Behind the Wrenches Vol. I

Welcome to Behind the Wrenches, a series that aims to shed light on the routesetting lifestyle at ROCK’n & JAM’n. In this, the inaugural installment of BtW, we will look at some cold, hard facts about routesetting. Let’s begin.

There are seven full-time routesetters at RJ. You may know them as NG, JG, CP, CC, LA, KHN, and RA (even though it is obviously RM…). You may also know them as Natty Gray, Jameson, Chrispy, C-Note, LaMarcus, ‘KEITH!’ and Two Bills. Probably you just know them as Nathan, Jamie, Chris, Corey, Lucas, Keith, and Rylan.

These fine gentlemen begin their work day at 8am every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. While you may be surprised that any of them are able to leave bed before noon, let alone conquer mental and physical challenges at such hours, you should know that they are a cheery, good-natured bunch (coffee helps) of hard-working go-getters.

Between the hours of 8 and 11:30am, a setter will bring out buckets of holds from the hold closet, select holds for their new route, strip (or drop, in the parlance of our times) the old route, load dirty holds in the dishwasher, set the new route, cleanup, and forerun.

In a month, the boys will set roughly 85 routes and 100 boulder problems between the two gyms. That’s a lot. Somewhere near 4,500 vertical feet of climbing or so. No other gym in the state can match that productivity. They will also use over a mile of tape to mark the routes and problems.

The average lifespan of a route is just under two months, while boulder problems stick around for 3-4 weeks. It can be daunting to watch your creations exist for so short a time, but the lads handle the constant turnover admirably.

That does it for this episode of Behind the Wrenches. Tune in next time for an exclusive look at the tools of the routesetting trade.

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