Talk to us

Got questions?  Comments?  Suggestions?  To get in touch with The Spot setting crew please comment on a specific article, leave us a comment here, or email us at  Thanks!

  1. Kim McCleskey
    October 28, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    I just wanted to say thanks – y’all have been doing a great job of setting. The problems have been challenging, but very fun. Really creative. It’s been more fun climbing in the Spot this past year than ever before. And I love how you are changing the problems regularly. Thanks for all the work and the coordination!

  2. Jackie
    October 29, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks Kim! We’re really glad to hear that you’re enjoying our problems!

  3. That Girl
    October 30, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Who is that Carlo guy? He is so hot, the perfect little man.

  4. Jake
    November 10, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I’ve been searching your website for info on spot to v scale conversions… no luck. I’ve heard that a 5- is a v7 ish? What about the others? Btw… I really like that the spot has its own scale…… and everything else about it. Thanks!

  5. Jackie
    November 12, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Glad to hear you like us Jake! Good point about the v-scale. It’s a really rough conversion as is, but we’ll add it to the setting info section or make a new page for it. Just don’t hold us to it too much, after all, it’s all relative!

  6. eric "EZ" harrison
    December 23, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Love you guys:)

  7. Rose
    February 1, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Hi, just wanted to say how awesome the Spot is! We’ve gotten so much better since we bought memberships. Can i offer a suggestion? Please, please, please set some left-handed mantel problems in the scoop on the back of the Hueco. The harder problems there always favor the right side, but we never get to work on left-handed mantels. Thanks!

  8. Ivan Rezucha
    April 4, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Men of Route Setting 2010

    Is this for real?

    As Carlo says in his blog about this, Be afraid. Be very afraid.

    • Jay Jay
      May 24, 2010 at 8:45 pm

      yep its real… its very real and very scary

  9. Ivan Rezucha
    April 4, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    I’d also be interested in the spot ratings conversion, but in relation to the decimal system, since I don’t boulder outside and know nothing about the V ratings other than I’m pathetic in V terms.

    Here’s what I think I know about Spots vs decimal: I’ve onsighted a couple of 4s recently and gotten a couple more second try. Base on my Eldo TR and following experience, I figure 4 spots is about 11c, since I’ve gotten a few Eldo 11c’s clean first try. I’ve done a bunch of 4- spots onsight, so I figure 4- spot == Eldo 10d, 11a.

    In the Font Challenge post it says (at the time) Carlo was the only one who could do a particular 5+. Elsewhere it says Carlo has done V13 (more than one) and maybe harder. So I’m speculating that 5+ spots is maybe V12?

  10. Ivan Rezucha
    April 4, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    OK, one more comment/question for tonight: When route setting how do you ensure against grade inflation (or deflation)? What do you do to try to make sure that e.g., a 4 spot today is the same difficulty as a year ago? Am I getting better or are the problems getting easier?

  11. Jackie
    April 4, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Hey Ivan,

    I’ll get on this stuff tomorrow. I began drafting a page to better explain our grading system, so when it’s up hopefully it’ll help. It will also discuss grade inflation/deflation, though as far as I can tell 4 spots are the same difficulty as they were last year. I’m only one opinion though. I’ll try to get that page up tomorrow or Tuesday, so when I do let me know what you think and if it helps.


  12. Ivan Rezucha
    April 5, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks Jackie. No hurry. I’m just putting some thoughts out there.

    I’m pretty sure when I first joined The Spot maybe 4 years ago there was a conversion table on the wall. I figured that was removed to avoid grading controversies.

  13. Ivan Rezucha
    April 24, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Jakie and JJ,

    I suggest that you create a “nomenclature” post that lists the named features of the various boulders and walls so that I (for one) don’t have to refer to a problem as (for example) “the red 4- on the left side of the west face of the Font”. I’ve heard about a front and back scoop (Hueco) and I think a “small scoop”. Are there other named features? The two main boulders have 4 faces and 4 aretes each. River wall has left and right, the middle arete, a sort of scoop on the left side. Dojo has the left, cave and right. A diagram would be most excellent!


  14. Jackie
    April 25, 2010 at 11:16 am
  15. MJ
    May 31, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    When is the 5.10 shoe demo?

  16. Jackie
    June 1, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Monday, June 28th, from 4-8 pm

  17. James
    June 1, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Do ya’ll ever do any setting clinics? I took a USAC Level 1 course with Chris Danielson a couple years ago and really learned a lot. I’ve been setting in a college gym since, but the Spot has much better terrain and hold selection than I have ever had access to. Plus you guys set some awesome problems. I’d love to learn from you a bit and get a chance to turn the wrenches again.

  18. Jackie
    June 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Hey James,

    So far we haven’t done any clinics, but we’ve talked about it a little. We’ll keep you guys posted if we decide to do something like that, and thanks for the interest!

