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Frequently Asked Questions

Route setting specifics can be tricky at times, especially when there are many options to accomplish similar tasks.  Compiled below are a list of questions and answers that will hopefully make your life a little easier next time you need to buy a drill or convert your walls from taped holds to monochromatic setting. 



Top impact drivers for route setting


18V Makita Brushless Impact Driver

Tried and true by the masses. A large number of route setters continue to use this workhorse because of its power and durability. If there was a “standard” for impact drivers specific to route setting, the 18V Makita would be it


18V Makita Brushless Oil Impulse Driver

The new kid on the block. Has many of the same specs as its older brother, with the added benefits of running much quieter and cooler than the tradition 18V impact.


20V DeWalt Brushless Impact Driver

You can drill holds straight through the wall with this guy. Powerful as all hell and much lighter than either of the Makitas, this beast can set screw holds through Rockwerx concrete walls- without a masonry bit. 


However, with great power comes great responsibility. This drill is notorious for viciously stripping out T-nuts, even in the hands of experienced setters.



What are some of the best ways to wash your holds?



Easy to use and low-cost once you purchase the dishwasher. Holds that are exceptionally dirty might not get fully cleaned, so a little extra scrubbing or an additional wash cycle may be necessary.


Power washer:

Growing in popularity, but limited by your gym’s location. Live in the Southwest? Perfect. Live in New England? Not so much. Washing holds and getting a little wet may be fine in the summer, but once fall and winter roll around, do you really want to be blasting water on holds in 30 degree temperatures? 


In any case, there are various methods for keeping the holds from shooting off into oblivion once you starting washing, varying from milk crates to industrial dishwashing trays to custom set ups.


Citric acid:

Even your dirtiest holds will get super clean, especially with a little scrubbing; however, cost and safety are both important factors to consider. Elbow-length gloves and eye protection are a must, and if your gym is running on a shoe-string budget, this method might be out of reach.


If you have a couple of extra large sinks to use, using citric acid can be a super efficient way to clean a large number of holds in a short amount of time.



How do I fly with my route setting gear?


The best method is to check your tools in a lockable case using TSA approved locks. This gives the TSA access to your tool chest (should they need to investigate it for any reason- and they probably will) and it keeps out the prying eyes and sticky hands of general airline staff. Be sure to pack your impact driver's batteries in carry-on baggage (maximum 2 batteries), as extreme changes in temperature, like those found in the airplane’s storage bay at 36,000 feet, can seriously diminish the life of lithium-ion batteries. Let the folks at security know that you are traveling with the batteries and they will likely scan them separately from the rest of your carry-on baggage. 


FAA Carry-On Baggage FAQ



Highlighted points on the conversation regarding monochromatic setting vs. setting with tape:





  • No additional cost associated with buying tape

  • Walls look clean no matter how long a climb is on the wall

  • No additional maintenance (e.g. having to replace tape that has been kicked off of a climb)




  • Less overall rock climbs





  • Much higher density of rock climbs per square foot



  • Cost

  • Heavily taped walls don't look as clean, especially over time

  • Must maintain taped holds so climbers know which holds they can use




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