Archive for the ‘Tech Tips’ Category

Route Setting Clinics

Sunday, November 14th, 2021

Think you have what it takes to be a route setter? Have a new home wall and need tips for how to arrange the holds in more challenging and interesting ways?

Or maybe, you already have a paid gig as a professional route setter and would like to hone your skills, connect with other local setters and add to your existing craft.

Either way, Bellevue’s Head Route Setter, Tonya Bamboe, and USAC Level 4 route setter, Morgan Young. have you covered!

INTRODUCTION TO ROUTE SETTING

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13 | 12pm – 8pm
This beginner level clinic is designed to introduce the tools, skills, and methods to participants with no prior route setting knowledge or experience. Participants will focus on safety, hold selection, tool handling, setting, and forerunning in a classroom setting. The clinic will then move to the climbing floor, and participants will get to apply what they’ve learned to set boulder problems from V0 up to V4.

Details:

Date: Saturday, November 13 | 12pm to 8pm
Location: Bellevue Stone Gardens
Cost: $100
Audience: Members and General Public
More Info: For those who have minimal to no experience setting, are curious about the craft, want to set a route in our gym, hang out with setters, learn the basics, build/set a home wall or college gym, etc.
Format: 1 hour of classroom time, 45 minute lunch break, 6 hours of setting and forerunning
Prerequisites: No experience needed. No drill use.
Guest Instructor: Morgan Young, USAC Level 4 Route Setter

FOUNDATIONS OF COMMERCIAL SETTING

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 14 | 11am – 7pm
This advanced level clinic dives into the application of professional setting philosophies and methods to provide career foundations for commercial route setters, those exploring the industry, or wanting to break into the field. Participants will focus on creation and maintenance of product quality through accessibility, equity, and intention to create an experience for public function.

Details:

Date: Saturday, November 14 | 11am to 7pm
Location: Bellevue Stone Gardens
Cost: $125
Audience: New and Experienced Setters
More Info: For those looking to get into route setting, set for a gym, already set and want to hone skills, advance an apprenticeship, get formal education for current/future positions.
Format: 1 hour of classroom time, 45 minute lunch break, 6 hours of setting and forerunning
Prerequisites: Prior setting experience (college or commercial gym preferred) OR experience using drills/impacts AND taken an Intro to Setting clinic somewhere (can be the previous day 11/13/21^^)
Instructors:
Tonya Bamboe, Bellevue’s Head Setter
Morgan Young, USAC Level 4 route setter.

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.

Gear Review: August 2018

Friday, August 31st, 2018

Metolius Upshot Belay Glasses

by Abbie Madlem

Our newer, taller walls bring better endurance training, new styles of routes, and all new projects! Unfortunately, this can also mean serious neck pain for your belayer.

Feeling the strain of the new wall and looking for a little relief?

Metolius’ Upshot Belay Glasses have got your back! These belay glasses are an updated take on the original, with a field of vision that aims higher on the wall, sports-style temples with low profile nose pads that fit better over glasses/sunglasses, and increased peripheral vision. They also come with a durable case that will protect them when you throw them in your bag for a day of climbing in the gym OR at the crag.

Next time you’re in the gym, ask about trying them out. Your neck will thank you!

 

Gear Review: May 2018

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

The Petzl Sirocco – Guide Approved!

by Abbie Madlem

If you find yourself in need of a new helmet this season, look no further: the Petzl Sirocco is here!

It’s ultralight design is made to be the perfect combination of protection and comfort. The new design offers increased protection against lateral and rear impacts, and carries Petzl’s top and side protection product labels.

Our most handsome and well read guide, Andrew Powell, has this to say about the Sirocco:
“I use the Petzl Sirroco helmet for my ice, alpine, and rock climbing objectives because of its excellent lightweight durability. The majority foam exterior prevents the cracks, dents, and dings that other helmets acquire, and still provides adequate protection. Its lightweight construction is easy on my neck when looking up, day in and day out on the long climbing pursuits that I love.”

Tech Specs:

– Weighs in at only 170 g!
– Hybrid construction with a shell in EPP (expanded polypropylene) foam and a rigid crown injected with EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam
– Fully adjustable with magnetic buckle closure
– Two hooks and rear elastic for attaching a headlamp

 

Gear Review: April 2018

Monday, April 30th, 2018

Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes

by Abbie Madlem

Black Diamond’s Momentum climbing shoes have arrived at Edgeworks! This comfortable, entry-level model is perfect for the gym or the crag, finding that sweet spot where all-day comfort meets performance climbing. Don’t let the flat-last fool you! The Momentum won’t slow you down.

Check out some of the tech specs:

Knit Uppers: The knit fabric means that the Momentum requires less break-in time than its counterparts. The fabric is designed to stretch and breath where you most need it, which means less sweaty feet and easy on-off!

Microfiber Liner: The microfiber liner in the front of the shoe minimizes stretch, which means how you buy them is how they should continue to fit.

Neutral, Flat Last: The neutral, flat last of the shoe allows your toes to lie in a neutral position. This is more inviting to newer climbers (your feet won’t be killing you at the end of your session!). They’re also great for more experienced climbers that are looking for a high performance, high comfort shoe (perfect for long days of cragging and long gym sessions)!

Durable Rubber: The rubber on the Momentum is unique in that it’s molded instead of cut from one sheet of rubber. This was inspired by the way that BD forges their carabiners, and is their engineered solution to optimize the shoe’s rubber and rands for weight, consistency, and comfort.

