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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 2 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 49
Author
Compare gyms in Melbourne to Europe
Stuey
31/01/2008
10:50:56 AM
On 31/01/2008 devlin66 wrote:
> Is it too much to ask that someone who is getting paid
>about $18 an hour to set routes, to do a couple a day to keep the routes
>turning over.

But thats providing you can get someone who can set to do that. Theres a big difference between a decent routesetter and someone that just comes along and chucks stuff up for the sake of getting new routes.

alrob
31/01/2008
10:58:39 AM
On 31/01/2008 devlin66 wrote:
>On 30/01/2008 alrob wrote:
>>On 30/01/2008 devlin66 wrote:
>>>On 30/01/2008 Cliffhanger wrote:
>>>>From a gym owners perspective, you won't get full-time route setters
>>>until
>>>>the volume of patronage in gyms, at least in Melbourne, trebles! It's
>>>just
>>>>not cost effective.
>>>
>>>From a customers perspective you won't get more patronage until the
>walls
>>>are better set and the gyms feeling like a good place to climb rather
>>than
>>>some run down barn.
>>
>>so if the gyms jacked up their entry price to pay for professional routesetters
>>you'd be cool with that?
>>
>>the reality is that when you rock up on a tuesday night to climb with
>>friends and socialise, you're oblivious to the hours spent during the
>day
>>by staff setting routes. do you realise how much time and effort goes
>into
>>setting even just a single route?
>>
>>granted, most of the staff are not trained routesetters, but you don't
>>go to your local bakery and ask why the croissant you just bought for
>80c
>>tastes nothing like the one you had in France do you?
>
>Actually I'm not oblivious to what goes on behind the scenes. In the past
>I have managed a gym and been the main route setter there. Some weeks were
>up 60hrs trying to stay on top of the route setting and the day to day
>running of the gym.
>
>What I'm on about is where I'm paying $18 to climb on routes that have
>been there for the last 6 months some even longer. When I had my routine
>sorted I could strip and set a decent route in about 45 mins if there were
>no interuptions. Is it too much to ask that someone who is getting paid
>about $18 an hour to set routes, to do a couple a day to keep the routes
>turning over. That's only a a couple of customers worth and they 'll keep
>coming back because of the variety. No need to jack up the price at all.
>So much easier to retain customers than trying to entice new customers
>all the time. Climbfit in Sydney seem to realise the importance of good
>route setting. I have not climbed at Sydney Indoor since the move, but
>I know Saxon Johns well who is a route setter there and know the philosophy
>they work to at the gym, so I can imagine they turn their routes over pretty
>well. It costs a little up front like any buisness improvement but done
>properley will reap returns in more feet through the door. Pretty simple
>busines that even a non business guy like me can understand.

fair enough.

But i think theres a big difference in the number of climbers between Melbourne and Sydney, so fortunately for Sydney gyms, they have the demand to warrant paying for regular route setting. Plus more gyms means they have to work harder to keep patrons. Here in Melbourne its down to hardrock or altona, and with both being on on opposite sides of the city, so people don't have as much choice. Plus less actual climbers coming through the doors means less of a need to focus on top notch routes.
devlin66
31/01/2008
11:22:13 AM
Stuey,
I agree. Jackie Godoffe held a route setting course here recently and only four people turned up and one of those was from NZ. So obviosuly there is a shortage of qualified route setters. I'm am sure if there was more demand for professional route setters then the numbers would increase who are trained and qualified. As you said any monkey can screw holds onto a wall but it takes a bit training and experience to get good consistent setting. Even the most experienced setters in the world would tell you there is still lots to learn.

alrob,
Definitely demographics has a lot to do with who turns up to climb. Sydney is blessed with population, quality rock on the doorstep and an abundance of gyms which makes for a pretty competetive market place.

My point is that for a little bit of hard work up front maybe the Melbourne gyms can increase there patronage to get to a full time route setter. It's not impossible. Both Altona and Nunna are good gyms with good facilities. Some parts are a little gimicky but generally have all the components for indoor climbing.

