/ Opinion on climbing walls that don't change their routes.

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StuartBlackler - on 14 Jul 2017
Sent this to the owner of my local climbing wall.. i obviously think i'm doing the correct thing, i wondered what other people think.

Id like to make an complaint about high-sports complete lack of understanding of what climbers need and expect from a climbing wall, and high-sports complete lack of respect of its membership holders. This is not a complaint of the staff at high-sports Plymouth because they are great, i feel sorry for them, it must be extremely frustrating and demoralizing working in a climbing wall with the feeling of having your hands tied behind their backs, unable to provide the service that people expect and is a basic necessity, and seeing the regulars/members getting more and more frustrated and fed-up, and knowing their climbing wall is dying. This is a complaint of the parent company/owners of high-sports. Their decision to not change any of the routes anymore. Either the people who have made this decision don't know what climbers need and expect from a climbing wall, or, are incapable of working it out, or, they do know and they don't care. This is a huge insult and and lack of respect to the regulars/membership holder because your happy to take our money, and are incapable or unwilling to provide what we need. We all know that you're unwilling to pay for new routes, which means you have little or no regard to the quality of the service your provide and only care about taking our money.
Oceanrower - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to StuartBlackler:

Vote. Feet.
The Lemming - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to StuartBlackler:

Step one, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Your complaint went nuclear from the off set.

Nobody likes being told off. Maybe being positive in your complaint would have kept it out of the bin for a bit longer that the five seconds that the recipient gave it after a quick read though.

Step two. Vote with your feet
plyometrics - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to StuartBlackler:

You only appear to reference specifically what the problem is in one sentence. The rest is just rant.

Indeed, I'd expect your note to be ignored.

Suggesting politely what your gripe is and offering ideas of how they might easily fix it and how some of the climbers at the wall may be willing to help would (IMHO) be a much better start.

As others have said, you could also vote with your feet.
The Ivanator - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to StuartBlackler:

Agree with other posters that the tone of your communication verges on hysteria and is unlikely to get a positive response. Put together a well reasoned statement, based around evidence and talk to other climbers to see if some consensus about the service exists, perhaps draft a group letter.
FWIW my local wall is run by the same company (High Sports) and the routes are regularly re-set by a range of setters (including guest setters), so not sure if this is a problem of the parent company.
Ged Desforges - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to StuartBlackler:

They've said they are not going to change routes at all?!

The problem with voting with your feet here is there's nowhere else to go! Rumours of the climbing hangar opening a new wall in Plymouth but no idea when

I went to the quay in Exeter last week for the first time since January. All the routes on the main lead wall were the same. Bit poor, and slightly annoying when you've driven half an hour and paid best part of a tenner.
Fraser on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to StuartBlackler:

I'd be more than a little disappointed if my local walls made a conscious decision not to reset any routes whatsoever. Your letter isn't very well written though and I do think you could have made a better job presenting your case. In my opinion, it's not 'nuclear' or a rant, just a bit rambling. If there's an alternative wall in your area, I'd definitely take my custom there.
andyr - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to StuartBlackler:

Something odd here. Here's a link to their current webpage http://www.high-sports.co.uk/climbing-walls/plymouth.html about route setting. Where did the info come from that they're ceasing setting. Try having a conversation with someone at their head office 0345 363 1177
3leggeddog on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to StuartBlackler:

Get over it, it is a wall, that's all.

Set your own routes, hands on red, feet on green, black G holds for feet, little holds for hand etc.

Would you get upset if they didn't move the machines around in a gym on a regular basis?
robbie Warke - on 18 Jul 2017
In reply to Ged Desforges:

Dart Rock Climbing Centre
The Barn Climbing
The Boulder Bunker
Marjon Climbing

Plenty of other places that regularly re set, Dart Rock has extensive bouldering and has just had a re-set, wall routes set regularly
John Clinch (Ampthill) - on 19 Jul 2017
In reply to StuartBlackler:

I can see why you are frustrated. But I think you need to find out why they are not resetting.

I'm very lucky that big Rock MK seems to do a lot of resetting. I think the whole bouldering area turns over in 3 months. Not sure about the exact schedule for the climbing but I route setters in every week. But that must cost a fortune. Big Rock is really busy and charges quite high entry fees. So they have the cash to set the routes. I can see that a wall that is loosing money feel that route setting is something that they can'at afford if they are loss making. It might be that they only make money on beginners courses. Yes they'll loose regular climbers but if they are running at a loss what can they do. The Hemel Wall opened claiming it would have an in house route setter and a fast turn round of routes. But that seems to have slowed downed. The routes were actually polished on one visist. Commercial reality too I assume

Actually could they try letting a group of locals volunteers re set an area of the wall once a week.
John Clinch (Ampthill) - on 19 Jul 2017
In reply to 3leggeddog:



> Would you get upset if they didn't move the machines around in a gym on a regular basis?

