Author Archive

Route Setter Beta

Saturday, May 30th, 2020

Am I doing this right?

by: Joe Stangel

It’s a word you will hear all the time when you’re hanging out with climbers – beta.

The word comes from a long time ago; in a galaxy far, far away. It references a time when climbers used to film their climbs on beta max tapes. People would ask each other for the beta tape of certain climbs to figure out how they did the climb. Nowadays, the word is thrown around everyday by climbers big and small. What is beta? What’s the beta? What’s your beta? There is often a big difference between those questions. 

Beta is a shorthand way to reference the sequence of movements that someone used to climb their way through a route or problem. It can apply to an entire climb or even a single, specific move.  As route setters it’s our job to create sequences that appropriately challenge climbers of all skill levels. A 5.12 climber has a different bag of tricks and tools of the trade than the ones a 5.10 climber does. Experienced climbers know how to use body positioning to solve more complex sequences rather than just relying on pure strength. One of our goals as route setters is to teach these more complex sequences to less experienced climbers. By positioning and ordering hand and foot holds just right, it’s possible to lead people into unique and different body positions. This is often what is called the intended beta. Our objective is to make sure that the intended beta is appropriate for the grade and to be the easiest way to complete the climb. But, it may not be the simplest or most obvious way. For newer climbers this is where the beta is often ‘broken’

In a climbing gym, route setters have nearly complete control of what hand holds and foot holds a climber can use. Because of this we have more control of the consistency of grades, both in relation to climbs of the same grade and climbs of the grades directly above and below that one. This leads to situations you won’t see outdoors. The most obvious example of this is foot holds on easier climbs (think 5.5 to 5.10-). At Edgeworks, the feet on these climbs are often nearly as big as the hands, only less incut and positive. Often they are sloped or flat. The goal is for them to be not as nice to grab onto than the nice, positive jug right next to it. This is how we ‘force’ sequences on the lower grades. This is often also where people create the habit of grabbing whatever they can and muscling their way to the top. After a few months, hand strength increases and climbers start to feel more comfortable using smaller edges and crimps. Next, those climbs that ask for more technique to get to the top become a little easier to get, think 5.10- to 5.10+.

This is when grabbing and pulling isn’t always the easiest way to do a sequence.  This is where the route setters are trying to teach climbers the different capabilities of their bodies. This is where we are trying to lead you into doing something a little different. It might feel insecure or awkward or require you to do something you haven’t before, but it should feel ‘right’. It should also make you want to naturally move through the sequence. Once you are used to it, it should feel easy. Easier than grabbing on that tiny, sharp foot chip, stepping up and getting fully stretched out to grab then next good hold. Which oftentimes will put your hands out of sequence for the next move. So a clumsy hand match on an obviously single handed hold is required to keep moving. I don’t know about anyone else but that doesn’t sound like a fun climb to me. Just because you can reach something doesn’t mean you should. 

These types of situations are when we see the most complaints about a route or problem being reachy, awkward, hard for the grade or just bad. It’s tough to hear and deal with. Not because it’s a negative review of our work, but because there’s no easy way for us to address it. We can’t offer the beta. We can’t help or talk you through the difficulties. We can’t offer little tips or tricks. We can only set the challenge and then hope climbers will accept it and be open to learning new ways to work through the tough spots. 

Modern climbing isn’t about just getting to the top, it’s about the journey you take to get there. Route setters create a maze, a puzzle for your body and mind, and we are rooting for you to get to the other end.

I just wanted to climb

Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

An open letter to the Edgeworks Community

written by: Hal Warren

To my Edgeworks family,

In light of the pandemic that we all have been affected by, I would like to speak as an athlete whose lifestyle is inherently intertwined with training at the gym and getting outside to climb. But most importantly, I would like to speak as a member of the Edgeworks community. A community that has practically raised me since I was 11 years old.

Things are difficult. And for most of my life I have dealt with difficult things by going climbing. Over the years, the sport became an outlet like no other, a perfect mindfulness practice, and a place where I could freely and unapologetically express my personality. Edgeworks, alongside the local climbing areas in WA, became my sanction. In the same way Washington’s wild beauty serves many members at Edgeworks, I felt the happiest when out in the forest climbing.

