top of page


Pierre is a routesetter from France who has already set on several international events. Do you remember boulder #2 in the women's final in Meiringen this year? It was Pierre who created this masterpiece with a jump and beautiful coordination moves. See the setting process in Flathold's film about that World Cup. And enjoy the interview with Pierre by SKALOLAZ.PRO team!

Photo by Marc Daviet

Please tell me about your way in climbing: when did you start climbing?

I start climbing 10 years ago, in the suburbs of Paris, a high school friend of mine introduced me to this sport, since the first time I feel that I want to spend my life on the holds.

I spend a few years as a climbing teacher and was lucky to travel a lot in Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and South Africa mainly for bouldering. And how lucky I am to live so close to Fontainebleau. I mainly climb in 8A range, sometimes more.

When and where did you start setting? Who was your teacher?

I start setting one year after starting climbing. Laurent Julien, the local setter introduce me to this job, and in the beginning, I set to have a free pass to my gym. The climbing industry growing up super-fast in France and I start working as a freelancer in most of the Parisian gyms. At this time, I learn a lot from all the setters who were working with me, specially Yann Leboulanger.

In 2018 I follow the national traineeship and later on, I was lucky to meet Jacky Godoffe, he helped me a lot to go deeper about boulders, rounds, social game in competition setting.

He invited me to different courses in France and other countries to improve myself.

Is a route setter popular profession in France? Is this job well paid?

Routesetter starts being popular because we have more and more gyms and they need more and more setters! Such a huge evolution on the last 10 years, now it’s maybe harder to start because expectations about quality of routes became higher.

But for sure it’s easier to be better and well paid. Anyway, now, depending on the way you drive the job, you can live as a routesetter.

Do you have female setters in France? How many? Is routesetting more male or female job? Why do you think so?

We only have a few female setters in France, mainly former competitors. I think climbing is still a young community, and mainly built by men. It requires a lot of energy being a female routesetter, and I have a lot of respect for them. Nevertheless, routesetting is a “non gender” job, in fact, you can explore different ways using your qualities as a climber. I set with Melissa Le Neve a couple of times, she is stronger than most of the setters, and she has many experiences as a climber.

Where can a climber in France learn how to be a routesetter? Do you have a school or courses for setters?

Now, we developed a few courses. We have the competition courses to help people from club setting in local comp to national level. We also have a federation school to learn in 6 months how to set for a commercial gym. Moreover, commercial gyms start programs to teach young setters all the keys for setting commercials.

Photo by Marc Daviet

What does it mean to be a good routesetter?

I think a good setter is first a good worker, someone creative, empathic, and in love with climbing of course. Able to work with a team, despite the stress, tiredness and able to accept different opinions. I remember Manu Hassler’s answer when we talked about that

I don’t think that you can be a good setter if you work alone.

What was your first work on the IFSC event? Do you have in mind to become an international routesetter and become a member of the IFSC team?

My first event was IFSC Moscow European Championship. Strange and amazing because of the pandemic situation and a challenge. It was the last ticket to Tokyo and the first big comp in a long time. I meet a lot of nice people in a new country. For sure, I’m dreaming about being an IFSC setter. International level is the most extreme experience you can feel in this job, the biggest challenge .

You’ve been in Russia and worked as a setter on European Championship in Moscow. What can you say about it?

Since I was on the plane, I cannot believe that it will happen. The event was postponed a few times, everything was complicated cause of COVID-19, and France “enjoyed” a new lockdown. It was such a nice experience, Tomasz Olesky, the chief setter, created a fine atmosphere, and most of us didn’t feel the pressure until the first climber started to climb. In addition, this combined experience push us to adapt our boulders a lot. I remember after the semi-round , we put all the final on the wall for the last day, it was midnight and we start climbing just to check the problems.

Finally, we were climbing until 6 AM, drinking beer, taking breakfast, and sleeped a few hours before the final show.

What can you say about the World Cup in Meiringen and Flathold's film about it?

Meiringen was my first World Cup experience. It was unbelievable how many nice holds we have for this event, and how calm and experimented was the team. I came by car with Remi Samyn from Paris and we spend the whole trip speaking about ideas we have for this setting.

At the very beginning, the wall and all this new stuff intimidated me, but I feel more and more confident during the week. I learn a lot from Gen, Manu, Laurent, and Rémi. All of them are practiced and skillful climbers. Flathold movie shows something important we experienced during this week.

Everyone can make mistakes, and the only important thing is to accept and bounce!

What can you say about the routesetting at the Olympics?

The lead scenario was perfect for male and female climbers. For bouldering, the team miss the target … but I’m sure that, as the top routesetters, they did their best. For sure, the biggest show is to have only a few top, and when you expect one top, most of the time … no top! Luck is a part of our job, especially in competition.

What are your plans as a routesetter? And as a climber?

As a climber and a routesetter, I’m looking for more and more knowledge all around the world. Meeting with new people, new ways of working and different feelings and approaches of our job. I’m also exiting by the incoming events, hope for more.

Text by Yury Birilov

Photo by Marc Daviet


bottom of page