Front Desk Staff, Climbing Instructor, Youth Team Coach, Gym Manager, Route Setter, Assistant Route Setter, Head Route Setter…what do all these illustrious titles have in common? One man: Art Balaoro! Most recently, Art has taken on the challenge of Route Setting Foreman at The Studio. So what are his plans for our spunky little gym? I sat down to investigate.
Increasing the Turnaround
The first of many changes our members have noticed has been the quick turnaround on our climbs. As Art explains, “The goal is to keep the walls fresh and new so holds don’t become slimy and gross, and our members have new boulder problems and routes to climb and project on a consistent basis.” The three full-time routesetters at The Studio, Art, Ian McCabe, and Eric Sanchez, set routes four days each week. Adding additional days to the setting schedule ensures they are able to address the other aspects and responsibilities of route setting without compromising on consistently putting up more climbs.
Through this streamlining our setting operations, Art says he “want[s] to help make The Studio’s routesetting on par with the quality of customer service it offers to its members and make its routes and boulder problems another reason for people to come and enjoy the gym.”
A big part of this increase in efficiency was the decision to being setting tapeless in our top roping area. Touchstone Climbing Gyms across California have begun to transition to tapeless setting, and Art’s prior experience helped to expedite the process here at The Studio. Going tapeless helps our setters by giving them the time put up higher quality climbs and prevents waste. Plus is just looks so good!
“Going tapeless helps with route reading since climbers only have to rely on the hold color versus hold and tape color,” said Art. “Climbers no longer have to wonder if a hold is on/off route during the middle of a difficult crux sequence just because the tape is obstructed by the hold.”
Ultimately, Art hopes to use his position to make The Studio community’s experience the best it can possibly be. “My goal as the new foreman is to help foster the climbing culture that I learned to climb in; one that is warm, welcoming, and most of all, fun! I hope we’re able to create a product to help people fall in love with climbing as much as I have.”
Events to Bring the Gym Together
By keeping members well informed when it comes to route changes, and helping to plan more fun events such as our Mini Dyno competitions Art is truly bringing an entirely new atmosphere to our wonderful gym.
Keep an eye out for his favorite ‘gut-wrenching sloper problems’ on the prow, and feel free to give him a high five whenever you see him around the gym as a big thank you from all of us for his continued hard work and dedication!
By: Alyssa Edwards