Steven Jeffery, Routesetter - VERVE - 4 | KUED.org
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KUED's online series exploring creativity

Steven Jeffery, Routesetter

Steven Jeffery grew up in the mountains of Utah. He and his brother would spend their time hiking in the canyons, and naturally, the next best thing was to climb them. He soon became a nationally competitive climber, and now climbs – and sets routes – all over the world.

Currently, Steven is the Routesetting Director for Momentum Indoor Climbing, with gyms in Lehi, Millcreek, Sandy, and few new gyms in Texas. Rock climbing gyms started sprouting up in Utah around the early 90s, allowing climbers to train in the winter months, and explore new technique on plastic molds and textured walls. Routes in a gym can range from 45 to 55 feet, give or take a few feet if there are angles adding to the length of the route, along with bouldering walls that measure around 12 feet high.

Steven has been setting routes in rock climbing gyms since the 90s. He’s been invited overseas to set for gyms in Europe, international competitions, and train new routesetters."Routesetting is going to become a strange new profession with few masters at it," he says. "It will be like master chefs at a restaurant. A setter will be known for his flavor and style all over the world." Steven’s definitely got a flavor of his own, with a trademark funky hair cut and curious humor, his personality comes through in his work.

Climbing in a gym isn’t just a good workout, it can be a mental game, too. With artists getting more and more creative with molds, and setters developing new movements and techniques, indoor climbing can test a climber's skill level, mental toughness, and their dance moves.

But by far, Steven says, "The best thing about being a setter is creating something that people have to figure out and unlock the puzzle. It's cool to see people think it's impossible 'til they unlock the tricks and do what they never thought they could."

Produced and Edited by

Dana Barraco