Routesetting News

Routesetting News from Morgan Young

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

RIC Scale

First we have changed the way we keep track of the routes and boulder problems in the gym. Besides keeping track of the grades we also record the Risk, Intensity and Complexity of each route. 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 do a move.
  • Intensity- The amount of physical force to do a move.
  • Complexity- How obvious is the solution to a given climb.

Each one 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 an 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 an R/I/C of 2/2/2 this would be on the easier side of V5.  Because we record these values we can make sure we are giving a variety of difficulty within a single grade.

Top Rope & Lead

When setting top rope or lead routes we have begun to split the route into 3 sections and give each of those sections a grade. A 5.11 may be split up into 5.10+,5.11- and then the final section being 5.11. Another 5.11 may be split into 5.11-, 5.11, and 5.11. Our motivation behind this is to give people who are trying to push into a higher grade the ability to get on a route that 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 that they can introduce into their own setting. We will also be bringing in guest setters from across the country on a quarterly basis to bring some fresh ideas to the mix.

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