have used the one colour hold for the same route and I've experienced the same in one London gym and 2 Las Vegas gyms. One gym in Sydney and one on the Gold Coast takes this further and keeps the same colour hold for the same level of difficulty. In all honesty I like keeping the colour of the holds with a consist difficulty. It makes picking a suitable rope / wall section on a busy night easy, as you can spot where you want to go before you get there.

A couple of the Sydney gyms also keep the colour of the holds consistant for a specific bouldering problem, although not the same grade across the boulding wall. I've been to gyms where they tag each hold, it seems that the boulding problems are confused and appear to be rarely reset.
8:21:04 PM
One color hold for one route at a given grade works for me. Too simple. The issues that I think are important with gyms are the variety of hold manufacturers, creativity of route setters and regularity of route changes. Some gyms only use one or two hold types and it gets very predictable and doesn't give variety of climbing. The route setters have distinctly different styles so the more quality route setters the better. And regularity of route changes goes without saying, but I do understand the financial constraints for gym owners/managers.

9:19:46 PM
One thing that's nice in some bouldering caves at gyms is user tagged holds.
Half the 'hard men' and women in the cave tend to be route setters anyway, and almost all of them take to creating their own problems from the holds in place.

When there is a certain area (usually the 45deg wall or similar) that tolerates the clientelle tape marking the holds to 'set' their own problems helps keep interest. These sort of dank testosterone,estroegen and sweat pits are rarely frequented by the birthday parties (be carefilly billy, trolls live under that bridge...)

There are 9 messages in this topic.


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