Routesetting News

Routesetting News from Morgan Young

The inSPIRE Routesetting team has changed how we set the gym routes in the last month. I’m sure some of you have noticed the change, and we wanted to update you on what we are trying to achieve.

RIC Scale

First, we have changed how we keep track of the routes and boulder problems in the gym. Besides keeping track of the grades, we also record each route’s Risk, Intensity, and Complexity. The routesetters often refer to this as the RIC scale.

  • Risk- How difficult a move is to control or the degree of commitment required to make a move.
  • Intensity- The amount of physical force to make a move.
  • Complexity- How obvious is the solution to a given climb?

Each of these is based on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the easiest and 5 being the most difficult.


If I were to give a V5 a R/I/C of 4/4/4, this would be a difficult V5 leaning on almost being a V6.  Now if I give another V5 a R/I/C of 2/2/2, this would be on the easier side of V5.  Because we record these values, we can ensure we are giving various difficulties within a single grade.

Top Rope & Lead

When setting top rope or lead routes, we have begun to split the route into three sections and give each section a grade. A 5.11 may be split into 5.10+,5.11-, and the final section, 5.11. Another 5.11 may be split into 5.11-, 5.11, and 5.11. Our motivation behind this is to give people trying to push into a higher grade the ability to get on a route they see progress on.

Guest Setters & Trades

The inSPIRE Routesetter goals are to have a variety of grades in difficulty, styles, and creativity. One thing that is difficult for a full-time setter to do is stay creative. We have begun to work with other gyms to start a trade where we send our setters to a gym, and they send one of theirs. This allows the setters to see new styles and ideas to introduce into their setting. We will also bring in guest setters from across the country every quarter to bring some fresh ideas.

The routesetters are always open to constructive feedback from the members of inSPIRE Rock. We are here for you and want the best experience possible. Feel free to grab any of us when we’re setting or climbing, and let us know how we’re doing.

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