While the nuances and technical skills of climbing can only really be refined outdoors, indoor training has it's place for getting butt strong and fitter. If the routes are boring, badly set and spit you without warning then you won't want to go there. If you had top notch routes the 'climbers' would turn up given the lack of convenient rock to Melbourne to train on.

Don't get me wrong, I am grateful that there are gyms around. I know how much money goes into setting up and running such a business. Lots of thankless hard work. I can just see some great opportunities for gyms to be profitable hives of activity.

dreamingof8a
31/01/2008
11:45:37 AM
On 31/01/2008 Stuey wrote:
>On 31/01/2008 devlin66 wrote:
>> Is it too much to ask that someone who is getting paid
>>about $18 an hour to set routes, to do a couple a day to keep the routes
>>turning over.
>
>But thats providing you can get someone who can set to do that. Theres
>a big difference between a decent routesetter and someone that just comes
>along and chucks stuff up for the sake of getting new routes.

Well, I think u just need someone who climbs a lot in gyms and above a certain level, preferably ON LEAD. On Toprope, you can jump from hold to hold, without taking care whether the move is NICE, EFFICIENT and SAFE. So if such a style is applied to route setting you get what you have in say Hardrock CBD. I used to set routes for more than two years in Germany, we basically put up a new gym that had to be equipped with 200+ routes within a couple of weeks.

It usually takes not more than 1-2hrs to set a route, depending on the difficulty and the terrain. What you then need is a list of rules/guidelines such as
- no reachy moves
- additional footholds to make it possible for climbers of all heights (and real rock usually provides tons of places for you feet, at least in easier routes)
- safe clipping positions at least for the first three quickdraws
- avoid bouldery routes, rather continuous or increasing difficulty towards the top
These are actually roughly the official DAV (German Alpin Club, which runs most of the gyms) rules for routesetters.

I think you don't need "proffessional" route setters, just people that have fun setting routes and who think about what they are doing.

I can't imagine that it is impossible here to find a group of 10 climbers and give them an annual membership for setting at least two route a month each.

dreamingof8a
31/01/2008
11:48:37 AM
>I can't imagine that it is impossible here to find a group of 10 climbers
>and give them an annual membership for setting at least two route a month
>each.

that makes 20 per month and 240 per year. Don't know how many routes there are in the gyms here. That should be enough given that some of the areas such as teaching walls/kids areas don't have to be changed that often and also harder routes should stay in longer since they are often projected.

red
31/01/2008
3:29:27 PM
I used to work at a gym and now just observe the climbing community thru the wonders of this forum... Route setting .. a problem never solved..

To strip a route, clean the holds and then reset is a full day activity. Not only the do the gyms have to employ setters for the day they also have to rope/secure that area off (due to OH & S) which in turn closes part of the gym of for patrons (and depending on which area is being set can mean over half the gym.

This has a follow on effect that it minimises the amount of groups (school/private/corporate) that can use the gym during the day. These groups are where gyms make the most of their income. These groups complain that that can't use the whole gym ( with no idea what route setting is anyway) and may not come back..

This loss of income means normal climbers (who are notoriosly tight anyway) may have to absorb an increase in costs..

which means less route setting..

Everytime I used to be route setting - climbers would bitch that routes need resetting and then bitch that parts of the gyms were closed for setting!!!

Pen
31/01/2008
3:31:45 PM
>Everytime I used to be route setting - climbers would bitch that routes
>need resetting and then bitch that parts of the gyms were closed for setting!!!
>
Setting is a totally thankless job, you can never make everyone happy!

Rich
31/01/2008
5:57:06 PM
On 31/01/2008 AlanD wrote:
>The Castle is actually a converted water pumping station, not a church.
>
>http://www.castle-climbing.co.uk/files/castle%20history%20scans.pdf

Oops, shows how much i went there then!!

Smack! Bad memory.

Rich
31/01/2008
6:00:12 PM
On 31/01/2008 devlin66 wrote:

>So much easier to retain customers than trying to entice new customers
>all the time.

