Tag Archives: route setting

Social Outcast with Steve Arsenault


On Sunday, November 17th,  2013 we will be hosting the 6th installment of the Boston Rock Gym Social Outcast Club.

Social Outcast Club is a unique way for climbers to learn, socialize and share experiences about what we all love in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. During each gathering, several BRG climbers and guest speakers cover a range of climbing topics!


Who is Yoda?, an introduction to the new Route Setters of the BRG

Setting high goals and training for them!, Aleksey Shuruyev
How an average climber can climb big walls in Yosemite
First Acsents, Steve Arsenault
Steve Arsenault is one of the biggest legends of the Mount Washington Valley. Steve was the first climber to ever establish a big wall route on Cathedral back in 1967 (Pendulum) and has continued to set routes all over New England as well as the rest of the country. Some of his more famous routes are Cro Magnon and Jane (Crow Hill, MA) as well as Intimidation and Book Of Solemnity(Cathedral Ledge, NH) and VMC Direct Direct (Cannon, NH).
Bring in used and unwanted gear, and sell it or swap it with another climber. Another man’s trash is another’s treasure.

WHEN: Sunday, November 17th, 2013 at 7PM.

COST: FREE for members or with a day pass.  *$10 Day Passes will be available after 4 PM

WHAT TO BRING: Your favorite food and drinks for potluck table—and a smile of course…

ADDITIONAL: Please email us, or let us know if you want to share your experiences and show your videos at one of the upcoming meetings.

Social Outcast - Nov 2013 250


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Hey everyone, just wanted to give you a head’s up that we have a comp this Saturday the 12th of March, so there will be a LOT of ropes unavailable through out the week for route-setting, and additionally we have a huge construction project going on this week as well. The gym is still open normal hours, but there will be some messes, and some unavailable climbing. Thanks for bearing with us this week as we work to improve the climbing experience at the gym!

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By Gavin Heverly

All photos by Stephanie Crumley

For those of you whom have been living under a rock, this past weekend was the Eastern Mountain Sports/NE2C Nor’Easter Fest up at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. The event was a slammer jammer mash-up of music, cyclocross racing, bouldering competition, outdoor climbing clinics, vendor village, and really, really bad food selection. I went up for the main events on Saturday and to support our head route-setter Maxim Zolotukhin in the UBC Pro Tour finals. He placed 16th in qualifiers which didn’t quite get him in to finals. Boston Rock Gym was also the partner gym for the event, and we helped with some logistics, volunteers, as well as climbing holds and crash pads and some other random stuff. The Geekhouse X BRG cyclocross team was also along for the ride as their team captain and Geekhouse owner Marty Walsh was racing!

The author being a social butterfly in the vendor village.

At any rate, Saturday went down something like this: Woke up super early to get Marty to the race. We arrived at Loon and skipped our way right to staff parking. A nice luxury of being an event partner. Thanks guys! Marty got suited up and we scoped out the cyclocross course. It looked, as Marty put it “like a mountain bike course”, which meant that a lot of the roadies in the race were going to be not psyched, but guys like Marty whom have a mountain bike racing background were stoked!

The Custom Built Handmade GEEKHOUSE Cyclocross machine ready to roll.

Marty rocking the coolest cycling kit on the entire course as he rolls through some of the switchbacks on the race course.

After the cross race was over, I headed over to the vendor village to chat up some pals I hadn’t seen in a while at the Prana and Evolv tents. Everyone seemed pretty psyched on the cross race seeing as how the entire vendor village was basically in the center of the course. Overall the cyclocross race was pretty awesome. A great course and a welcome addition to the Nor’Easter. It definitely helped make it seem as though there was something HAPPENING since there were bikes whizzing past you all throughout the day. A nice element. There was also some big stage with bands playing. But I didn’t really pay any attention to it, and that seemed to be the general consensus. Although after the UBC comp, some more big name bands like The Gaslight Anthem played, as well as !!! (Chik Chik Chik), and The Walkmen. And while I didn’t stick around, I would guess a great deal more people were interested in that.


Boston's own Francesca Metcalf waiting for her go as Terry climbs on Men's 2 in the background.