This shoe is unlike any other beginner shoe out there. If you’re curious (we know we were!), don’t take our word for it. Come in and try a pair out!

 

Scarpa Force V

Sunday, April 30th, 2017

Scarpa Force V Gear Review

by Abbie Madlem

The Fit: To put it simply, the Force V is designed to be a high performance shoe with an all-day comfort fit (think Helix 2.0 or a performance-oriented Mythos). 

     •  Stiff sole, a snug heel cup, and padding throughout the tongue and upper heel.

     •  Flat lasted with a slight asymmetry, which makes it a more technical shoe than cheaper models. You can think of the Force V between the Inti and the Mythos.

The Technology: The Force V was designed by Heinz Mariacher (who is known most notably for his design of the La Sportiva Mythos). It is constructed of partially-lined leather suede.  From the ball of the foot forward, the shoe is unlined, allowing the leather to conform to the particular bend in a customer’s toes. From the heel to the ball, the shoe has a synthetic liner that ensures a consistent fit throughout the life of the shoe. It also uses 4mm Vibram XS Edge rubber, making it a stiff shoe with optimized traction and lasting durability.

What really makes this shoe stand out is Scarpa’s use of Lightly Charged V-Tension Active Randing. Active Randing as a concept was created by heinz of Mythos fame. At its most basic, Active Randing employs rubber rands that wrap around the shoe in different configurations in a way that is designed to support climber’s feet, and store tension in certain directions to release energy in other directions.  Still confused? That’s okay, Scarpa has an awesome resource to better learn about the Active Randing process here: http://blog.scarpa.com/heinz-mariacher-and-active-randing-in-scarpa-rock-shoes/.

How it Compares: It has a less aggressive heel than the Inti, and is designed more for all day comfort and performance than the Inti, though has a slightly more aggressive toe than the Mythos, not to mention that active randing will allow for more precise foot placements than the Mythos.  It is stiffer and more precise (again due to randing and asymmetry) than the Helix or Origin.

The Cost: At a price point of $130.00, the Force V is cheaper than the Mythos while offering a trade off of comfort for performance. The price is the same as the Tenaya Inti, but will fit a different style of climber… because it’s a different shoe…

Make sure to check the shoe out and, more importantly, try it on! Know how it fits and feels, and who knows, you might just end up falling in love with it!

Gear Review: CAMP HMS Carabiner

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Gear Review_HMS v2

CAMP HMS Compact Locking Carabiner

By: Abbie Madlem

The CAMP HMS compact locking carabiner has quickly become my go-to for belaying. It has a rounded design, which makes using it for belaying or rappelling super smooth.

It’s the only carabiner that I haven’t had to work hard to belay rope through in the gym, which is crucial when you’re belaying for long stretches of time. The rounded design means that there are no corners for the rope to bunch up in. The reduction in friction means a lower heat as well. The wide design also prevents the carabiner from flipping on your harness.

I think it is the perfect carabiner to get comfortable belaying on, because it is so easy to use, but I would recommend it to people that are seasoned belayers as well!

 

Crushing Tip #27

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

crushing tip 27

Trix Aren’t Just for Kids

by Jimmy Grant

Climbing games at Edgeworks are not just for our young up and coming Sharma’s, Caldwell’s, and Puccio’s. They are also fun for our fully grown “kids” as well. Games and climbing drills are a great way to build strength, technique, and visualization. Not to mention a great way to kill the monotony of endless hours in the gym.

So grab a few friends and try out these games and drills to spice up your next session:

The Classic – “Add-on”

How to play: The first player begins by choosing and establishing themselves on 2 start handholds preferably on the boulder or in our lead cave, but can be played on any terrain. The second player then uses the same 2 start handholds and adds-on 2 of their own handholds. Then the next player adds 2 more handholds, or the first player returns to the start to try the new sequence and adds 2 more at the end. The feet are open to step on any hold they would like. You can play this classic with 2-4 players of similar ability. The game keeps going until someone makes a mistake, making them out. Add-on is great for training endurance. It is also great for making you aware of where you may excel and others struggle or vice versa. This can make you more aware of what you can work on to become an even better climber.

Variation: Try to add-on 5-8 moves at a time per player. Attempting to do more moves all at once will help climbers work on their on-sighting skills.

The Challenge – Edward Hover-Hands

How to play Edward Hover-Hands: Step One: Start by choosing a route which is easier for you. Right before you touch the next handhold force yourself to “hover” your hand over it and count out loud to five! If you are able to do this without struggling, pulling really hard, or becoming out of balance, move to a more difficult problem. Focus on finding the easiest and most efficient position for your body. Hover Hands helps you slow down and further understand your enemy, gravity. Practice once a week for 20-30 minutes towards the end of each climbing workout. Come back later to crush the enemy.

The Basic – Straight Arm Climbing

This drill may not be the most fun you have ever had, but it is a necessary exercise to add to any climbers arsenal, experienced or not. It is exactly what it sounds like.  Straighten your arms and lock those elbows as you climb a slightly easier route. Climbing with straight arms forces all of your upward movement to be derived from your lower body. Even as strong as some upper bodies may be, even the strongest person in the world can’t do pull-ups all day. Because we cannot engage our arm muscles, the pull becomes a push and we are forced to rotate from the hips for reach, causing more efficient technique.