Definitely. And more importantly, cheaper. This is a simple business principle as no marketing dollar is being spent on retaining existing customers.

belayslave
31/01/2008
6:33:40 PM
On 31/01/2008 devlin66 wrote:
>Stuey,
>I agree. Jackie Godoffe held a route setting course here recently and
>only four people turned up and one of those was from NZ. So obviosuly there
>is a shortage of qualified route setters. I'm am sure if there was more
>demand for professional route setters then the numbers would increase who
>are trained and qualified. As you said any monkey can screw holds onto
>a wall but it takes a bit training and experience to get good consistent
>setting. Even the most experienced setters in the world would tell you
>there is still lots to learn.

Sorry to nit pick, but we had 8 participants attend that course in full. Nearly all successfully
completed the course, and are now registered as Aspirant Route Setters with IFSC - this means
they're able to in time, with the appropriate experience at World Cup Events, become fully qualified
World Cup Standard route setters.

We have in Australia so many extremely talented route setters,
many who've already had a great deal of experience in route setting internationally. SICG is lucky to
have a crew of great route setters, some regular setters each week, some just on the odd occasion,
but they do have a good turn over of routes, without the need i think for a full-time route setting
appointment.

There is intention to hold another 1 or 2 courses in 2008. There are already enough particpants putting
there hand up for 1 course from those who could not make the date of last years. Contact SCA if
you're interested.

dreamingof8a
31/01/2008
7:05:27 PM
On 31/01/2008 red wrote:

>To strip a route, clean the holds and then reset is a full day activity.
>Not only the do the gyms have to employ setters for the day they also have
>to rope/secure that area off (due to OH & S) which in turn closes part
>of the gym of for patrons (and depending on which area is being set can
>mean over half the gym.


Sorry, but this is bull****. It takes about 15 minutes to strip a route. Put the holds in the dishwasher (a proper industrial one), makes for another 20 minutes. Setting a route - between 1 and 2 hours , depending on grade (the easier the faster) and type of wall (vertical can be less than an hour even).

All you have to block are the two adjacent rows of quickdraws to make it safe enough - that doesn't do too much harm I'd say!

belayslave
31/01/2008
7:14:21 PM
On 31/01/2008 dreamingof8a wrote:
>Sorry, but this is bull****. It takes about 15 minutes to strip a route.
>Put the holds in the dishwasher (a proper industrial one), makes for another
>20 minutes. Setting a route - between 1 and 2 hours , depending on grade
>(the easier the faster) and type of wall (vertical can be less than an
>hour even).
>
>All you have to block are the two adjacent rows of quickdraws to make
>it safe enough - that doesn't do too much harm I'd say!

Your timings are pretty accurate IMO, but i think how much you think necessary to block off is
bullS**T. All climbers, whether indoors or outdoors, have seen how easy it is for a falling object to
land well away from its point of origin. a metre and a half (which is realistically how close some lines
of draws are in gyms) is not enough of a barrier to hopefully prevent someone getting hit if the setter
drops a hold/quickdraw/bucket of holds/hex key/maillon/drill/screws/biners etc etc.

Not to mention the shock absorbing floors all gyms are now required to have. I don't know what the
City hardrock has, but the floor at Nuna is absolutely lethal when it comes to object bouncing off it,
they can fly completely across the gym. The matting used in several NSW and QLD gyms (and
Altona i think but haven't been there in ages), is different, and doesn't have quiet the same elasticity
as Hardrocks.

I believe setting is best done after hours, or by closing a complete room of a gym for a period of time.
This is how my old home gym in Tassie used to operate and i think it's the safest option. Also allows
the setter to concentrate more and work more effectively not being restricted in space, worry as much
about dropping stuff and being asked questions by punters.

nmonteith
31/01/2008
7:26:59 PM
On 31/01/2008 belayslave wrote:
>Not to mention the shock absorbing floors all gyms are now required to
>have. I don't know what the
>City hardrock has, but the floor at Nuna is absolutely lethal when it
>comes to object bouncing off it,
>they can fly completely across the gym.

Makes for good gymnastic tricks at the end of the night!

Ben
31/01/2008
7:29:15 PM
Interesting thread.

Just a small note on the 10 people setting 2 routes a month theory in exchange for free entry. I like the idea, and know that something like it was operating for a bit at 1 of the Melbourne Gyms. I have also heard that the reason it was discontinued was because of insurance liability issues, with respect to people not officially employed by the business setting routes.

