Last March Jamie Emerson and I were invited to conduct the initial route setting at new climbing gym in St. Louis. David Chancellor, along with a group of talented partners teamed up to create what I like to call an interactive art project. Climb Soill is, in my opinion in a league of its own when it comes to climbing facilities. The colors are vibrant, the building is rustic on the outside, a skeleton of an old power plant, yet the gym inside is clean. When we first entered, I felt like a young child, eager to climb on anything, only at the time there we're barely holds on the wall. Jamie and I got to work immediately with the SoIll setting crew, Yusuf, John and Doug. In two an a half days we set 12 routes and over 50 boulders. The experience was challenging, but definitely one of the most enjoyable times I've spent setting. The Chancellors were great hosts, and by the time the weekend was over, we were laughing, sharing drinks at the City Museum of St. Louis (look it up if you don't know what it is). Jamie and I left without climbing on the boulders or seeing the gym in action but satisfied with our work.
Fast forward six months, and I'm on the road to Atlanta, via St. Louis. Thoughts of Climb Soill linger in my head and after speaking to Dave again, we plan a return visit. It was great to visit a now familiar city. I was up early to begin setting. I figured a reset of the bouldering would be great, especially since this time we would climb on the wall. We started around 8am and finished setting around 2 with over 40 boulder problems. Chelsea and I fore-ran with the crew, who stepped up their game a huge notch, I was completely impressed by the efficiency and quality in the setting. We climbed until the late afternoon and called it at day once the gym was getting busy. It was awesome to see people enjoying our work, honestly, its the best part of my 'job' as a route setter.
Everyone was starving so we hurried out of the gym to check out a new pizza place downtown called Pi, and rounded out the evening with some famous St. Louis frozen custard....I got Reeses, as always. AMAZING. The next morning we climbed a bit to stretch out and say goodbye to the crew before continuing on our travels. I have to give a huge thanks to David and Jamie Chancellor, and also happy birthday to Jamie! And, big thanks to the awesome crew and staff at Climb Soill, you guys made the experience!
We're currently in Atlanta now. Chelsea is competing in the IFSC World Cup this weekend and we're off to the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Oh, and if you like those nice blue shoes, stay tuned!