  19. Ivan Rezucha
    June 22, 2010 at 5:38 pm


    Another suggestion: Consider putting up a notice when a wall or section of a wall is about to be reset. Maybe just a note on the white board at the door, like “Right side of Dojo will be reset the week of xxxxx”.

    The BRC puts up “Expires soon” notes on individual routes. That’s helpful, but what is “soon”?

    That would let those of us with projects or favorites get one last chance at the routes being taken down.


  20. Jackie
    June 22, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Hey Ivan,

    Ah..yes… I’ll mention it to Carlo. I think our normal rotation is changing a little bit so I’ll fix that on the site as well as soon as I know what it is. I know Carlo is going to set up a setting board again when he gets some wall space for it, so when that comes together it’d be a good place to have updates like that as well. Thx!


  21. James
    July 14, 2010 at 5:06 am

    It’s not really setting related, but is there any chance of getting a few cheap fans to put around the gym? It was brutally hot yesterday, and the air conditioning was NOT doing the job to keep the place climbable. Some fans to get the air moving a bit would help a lot, if for nothing else than having a chance to stand in front of them and cool down in between burns.

  22. Jackie
    July 21, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Hey James,

    I’ll forward the info to the fan buying folks. Thanks! : )

  23. Ivan Rezucha
    August 17, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Hi Jackie,

    I was involved in a “rules” discussion today, and I thought maybe you could post, as time and interest permits, some detailed Spot bouldering rules (maybe they are universal). Here are some questions that came up today:

    * If there are two start holds, do you have to use both?
    * If there is one start hold, do both hands have to be on the start hold?

    Here are some situations where the rules seem obvious but may need to be stated:
    * If the start holds are out of reach, and there is a foothold below, you can use the foothold before your hands are on the start hold. I.e., you don’t have to jump from the ground, but can push off the foothold.
    * You must get your off feet and butt off the ground before moving your hands off the start holds. This one is really obvious, but sometimes I amuse myself by walking my hands higher and higher up the holds while keeping my feet on the ground.
    * On a Tracking (no naturals) route, if the finish hold is not taped, you can use the naturals on top. This one seems odd. Maybe there should always be a taped finish hold on Tracking routes.

    I’m sure there are other “rules”. Peter Darmi of the Gunks was the first American international climbing comp judge. He told us that the rules were way more complicated than he ever imagined.


  24. Jackie
    August 18, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Hi Ivan

    That is a good idea for a post, we will address those things. Thanks!

  25. Ivan Rezucha
    September 22, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Wow! Great posters! You all look like movie stars–“The Magnificent 6”. Very professionally done.

    • Jackie
      September 25, 2010 at 11:01 am

      Thanks! Jon is responsible–he’s actually got a master’s in graphic design (or something to that effect) so he whipped ’em out last week.

  26. Ivan Rezucha
    November 3, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Hi Jackie,

    The recent route setting after the comp made me wonder if you had an idea of what number of Spot climbers climb at each level. It would seem to me that the number of routes should more or less match the numbers of climbers at each level. It’s not so simple, though. If there was only one climber at the 5+ level (not the case of course), you would not set only one route at that level. And you’d want to take into account how often a climber climbs and provider more routes at the levels desired by the frequent climbs.

    Maybe when a person renews, buys a punch card, fills out a waiver, etc., you could ask what is their preferred level.


    • Jackie
      November 3, 2010 at 6:17 pm

      Hey Ivan,

      We have attempted to figure those things out in the past, but there’re so many factors! Things like youth team and kids groups mean we need non-reachy problems at all levels, then there are our adult groups (1 to 3- spot), normal climbers (3 to 5- spot) who need to warm up (1 to 4- spot) and then project (4+ to 5 spot) and then the super strong climbers who need to train and project (5- to 5+), etc… We try to have a bell curve of problems with the top of the curve in the mid-4 range, and this reset we’ve actually been paying attention to the curve and trying to fill in holes. Part of the reason our curve tops in the 4 range is that it seems like most of our climbers are in the “advanced” category in our comps–so they’re either climbing 4s or working on 4s.

      With all of this in mind, I have to ask, are you having trouble finding climbs at the grades you want to climb? Or was this just a general idea? I’d be glad to point out where some of the problems of any given grade or type are, if you have something specific you’re looking for. As always, thanks for the feedback!


  27. Joshua Baratta
    November 9, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Been considering busing from North Fort Collins down to you guys, any days particularly better then any other days to come down there?