No I wouldn't. Why would I it would change nothing. New routes on a wall can be an amazing gift
keith-ratcliffe on 19 Jul 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):
I discussed volunteer route setting with my local wall manager. All setters have to be trained in 'working at heights' as per Health & Safety Executive. I guess if volunteers were prepared to become trained (cost might be an issue) they could route set.
ianstevens - on 19 Jul 2017
In reply to plyometrics:

> You only appear to reference specifically what the problem is in one sentence. The rest is just rant.

> Indeed, I'd expect your note to be ignored.

With abysmal grammar too. Straight in the bin.
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JIMBO on 19 Jul 2017
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

I think this line of being qualified is also used to decline volunteers because 9 times out of 10 they are crap at it...
Toerag - on 19 Jul 2017
In reply to 3leggeddog:

> Set your own routes, hands on red, feet on green, black G holds for feet, little holds for hand etc.

^This. I grew up with a wall that couldn't / wouldn't get refreshed and the permutations are endless if there's sufficient holds. If each line of bolts has 3 or 4 coloured 'routes' on it then I suspect you could tag individual holds to create another 20 'routes' using those holds. If it's a panelled wall then moving diagonally between panels is good (no using two panels directly above each other at the same time though).

trouserburp - on 19 Jul 2017
In reply to Oceanrower:

But if you've paid up for an annual membership and assumed a certain very normal standard of quality (resets), and then it transpires you won't be getting resets and so won't be getting what you thought you were paying for, surely you get your money back or have a right to complain

Also value to other climbers by publicising it on here so they don't waste their money

and value to High Rocks in knowing they are losing customers (even if we do not pay as much as schools)

FWIW very disappointed with High Rocks broken promises following takeover and rebuild of Crystal Palace wall
BrendanO - on 19 Jul 2017
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

Wonder if that rule is "Different In Scotland"...or as another respondent said, is just fobbing you off.

Routesetting set-up (2 lines, 2 devices so you are backed up, etc) wasn't taught in CWA. However, I was (pre-CWA Assessment) shown this at a wall I shadowed at, then got a go setting there. Subsequently, I have set at another wall with a brief recap to check I knew...no certification.

Or maybe I'm in big trouble if it all goes HMS-shaped?
bouldery bits - on 20 Jul 2017
In reply to BrendanO:

> Or maybe I'm in big trouble if it all goes HMS-shaped?

Climber bants.
Trangia on 20 Jul 2017
In reply to trouserburp:

>
> and value to High Rocks in knowing they are losing customers (even if we do not pay as much as schools)

> FWIW very disappointed with High Rocks broken promises following takeover and rebuild of Crystal Palace wall

I think you mean High Sports? I'm not certain that High Rocks would appreciate (nor understand) your comments ?!

Phil79 - on 20 Jul 2017
In reply to robbie Warke:

> Dart Rock Climbing Centre
> The Barn Climbing
> The Boulder Bunker
> Marjon Climbing

> Plenty of other places that regularly re set, Dart Rock has extensive bouldering and has just had a re-set, wall routes set regularly

Fair point, but High Sports is the only major wall in Plymouth. Ok there's the tiny wall at Majons (do you guys run this now?) but its not big enough for serious training. And obviously its a 30+ minute drive to get to any of the other walls in the area.

If you've got no access to a car, you're stuck with that wall or nothing.

Not sure what the current setting situation is TBH, haven't been there much recently. I know they've lost lots of staff over last few years, and they all seemed pissed off about higher management.
trouserburp - on 20 Jul 2017
In reply to Trangia:

Quite right. High Rocks just charge £11 for climbing on a natural resource whilst providing nothing in return
trouserburp - on 20 Jul 2017
In reply to trouserburp:

No resets
Tomtom - on 21 Jul 2017
In reply to BrendanO:

> Wonder if that rule is "Different In Scotland"...or as another respondent said, is just fobbing you off.

> Routesetting set-up (2 lines, 2 devices so you are backed up, etc) wasn't taught in CWA. However, I was (pre-CWA Assessment) shown this at a wall I shadowed at, then got a go setting there. Subsequently, I have set at another wall with a brief recap to check I knew...no certification.

> Or maybe I'm in big trouble if it all goes HMS-shaped?