When my school shut down and Edgeworks didn’t, my first response was psych that I now had 30 extra hours in my week to be at the climbing gym. Then Edgeworks closed. And I got ecstatic that I would finally have time to put down some of my sport projects at exit 32 and to finally send my projects in Index. With that excitement for all the climbing I was about to do came the statewide “Stay Home Stay Safe” initiative by Gov. Inslee, an act to keep Washingtonians safe and make sure those who need the resources we do have can receive the care they need.

At first, I was confused and had trouble wrapping my head around the fact that I was going to have to spend the near future at home. Not in the climbing gym, not at the crag, and not with my people. Confused about why my happy place in the forest was suddenly not where I was supposed to be and why it would have any effect on others if I just made my little escape to the rocks. My privilege slapped me across the face. I was worried about my little escape to the forest more than I was worried about people’s family members dying. And how could I not? I was only acting out of instinct and doing what I’ve always done. I just wanted to climb. As climbers, smart Washingtonians, and humans, we have an obligation. An obligation to help our climbing, state, and human communities stay safe. We can’t let our personal desires get in the way of doing what is right.

With the closures of areas like Bishop and Moab, I started to think about our own areas here in Washington that need protection. If we flood the crags and boulder field parking areas at first chance once they reopen, we are at risk of access becoming limited, restricted all together and/or worst case, we risk our reputation as climbers. We must think holistically and proactively as to how we are going to continue to help our own community and at risk communities with limited resources. We must be aware of the impact our recreation and sport has on smaller communities and we must take initiative to ensure that we as climbers are helping, not making things harder.

I am committed myself and encourage you as a community to think about how your actions as climbers and outdoor enthusiasts will affect the places you love. Before you launch out of the house at first knowledge that areas are opened again, reflect on your impact and how you will reduce it. This is a defining moment for us as climbers to do a small bit of good in the world. And the world needs as much good as it can get.

With love,
Hal Warren
Team Edgeworks coach and athlete

Route Setter Clinic

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

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Want to learn what it takes to be a route setter?

Here’s your chance!  Join USAC Level 1 certified route setter, Ben McMullen, for an evening of pure route setting joy Sunday, March 6th, 5pm – 9pm.

This is a beginner clinic designed to introduce experienced climbers to the trade of route setting. You will have the opportunity to set boulder problems and get professional feedback.

We will cover the following topics:
–  Route setting tools
–  Route planning
–  Hold selection
–  Labeling
–  Safety considerations
–  Forerunning
–  Grading

Sign up online!

Details: 
$50/members; $75/non-members
No experience necessary.
Minimum ability to redpoint V2/5.10 required.

Corporate Membership Sale

Monday, August 31st, 2015

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Save money on your membership!

Corporate Membership Sale:
$5 Start-up Fee with $49/month EFT – save up to $199!
$519 Annual Membership (prepaid) – save $273!
Offers Valid: August 1 – 31, 2015

Participating Companies & Organizations:

1.) All members and employees of the Mountaineers and the American Alpine Club. Just show the front desk you current membership card/welcome e-mail and we will get you all set up! Not a member of the  Mountaineers or AAC? Get signed up today!

http://www.mountaineers.org
http://www.americanalpineclub.org/

2.) All employees of the following companies:
Franciscan Health Systems
GroupHealth
– MetroParks
MultiCare
– REI*
– Pacific Lutheran University

Sound Physicians
– Tacoma Community College
– Tacoma Public Schools
– University of Puget Sound
– University of Washington
and Washington State employees.

Just show your ID card or proof of employment when registering at the front desk and enjoy the sale and your membership!

*REI employees qualify, however REI members do not.

If your company is not currently a corporate partner, here are some other ways for you to take advantage of our special:

a.) Get 5 of your coworkers to sign up for memberships (EFT or annual prepaid) and your whole company will be eligible to receive our corporate discounts!

b.) Have your company purchase a Corporate Gold Pass. This is a fully transferable membership pass that the company can handout to employees for any length of time; including full membership benefits. Additionally, employees who want to sign up for their own membership can do so at our corporate rates and they too will receive a FREE start-up fee. Corporate Gold Pass packages also include a 2 hour Team Building event for up to 12 employees.

c.) Have your company sign up for a 12 month Corporate Sponsorship. With a $300 investment, your company’s employees will be able to receive our corporate membership rates including FREE start-up fees for the next 12 months.

