With 12 gyms in California, our killer setting crew is the heart of our business. Without their inspired testpieces, we’d have nothing to crush, project, or send. Touchstone is proud to boast 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 will always find a new project to work on no matter which gym you climb at.
JustinDirector of Routesetting
Justin is the strong, silent type who is too busy running an empire to write his own bio. Some would call it lazy, but we prefer to call it telepathic delegation. That’s next level managerial strategy right there. Justin hails from the great state of California, and when his soccer career was cut short by aging out of the pee-wee league, he turned to bouldering. He fell hard for Yosemite climbing, taking a job as a bear ranger to fund his incessant pebble wrestling. ‘Twas beneath a boulder that he met his now wife, and she managed to drag him out of the woods and into a ‘real job’ working for Touchstone. We couldn’t be happier.
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.
Buck - BYHead Routesetter of Northern California + Evolv Athlete
Buck fell in love with climbing out in the desert of Joshua Tree, CA. For the first many years of his climbing life he spent his days sketching his way up moderate trad climbs and dreaming of one day climbing bigwalls. Climbing slowly but surely took over his life and by the time he was out of college the only thing that made sense to him was to move to Yosemite Valley.
Buck found his way onto Yosemite Search and Rescue where he spent two seasons splitting his time between going on rescues and climbing bigwalls. Somewhere along the way, Buck stumbled into a climbing gym in the Bay Area and found himself a job as a routesetter. He now works as a full time routesetter for Touchstone Climbing and is continually stoked to take the skills he learns in the gym to the granite walls of Yosemite.
Colin - CBGMission Cliffs Foreman
Colin is is a USAC L1 Setter. His hobbies include wearing stripes, having glasses, and saying hello like a perfect gentleman.
Karl - KCSacramento Pipeworks Foreman
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.
Eric - ESDiablo Rock Gym Foreman
Eric is from Livermore, CA and has been climbing since he was 10 years old. He started setting at a small climbing gym in Livermore in 2008 and started setting for Touchstone around 2011. Eric likes most kinds of routes but says setting dynos and bouldery climbing is his favorite. In his free time he is a student and enjoys playing sports.
Hiro - HWGreat Western Power Co Foreman
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 Foreman
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 Foreman
It’s Kessler. One name only. Ya know, like Cher…or Moses.
Kessler started climbing 5 years ago during a summer working in the Black Hills, and has been hooked ever since. After that summer, he returned home to Iowa and continued climbing at Iowa State University, where he also started routesetting. 23 is a late start to climbing for many, but he hasn’t let that stop him from falling completely in love with it, and doing everything he can to learn and grow in it. Towards the end of college, where he achieved a Forestry Degree, he also started routesetting at Climb Iowa, the only gym in the entire state.
When he’s not working at the gym, Kessler is usually nerding out on World Cup climbing footage or reading about something climbing related. Having come from Iowa, he learned to fall in love with indoor climbing, so he hasn’t had a lot of outdoor experiences…yet! Now that he lives only hours away from a few of the most famous climbing destinations in the world, he’s psyched to get out every weekend and learn more about this thing that has taken over his life!
“The beautiful thing about climbing is you can’t justify it. It doesn’t pretend to be anything useful.” – Royal Robbins
Max - MKDogpatch Foreman
Max Krimmer is an avid boulderer with over 10 years of professional experience working in the climbing industry. Max first discovered his love for climbing and routesetting while attending college in Colorado. After graduation, Max worked at several commercial climbing gyms across the state.
In 2014, Max moved to Boulder to pursue filmmaking. He worked with Sender Films, Big Up Productions, and Chuck Fryberger on several climbing films, including the award-winning Valley Uprising. He also produced and directed his own independent film, Huntsmen, which documented his time developing boulders in Southern Colorado. Max moved to Berkeley in 2016 and is excited to return to his roots as a routesetter and to continue learning from the world-class setting team here at Touchstone Climbing.
Ben - FLEARoutesetter
LATFH! Don’t let the pink pants fool you, this kid means serious business when it comes to climbing! Having grown up in the Bay Area, Flea is a fixture in the local climbing, bike polo, and music scenes. Want to know anything and everything about early 80’s cartoons? Need your project done? Need CPR? Just ask Ben, he’ll be happy to oblige.
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.
Craig - CMRoutesetter
AKA – Hippie, Skeletor
With 35 years of climbing experience, Craig has redpointed 5.14 and bouldered V9. He was the Head Routesetter for Touchstone from 1996 to 2010, and has been the Head Routesetter for multiple roped and bouldering Nationals competitions in both the adult and junior categories.
