We cover some difficult topics in this week's episode of In Isolation. First, we remember French athlete Luce Douady, who tragically died last Sunday aged 16. We then have an insightful conversation about routesetting and racial diversity with Tonde Katiyo, discussing how he became an international setter and the challenges surrounding this relatively new industry. Tonde also opens up about diversity within the sport, culture as a whole and what needs to be done going forward.
He is very special to us here in Seattle because his ethos brought a breath of fresh air to setting at the Seattle Bouldering Project and across the community. He brought the circuit system, creative use of volumes, and climbing that was about movement and physical exploration and puzzle solving rather than just pulling hard on small holds, though there's nothing wrong with pulling hard.
You can tell from even a few minutes of the interview that he approaches the world through the eyes of an artist, a designer, a philosopher, a climber, and perhaps most importantly, a thoughtful and empathetic person. It's so refreshing compared to the climber-bro macho culture that can be so toxic.
Beyond climbing, Tonde is clearly a deep thinker who has mature and reasoned perspectives on everything from the state of the sport to the state of society and racism and politics. He is truly a treasure.
I really hope he or someone else will run with this concept of a training school for setters. It's overdue.