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  • Sarah

Route Setting at The Climbing Works

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

The Climbing Works was designed, built and operated by a company which has the finest route setting pedigree of any climbing wall in the World! The three managing directors have all worked as route setters, giving us the edge when it comes to understanding what climbers want.

Graeme Alderson was the first commercial route setter in the UK, worked on a number of international competitions and set up the first route setter training courses in the UK. He also worked for many years as the Competitions and Climbing Wall Officer for the British Mountaineering Council. He is still heavily involved in international competition as a Technical Delegate for the IFSC.

Sam Whitaker has worked as a route setter for two decades and has set for domestic competitions all over the UK. He is able to transfer his skills as an elite level climber to the creative job of route setting with great effect, and it’s always nice to have an E9 grit climber on the route setting team!

Percy Bishton is a well-known route setter and wall builder and is responsible for creating the walls in The Climbing Works. To say he is experienced is an understatement – he has been a professional route setter for nearly 30 years and has set for world cup events all over the world. He was the chief route setter at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. He is responsible for training setters at national and international level.

Although the company directors have all worked as setters at the highest level, their skills have been passed on to The Climbing Works own team of in-house setters. This is why our setting continues to be so good, and why we are so proud of the quality of our climbing.

Our team is led by Dom Gardner, whose skills as an amazing setter coupled with his efficient management of the madness of the rest of the setting team make him the lynchpin of our setting operations. If you ever want to know why the holds are so clean when we reset, it is down to Dom’s meticulous nature.

The rest of our setting team is made up of some of our super keen staff members, who have all developed into very impressive route setters in their own right. Carol Ng, George Vinten, Karl Channon and Olly Keeling are regularly drafted in to add their own unique flair to our circuits. Coupled with (in)frequent visits from the legendary Enigma (Rob Napier), and future superstars of comp route setting like Max Ayrton, it is fair to say that The Climbing Works probably has one of the best setting teams in the UK, if not the World.

While our walls might not be the newest and shiniest anymore, The Climbing Works continues to offer a more authentic and high quality climbing experience, making it one of the best climbing walls anywhere.

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