• Basic Details

    Tom Ireson

    About me

    I have a passion for new routes, whatever the size or location. When setting indoors, I draw on a wide experience of rock climbing in many different styles and always aim to work creatively and get people thinking, as I am a firm believer in users of the wall having access to quality routes whatever grade they climb. With years of instructing experience, I also understand the need for easy to read routes, short-reach routes for kids, and those that help to teach people particular moves and techniques.

    Through regular maintenance work behind the wall, I also have a full understanding of the mechanics and safety issues involved in routesetting. I take great care to ensure safe and careful use of tools and materials and have no problem getting my hands dirty with repairs or hold washing.

    I started climbing with a university club over 10 years ago and have been working in the industry in various capacities ever since including route setting, industrial rope access, instructing/coaching, centre management and outdoor retail. As well as the UK, I have spent time climbing and working in France, Austria and Spain and have experience in just about every climbing style possible under 5000m. The highlight of my climbing career so far has been putting up a new 1050m big wall route over a period of weeks in Cochamo, Chile in 2016.

    Outside climbing, I enjoy writing, cooking and woodwork, and I am always looking for new music, art and film.

    Your Setting Experience

    I started setting on a voluntary basis at The Tower climbing centre in Leicester in 2007 and soon began setting at Leicester Community college and The Moat too. I left Leicester in 2009 for a guiding job in Austria, and set once for a local boulder comp there as my first paid work. In 2010 I started as a Centre Manager for High Sports and took on the bulk of the setting there, as well as training and managing other setters in the centre.

    From 2012-2016 I was living in El Chorro, Spain where I set up the bolt fund and began bolting new routes on rock. I also helped set at the annual Encuentro de Escaladores (boulder comp) and returned to the UK for contracted setting over the summer for High Sports in various walls around London.

    In September 2016 I moved to Bristol and took a job at Under Cover Rock and The Climbing Academy, and have been setting at one or other of the centres up to three days a week since then. At UCR my setting is all on top rope and lead walls with the occasional comp, and at TCA it is all boulder circuits and circuit boards and a local boulder comp every couple of months.

    I do about half of my setting alone and half with other setters, and can work happily in either situation. I can set confidently up to 7c+ or 7a boulder, or harder given a little more time to work on it. I do also make a point of setting quality low grade lines, and understand the needs of instructors working with groups of young kids, both in terms of what they need on the wall and structuring my day to keep the noisiest work away from the difficult groups.

    As an IRATA level 1 holder with some big wall climbing experience, I have no difficulty working safely with multiple ropes, bags and tools and can easily adapt my methods to fit with each centre’s specific requirements.


    United Kingdom / East Midlands, United Kingdom / London, United Kingdom / South East, United Kingdom / South West, United Kingdom / Wales, United Kingdom / West Midlands

    Setter ability

    Boulder (unroped), Route (roped), Local Competition

  • Boulder Setter Reference
    Work Reference Institution

    The Climbing Academy

    Description of work performed

    Fully contracted part time setter. Currently bi-weekly sets, usually boulder circuits set as a team of three but also circuit boards set on my own.

  • Route Setter Reference
    Work Reference Name

    Paul Twomey

    Work Reference Institution

    UnderCover Rock (affiliated with The Climbing Academy)

    Description of work performed

    Fully contracted part time setter. Currently weekly set, working alone or with one other setter. Have worked up to 3 days a week in busy period. Setting all routes from beginners easy slabs to steep lead walls and up to 7c+.

  • Local Comp Reference
    Work Reference Name

    Paul Twomey

    Work Reference Institution

    UnderCover Rock

    Description of work performed

    Set for lead climbing comp with two other setters, more comps planned later in the year