The fall season is a highlight for every climber, and with it comes the release of Route Setter Magazine vol. 4! Researched and written by industry experts, the magazine offers unique insights into current events, informative articles, and entertaining stories from the world of route setting and gym management. Topics include growth and restructuring during and after crisis, the inside scoop on the Olympic debut of sport climbing, inspiring initiatives to make climbing more inclusive and accessible, the path to professionalizing routesetting, part two of climbing holds history, the rise of indoor climbing in Japan, and the results of the first Route Setter Magazine photo contest. As always, an integrated catalogue provides a sampling of the latest products from brands and suppliers. Order your printed copy here, or read the full magazine online.

Order your printed copy here, or read the full magazine online.

Route Setter Magazine #4

Editor’s Note

A Slight Traverse

It seems like a lifetime ago that we published our first issue of Route Setter Magazine in 2018. Much has changed since then, and not everything has gone to plan. We thought last year’s issue would be the Olympics issue, and even upon publication, we didn’t expect COVID-19 to still be a focal point and challenge going into the final months of preparation for this year’s issue. What hasn’t changed over the years are our enthusiasm and passion for producing this magazine. In spite of all the upheaval and uncertainty in recent times, being part of the climbing industry and working on this project still energizes us and gives us purpose.

There’s no sugar coating it: 2020-2021 has been an epic journey that has continually interrupted our plans and our industry’s previous upward trajectory. It seems safe to say that it has forced all of us in the climbing industry to take stock and rethink what we can offer – and how – in order to ensure our survival and safeguard our chances of climbing another day.

We have looked outward to many of you during this challenging period, and we have found inspiration in all of the new and creative measures that you have taken to keep your businesses and local climbing communities strong and connected. Thanks to your influence and collaboration, we built a reservation system to help climbing gyms operate safely at limited capacities. We then adapted this service and offered it to businesses beyond climbing gyms. Known as No-Q, this side project has already handled over 22 million COVID-19 test reservations in Germany alone. By taking this slight traverse and deviating from our usual route, as many of you also did, we were able to endure the rockiest periods and to guarantee that we could come back stronger and keep on climbing and working together with you.

We would like to thank everyone that helped make this issue happen by contributing fantastic insights, topics, and stories. We hope that this year finds you better off than the last, and that together we can keep sharing our love for the sport and can continue growing and sharing it in the best way possible. In this issue, we’ve tried our best to highlight stories and individuals that inspire us and remind us to live in the moment, take action, and be resilient. Time doesn’t wait. This project is a labor of love that we hope gives you, the reader, the same joy to read as it gives us to create.

Matthias Polig & The Vertical-Life Team


FASTER, HIGHER, STRONGER - The Olympic Debut of Sport Climbing (Mike Langley)

THE RISE OF CLIMBING IN JAPAN - The inside story (Cody Roth):

PUMPed - Interview with Satoru Onda & Naoya Naito

BASE CAMP - Interview with Yuji Hirayama

BEHIND THE SCREEN OF COMPETITION CLIMBING - New result service for championships & cups (Vertical-Life)

INSPIRING INITIATIVES (Cody Roth & Melissa Rudick):

FINDING PEACE THROUGH CLIMBING - The story of ClimbAID (Interview with Beat Baggenstos)

CLIMBING FOR CHANGE - A mission to make climbing more inclusive (Interview with Kai Lightner)

CLMBXR - How one climber invited his community to share in the experience (Interview with Rotimi Odukoya)

ROUTESETTING and the path to professionalization (Peter Zeidelhack)

JACKY GODOFFE. - The G.F.O.S. - (Interview by Cody Roth)

CLIMBING HOLDS - A historical overview part II (Jackie Hueftle)

RSM PHOTO CONTEST - Celebrating the art of route setting (Vertical-Life)

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC 2021 IMPACT STUDY -Gym managers' survey (Christian Popien & Vertical-Life)


STRENGTH RESTORED - The extraordinary story of how Chimpanzodrome rose from the ashes (Christian Popien)

ACHIM WIESINGER (Christian Popien)

THE CLIFFS - Mike Wolfert, Emily Buckley & Paul Jung (Melissa Rudick)

PRODUCT CATALOGUE – Fresh gear for your gym: holds & volumes, software solutions, walls & infrastructure, training tools, safety & climbing equipment

Order your printed copy here, or read the full magazine online.