Routesetting Report

Nordic Bouldering Championship 2022

Chief: Florian Escoffier

Routesetters: William Cherasse, Björn Strömberg, Bjørn Arnel Iisager

Finals round:

Youth B Female  4 boulders
Youth B Male      4 boulders
Youth A Female  4 boulders
Youth A Male      4 boulders 
Junior Female      4 boulders 
Junior Male         4 boulders
Senior Female      4 boulders
Senior Male          4 boulders

For the finals we reused Youth and Junior boulders with modifications for each round. In total 8 boulders (4 female and 4 male boulders). 

Qualification round:

Youth B Female 8 boulders
Youth B Male     8 boulders
Youth A Female 8 boulders
Youth A Male     8 boulders 
Junior Female    8 boulders 
Junior Male        8 boulders
Senior Female    5 boulders
Senior Male        5 boulders

For the qualifications we reused Youth and Junior boulders with modifications for each round. In total 16 boulders (8 female and 8 male boulders youth/junior boulders). For the seniors we set 5 female and 5 male boulders. 

To secure diversity in climbing styles during each round the plan was orchestrated with the foremost difference between the boulders. Each boulder had an objective (finger test, physical test, slab skill test etc.) and had to look different from the other boulders in the round regarding hold size and quantity. This in combination with the location of the boulders forced the ideas of the boulders to be different from each other. 

Our method of conduct was to set the boulders and focus on the diversity before we calibrated the levels. This gave creative room for pushing the ideas. Everyone in the team had a chance to comment and test all the boulders, which gave a varied base for the decision-making process regarding changes and adjustments of the boulders. 

Regarding aiming at the right level, we used the qualification round as an indication for how well the athletes did and as a base for our aim at how well they would do in the final round. This worked because we had references between qualification and final boulders, that shared same climbing style and level. The basic idea is that if the athletes did well in the qualification reference-boulder, then they might as well perform in the same manner in the final boulder equal to the level of the qualification reference-boulder. The speculations will always be of how certain this method is. One might reflect on the fact that the athletes have already done the qualification round, so that they are more tired when arriving at the finals. The question of how important a role the fatigue-level, on top of the inner mental battle of the athletes plays, will always be a part of the decision-making process of the routesetter between qualification and finals.

After each boulder was tweaked, another process began where we aimed at making the boulders fit the intended purpose of the circuit. Each boulder had both the individual purpose of testing a specific climbing skill, but also a purpose of balancing the circuit. This could be placing a slab boulder as boulder nr. 2 in between two physical boulders etc. In balancing the circuit, we also thought about the speed of the circuit. How fast are the boulders climbed? Is it a slow round, or a fast one? When/where do we try to create the spectacle for the crowd? These thoughts were part of the balancing process.

During our conversations within the team in the evenings we discussed many topics, but one is especially worth mentioning: 

The aim for circuits is believed to be an idea mainly used in Europe (French origin). The intense focus on the circuit-composition is believed to have pros and cons. On the negative side the focus creates adjustments of the individual boulders, that sometimes take away stand-out details, so the boulders fit the purpose better. On the positive side the focus makes room for analytic perspectives on how the possible outcome of the circuit could be. And this creates possibilities for anticipating routesetting mistakes that can be prevented beforehand through a better balancing of the circuit. 

A counter view is believed to be the Japanese method (I have no possible way of making sure this is a general Japanese method, but I’m told this method has been used by Japanese setters). The idea is to not focus on the circuit-composition. Instead the team set as different boulders as possible with the only focus of demarcating the ideas. In the adjustment process each individual idea of the boulder is pushed as far as possible. This creates a very rough circuit – like strong heart beats on an electrocardiogram. With this method the demand for the athlete-ability to adapt between the boulders is higher.

To get the outlines of the idea of the non-composition focus check out Gen Hirashimas work during the Meiringen Boulder World Cup 2021 – one could name this method freestyle.

In the end we ended up with a high diversity in climbing styles in each round and I’m convinced that the dissimilarity between the setters in the team created the base for greater diversity.    

Results finals:

Youth B

Youth A



Results qualifications: 

Youth B

Youth A