Jacky Godoffe knows what makes a good boulder problem. The Fontainebleau legend has spent his life putting them up, both outdoors and in. In his new book My Keys To Routesetting Godoffe has tried to distil these elements into a manual for the routesetter. There's no escaping the niche nature of his subject, this is not a book designed to find itself on the New York Times Bestseller's list, but that isn't to say it's not important in its field. Indoor climbing is having its moment. The sport will soon be in the global spotlight with its inclusion in the Olympics and its mainstream success will depend partly on the style of routesetting. In the past decade the sport has grown exponentially across the globe, and for many of those new to the sport their sole exposure to climbing is now through plastic holds.
Setting matters, there's no doubt about it—bad setting can ruin a competition or push a climber to change gyms. Godoffe's book attempts to take you through what he believes are the keys to creating innovative and interesting climbing. His preparation, mindset and approach are clearly laid out through its two hundred or so pages as he tackles everything from preparing for a routesetting session to placement of footholds.
As more and more corporate gyms open, with each will come new setters—in many cases their only experiences of the sport may be from other gyms. There is a danger the level of setting is built solely around bringing in new paying members and showing fast gains. Walk into any city gym and there is a chance you'll be stood on large footholds whilst pulling on V6s that would be a soft V3 on rock. It is all too common to see five different footholds for one move just to cater for "people of different sizes". This is a manual for those who are the gatekeepers to our enjoyment of the indoor sport, and for these setters and corporate gym owners this book should be their bible.
In his typical French style at times it can feel indulgent, but then you have to remember this is the book of a man who truly believes in his art form. Godoffe believes great setting can improve the sport for everyone and who can argue with that?