Setting for Nationals 2015 was a tall order.
Whilst I had the pleasure of being involved with many facets of the Australian Boulder champs, my official title was that of head route setter, and I can tell you, never have I faced the challenges that I faced this time around!
I feel as though at this point I should precede this post with a few statements. Firstly, I don’t want anyone to think or feel that I am upset or secretly angry about anything that happened. I am merely writing down my experience. I know where climbing is at in Australia and also understand first hand the constraints of climbing events. Also, I am not belittling anyone else’s contribution. There were many, who I felt did much more than me to make this all happen, but I am not them, and so I know not there experience, so all I can express is my own vision.
The marque went up on the Wednesday, the week before the competition, to give us time to build the wall, prep everything and make sure that the walls and all our gear would stay protected from the elements. It was then that I started my tenure there. Sleeping in the marque every night, to ensure everything was protected from curious passers by. I had already been there a week before any setting had begun and had also helped construct a frame and build a wall. I was already tired…….
To add to that, I had multiple commitments in Melbourne that I had to juggle, in addition to managing the setting team and making sure that everything was perfect from my end, for the 3 day event. We had 2 days!
The team this year had 2 setters from Tasmania (Josh and Tommy from Rockit), 2 setters from Victoria (Sam from Hardrock and Dick from The Rock in Geelong) and 2 setters from Queensland (Dan and Pat from Urban). I can’t explain how impressed I was with the team. They were never afraid to get involved in the other elements that we had to deal with in preparation, including mat tetris and mounting panels, not to mention all the amazing setting they did!
Sometimes setting for competitions and even commercial setting can be extraordinarily frustrating. It feels like setters are taken for-granted, thought of as some reluctant necessity. However, I can’t stress enough that no matter the venue, the holds or the facility, if the setting isn’t on par, you get poor results and a lacklustre event. Over everything, it’s the climbs that we are selling, it’s the climbs that make the event, it’s the climbs that bring people back. This competition was a tall order. Not everything went smoothly, not everything was perfect, but man we got awfully close….
Pretty damn good for a pack of volunteers, with the shortest amount of prep time for a national comp I have ever had, with little to no sleep and almost a full first day with no pads!……….
The team managed to prepare qualifications, semis and finals for Open A male and Female, plus finals for Juniors, Youth A and Youth B, Male and Female in just 2 days, in addition to helping finish the wall, bring the pads in and prep the marquee. In amongst that we set problems for the Youth C and D categories, plus the masters and Open B’s! (big props to James Kassay and Al Pryce for coming back after the gala event to help with this!) Never have I seen so much achieved by so few in such short a time! To add to this, there were certain constraints put on us in regards to space we had to set, as well as holds and volumes we had access to. The finals needed to be seen from a single side of both mushrooms, which limited our space to set, plus the timetable was packed full of set, after re-set, so we had little time adjust over the 3 days.
Late night testing by head-torch as the we lost power some nights!
The setters timetable:
We had a 2 day bump in, set Open Qualifications and Youth C and D climbs. After Youth C and D climbed, the wall got stripped and Open Qualifications re-set. Then Friday night, everything came down and semi-finals were put back up and tweaked. After semi finals (Saturday) we stripped and put Open finals up. Then after that (Saturday night) all Junior, Youth A and B qualifications went up, plus masters and Open B. Followed by Sunday, the whole front side got stripped again and Junior, Youth A and Youth B finals are re-set!………
It was such a pleasure to work with that crew, each one bringing something different to the table and each person putting in an in-human effort to make the event happen! #mysetter
You guys rock! Josh Fawssett, Tommy Krauss, Pat Banda, Sam Junker, Dick Lodge, Dan Gordon. With special mention to Al Pryce and James Kassay.