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Carlie LeBreton setting at IFSC para-climbing World Cup and World Champs

For some, 2021 didn’t go to plan with the pandemic still raging, plans and goals had to wait another year. However, Carlie LeBreton, Head Setter for Sport Climbing Australia (SCA) and manager of Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym Villawood, achieved a huge dream. She became the first Australian to set at an (International Federation Sport Climbing) IFSC World Cup/Championship event. Carlie travelled to Moscow, Russia and Los Angeles, USA to set for the Paraclimbing World Championships and World Cup. This is a huge step for Australia and we couldn’t be more psyched to see Carlie there, representing the Green and Gold (figuratively, they didn’t wear their countries colours while setting).

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Amanda Watts from Baffle Days sent Carlie a few questions recently, asking about the experience.

Baffle Days: What is your offical route setting title and role for the IFSC?

Carlie LeBreton: Well now I have been chief I would say IFSC Chief Setter Paraclimbing

BD: What is your involvement/role/ position as a setter in Australia?

CL: I have been a National Head Setter SCA for 10 years. I have only missed one year because my son was born that year. I have also set for 4 Oceania Championships including the Olympic qualifiers. I am also secretary on the route setting committee for SCA.

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BD: Has it felt like you have had to push through barriers to do the things you have in setting? How have you built to where you are now? Was it a conscious/ deliberate process or did it just evolve?

CL: I wouldn’t say I had to push through barriers to get to this position but I have done my time in the industry. I put my own climbing goals aside to set for so many competitions in Australia when no one else wanted to.

BD: Setting is an actual career now, which it wasn’t when we first started climbing. What makes a good setter?

CL: Being open minded and willing to learn. I find I learn something new every time I set. Being a good team member is essential, that’s how we evolve as setters. Everyone has something to teach us, our fellow setters, the athletes when they climb and the officials when we discuss the routes with them.

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BD: Russia is not somewhere that a lot of Australian climbers travel to. What were the three most surprising things about travelling to Russia? Did you get to experience much of the country or was it hectic with route setting? Best experience? Worst/strangest/funniest experience there?

CL: I didn’t see the KGB walking around! It was very casual over there especially with covid. English wasn’t spoken much but we managed to get by. When we went to get food, I had no idea what we were ordering most of the time! I had one day seeing some of the sights in Moscow and did get to check out 2 climbing gyms for a climb after the paraclimbing event was done. Catching the metro for the first time was scary but it turned out to be easy and straightforward.

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BD: What was/ is it like being part of an international route setting team? How does it differ to the experience in Australia?

CL: I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was surprised to find it’s just like setting on a team for Australian Nationals. A little more nerve wracking, working for the IFSC but everyone is super friendly and helpful. For the World Championships we had a lot of holds and volumes to choose from which was super cool but from what the guys told me it’s not alway like this. It differs from comp to comp.

BD: What was the biggest learning moment in Russia? and America?

CL: These were my first full paraclimbing events. We have had paraclimbing at Australian nationals but never any of the different categories for paraclimbing. The biggest learning for me came from watching climbers of all abilities attempt the routes and seeing how each athlete adapts. I found it like youth comps. Each route had a range of classes that we had to make work. It was a really interesting process.

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Thanks, Carlie. We’re psyched to see you and hopefully more Aussie setters on the big stage again soon!

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