With 12 gyms in California, the Touchstone Routesetters are the heart of our business. Without their inspired testpieces, we’d have nothing to crush, project, or send. Touchstone is proud to have the largest full-time routesetting team in the country which produces the highest quality routesetting anywhere. With a rotation of 10 weeks or less at every Touchstone gym, you’ll always find a new project to work on, no matter which gym you climb at.
Want to join the crew? Keep an eye on our Employment Page for openings!
JustinDirector of Routesetting
There was a time when all rock climbing was on rock; but Justin was part of the first generation that was introduced to climbing indoors, at Emeryville’s CityRock at friend’s birthday party in the early 1990s. While in and out of college, Justin took up routesetting to support his growing passion for climbing and to immerse himself within the community that would teach him about traveling, the world of rock, and not worrying about what your family will say when you don’t shower for a week.
After graduating from university and wrangling bears in Yosemite for several years, Justin made his way to the Bay Area in August 2010 and joined the staff at Berkeley Ironworks to make ends meet while sorting out his next “real” job. That next real job was opening Dogpatch Boulders in 2013. After nearly six years as a Touchstone gym manager, Justin has finally returned to his routesetting roots.
Justin spends his free time chasing his wife and daughter around the mountains and looking for new rock to climb.
Sean - NANOHead Routesetter of Southern California + Evolv Athlete
Sean hails from New Jersey and was first introduced to climbing at boarding school in New Hamsphire. It was the first sport that actually made sense to him. When he turned 20, Sean made the move from New Jersey to Oakland and at first worked as a massage therapist. His decision to get a membership at GWPC reignited his passion for climbing and led to him become a full time routesetter for Touchstone.
Climbing, training, and setting have become the focal point of Sean’s energy, but if he’s not doing one of those things he’s probably at home playing videogames or on a D&D bender with friends.
Karl - KCSacramento Pipeworks Foreperson
Karl started setting for Touchstone in 2014 at Sacramento Pipeworks. In addition to setting full time, Karl also shapes for Stone Age, Touchstone’s in-house climbing hold manufacturer. He enjoys the combined aesthetics of shaping holds and then setting routes with them. Karl also teaches yoga. Sometimes he plays very loud and very heavy metal music while doing so, which some people enjoy. A brief list of possibly embarrassing interests: The Lord of the Rings trilogy (especially the novels), lute music, the criterion collection, feeling nostalgic while listening to Cannibal Corpse, reading poetry at home with his cats, and writing in the third person.
Hiro - HWBay Area Foreperson
Hiro is originally from New Jersey but did most his climbing in Hawaii, which is where he first started setting and really fell in love with the sport. He moved to the Bay Area from Colorado about a year ago. His favorite thing about setting is having a creative outlet that he can get paid to do and at the same time (hopefully) make a fun climb for people to enjoy. His other favorite things to do are hacky sacking, fly fishing, and spending time in the great outdoors. Contrary to popular belief, his setting initials actually stand for HomeWork.
Cole - CZMetalMark Foreperson
Cole has been working for Touchstone since 2012 as a routesetter at MetalMark. He began as a trad climber, then moved on to sport, and now focuses on bouldering. When he’s not setting five-star routes and asking for more holds, he’s searching for the softest boulders in the country, knee barring through the hard ones, and spending too much time in Whole Foods. He’s most famous for being the inventor of fashion, gracing the cover of a magazine, watching 95% of the bouldering videos available online, and punting on the last move.
Kessler - KESSThe Studio Foreperson
Kessler started climbing 6 years ago in IOWA of all places! He started routesetting 3 years after that at Iowa State University and then at Climb Iowa, the only climbing gym in the state (for measure, there are over 30 in California)! Maybe it’s safe to say he “found his love in a hopeless place”?
After a year in the Bay, he doesn’t want to leave anytime soon. There’s so much to do and see! When not in the gym, you can find Kessler skateboarding through the streets of SF, visiting museums, living off junk food, and trying to convince himself to get back into the gym and train!
Favorite thing to set: Whatever YOU need to work on (probably dynos, right?)!
