EP 82: Christine Deyo — Learning Creativity, Fontainebleau Circuits, and the Role of Diversity in Route Setting


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Christine Deyo is a professional route setter, and the former head route setter at the Austin Bouldering Project. We talked about Christine’s path to route setting, learning to be creative, setting challenges and games, the Fontainebleau circuit system, the responsibility of route setters, competitions, the role of diversity in setting, and the future of the climbing industry.

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Show Notes:



2:30 – Christine’s dad, and falling in love with bouldering

4:44 – Why Oregon?

6:02 – Studying biochemistry, unemployment, and discovering route setting

9:38 – The Nightly Business Report on PBS

11:58 – Christine’s early route setting education

14:26 – How route setting qualifications have evolved, and what Christine looks for when hiring a route setter

18:57 – Three notable chapters in Christine’s evolution as a route setter

28:36 – What makes a good setter?

34:33 – The circuit system at the Bouldering Projects

36:33 – How circuits work in Fontainebleau

41:22 – How grades work within circuits

44:23 – Combining the circuit system with the training boards, and improving at climbing aside from strength

47:10 – How Christine uses the circuit system for training purposes

50:45 – Patron question from Tyler: What are your thoughts on parkour-style setting and balancing that with movement found on real rock?

58:16 – Patron question from Joe: Are there ways to get setters around the world to collaborate more?

1:03:17 – Patron question from Tim: Where do you draw inspiration from when setting routes? (Christine’s collection of note cards.)

1:07:30 – Creativity can be learned, creating constraints, and route setting challenges/games

1:13:01 – Tonde’s email, the responsibility of setters, and the role of diversity in route setting

1:20:31 – Questions from Tonde: What value do female setters bring to a setting team? Why bother with diversity?

1:26:28 – More questions from Tonde: Is setting art? Where is setting going? The future of setting for competitions?

1:30:45 – The role route setters play in competitions

1:44:52 – What is the value of route setters in the climbing industry?

1:47:50 – Safety in route setting

1:53:06 – Setter salaries, ages, and turnover

1:56:54 – How we move setting forward as a profession

2:02:03 – Christine’s tips for taking care of yourself as a route set

2:09:04 – Christine’s career, and what’s next

2:14:19 – Learning to set dynos

2:19:55 – Gratitude

123 episodes