Not sure how accurate this is, but given the insurance problems generally it wouldn't surprise me.

Which is a shame, as I think that kind of variety in setters (as long as they were around for a while so they could all learn and get better) would make for a good experience.

I still miss Charlie Creese's setting. (although after reading a rock article by him, he may have fit the 'chip on his shoulder for gym climbers' mold ) :)

belayslave
31/01/2008
7:30:30 PM
On 31/01/2008 nmonteith wrote:
>Makes for good gymnastic tricks at the end of the night!

absolutely - great for the warm up, warm down, hacky sack and general tom foolery.
Deadly for flying metal objects!

EDIT: dreamingof8a - Sorry for dragging your thread off topic mate! This is a debate for another thread.
Let's get back on topic.

red
31/01/2008
8:29:33 PM
On 31/01/2008 dreamingof8a wrote:
>On 31/01/2008 red wrote:
>
>>To strip a route, clean the holds and then reset is a full day activity.
>>Not only the do the gyms have to employ setters for the day they also
>have
>>to rope/secure that area off (due to OH & S) which in turn closes part
>>of the gym of for patrons (and depending on which area is being set can
>>mean over half the gym.
>
>
>Sorry, but this is bull****. It takes about 15 minutes to strip a route.
>Put the holds in the dishwasher (a proper industrial one), makes for another
>20 minutes. Setting a route - between 1 and 2 hours , depending on grade
>(the easier the faster) and type of wall (vertical can be less than an
>hour even).
>
>All you have to block are the two adjacent rows of quickdraws to make
>it safe enough - that doesn't do too much harm I'd say!


15 mins maybe but at the gym I worked at overhanging walls of 20 metres length take a bit longer than 15mins!! These same walls project over the top of many other walls and therefore with the potential drop factor (which often happens) more than "2 rows of quickdraws" needed to be closed..

Maybe an easy route takes 1-2 hours multiple that buy the 3 or 4 different graded routes for each wall/rope and there's your day gone..

It could be just me but the people with most criticism of gyms are the ones who have never worked in one and have experienced the "don't tell me I know better" attitude of some climbers



dreamingof8a
31/01/2008
9:10:21 PM
On 31/01/2008 belayslave wrote:
>On 31/01/2008 dreamingof8a wrote:
>>Sorry, but this is bull****. It takes about 15 minutes to strip a route.
>>Put the holds in the dishwasher (a proper industrial one), makes for
>another
>>20 minutes. Setting a route - between 1 and 2 hours , depending on grade
>>(the easier the faster) and type of wall (vertical can be less than an
>>hour even).
>>
>>All you have to block are the two adjacent rows of quickdraws to make
>>it safe enough - that doesn't do too much harm I'd say!
>
>Your timings are pretty accurate IMO, but i think how much you think necessary
>to block off is
>bullS**T. All climbers, whether indoors or outdoors, have seen how easy
>it is for a falling object to
>land well away from its point of origin. a metre and a half (which is
>realistically how close some lines
>of draws are in gyms) is not enough of a barrier to hopefully prevent
>someone getting hit if the setter
>drops a hold/quickdraw/bucket of holds/hex key/maillon/drill/screws/biners
>etc etc.
>
>Not to mention the shock absorbing floors all gyms are now required to
>have. I don't know what the
>City hardrock has, but the floor at Nuna is absolutely lethal when it
>comes to object bouncing off it,
>they can fly completely across the gym. The matting used in several NSW
>and QLD gyms (and
>Altona i think but haven't been there in ages), is different, and doesn't
>have quiet the same elasticity
>as Hardrocks.
>
>I believe setting is best done after hours, or by closing a complete room
>of a gym for a period of time.
>This is how my old home gym in Tassie used to operate and i think it's
>the safest option. Also allows
>the setter to concentrate more and work more effectively not being restricted
>in space, worry as much
>about dropping stuff and being asked questions by punters.

The "block three routes" rule is the one we used in the gym I worked - and it was fully sufficient. I'm not sure about the way routes are set here, we did it with a grigri and a bucket full of holds.

