How to make WC boulders more enjoyable


Wednesday, 9 June

Although in general the route setting in Salt Lake City was good, the boulders in the second final were too hard for the males (4 Tops) and too easy for the females (17 Tops). Sometimes hard boulders with few tops can be exciting to watch, but when even Routesetting reports said he went to bed when he saw that also the third boulder started with a traverse, something is wrong.

The reasons why competition boulders so often start with a traverse is that the route setters normally put the starting holds at 2 meters and then they are not allowed to put the top hold higher than 4.5 meters. As the starting holds are often big volumes, and as the walls are normally not that steep, climbers (at least tall males) could jump to the top jug standing on the starting holds if it was not for the traverse [BLEV DETTA RÄTT?]. Below are some proposed solutions to make the route setters' job easier, including more straight-up moves and fewer traverses, which may create a better show and spread out the field's results.

Steeper walls needed
OK, one vertical slab is ok but then the remaining walls should be spread out 20-60 degrees overhanging.

Lower starting holds
Place the starting holds max 1.5 meters up. Skip the running starts with the starting holds at 3 meters! Put the mattresses 0.5 meters out from the wall and let the climbers start sitting is the extreme solution to create more moves. Recessed/inset starting holds
By using smaller recessed/inset starting holds in the wall, the climbers will not take as much advantage of the starting holds as when big volumes are used for the start.

No foothold as the top (matching) hold
Having a climber celebrating the top by hanging on it is more fun, rather than matching a foothold top, also for the spectators. Matching a foothold is not a natural part of climbing.

More moves in the official rules
"The average number of handholds per boulder in any round should be between four (4) and eight (8)", says the official IFSC rule. The dilemma is that you can have six handholds in a boulder, but in practice, there are only two coordination moves to the top. Add to the rule that there must be at least three moves to the top.

Two zones instead of one
It will be more fun and action for climbers and spectators if one more zone is added. This will reduce the anticlimax when (in particular youth) competitors score zero zones, and it will generally spread out the field.

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