Route Setting Schedule
ROUTE SETTING SCHEDULE
As of spring 2021, our route setters are working at North on Mondays and Wednesday from 8 am to 3 pm and at Midtown on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 am to 3 pm. Sometimes they are done early or go late, depending on how much new terrain they are creating for you.
SCHEDULE EXCEPTIONS: CLIMBING COMPETITIONS
Whenever Stone Age hosts a competition, our route setting schedule changes to accommodate the volume and demands of perfecting each competition climb. It typically requires that we close sections of the walls at a time starting one week prior to the competition. But the good news is, you have a second gym where you can train and have fun without the interruption you experienced in the past!
CLIMBING COMPETITION SCHEDULE
Pre-pandemic, our schedule was as listed below. Things may change in the future, but this will give you a general idea of what to expect:
- Spring: Member’s Stone Cup
- May or June: USA Climbing Youth Championship Competition
- Summer: Member’s Stone Cup
- October: Yank-N-Yard; USAC Sanctioned Youth Local, Citizens, and Open Climbing Competitions
Stone Age was founded with the belief that the heart of our business is providing a quality experience through creating routes for every climber. Our route setting director, Lance Hadfield, and the head route setter, Matt Ratajczak strive to be creative in every route that goes up as well as thoughtful of every customer who walks through our doors.
Since the beginnings of Stone Age in 1997, Lance has cultivated a team of setters who understand how to create interesting and fun routes for members and guests of all skill levels. “Each route has the potential of teaching people movement or at least help them practice good types of movement by the way the hand and foot holds are placed on the wall. Our route setters are trained to think of a climb as two parts; a hand sequence and a foot sequence. One must support the other to make a really good climb ‘flow’.” -Lance Hadfield
Route setting is an interesting process that may not be obvious to the casual climber. A router setter is assigned a route of a specific difficulty or grade, a location on the wall, hold color, and even a specific audience. We often get asked if we have a book that catalogs all of the climbs we create. People seem genuinely surprised when we tell them that each climb is original and done from scratch. Sometimes we change the angle of the walls using large features to create different terrain for people to experience and enjoy. This adds variety to each area, always keeping the walls fresh and interesting for frequently returning members.
MEET THE ROUTE SETTERS
Lance Hadfield – Director of Route Setting
Lance Hadfield or otherwise know as “4”. “I started climbing as a young kids in Idaho and New Mexico you know back when dinosaurs walked the earth. I started competing in my late teens and early 20s. I won the second indoor competition in Albuquerque and was asked to set the next competition. That’s where it started.
I am New Mexico’s only Level 5 route setter. I founded and am still the head coach for the Mojo climbing team. But my favorite thing is route setting for Stone Age and our members. I am well known for my amazing ability to grade the climbs I set.”
"I began climbing in 2008 and route setting in 2010. I am a full-time route setter, personal trainer, and youth competitive team coach. I am currently a USAC level 2 setter and have set for over a dozen championship level events. I love route setting because I have the opportunity to test climbers both physically and mentally through infinite combinations of hold placements. I also love my job because it requires a complex range of skill sets from working at heights, physical manual labor, and creating aesthetic complicated movement. When I am not working I enjoy spending time outside with my wonderful family. My passions outside of work are climbing on real rocks, gardening, birdwatching, and long walks in the woods."
When I was 15, I told my rock climbing coach I would never want to route set. I was terrified of power tools, had no desire to climb up extension ladders, and didn't think of myself as creative or strong enough. Somewhere between then and now I got handed an impact driver and was lovingly shoved into the world of setting. Setting has made me care and belong to this community so much more than I could have imagined. My strongest passion is coaching kids, but I've found it pairs well with route setting because they both challenge, teach, and push me. If I'm not at the gym (which I always am) you can find me binge watching sappy Netflix dramas, reading sci-fi and fantasy novels, consuming enough caffeine to turn into a superhuman, or outside on a boulder (read: napping on a crash pad.)
When I first got into setting I was prepared to spend most of my time making mistakes and being confused. Two years later, a couple of comps down, a level 1 setter certification, and lots of time spent philosophising on the placement of plastic and I'm still making mistakes, still confused, and always thankful for my team. Beyond the plastic playground I spend most of my time cruising the desert in my resilient Honda Element (AKA The Hotelement. AKA The BeatBox. AKA better than your $60,000 Sprinter), wondering what's down that road, or what the view looks like from up there.
“Each route has the potential of teaching people movement (or at least help them practice good types of movement) by the way the hand and foot holds are placed on the wall. ” —Lance Hadfield