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ABS Nationals

Posted on 17. Feb, 2009 by in News


This past week I was locked in the gym route setting for the ABS Nationals at the Spot Bouldering Gym. Its hard to believe but this is the 10th season of the ABS. I have been involved in the Nationals setting for 5 years. Kynan Waggoner was the head setter, and our crew included Chris Danielson (the movement professor), Scott Mechler (of PCA fame) and Kyle Mcabe (the rookie). This was the fourth year the event has been held at the Spot. The Spot is a very unique place to set, as anyone who has put a hold on the wall can attest. To mix things up a bit, we decided to build a large, plywoodextension to the River Granite wall, which was dubbed Project Riverdance. This extension added almost 8ft and gave us the opportunity to open things up a bit more.


We began our setting on Monday. Each problem was assigned a specific hold company. Most companies send around 50 holds. It’s one thing to set a creative problem that divides the field and is of an appropriate difficulty. It’s another thing when you are limited by the hold shapes. Its a great challenge as a course setter and the more events I set, the more I look towards solving those issues. This year I was only responsible for two problems, however I gave my input on some level to most of the 16 problems that were set.


Having set at a PCA, 9 ABS Nationals, 5 TEVA Games and a World Cup, not to mention countless local comps., here are my thoughts on a good comp problem. First and foremost I want it to be safe for the competitor. Secondly I want it to have flair. The Men’s #4 I set had a rose dyno, followed by some compression moves that built to a double dyno to 2 pinches, and a difficult and technical slab topout. (check out the footage of Daniel Woods dramatic flash on Finally, I want it to separate the field, evenly and fairly. In the end, the setting is not about the setter, but about the crowd and the competitors. I have always felt that as a setter, you have the opportunity to let amazing athletes like Daniel Woods and Alex Johnson show every one why they are the best. In terms of difficulty, things are surprisingly not that hard. I would estimate that Men’s #4 was a hard V10. In today’s day of V13 flashes and V16 redpoints that seems a little easy. Keep in mind that Daniel was the only climber capable of a flash that difficult, after sending three other problems in the V9-V10 range. Had Men’s #4 been V11, it is unlikely any of the competitors would have done it.
All in all the comp was a great success. Perhaps 500 spectators came out to watch and it was a great punctuation for season 10 of the ABS. I don’t make a whole lot of money doing these events but the enjoyment and thinking process that goes into them is worth all the time and effort.

4 Responses to “ABS Nationals”

  1. […] the first men’s open qualifier problem. I appreciated the fact that each problem used the holds from a specific company and there were some appropriate banners on/near that problem for the company. I’m hoping The […]

  2. Maxim

    18. Feb, 2009

    Fun stuff, Jaimerson. From the route setter/competitor standpoint, perhaps your best work.

  3. […] there is the view of the comp from the vantage point of the routesetters.  As usual, Jamie Emerson has that angle covered.  From a spectators point of view I agree with him that the setting worked out really well.  For […]

  4. automated

    02. Apr, 2009

    just checkin — kyle’s last name is spelled McCabe, right?

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