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All climbers share a desire to improve. Every hour we spend at the gym is an incremental step toward that aspiration. This process can happen more quickly when we focus our time and training goals.

We all rely on a network of training resources to drive improvement. Coaches, training plans, and our own climbing partners can help keep us accountable. Moreover, the gym’s routesetting crew is a critical – and often overlooked – element in this network.

The Feedback Loop

We rely on your feedback.

Individual setters have several overlapping characteristics that influence her or his work including outdoor climbing experience, indoor/competition experience, gender, and body composition, to name a few. Our crew sets boulders and routes that are defined by these characteristics.

The more diverse and experienced the crew is, the more variety you can expect in the gym. This variety will help you achieve your goals by providing a well-rounded selection of routes and boulders.

That being said, we also rely on feedback from you and other members. This feedback allows us to tap into your experience and create climbs that:

  • Align with your interests. At a minimum, telling us what you like or dislike helps us create a climbing environment that encourages you to be consistent. Climbing consistently is the most important factor for improvement. If something about climbing at the gym motivates you, let us know and we’ll keep doing it! Alternatively, if something is hindering your motivation, tell us immediately. We want to make adjustments when they enhance your over-all experience.
  • Address goals within your own climbing. Share specific projects you have for the season. Knowing the style of your project, the crux on that climb, or what specific skills you need to hone can lead us to design complementary climbs that allow you to practice and develop those skills at the gym.
  • Highlight areas of improvement. Taking a personal inventory of your climbing is a critical way to improve. Your time at the gym should be strongly informed by knowing where you excel and need to improve. Once we know what skills you need to brush up on, we can help you target those deficiencies through setting.
The Feedback Loop

Provide thoughtful feedback.

Identifying your setters as a resource is the easy part; communicating that information in an actionable way can be complicated.

Every week, we build new climbs through a collaborative process that relies on thoughtful communication. This helps us arrive at well-informed conclusions. We encourage you to use the same approach when communicating your needs to us.

Whether you decide to share your feedback in person, an email, or a designated comment box, consider the following:

  • Avoid banned words. Words like “tweaky,” “awkward,” and “fun” are vague. These basic descriptors do not convey information that we can act on. Think about which aspects of the climb were “fun” or “awkward” and explain those using specific language about what you liked or disliked.
  • Help us find our blindspots. Feedback about current climbs will absolutely influence what we do in the next setting session. Making us aware of styles and moves you wish we had in the gym will challenge us to think about how we can deliver that experience.
  • Say thank you. Routesetting is a difficult job. We invest a considerable amount of physical, mental, and emotional energy into shaping your climbing environment. Your support and feedback motivates us to enhance our skills and that, in turn, continues the cycle that drives improvement for all of us.

We recently installed two comment boxes in the gym in order to make it easier for you to provide feedback. You can find the boxes near the bouldering wall on the main floor and the auto belays in the basement.

The Feedback Loop
Yusuf Daneshyar

Author Yusuf Daneshyar

Yusuf Daneshyar is the Program Director at Climb So iLL - with roles at the gym including routesetter, instructor, and coach. Over an 8-year climbing career, Yusuf has climbed in gyms and outdoor areas around the world.

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