Route Setting Team
Laurent Laporte or "Larry" from France has more than 20 years of experience in route setting. He can’t really remember how he got into building boulders, but he knows very well why he's still passionately doing it: he loves being creative. He enjoys trying the boulder himself, the tension during the competition and the relief afterwards. Laurent has already set four world championships and diverse world cup routes. To the frenchman each contest is a new challenge. In his opinion the biggest difficulty to set a good route is to play with the rhythm, always searching for new concepts to be able to screw a good show. In his spare time Larry carves climbing holds, listens to Nirvana and AC/DC or just surfs on the wave of his life.
Manuel Hassler has over 10 years of experience as route setter in boulder competitions. The 35-year-old Swiss worked for Boulder World Cups in Japan, the USA, Italy, France, Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, La Réunion, Russia and his home country Switzerland. He was a member of the route setter team at the World Championships in Arco and has also set the problems at last year’s Boulder World Champs in Munich. In 2013, Manuel spent two months in Japan to build training boulders for the Japanese national team. He used the opportunity to repeat Tokio Muroi’s famous slab boulder Bansousha (8b) in Ogawayama. In 2012, together with Mathieu Achermann, he founded the company Flathold Sarl in Biel for which Manuel shapes a wide range of climbing holds that were also exhibited at the annual Outdoor trade show in Friedrichshafen in 2014.
Reinhard Fichtinger, better known as "Reini", has joined adidas ROCKSTARS since its inception. The 40-year-old started climbing over 20 years ago and was leading the Austrian competition ranking for a long time together with Kilian Fischhuber. Today he is an instructor for Austrian route setters. Reini set his first routes in his local climbing gym in Innsbruck, when it was first built. In 2001 he set his first competition. Since then he has been working hard for his well-deserved reputation as a route setter, which proceeds him in Austria and worldwide. His motivation results from the constant need for new training routes. His philosophy when setting routes is that they must not only be interesting for climbers, but also for spectators. He gets around much and loves listening to “eich dodl gib i gas“ by Austrofed, while climbing and working. He is a down to earth person, who enjoys hanging out with his mates in a boulder gym and pursues his passion - CLIMBING!
Matthias Woitzuck is the second Austrian in the team. The Viennese has been setting routes for seven years now, also likes to be creative and to express himself through climbing. Matthias enjoys meeting up with other route setters to share different styles. His most important route setting project to date was the world cup in Vienna, where he gained a lot of experience. What matters most in competitions in his opinion, is to set routes that are enjoyable but also challenging enough for the athletes and entertain the crowds, of course. Matthias is a full-blooded rocker and listens to “Rage against the machine“. When he’s not climbing in the gym you might find him outside skydiving or speedflying.
Adam Pustelnik is originally from Poland but feels like he belongs everywhere and is at home anywhere. Adam has been climbing for more than 20 years and that is pretty much what his life is all about. He is currently working as routesetter, translator, teacher, and writer. During the past 10 years, Adam was able to work as head route setter for national and international competitions like World Cups, Youth World Championships and the 2012 IFSC World Championship in Paris. Since 2007, Adam has been instructing and managing Polish route setters. What makes him enjoy route setting? "First of all the aspect of creating something new that we want to see them play with. So one of the main values is being creative. Furthermore my inspiration that climbing gives me. It's that kind of job that motivates you. And I really enjoy working in teams, which can be quite spiritual work as we exchange experiences." Route setting is just one of Adam's climbing activities, but it is the one he can think of as a job and, what's more important, it keeps him connected to the competition community. In his spare time he is doing a lot of sport climbing, traditional and big wall climbing. And that's where Adam sees his climbing goals. Setting lets him see everything from a different side and a more professional angle.
Felix Buchmann has been setting boulder routes in several climbing gyms for almost a decade, mainly in Southern Germany. He has worked as official DAV (German Alpine Club) route setter for many competitions like CLIMB F.R.E.E. at the Munich Fair or the Bavarian Championships. In addition, Felix organizes and sets amateur contests for his DAV home division. His best achievements in competition bouldering include a second place at Gore-Tex® Be a Rockstar 2013 as well as a fourth place in the German University Championship in the same year. Outdoors he has bouldered and climbed 7c+ routes flash and on-sight, respectively. After so many years of route setting he is still driven by the same motivation that makes sports climbing so unique: the combination of creativity and athletic achievement, the sheer endless diversity of movement and climbing styles and the fact that you never stop learning.
Robert Leistner is a full-time route setter and has been mounting holds and steps since 2008. He is a national chief route setter and has gained international experience during the World Championships and World Cups in Munich over the past years. He regularly sets training boulders for the German National Team and is especially involved in regional kids cups. Robert shapes holds for the brand Blocz and runs the Mandala boulder gym in Dresden. However, most of all he loves brushing rocks in Fontainebleau or scaring himself in the Elbe sandstone mountains, high above the last ring. Robert says "... route setting is about creating emotions! The focus is not on the movement or the visual impact, it's more about the feeling of the athlete and the audience.“
Tomasz “Toma” Oleksy is one of the most successful athletes in Polish sport climbing history. He participated in competitions for over 20 years in all three disciplines. His favorite discipline is bouldering, in which he won many supreme titles. In 2003, he began with route setting. Since 2012 he has been working regularly for the IFSC as route setter - mainly for bouldering competitions, although he feels confident in lead as well.
In 2015, Toma decided to earn his living with route setting and he is glad to have turned his passion into a career. Most of the time you can find him creating new boulders in several bouldering gyms in Germany (e.g. Studio Bloc, OstBloc, SüdBloc, …). Tomasz is the director of the climbing division of “MKS Tarnovia” where he trains children and young people. He also works as organizer of many climbing competitions in his hometown Tarnów. In the future, he would like to open his own climbing gym and have more time for outdoor bouldering.
Tomasz says “whenever styling new challenges, especially for competitions, creativity, resistance to fatigue and good shape are necessary attributes for every route setter. Without those it would be difficult to perform in this unusual profession at such a high level.”