  28. Jackie
    November 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Hi Josh!

    What do you mean by better? If you mean fresh problems, come Tuesday or Wednesday around 4 (or every day after 4 the week after a comp). If you mean cheaper, Mondays we have an all-day $8 special. If you want quieter, come during the day (before 3ish) or later on (after 9). Sometimes weeknights/weekends are quiet, sometimes they are crazy. It is difficult to predict. For early mornings, we open on Tuesday at 7am. Our next comp, the Highline/Highball event, will be held on December 3rd. Hope to see you here!

  29. Terry
    December 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Hey Spot Setters,

    I have been coming to the spot for a long time and have recently noticed a change in the consistency and quality of routes. Specifically the advanced routes from the most recent comp and the 3 and 4 spot routes. I thought there were way too many jugs on the advanced routes. I thought they were supposed to be hard, but swinging on jugs doesn’t seem hard to me. The differential between advanced and open seems to have gotten larger. I used to love the crimps, pinches, and slopers. Please bring them back. Get creative with the holds like you guys used to. If it helps maybe even bring in some new setting talent. I still love you guys but don’t want to see the spot loose its awesome qualities. Other than that keep up the good work.


  30. Jackie
    December 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Thanks for the feedback Terry. Setting is creative work and it definitely goes through phases. We have tried to add more of these things with yesterday’s River and today’s Dojo set, and will continue to do so throughout the week. Keep us posted with how you think we’re doing and if there’s anything specific you’d like to see. Thanks again!

  31. maria
    January 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    i have a comment about how team ABC has one of their coaches as one of you people who sets at every single comp this season.

  32. Jackie
    January 5, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Hi Maria,

    Actually, Garrett has not been setting al the comps this season. In the first event he set a couple of rec and intermediate problems, but since then he has not set nor been on the gym during comp setting. After coaching kids in the youth sessions he has even been competing in the adult session of the event–I’m sure you’ve seen him in finals?

    In general it is not uncommon to have youth coaches set and or forerun events, even large national events, as often youth setters are very involved in their climbing communities. Obviously the setters/coaches are not allowed to set and coach the same event, and if they do set they do not visit with their team prior to the team climbing on the problems.

    Once the event has started we encourage competitors to share beta and watch other climbers so they have an idea of how to do the problems or figure the problems out together.

    We always do our best to keep our comps as fun and as fair as possible, and we hope you enjoy them.


  33. January 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I have been making climbing holds part time for the last 5 years. I recently quit my full time job at Vertical Endeavors climbing gym and will be diving head first into the climbing hold industry. I literally want to revamp my entire holds selection to focus on ergonomics and comfortable holds. My energy will also be in holds that put more power into the route setters hands (holds that can only be used 1 or 2 ways at the most).

    I am looking for experiences shapers or creative talent looking to play with foam.

    Anyone interested can contact me at My current holds selection is at

    Climb on,

    Ryan Angelo

  34. Jason Smith
    March 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I would really like to see a wall set with the purpose of doing multiple boulder problems back to back without getting off the wall. I understand the complications with this set-up and also understand that I can do this with the current format at your gym. I just think the results would be interesting. Your route setters are so creative in there setting but it is focused on one problem on the wall. This concept of setting a circuit would require more collaborating between route setters an might produces some very interesting options.

  35. Jackie
    March 14, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for writing.

    We actually used to set this way at the beginning of Justen Sjong’s tenure as head setter. Justen got us to set up circuits on all the walls that could be climbed in the style you are suggesting. There were a few hitches with the idea, one being that with a bouldering wall part of the fun is that many people can take turns one after the other instead of waiting like one would do at a route gym. Also, for some reason the idea didn’t seem to appeal to most of our clientele and so after a while we went back to just focusing on individual boulder problems.

    As for your conception of the circuits, were you thinking that we would have more juggy/easier problems spread throughout the wall? Or that the problems were in themes across the wall (i.e. several pinch problems up and down, etc…)

    I doubt it’s something we’ll return to, but I’m definitely interested to hear more about how you imagine this could go.


  36. June 22, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Your articles on attaching climbing holds was VERY helpful! I am interesting on learning to set and it really cleared things up for me! How would you recommend me begin setting at my home gym? Thx!
    Ashley 🙂

    • Jackie
      December 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      Hi Ashley!

      Sorry I didn’t see this until now. I’m glad the article was helpful for you. For setting at your home gym, I’d say approach them and ask what the options are. Usually you will have to begin by volunteering, and often that means washing holds and organizing more than actually setting. From there hopefully they will help you begin setting and offer constructive feedback to improve your setting. You can also practice setting problems with existing holds on the wall so you can learn more about movement. Good luck!

  37. Skilla
    December 5, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Hey Jackie, Can you put this up on the blog for me? Thanks

    The biggest gym in the country is looking for a new full-time routesetter. This is without a doubt one of the best setting gigs out there. I’m trying to fill it soon, so get on it.

    Click to access rockvillefulltimesetter101912.pdf

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  1. April 6, 2010 at 6:29 pm
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