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Routesetters Code of Conduct

Updated August 20th, 2020

 Routesetters play a critical role for USA Climbing by designing the field of play for  competition climbing.  The following code of conduct has been developed to clarify the standard for routesetters to maintain a level of behavior that is in line with the values and goals of USA Clmbing.

 Routesetter Obligations

Routesetters shall:

1. Adhere to all rules and protocols designed for safety and endeavor to design routes/boulders and field of play areas that take into account the safety of athletes, officials, and spectators.

2. Adhere to USA Climbing’s SafeSport policies and procedures, including USA Climbing’s SafeSport Policy and the Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policy. These policies may be amended from time to time, in order to protect athletes from emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. All routesetters are required to complete USA Climbing’s annual SafeSport training.

3. Follow all rules and policies as outlined in the USA Climbing Rulebook.

4. Adhere to the anti-doping rules and procedures adopted by the United States Anti-Doping Agency and World Anti-Doping Agency, as such rules may be amended from time to time and never advocate or condone the use of illegal drugs or other banned performance-enhancing substances.

5. Treat all athletes, parents, coaches, volunteers, judges/officials, and USA Climbing associates fairly and with respect.

6. Treat everyone fairly within the context of their activity regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, race, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, religion, economic status, disability, or team affiliation.

7. Consistently display high personal standards and project a favorable image of their sport, USA Climbing, and of routesetting.

For example, routesetters shall:

a) Refrain from public criticism of fellow routesetters, coaches, athletes, parents, judges and USA Climbing;

b) Abstain  from  the  use  of  tobacco  while serving as a routesetter in  the  presence  of  youth competitors, and abstain from the consumption of alcohol or other behavior-altering substances while serving as a routesetter in the presence of youth competitors and/or while working in a routesetting capacity;

cDiscourage the use of alcohol in conjunction with events or victory celebrations; and

d) Refrain from the use of profane, insulting, harassing, or otherwise offensive language or behavior in the conduct of their duties.

8. Avoid Conflicts of Interest.  Routetsetters shall endeavor to create the field of play in the interest of fairness for all competitors, and should always act to uphold the integrity of competition. For example, in the conduct of their duties at and for USA Climbing events, routesetters shall:

a)  Respect, demonstrate and promote impartiality;

b)  Not share information regarding routesetting or the routes/boulders created (if such information is intended to be confidential based on the rules of the competition), with any competitor, coach or other third party that may put at risk the integrity of the field of play;

c)  Create routes/problems in a way that is objective and impartial; never with intention to directly benefit any specific competitor, category, or group of competitors;

d)  When routesetting for competitions where the routesetter or an individual of close personal or professional relation to the routesetter (such as spouse, significant other, sibling, child, parent, other close relative, or athlete for which coaching services are provided) may be competing, avoid communication that may be perceived as showing bias;

e)  Not allow other business interests (ex. climbing business ownership/employment, climbing company representation,  or athlete sponsorship) to interfere with objective and impartial creation of the field of play.

9. Maintain  a  connection  to  the  climbing community, and keeping current with USA Climbing rules and policies.

10.Treat host facility personnel, judges/officials, parents, and USA Climbing associates with due respect.

11. Routesetters selected for contract routesetting by USA Climbing at a USA Climbing championship event shall have authorized USA Climbing to conduct a background check, shall respond promptly to requests from USA Climbing’s background check vendor for additional information, and shall have passed that screen prior to performing any routesetting services for such event. (Background checks are valid for a maximum of two USA Climbing seasons).

12. Promptly disclose in writing to USA Climbing any and all of the following (including pending cases):

  •       SEX OFFENSES

o   All Sex Offenses – Regardless of the amount of time since offense.

  Examples include: child molestation, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, prostitution, pornography, indecent exposure, etc.

o   Sex offender registrant.

  •       FELONIES

o   All Felony Violence – Regardless of the amount of time since offense

Examples include: murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated Burglary, etc.

o   All Felony offenses other than violence or sex – Regardless of the amount of time since offense.

Examples include: drug offenses, theft, embezzlement, fraud, child endangerment, etc  


o   All misdemeanor violence offenses – Regardless of the amount of time since offense.

Examples include: simple assault, battery, domestic violence, hit & run, etc.

o   All misdemeanor drug & alcohol offenses within the past 5 years or multiple offenses[1] regardless of the amount of time since offense.

Examples include: driving under the influence, simple drug possession, drunk and disorderly, public intoxication, possession of drug paraphernalia, etc.

 o   Any other misdemeanor involving harm to minors – Regardless of the amount of time since offense.

Examples include: contributing to the delinquency of a minor, providing alcohol to a minor, theft of team funds if person is handling monies, etc.

o   Any offense involving cruelty to animals – Regardless of the amount of time since offense


o   A Covered Individual who has been charged for any of the disqualifying offenses or for cases pending in court should not be permitted to serve as a Covered Individual until the official adjudication of the case.

Other Potentially Disqualifying Factors

Even if a Covered Individual passes a criminal background check, other factors may disqualify the Covered Individual from employment with USA Climbing or participation in USA Climbing programs.  An individual may be disqualified if the individual has:

  •  Been subject to any court order involving any emotional, sexual, or physical abuse of another person, including but not limited, to domestic order of protection;
  •  A history with another organization (employment, volunteer, etc.) of complaints of emotional, sexual, or physical abuse of another person;
  •  Resigned, been terminated, or been asked to resign from a position–paid or unpaid–due to complaint(s) of emotional, sexual, or physical abuse of another person;
  •  A history of other behavior that demonstrates the potential for danger to participants in USA Climbing;
  •  Given false or misleading information; or
  •  Not met the job requirements.


Failure to follow this Code of Conduct may result in disciplinary action, which may include the issuance of a warning, or temporary or permanent loss of routesetting privileges.

 Routesetters Attestation

I have read and understand the above statements and agree to adhere to this USA Climbing Routesetters Code of Conduct.  I consent to disclosure to any third party, including to the climbing gym or climbing program where I am employed or seeking to be employed, of information regarding any formal allegations against me, including any investigation by USA Climbing following any such formal allegations against me, and any decision by USA Climbing to provisionally or conclusively deny, suspend or condition my routesetting certification or membership, provided that disclosure of such information is related to USA Climbing’s efforts to promote athlete and other member safety and well-being.  I acknowledge and agree that my remedies for disputes arising out of my routesetting certification or membership are (a) a hearing conducted by a hearing panel convened by USA Climbing, and, if I have availed myself of that hearing and dispute the outcome, (b) arbitration conducted under the applicable rules of the American Arbitration Association.

[1] Multiple charges related to the same underlying offense on the same date are not considered “multiple offenses.”


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