Questions?  Please contact Andy at 253-564-4899 or by e-mail at andy@edgeworksclimbing.com.

 

Wednesday Night Trifecta

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

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Cycling – like climbing but not as vertical and a little faster. Jayson got so excited about his new helmet that we’ve decided to host a free ride for our members* around the North End of T-Town on Wednesday nights. It’s not really a climbing event, but more of an opportunity to get together, meet other members, and spend some time outside the gym.

*All members, future members, potential members, friends, family and people with bicycles are invited; the more the merrier – but expect to hear about our Corporate Specials if you are not already involved.

We’ll leave from the gym parking lot at 7pm and head out for a ride around the North End. Then, after about an hour of riding, we’ll stop at the HUB for 10% OFF dinner ; heading back to the gym around 9:30pm via North 11th.

Don’t forget to bring a helmet, bike lights, bike lock, money and ID!  We look forward to seeing you there.

EVERY WEDNESDAY EVENING IN AUGUST!
Next Ride: October 8, 2014

Bullet Point Itinerary: (For those who prefer lists.)

6:00 pm – Pull Plastic in the Gym
7:00 pm – Leave Edgeworks and head out for a ride around the North End.

8:15 pm – Arrive at the HUB, for 10%OFF dinner
9:30 pm – Return to Edgeworks

 

September Group Special!

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

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Schedule a Group. Get a FREE! Membership.

During the month of September 2014, you can get a FREE! 1-Month Membership when you schedule a Group Climbing Event or Team Building session for your workplace.

Why schedule a workplace climbing event? In case you haven’t noticed – climbing bonds people by encouraging trust, communication, cooperation, and shared victories. And let’s face it, office jobs often require people with no prior friendships to work together and rely on each other to achieve goals for a company.

That’s why you should check out our Team Building and/or Groups & Events pages on the website for specific details and to SIGN UP NOW.

Or, contact Jayson Owens directly at 253.564.4899 extension 9103.

Event must take place prior to December 31st, 2014.

 

Benefits of Rock Climbing

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Joe

Indoor rock climbing is quickly becoming the most popular alternative fitness activity because it’s fun, challenging and social. In our busy lives, we no longer have time to “work-out” in the traditional sense. And guess what, even if we did have time, we don’t WANT to do it because it’s boring, repetitive and solitary.

Check out the following surprising benefits of rock climbing!

Physical Benefits:

• Improve balance
• Increase flexibility
• Increase muscle tone
• Improve cardiovascular health (low impact aerobic workout)
• Lose weight
• Improve coordination (gross and fine motor skills)

Mental Benefits:

• Stress Relief
• Increase self confidence (sense of achievement)
• Improve spatial and kinesthetic intelligence
• Improve decision making and problem solving skills
• Improve visualization skills
• Practice setting and achieving goals
• Increase concentration

Social Benefits:

• Build trust
• Build character
• Belong to a community
• Networking and friendship
• Communication and listening skills
• Leadership Skills

Corporate Programs

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

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Looking to expand your employee’s health benefits and encourage healthy lifestyles?

Recent surveys have reported that wellness programs reduced medical costs and absenteeism by up to 30%.  Our Corporate Programs can help you, your company, and your employees improve their health and save money at the same time.

As an Edgeworks Corporate Partner, your staff will qualify for 20% OFF Autopay or Annual Prepaid memberships and 20% OFF Day Passes. Additionally, if your company hosts a Team Building Event at Edgeworks, staff get $0 start-up fee.

Contact Jayson Owens for details:
253.564.4899 or jayson@edgeworksclimbing.com

Corp Membership Price Grid


Additionally, Edgeworks is a great choice for
Corporate and Team events, meetings, or just a day of fun and health!

Current offerings include:

 •   MEETING SPACE RENTAL – (Catering Available, Projector Available)   •
•   FULL GYM RENTAL – Anytime   •
•   EMPLOYEE APPRECIATION PARTIES   •   HOLIDAY PARTIES   •
•   GROUP CLIMBING EVENTS   •   FITNESS CLASSES  (Yoga, Core, Strength)
• TEAM BUILDING – 2 Hour, Half Day, & Full Day Options  •
•   Transportation for up to 14 – Anytime, Any Event   •