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26 Nov 2013 19:03

Yann Genoux – Routesetter interview!


Yann Genoux is a qualified national route setter having done his course with the F.F.M.E. (trans, French Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing) in France.

He has set both the British Bouldering Championships and the British Lead Climbing Championships for 2 years in a row now. 

Yann is recently back from setting a round of the IFSC Lead World Cup in Puurs, Belgium. We caught up with him last time he was in to get to know him a bit better and find out what he's up to when he's not setting at White Spider…

Name: Yann Genoux

Age: 27

Favourite Climbing Music: Upbeat for Comps, nothing outdoors.

Favourite Crag Food?: Potato Farls and Jelly Babies.

How did you first get into climbing? When I was working in France the son of my boss was Francois Lombard, (1st world Champion) he took me climbing 🙂 I was really inspired and hooked straight away.
How long have you been climbing? 9 years now

What is your proudest achievement in climbing? Getting out almost every weekend even though I live in London!

What's your favorite problem/route you've ever done? Why was it so good? Freaky Ralph French 8a+ on Portland. It wasn't the highest grade I climbed but took the most attempts. A real challenge for me being shorter because the moves were very long.
Where is your favourite crag? In UK: Cheedale Cornice. Outside UK: Siruana. 

If you could give someone one piece of advice for their climbing, what would it be? Don't let go, ha ha, no… stop pretending to try and actually try harder.
Who or what inspires you, and where do you get your motivation from? Climbing: Killian Fischuber, amazing in every way. Route Setting: Jacky Godoffe, the maestro and legend of setters.

If you hadn't got into climbing, what do you think you'd be doing instead? Easy, I used to be a carpenter so I would continue that.
How long have you been route setting? 6 years
What do you love most about setting? Making people fall off 😉 Forcing people to make moves outside of their comfort zones.

This year (and last year) you have set the British Bouldering Championships and British Lead Climbing Championships. How were those experiences? It was great to set national championships in the country where I live. I know everyone and the vibe is always good. The setting teams work hard to meet the requirements of the climbers. The standard of climbing is getting higher and higher in this country and it's interesting to watch this develop form one year to next.
You recently set your 1st World Cup in Puurs, Belgium. How was that? HARD!!! A different world. Setting and testing 8a's – 8c's all day for several days in a row is tough work, and knowing that you are setting for the strongest climbers in the world and having to separate them to get the podium results. If they all fall off at the same point – no result. If they all top the route – no result, so it has to be just right. Quote from the chief setter Christian Bindhammer sums it up….. "This is not a children's birthday party, this is a World Cup"!  I Loved it! I can't wait to do more.

Thanks Yann! 

20 Nov 2013 13:43

Junior Competition Squad – Blokfest

The White Spider Junior Competition Squad (supported by Marmot) has got off to a roaring start this Autumn. 


They've bagged many top 10 spots in various comps over the past few months, showing the circuit that they mean business!  

Check out the squad's current positions in this year's Blokfest: 


Female U16s

1st place – Imogen Horrocks

3rd place – Libby Gamble


Youth B – Males

6th place – Ryan Caby 

9th place – Dylan Bibbs


Youth C – Males

6th place – Nat Hudspith


Youth D – Males

6th place – Chris Butcher


Youth D – Females

3rd place – Beth Christian 


Youth E – Females

1st Place – Madeleine Broughton 



The Squad at Round 1 with team coach Belinda Fuller. Photo courtesy of Steve Gentleman. 


Squad coach Belinda Fuller is also currently in 2nd place at Blokfest in the adult category – an impressive start all round! 


Keep up the good work guys, you are smashing it! 


Big thanks to Marmot for their support with the Squad. 

Logo Marmot

12 Nov 2013 15:39

Climbing Shoe Guide


shoe fit


The White Spider Guru is back to bring you a guide on how to find the perfect climbing shoe! Whether you’re new to climbing, or you’ve just always been unlucky with shoes, here is a handy guide to buying climbing shoes that work for you:


Step 1 – Choosing your shoe


1.       If you’re new to climbing, you want a relatively flat shoe, either lace up or Velcro. Avoid slip-ons to begin with.


2.        Climbing shoes come in 2 main construction types;


Board lasted: This stiffer shoe makes them better suited for beginners. They usually have little visible stitching on the inside of the shoe, and have a stiffening board or a stiffened mid sole. This acts as a platform for you to stand on when you place your foot on a hold or small edge.


Slip lasted: These softer shoes are better suited to more experienced climbers. They are usually sewn together with very little stiffening or none at all, and are almost ‘squishy’ when squeezed sideways. The stitching is usually quite visible on the inside of the shoe. These shoes allow greater sensitivity on a hold, or smear placements, but require a much closer fit and stronger foot muscles to get the most out of them.