Sean - SKRoutesetter
Sean’s been climbing for nine years and finally got the chance to start setting with Touchstone at Pipeworks in Sacramento a year ago. He couldn’t be happier—the crew is made up of some of his closest friends. The thing he loves about climbing the most is that the rocks are always there. His psych may waiver from time to time, but the rocks are always there when the climbing bug bites hard.
Colin - CBGRoutesetter
Colin is is a USAC L1 Setter. His hobbies include wearing stripes, having glasses, and saying hello like a perfect gentleman.
Wes - WESRoutesetter + Mad Rock Athlete
Wes first appeared in a bit part in the 1981 film Endless Love, followed by a major supporting role as a crazed military academy student in Taps later that year. In 1983, Cruise was part of the ensemble cast of The Outsiders. That same year he appeared in All the Right Moves and Risky Business, which has been described as “A Generation-X classic, and a career-maker for Wes Miralgo”, and which, along with 1986’s Top Gun, cemented his status as a superstar. Cruise also played the male lead in Legend.
Tiber - TLMRoutesetter
Tiber grew up in Oakhurst, California. He began climbing in high school and hasn’t done much else since. Before he started working for Touchstone he worked a variety of jobs: landscaper, cashier, server, receiver for a clothing company, and even a security guard. After working such odd jobs, becoming a Touchstone routesetter was a dream come true. He could not believe he was getting paid to climb!
Before working for Touchstone Tiber could not put his finger on his particular style of climbing, but now that he has been working as a setter for a few years he can assuredly say that his climbing style boils down to one part extended, one part scrunchy, and a dash of power. Keep an eye out for his maker’s mark TLM. Most importantly, he’s just happy to be here!
Ryan - RRRoutesetter
Ryan’s journey with Touchstone Climbing began in 2007. Front desk, routesetter, Stone Age hold maker, he is all of those things. One time he had to put climbing on hold to perform with the Sacramento Ballet. Great Wall of China—hiked it. Christ the Redeemer Statue—sport climbed up to it. Hawai’i—lived there. You ever heard of Cirque du Soleil? He does contract work for them. Spandex—loves it. He once beat Super Mario Brothers 3 on NES in 13min 43sec on the console. His favorite movie is Terminator II: Judgement Day.
Joe - JYRoutesetter
Joe Yun started playing Magic: The Gathering in 1994. Joe claims to have received the 34th DCI number issued in France and to have played in France’s very first sanctioned event.
In 2002, Yun would meet fellow French player Wafo-Tapa at the European Championship. Later that year Joe moved to Wafo-Tapa’s hometown of Nantes to study for three years. From there the two built a strong friendship, often preparing for events together. Joe credits this friendship as a major source of his later personal success and considers Wafo-Tapa to be his favorite player.
Zoey - ZOEYRoutesetter
You’ve probably seen this golden haired crusher stop by at your gym at some point. Born in Berkeley, Zoey was introduced to climbing after a wilderness therapy excursion had her shuffling up a 5.9+ one week. Once home, she and her mom starting rope climbing at Ironworks. Soon after she joined the Ironworks teen team, where she slowly figured out the sport thanks to the coaches. Since she already spent so much of her time at the gym (sometimes even ditching school for a session), she ended up getting a job at Oakland’s very own GWPC, and from there went on to set routes.
When she’s not grunting up rocks or trying to discover fire, Zoey spends her time on her computer playing games like Overwatch, visiting her best friend in Culver City, or driving to the next climbing trip.
Dylin - DCRoutesetter
Dylin was born and raised in Pasadena, CA. Climbing rocks and setting plastic has been a part of his life for almost a decade now. He grew up climbing around Stoney Point with his pops, but it wasn’t till high school that he developed the passion he has for it now. Rock climbing has been nothing but fun and to him, that’s what it is first and foremost. He plans on doing it till the day he is reborn as a silverback gorilla.
Travis - ZAAA!!!Routesetter
It was silent, and there was a loud explosion, the cosmos erupted in orange plasma—giving birth to the Zaaa!!! It has been noted in the Magna Carta of a legendary climber, and it was he, Travis.
Travis learned to climb in Yosemite eight years ago and has been a full time setter for six years. He has gone from working at Vertical Hold in San Diego, to Metalmark in Fresno, to Stonegardens in Washington, to Asana in Indiana, and then finally to here, Touchstone Bay Area. Setting those hotboyz moves along the way, fighting a beast infection and a bad case of swoliosis.
