Building Climbing Routes: The Artistry of Route-setters

Ever felt unchallenged or bored with the climbing routes at your local gym? We understand because, like you, we’ve also encountered such situations and found that a well-set route can transform the entire indoor climbing experience.

In this blog post, we will explore “Building Climbing Routes: The Artistry of Route-setters”, delving into original hold placement strategies to increase engagement and challenge climbers both physically and mentally.

Get ready for a gripping read!

Tips for Building Climbing Routes

– Avoid monotonous, ladder-type setting: Create variety in your routes by using different types of holds, angles, and movements to challenge climbers.

– Challenge climbers with reachy moves and flow: Incorporate reaches and dynamic movements into your routes to push climbers out of their comfort zones and promote fluidity in their climbing technique.

– Consider footholds and forced movement: Use footholds strategically to create balance challenges and force climbers to think about foot placement as they move through the route.

Remember, good route setting is all about creating engaging climbs that challenge both the mind and body of the climber.

Avoid monotonous, ladder type setting

As passionate climbers, our main goal in building climbing routes is to create an experience that’s engaging and fun. To do this, we need to steer clear of monotonous ladder-type setting.

This type of route has holds placed one above the other in a standard sequence which can quickly become tedious and uninteresting. Instead, let’s strive for more varied sequences with dynamic moves that stimulate both body and mind.

We want every climb to be a new challenge that requires thought and strategy rather than just physical strength. Let variety be your mantra when setting holds – this will not only make the climbs more enjoyable but also help us improve our technique as we navigate unexpected sequences.

Challenge climbers with reachy moves and flow

One important aspect of route setting is challenging climbers with reachy moves and creating a flow in the climbing routes. Reachy moves require climbers to stretch and extend their bodies to make the next move, adding an element of excitement and difficulty.

This not only tests their physical abilities but also encourages them to think creatively about how they can maneuver their bodies to reach the next hold.

Creating a flow in the climbing routes is essential for providing a seamless and enjoyable climbing experience. A well-designed route should have a logical progression from one hold to another, allowing climbers to move smoothly without any abrupt or awkward transitions.

This flow allows climbers to focus on their technique and body positioning, making each move feel effortless.

By incorporating reachy moves and creating a flow in climbing routes, route setters are able to challenge climbers both physically and mentally. It encourages them to push their limits, develop new techniques, and improve their overall climbing skills.

Consider footholds and forced movement

One important aspect to consider when building climbing routes is the placement of footholds and creating forced movement. Footholds play a crucial role in helping climbers maintain balance and stability as they make their way up the wall.

It’s important to have a good mix of both small and large footholds to challenge climbers’ footwork skills. Additionally, incorporating forced movement into the route can add an extra element of challenge and excitement.

By strategically placing holds that require climbers to move in specific ways, such as dynos or heel hooks, you can help them develop new techniques and improve their overall climbing ability.

The Artistry of Route-setters

Route setters are skilled artists who balance the difficulty and technique of climbing routes, creating engaging and enjoyable climbs that incorporate unique elements and creativity.

Balancing difficulty and technique

As route setters, one of our main goals is to create climbs that strike the perfect balance between difficulty and technique. We want each route to challenge climbers while also allowing them to showcase their skills.

This means considering factors like the angle of the wall, the type and placement of holds, and the flow of movement. By carefully selecting combinations of challenging moves and incorporating a variety of techniques, we can create engaging climbs that push climbers to improve their skills.

Balancing difficulty and technique not only keeps climbers engaged but also helps them progress in their climbing journey.

Creating engaging and enjoyable climbs

Creating engaging and enjoyable climbs is a crucial aspect of route setting. As amateur rock climbers, we want to be challenged physically and mentally while still having fun on the wall.

A well-set route should push our limits, but also provide opportunities for success and growth. The placement of holds and the flow of movement can greatly impact our experience on the wall.

By incorporating unique elements and creativity into their routes, route setters can keep us engaged and excited about climbing. And let’s not forget that climbing is a social activity too – an engaging climb can lead to great conversations with fellow climbers as we work through the challenges together.

Incorporating unique elements and creativity

As route-setters, we have the opportunity to infuse each climbing route with our own unique style and creativity. By incorporating elements that challenge climbers in new and unexpected ways, we can keep them engaged and excited about their climbing journey.

Whether it’s adding tricky dynos or requiring climbers to utilize unconventional holds, the possibilities are endless for creating fresh and engaging problems. Our goal is to not only test climbers’ physical abilities but also push their mental limits, forcing them to problem solve and think outside the box.

With a touch of artistry, we can transform an ordinary climb into an unforgettable experience that leaves climbers craving more challenges.


In conclusion, route-setting is not just about placing holds on a wall. It requires creativity, skill, and an understanding of the climbing community. By incorporating unique elements and balancing difficulty with technique, route-setters play a vital role in creating engaging and enjoyable climbs for climbers of all levels.

So next time you’re tackling a challenging route at your local gym or outdoor climbing spot, remember to appreciate the artistry behind it all.


1. What skills do route-setters need to have?

Route-setters need to have a solid understanding of climbing techniques and movements, as well as creativity and problem-solving skills. They should also have good communication and collaboration abilities to work with climbers and other setters.

2. How do route-setters decide the difficulty level of a climbing route?

Route-setters consider factors such as the angle and holds used in the route, the distance between holds, and the complexity of movements required. They aim to create routes that challenge climbers at different skill levels, from beginners to advanced climbers.

3. Are there any guidelines or regulations for building climbing routes?

While there are no strict regulations, there are general guidelines that route-setters follow when building climbing routes. These guidelines emphasize safety measures such as ensuring properly anchored holds and avoiding dangerous positions or movements.

4. Can I become a route-setter without prior climbing experience?

Having prior climbing experience is highly recommended for aspiring routaetters because it helps them understand how different climbs feel and what challenges climbers face. However, with proper training and mentorship, it is possible to become a skilled route-setter even without prior climbing experience

Calvin Rivers

Hey, I’m Calvin Rivers, a climbing veteran with 10+ years on crags and walls around the world. I can’t wait for you to explore our site and fall in love with the outdoors just like I have.

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