3.       Climbing shoes are manufactured with thin leather or leather substitutes, this means that they will stretch anything between half a size and 1 full size usually within the first 2 months of use. Please bear that in mind when trying them on in the shop.


4.       Taking shoe stretch into consideration;


Lace up shoes can be adjusted usually all the way up to the toe, so once stretched can be tightened to keep the fit snug. This usually makes them well suited to beginners. With lace ups, you are looking for at least a 2 finger width gap between the sides of the laces.

Velcro shoes have less adjustability and usually no adjustment on the front of the foot (this area usually stretches the most).

Slip-on shoes have no adjustability so once stretched – that’s it, they’re stretched!


Step 2 – How tight is right?


1.       Climbing shoes are designed to be tight fitting, but don’t buy your shoes too tight – they want to be snug and close fitting, but not painful. If they are too painful, you won’t want to climb in them.


2.       When fitting your shoes you want a good close fit all the way around your foot, with no air pockets around the toes or the heel. If your heel is not fully in the heel cup of the shoe try a smaller size or a different brand or model. You will be able to tell if your heel is not fitting properly if the rubber around the heel cup is ‘squishy’ and loose, or bumpy. When you put on a well fitted pair of shoes, they should make a ‘whoosh’ sound as the air is forced out of the back of the shoe when you pull it on.


3.       Every manufacturer builds shoes with slight variations in width across the forefoot, volume and narrowness in the heel, this also changes across different models within a manufacturers range. So if in doubt, try as many different sizes, and types of shoe as possible, to get the best fit.


Step 3 – Testing the fit


1.      When you stand on a small foot hold in a new pair of climbing shoes, there should be very little bagging/wrinkles on the material at the front/top of the shoe.

2.      If there are pressure points on any of your toes or toe knuckles, then try a different brand or model.

3.      By dragging your heel across a bench/hold/floor, you can test whether the heel lifts out of the shoe; if it does then it is ill fitting.

4.      If you stand on the inside edge, you don’t want the shoes to deflect too much against your foot, so your foot shouldn’t roll inside the shoe. The same goes for the outside edge as well.

5.      The idea when buying your own pair of shoes is to fit them without socks. When wearing even a thin pair of socks inside your shoes, it will increase your foot size by at least half a size and it adds an extra slippage surface. It’s totally acceptable to try shoes on without socks, and this is expected.

6.      Your feet are usually smaller in the morning and larger in the evening, and this variation can be up to half a shoe size. Your feet will also swell in the summer and shrink slightly in the winter, please also bear that in mind when trying them on in the shop.


And lastly, don’t be afraid of taking up the person in the shops time, at the end of the day that’s what they are there for. 


Yours crankfully, 

The White Spider Guru. 

05 Nov 2013 13:05

Sam Whittaker: Route Setter Interview!

sam Whittaker

White Spider prides itself on getting in world class guest route setters on a regular basis. This interview with Sam Whittaker marks the first in a series of articles that we hope will help inspire you in your climbing, and help you get to know the people behind the routes & problems here at White Spider! We hope you enjoy them… 


Name: Sam Whittaker 


Age: 36


Favourite Climbing Music: Techno , Adam Beyer or Richie Hawtin.


Favourite Crag Food?: Protein bar and box of salad.


How did you first get into climbing?: Going out to crag with my dad and his mates.

How long have you been climbing?: 22 years


What is your proudest achievement in climbing?: Appointment with Death E9 (Wimberry Rocks) or climbing 8c!


What's your favorite problem/route you've ever done? Bat Route (8c, Malham) was my favourite because of the process of getting fit enough and experienced enough to climb it. 

Where is your favourite crag?:  Malham


If you could give someone one piece of advice for their climbing, what would it be?: Try hard and enjoy all aspects of climbing.


Who or what inspires you, and where do you get your motivation from?: I just love climbing and I stay super keen by mixing it up a lot, by switching my focus from bouldering to sport climbing and then Trad


If you hadn't got into climbing, what do you think you'd be doing instead?: Techno DJ?!

How long have you been route setting?: 15 years 


What do you love most about setting?:  Creating good problems that people enjoy climbing on 


What's coming up next for you?: I'm looking forward to a winter's training and bouldering on the grit, followed by a trip to the States in the spring. I've also got a few DJ gigs coming up in November and December including the climbing works 7th birthday party. It's going to be a big night.


Sam Whittaker






Thanks Sam! You can check out the new problems in our BOULDER CAVE that Sam set with Yann Genoux, NOW!