Guest Post: Home Wall Setting

Hey Steph, quick question about home wall setting. I have just wrapped up my home wall and have accumulated a good amount of holds, but despite how much I love setting lines, Im finding that being the only one who sets on my wall, is starting to feel a little limiting. I’ve noticed some people seem to just throw all their holds up (ie beth rodden’s wall) and that seems like a great idea for training, but am looking for more feedback. What’s your personal preference? Do you have setting parties (My wife and I just moved to southern california so we dont really know anyone to partake in this with us yet), or spend a day and redo your wall alone? Or do you also just slap all your holds up and more or less let your imagination do the work while you’re sessioning?

My wall is pretty tall, 14.5ft at the high point, so setting had proven to be a big endeavor with heavy ladders on uneven ground, or needing to sit in my harness for a few hours while I set and forerun. I can be pretty lazy at times and this little road block has definitely put a damper on the experience of having a home wall.

Any feedback would be awesome!
Thanks Steph!

If you want to see pics of the wall, check out my IG: chossbucket

Hi Alex,
I also had done the shotgun spray approach when I first built my wall: it was so much empty space and I figured I just had to get lots of holds on it. I ended up disliking that, and having to remove and switch some as I tried to mark problems. And then the whole wall was covered in duct tape to mark problems, and the duct tape kept drying up and falling off and it was all a big mess! I was losing motivation to climb on the wall, and I wanted to start fresh.

I stripped all the holds, repainted the wall, and got new, color-matched holds from Atomik Climbing Holds. Since I wanted to experiment with training by doing linked boulder problems (4 sets of 4, downclimbing ladder holds between each problem, 2 minutes rest between sets), I got 4 different color groups of holds. Each color has its own character: the purples are juggy, the aqua is medium sized and sometimes less positive, the pink is pinches and crimps, and the green is even more crimpy. The downclimbing ladder rungs are orange.

The really awesome thing about deciding to do this with your wall and do this kind of training for a while is you only need 4 good problems (and downclimbing rungs on each side of the wall) at a time, and it will keep you happy and busy for weeks! You don’t need that many holds either. I just started to set one problem at a time, and I didn’t even set anything on the right half of my wall (which is less steep). Eventually my boyfriend got interested, and would come out and start setting some problems he liked on the right side while I was climbing my linked problems on the left side. So we are just gradually adding one problem at a time. I like this so much more than what I did before, just frantically trying to get holds up and having too many–it’s growing organically, I don’t need that many holds, it’s not all cluttered and overwhelming, and all the problems are color matched by holds, which is really really nice. I’ve been perfectly happy with having 6 problems on the left side of my wall for a few months now, because it’s just what I need for training right now. When it’s time, I’ll add more or re-set.

Kenny Matys is the president and owner of Atomik Climbing Holds. He started climbing in 1989, eventually competing in the X Games as well as in the professional circuit before starting Atomik. His holds are designed with systems in mind, and he’s given me a lot of ideas about how to use my limited wall space efficiently. Here are some links that could be helpful from the Atomik site:
I asked Kenny for some advice on your question too, and here’s what he has to say:

Having a home wall is a relationship. You get what you put into it in terms of time and the holds. It’s time to not be lazy. Besides, route setting is a workout in itself. Embrace the work, be creative. You will be a better climber from the experience.

My suggestion is to start from scratch. Strip the entire wall, wash the holds and then on date night with your wife, set a warm up up problem. And not just any warm up problem. Set one move at a time and climb each move. Both you and your wife should climb the moves. I like to set the longest length from low left on the wall to upper right. Then down climb and on to the next which runs from lower right to upper left. This gives you a big X on your wall of warm up and cool down holds. That would be my first setting session.

The next session would be an easy problem that focuses on pinches or slopers. It’s important to have easy problems with tendon friendly holds which is why my wall consists of mostly slopers and pinches.

Bottom line, one quality problem at a time makes for a great wall. I never just slap up holds. They all have a place to be the best they can. Your job is to find it.

Kenny Matys

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