Past setting aliases: T$, Tra$hBus, Scum, Gravy Train, Tpain, currently known as Zaaa!!!
Nilo - NILORoutesetter
Born and raised in San Francisco, Nilo began rock climbing at age 12, and soon after he fell in love with the sport and the amazing community. He was the first Touchstone member to see Dogpatch Boulders, because in his excitement he showed up several hours early to the first open house. Although he prefers bouldering to ropes, he is a true lover of all things climbing. Having been a indoor competition climber for several years, this gym rat is finally beginning to get outdoors on some real rocks. Filmmaking is another one of his passions, and he hopes to combine it with rock climbing in the future.
Being a Touchstone Routesetter challenges Nilo every day to better understand climbing movement and the art of setting. He always looks for room to improve and welcomes conversations and opinions about his sets.
In the wise words of Adam Ondra:
Nick - WOHRoutesetter
Nick’s been climbing for about 3 years now and has been setting for Touchstone for little over a year. He goes by Wohhddyyy (pronounced
Whoa-dee). On his off days he likes to do numbers at Whole Foods, buying organic veggies trying to stay super healthy. He cooks a very peaceful dinner while sippin’ on his $12.99 orange juice. When he’s lazy he’ll just throw some Fiji water in his Cup of Noodles ya know. Just tryna do good and do big numbers on line 2.
Megan - MKORoutesetter
Megan has been on the routesetting crew since 2018, but got her start at Touchstone as a Team coach. Pro tips from Megan:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 3 medium carrots , chopped
- 3 cups potato cubed
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cans chickpeas
- 1 can canned coconut milk
Use these ingredients to make a soup. Then blend the soup. Top with sautéed kale and pumpkin seeds. Then eat the soup. Best consumed after a long day of climbing, while petting a dog.
Kurt - PEÑORoutesetter
Kurt’s setter’s tag is PEÑO, and occasionally KURT when someone is feeling funny—Peño is short for jalapeño since his last name, Morita, is a variety of chipotle jalapeño. As for the man himself, Kurt grew up in the East Bay. He spent most of his teens skateboarding, until he found climbing while recovering from an injury in 2011. He really loves pinches, slopers, dynamic movement, and anything that’s powerful and athletic.
Isamer - ISERoutesetter
Isamer grew up in the Crown City a.k.a. Pasadena, CA. He started climbing at the local gym in 2008. His best friends, Dylin Cordova and Tobin Ziel, introduced him to routesetting shortly after. He continued bolting holds throughout college and 4 years after graduating before joining the Touchstone family. He is humbled everyday working with such accomplished and driven individuals. His motivation lies in making gym members and guests happy.
Becky - BEXRoutesetter
About 3 years ago, Bex was shopping around for a gym membership (to be healthy or whatever) and came to the conclusion that a climbing gym was the best deal. Yoga/fitness classes, gym equipment, and walls with colorful pieces of plastic on them? Seemed perfectly reasonable. She bought a pair of shoes and got a membership before even trying to get up the wall. It turned out that climbing was life-changing. The rest, as they say, is history.
When she’s not climbing, she enjoys annoying her dogs and sleeping.
Dylan - CLIZRoutesetter
Dylan started climbing in Cocoa Beach Florida in 2014—luckily there happened to be a gym close by, as you know not much climbing takes place in Florida unless you want to climb under water on coral reef. He saved for a membership working as a beach lifeguard and got one along with a set of Mocs. Dylan moved to Huntington Beach, California in the summer of 2016 in pursuit of being around good climbing, surfing, and entertainment. He set out a goal to set for Touchstone in LA and with good aspirations he got the job and started setting in October 2017.
Keenan - KLOORoutesetter
Keenan was born and raised in Sacramento. He started climbing in 2011 as an attempt to get in shape. After ten years as a photographer, he put down the camera and started routesetting full-time at Pipeworks in 2019. He has since found inspiration and endless stoke being more involved in the climbing community. Besides routesetting, Keenan has begun taking the camera out to the crag while finishing a math degree. Some of his favorite things include bananas with peanut butter, bicycling, and that new route smell. He says that his greatest achievement so far was winning an 8-ball tournament with a broomstick in 2010.