As far as I know there is no recognised qual for routesetting, as far as the ABC is concerned. There is nothing stopping any random person doing it. But the same goes for CWA. It isn't actually necessary, and although the industry standard NGB award, you don't actually need it.
But then you look at corporate health and safety and insurance. Wall owners would be mad to employ people without a piece of paper that says they are capable and competent. But try telling the old school setters they need to now sit a course to tell them how to properly do what they've done professionally for god knows how long.

There is, however the route setting association, who are aiming to change this way of thinking and doing, and are succeeding, as far as I know. And too right they should be. I've seen and heard of horrendous practice from route setters, who I'm surprised have yet to kill themselves.

The problem is, just because you have a piece of paper that says you can, doesn't mean you're worth much as a setter. I've seen plenty holding CWA and SPA whom I wouldn't trust as far as I could throw.

Anyhow, good luck finding volunteers to not only qual themselves up, but also insure themselves for the sake of setting a few naff routes.
IMO you need to vote with your feet and climb elsewhere. End of the day, walls sell a product and that product is routes. You wouldn't go to tesco and buy rotten apples would you?
routrax - on 21 Jul 2017
In reply to StuartBlackler:

As mentioned, either don't go there, or make your own up routes.

Eliminate holds, traverse, etc.

The nearest wall to me is Brunel University, it's resin moulded with no bolt on holds, still fun and useful for training.
robbie Warke - on 21 Jul 2017
In reply to Phil79:

Hi, Yes we do run the Marjon wall, regular re-set and autobelay, not huge but only 3 or 6 pounds to climb depending on when you visit.

Its a bummer that you cant travel. Maybe speak to higher management at High Sports or post your frustrations to Plymouth Council.

Good luck man
two_tapirs - on 21 Jul 2017
In reply to StuartBlackler:

For balance; High Sports Basildon regularly have resets, with lots of different route setters coming in. If it's High Sports policy not to reset routes, Basildon are ignoring that, thankfully (and also paying the route setters, so I'd assume head office approve)
Phil79 - on 21 Jul 2017
In reply to robbie Warke:

> Its a bummer that you cant travel. Maybe speak to higher management at High Sports or post your frustrations to Plymouth Council.

> Good luck man

Actually I can (travel elsewhere). My point being there are people who climb there (lots of students for example) who can't, and therefore saying 'vote with your feet' doesn't apply. That's the problem with only one major wall in the city. Lack of competition.

I climb there sporadically during the summer, and about once a week in the winter. It didn't seem a particular issue last winter (handful of new routes on lead wall once every two weeks, boulder room about the same), but then if people are climbing there 3 times a week, they might be expecting much more frequent resets. I'm off there tonight as its pi**ing down, so I'll see.

Out of interest, what's the Dartrock policy on resetting?
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Lusk - on 21 Jul 2017
In reply to StuartBlackler:

One of the best climbing walls in Britain was Broughton.
Moulded fibre glass/resin kind of thing with bits of rock embedded in it, none of that panel and plastic hold rubbish.
Completely unchangeable.

Now sadly closed and gone into climbing folklore.
stp - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

> All setters have to be trained in 'working at heights' as per Health & Safety Executive.

Red tape in this country gets in the way of everything. When I lived in the USA many years ago the local wall had resetting done one morning per week, all by climbers in exchange for free entries. Not sure they would accept anyone to do it, you had to show some climbing experience, so it was mostly pretty good climbers. But the route setting there was fine and pretty diverse because of a wider range of climbers doing the setting.
stp - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to Lusk:

Times change and what was considered fantastic many years ago would seen as crap by modern standards. The evolution of climbing walls has been a wondrous thing.
plyometrics - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to Lusk:

Broughton wasn't just a wall, it was a way of life.

Legendary venue.
robbie Warke - on 24 Jul 2017
In reply to Phil79:
We have a route set manager and our Boulder walls are on a two month reset, our main Boulder wall is reset then out Boulder cave a month after. All our staff are trained route setters so during down time we set routes on the main rope walls. We also have several trained volunteers who have been setting for us for several years. We now also have a new policy for managed monthly sets on parts of the roped walls to ensure fresh routes every month. We also occasionally use outside professional paid setters, usually for comps.
Graeme Alderson on 24 Jul 2017
In reply to stp:

But you have to remember that you can disclaim negligence in the States, you can't here. Red tape can be good, it stops people dying and prevents businesses from cutting corners when they shouldn't.
AlanLittle - on 24 Jul 2017
In reply to Lusk:

Broughton was great in the 90s. It was polished to death on my one nostalgic return visit this century/decade though, just before it was shut down for good.
Spartacus on 25 Jul 2017
In reply to StuartBlackler:
Subject matter aside, as others have said; poor composition and rambling text. Unlikely to have a positive effect on the target reader.

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