Usually I set routes during the day (being a student can be so nice some times!) or on weekends, never really after 6pm unless the gym was empty.

For the roof section we some sort of crane or whatever you call this (like on the posted pics) and even then all other walls were climable.
To see what I'm talking about click http://kletterwerk.de/40.0.html on the left side you can choose the different sectors.

dreamingof8a
31/01/2008
9:12:38 PM
On 31/01/2008 red wrote:


>
>
>15 mins maybe but at the gym I worked at overhanging walls of 20 metres
>length take a bit longer than 15mins!! These same walls project over the
>top of many other walls and therefore with the potential drop factor (which
>often happens) more than "2 rows of quickdraws" needed to be closed..
>
>Maybe an easy route takes 1-2 hours multiple that buy the 3 or 4 different
>graded routes for each wall/rope and there's your day gone..
>
>It could be just me but the people with most criticism of gyms are the
>ones who have never worked in one and have experienced the "don't tell
>me I know better" attitude of some climbers
>

You're right for VERY steep walls (roofs) but it never exceeded around 20mins for other walls (see http://kletterwerk.de/40.0.html ) even using the crane thingy.

Okay, enough off topic, sorry.
devlin66
1/02/2008
10:44:48 AM
On 31/01/2008 belayslave wrote:
>On 31/01/2008 devlin66 wrote:
>>Stuey,
>>I agree. Jackie Godoffe held a route setting course here recently and
>>only four people turned up and one of those was from NZ. So obviosuly
>there
>>is a shortage of qualified route setters. I'm am sure if there was more
>>demand for professional route setters then the numbers would increase
>who
>>are trained and qualified. As you said any monkey can screw holds onto
>>a wall but it takes a bit training and experience to get good consistent
>>setting. Even the most experienced setters in the world would tell you
>>there is still lots to learn.
>
>Sorry to nit pick, but we had 8 participants attend that course in full.
> Nearly all successfully
>completed the course, and are now registered as Aspirant Route Setters
>with IFSC - this means
>they're able to in time, with the appropriate experience at World Cup
>Events, become fully qualified
>World Cup Standard route setters.
>
>We have in Australia so many extremely talented route setters,
>many who've already had a great deal of experience in route setting internationally.
> SICG is lucky to
>have a crew of great route setters, some regular setters each week, some
>just on the odd occasion,
>but they do have a good turn over of routes, without the need i think
>for a full-time route setting
>appointment.
>
>There is intention to hold another 1 or 2 courses in 2008. There are
>already enough particpants putting
>there hand up for 1 course from those who could not make the date of last
>years. Contact SCA if
>you're interested.

Cool. Always a danger relaying second hand info. Good to see a reasonable number turn up. If I had known it was on I might have been able to convince the wife to let me go. I shall be checking out for the next ones as you mentioned.

In regards to setting in gyms. Different walls and layouts are going to require different procedures. Obviously safety is paramount and dropping holds/bolts/tools onto customers is usually a non preferred method of getting them to come back. Like setting the route, setup, stripping, cleaning has many variations.

Regardless of the issues we all complain about I'm glad gyms are around. There is no way I could improve my fitness for climbing without them. Working full time and having a big family I can't just go out to the crag at will and the cost of setting up a home wall for most is prohibitive. So to all the 'outdoor only climbers with chips on their shoulders' pull your bloody heads in. They are a means to an end and can be the only means for some. To improve them by good route setting, facilities and climbing opportunities is paramount for there survival even in towns without close by accessable rock. Something some Australian gyms could learn from their northerm hemishpere counterparts.

Cliffhanger
1/02/2008
5:05:23 PM
not quite!

a 20 mt wall takes considerably longer to strip.

industrial dishwashers do not clean the holds sufficiently - we had one and have gone back to hand washing.

Your definition of "safe enough" may not keep the gyms PLI insurance and workcover underwriters happy - You may also need to consider the wall, it's overhand, fall zones etc. Actually roping off an area to comply with the forthcoming Australian Standard for Climbing Walls and WorkSafe Victoria is a little more than the two rows of adjacent quickdraws next to it! In Victoria you also have to provide Orange Barricading, Danger keep Out and Workers Overheard signage... etc.

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