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My First Set!

Setting my first bouldering problem.

By: Katie Johnstone + Save to a List

For the past month and a half I have been working part-time at Kinetic Climbing and Fitness, a bouldering gym here in Columbus. The owner is Tony Reynaldo, a professional climber and one of the world's top holds designers. He has been showing me the ways of running the gym and it has been so fun working there. I mean, I am surrounded by thousands and thousands of holds! How could you not enjoy it.

Tony recently taught my boyfriend to set, who also works at the gym. I will admit I was a little jealous. It was something I had been really wanting to learn about. I finally asked Tony one weekend when we were down at the Red and surely enough the next time I walked into the gym Tony had everything ready for me to set! I was so stoked!

He gave me a quick "class" on everything I needed to know about the bolts, drills, etc. Then he handed me a box of green holds and told me to set my first problem. I could only use what was in the box so I had to make every move count. I was so nervous about what to do, but quickly started piecing together my first problem. I really tried to think about the movement, how other people would think of the route and the distance between each hold. I had to remind myself that my arms and legs are much longer than most, so what may seem like a "normal" reach to me could be very reachy for someone else.

Overall, I thought my first route wasn't to shabby! Tony said he liked it then handed me another box of holds. This time they were orange and I had a rule: More underclings and side pull moves. Challenge accepted! My orange problem turned out much better than my green and I started to think more about the moves and making them more challenging. Then, Tony came out with my name tags and tagged my problems! It was an awesome feeling.

A few days after setting I got a text from Tony saying people really enjoyed my orange route. Then a couple days after that I finally had the chance to go in and climb my problems. Since then I have really payed attention to movement and holds each time I climb. I can't wait to get back in the gym and set more!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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