Sasha DiGiulian high on Women's 2

The comp started pretty promptly at 3pm. Lights, camera, ACTION! Jason Danforth took the mic and introduced the day’s finalists:

MENS: 6th place Terry Paholek, 5th Ian Dorey, 4th Brian Kim, 3rd Ethan Pringle, 2nd Vasya Vorotnikov, 1st Daniel Woods.

WOMENS: 6th Melissa Lacasse, 5th Natasha Barnes, 4th Alex Johnson, 3rd Angela Payne, 2nd Sasha Digiulian, 1st Francesca Metcalf.

So with that sort of placing going in to finals, it certainly felt like it was anyone’s game. And man did it turn out to be a surprise ending. The turnout for the comp was a little less than what I expected, although with the weather being about 68 and sunny and breezy, perhaps it was both a blessing and a curse for the event. I quickly snagged a seat front and center to absorb all the action I possible could. it became clear early on that Daniel Woods, the crowd favorite, and shoe-in for the win was NOT having such a hot day of climbing. Problem #1 which was a techinical tension based boulder seemed to work against his style and essentially shut him down. New York’s Brian Kim flashed it. Done and done. “What’s this?”, everyone thought as he easily flew to the top. He cruised to the top on number 2 as well. Where as Daniel and Ian Dorey had some real trouble with the opening dyno. Vasya came about as close as you can on #2 without actually sending. Also quite the upset. In the end, it was clear that the men’s competition was going to be east meets west as Brian Kim and Ethan Pringle duked it out.

On the lady’s side, it was clearly anyone’s game. Although I think most people were assuming Angie or Alex would take it. Francesca Metcalf crushed. Although women’s #3 appeared to be a bit reachy for all the competitors. (Editor’s note: I was told over a cup of tea in my living room the following day by one of the route-setters that all the girls botched the beta on the problem.) Natasha Barnes came out of nowhere to fly up women’s 1 and 2 with ease. In the end, it was hard to even tell who would win.

Natasha Barnes come all the way from SF, CA to crush on Women's 2.

All in all a good comp.The organization seemed to be much better than at the Salt Lake City comp. the MC-ing was greatly improved upon, although left something to be desired, and the route-setting was a lot better as well. Here were the surprising results of the day:

MENS: 3rd Daniel Woods, 2nd Brian Kim, 1st Ethan Pringle

WOMENS: 3rd Angie Payne, 2nd Francesca Metcalf, 1st Alex Johnson

The Nor’Easter is a massively valiant effort by the dudes at NE2C to bring an exciting and energized outdoor festival to the East Coast. Combining music, climbing, cycling, and more to give the residents of New England an entire weekend of activities and to grow the community that I know for sure Jason and Pete of NE2C care so much about. So while there are a lot of things that I would do differently, my hat is off to them for their passion, organization, energy, and dedication. The climbing world could use a lot more Jason Danforths and Pete Wards. Looking forward to next year. Count me in, and count BRG in.


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by Gavin Heverly

Ok. We aren’t delusional. We know our walls are not the tallest in the industry. Or even in the Boston area for that matter. But what we WILL brag about is our route-setting. Maxim Zolotukhin, our head route-setter is probably the most passionately obsessed route-setter in the country. And I am not kidding. Then there’s Donny “Hot Karl” Martin. Who has been setting here at the gym for what seems like forever. He cares so much about the quality of his routes, and how much the customers like them that it’s almost a problem. Myself, I have been route-setting for something like 8 years. And I basically consider it to be one of the most scientifically challenging art forms in existence. Anyhow….Maxim will be talking more about the BRG’s route-setting philosophies in a later post.

For now…let’s talk about the HUGE volume holds we just got this morning. Ranging in size from 12″ to FOUR FEET across, these things will be *sick*. Don’t believe me? Come see the masterpieces Max and the rest of our pro-setting team whip up with them for yourselves.



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Problem of the Week #9

by: Chris Mireault

Here is a simple V3 that has decent flow and a progressively harder finish. Set your feet correctly up top on this one and your good to go. Enjoy.

Come and climb it today at the Boston Rock Gym in Woburn, MA.

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Problem of the Week #8

by: Chris Mireault

The “Advent Candle Route,” as some like to call it, has a straight-forward problem with a really nice sidepull/undercling. I find this problem perfect for laps or for a nice little challenge. Difficult for some, not so much for others. Either way it’s a problem worth climbing.