A resident of Sonora and routesetting in the Bay Area four days a week, Craig is always on the move and wouldn’t have it any other way. When not routesetting, Craig can be found skiing with his daughters and grandson, or climbing with his bros at the crags and boulders, trying hard, with no regard for personal safety.
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!
Radu - RADRoutesetter
Born but not raised in Romania, Radu was a youth competitor with a love for dynos (and penguins). Now, when he is not eating sushi or working on photography projects, he coaches the SF climbing teams.
With a setting style influenced by the comp scene, Radu’s setting tends to make the climber think outside the box. He is always down to talk beta and offer advice if a climber gets stumped.
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.
Morgan - MCGRoutesetter
Half man, half amazing, Morgan joined the Touchstone family in 2008 when a strange series of events brought him up to San Francisco. After talking to a random climber at a bus stop, the two joined forces to boulder the next morning. Morgan’s been hooked ever since. He can often be found frolicking in Tahoe, Yosemite, Bishop, and of course, the legendary Mortar Rock.
When he’s not climbing, Morgan is active in the Bay Area recovery community, helping people escape sinking ships. And if you want to ask him for tips on achieving Enlightenment, just tap him on the shoulder after he’s done forerunning.
Zak - ZAKRoutesetter
You’ve probably seen this golden haired crusher stop by at your gym at some point. Born in Berkeley, Zak was introduced to climbing after a wilderness therapy excursion had him shuffling up a 5.9+ one week. Once home, he and his mom starting rope climbing at Ironworks. Soon after he joined the Ironworks teen team, where he slowly figured out the sport thanks to the coaches. Since he already spent so much of his time at the gym, sometimes even ditching school for a session, he ended up getting a job at Oakland’s very own GWPC, and from there went on to set routes.
When he’s not grunting up rocks or trying to discover fire, Zak spends his time on his computer playing games like Overwatch, visiting his 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!!!
Megs - MSRoutesetter
Megs relocated from the land of ice and snow (Wisconsin). Prior to moving, this vegan cheese head learned to climb on the slick purple quartzite of Devil’s Lake. Kissing “goodbye” to the lovely purple monoliths and ice falls was difficult, but because of her affair with cracks, she had to leave. Megs followed the crowds straight to Yosemite where she worked for the NPS as a physical science technician. Weary of splitter granite, Megs traveled farther west to conquer plastic and set for Touchstone.
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:
Claire - BEARRoutesetter
Claire started climbing at six years old when she was forced—or strongly encouraged—by her dad. As a child, it was more exciting to explore the outdoors and climb trees than it was to scramble up rocks. But in her early teens, Claire finally came around to the sport and became her dad’s favorite climbing partner. For her 16th birthday, he took her to get a worker’s permit so she could start working at The Studio ASAP! Claire spent four years working at Mission Cliffs while attending University of San Francisco, but now she’s back in San Jose and setting for her home gym. When she’s not climbing or napping on crash pads, she’s spending time with her nephews and niece, playing ukulele, talking about the ethics of Star Trek, or going to karaoke bars with her best friends. Do not ask her to sing for you unless you’re ready for a full on performance.
Chris - CALRoutesetter
Chris is a curious spirit. Simply interested in whatever challenge lay in front of him, his hobbies include, but are not limited to, cooking, running, bicycling, juggling, climbing, slacklining, art, sculpture, home improvement, music, gardening, farming, construction, physics, mathematics, philosophy, chemistry… or really anything he does not currently comprehend. He just needs some time and he will undoubtedly touch everything.
Classically trained as a glassblower, Chris received the skills necessary to climb hard at a young age. With fingertips seasoned by molten glass, and wrists and forearms demolished daily by steel blowpipes, the transition into climbing and routesetting shortly after his time at art school was almost seamless. Chris’ interest in glass and glass art remains and he still pursues a career in the glass world. For now, though, he delicately crafts climbs for Touchstone members to enjoy.
Chris has worked as a routesetter for 5 years. He’s been climbing on immaculate granite, pumpy volcanic rock, steep limestone roofs, glassy slabs and more, incorporating his favorite styles into his routes. His favorite style of climbing is slab climbing probably, though his hands do have an affinity for pinches.
If you see Chris at the gym, say, “Hi.”
Jess - JBIRDRoutesetter
JBird is a routesetter, but first, she’s an artist. Routesetting is an extension of her creative self, and she digs the challenge of it. Since moving back to CA from the Midwest she finds herself missing the lakes and ice, but she’s glad to be exploring crags and making art around her hometown again. Her advice to the world is to dig into life, follow your passions, and be happy 🙂