See for yourself! Come climb it today at the Boston Rock Gym in Woburn, MA.


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PROGRESSION in the sport….

By Maxim Zolotukhin

This past weekend I made the drive down Alexandria, VA, for ABS nationals. This was my fourth time attending the event in five years, and while it was the first time I found myself watching from the sidelines during finals, I can honestly say this was best run/set climbing competition I’ve been to in 10 years of competitive rock climbing.

Good looking rock climbers socializing in ISO

The theme of the weekend seemed to be PROGRESSION. This progression manifested itself in every aspect of the competition, from the production, to the atmosphere, to the climbing and the athletes themselves; CHANGE seemed to be afoot.


The first huge leap forward was USAClimbing hiring our good friends at NE2C to produce the event. Putting long time creative differences aside, NE2C and USAC teamed up to put on a spectacular show; professional lighting and sound, combined with Jason Danforth and Scott Mechler’s years of big time MC’ing experience, brought the architecture of ABS nationals to another level. This type of production is imperative to the future success of climbing on a larger commercial-scale. Additionally, local documentarian Pablo Durano was on hand to shoot incredibly tight footage with the help of a giant crane.

Pooch. IN IT.

Another palpable difference this year over comps in the past was the energy and atmosphere surrounding the competition and the professional athletes taking part. It was hard to put my finger on, but everything just seemed…BIGGER. Daniel Woods signed posters for an hour and a half and didn’t put his pen down the whole time. This to me was pretty incredible. I mean, Daniel’s always been Daniel, but this year, he was DANIEL. For our sport to keep growing, we need our athletes to become larger than life; kids need role models, and companies need athletes that are marketable to hang their hats on. Perhaps we’re starting to get there…

Rob D tickling the ivories

Of course, finals themselves did not disappoint. Big props to Chris Danielson, Jamie Emerson, Kyle McCabe, and the rest of the setting crew for basically a flawless performance. These guys are the best in the business and their team chemistry and vast well of comp knowledge culminated in fantastic finals round that was invariably more challenging to set for climbers like Woods and Alex Puccio who keep breaking ground as far as bouldering standards are concerned. Results broke down perfectly with Daniel finishing the first three problems and falling on the last move of the fourth problem (which he quickly dispatched after the last climber’s time was up) and a last-minute ascent of problem number 4 by Puccio who knew she had to send after failing on problem 3 which runner-up Alex Johnson had done. I hope to be lucky enough to collaborate with this team of setters in the near future.

Things Jamie and i both like: Setting, punk rock, scarves, and AMAZING BOULDERING COMPS!!!

And let me just say it one more time: DANIEL WOODS. My Boulder friends Paul Robinson and Carlo Traversi were giddy upon entering ISO on friday. “I can’t believe he actually got stronger!” said Paul. “It really is a new level” added Carlo. Apparently this had been Daniel’s week: Monday – long training session at CATS, Tuesday – long training session at the SPOT where he was supposedly flashing V14, Wednesday – first ascent of The Game V16 in Boulder Canyon after 17 days of attempts and breaking a hold that day, Thursday – flies to Virginia, Friday + Saturday – wins ABS nationals in dominating fashion.

WOODS: sets his lasers to KILL

Damn. What else can be said? We are witnessing PROGRESSION in every aspect of our sport and I couldn’t be more excited. On the heels of this weekend came the announcement that the IOC will now officially recognize the IFSC, opening the door for climbing to enter the summer Olympics in either 2016 or 2020. Who will represent the US at the Olympics in 2020? My money’s on the progeny of former world cup champions Robyn Erbesfield-Raboutou and Didier Raboutou, who, apart from being the cutest brother-sister team EVER, are also obliterating any rock climbing challenge that comes their way. I hung out with these munchkins in Spain this summer and in Hueco this winter and they are the real deal; Brooke, 8, has lead 5.13 and bouldered V9 on rock, while Shawn, 11, has sent 5.13c, flashed V8, bouldered V10, and reportedly spent multiple days falling off the last move of a 5.14a in France this summer. Sick!!

We here at the BRG have some big plans of our own for the future, so stay tuned.


-Max Zolotukhin-

Photos from Caroline Treadway @ carolinetreadway.wordpress.com


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