With 13 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 one of the largest full-time routesetting team in the country which produces the highest quality routesetting anywhere. With a frequent rotation of routes and problems 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!
Justin (he/him)Director 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 (he/him) - NANOHead Routesetter of Southern California
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.
Hiro (he/him) - HiroHead Routesetter of Northern California
Hiro is originally from New Jersey but has moved all over the country until ending up in the bay area in 2015 which is when he started routesetting for Touchstone. His favorite thing about setting is having a creative outlet to produce something that other people can interact with. He fell in love with climbing in a gym and a huge factor was the routesetting so he hopes to give that same experience to others to enjoy. When he’s not training or climbing, he’s spending his time watching his young son learn to interact with the world.
Colin (he/him) - CBGSacramento Pipeworks Crew Leader
There is so much I can say about route setting and my relationship to it. To keep it short, route setting is a job that I am deeply passionate about and have been doing since 2007. Sometimes my climbs are personal, an expression of who I am and how I am feeling. Other times, the inspiration for a route comes from the many wonderful lessons learned through climbing outside. In the end, as a professional setter and a crew leader, my main goal is to create enjoyable, accessible, and safe climbs for our members and the public to enjoy. That is what route setting is all about, bringing happiness and fulfillment to our climbing community.
Cole (he/him) - CZMetalMark Crew Leader
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 (he/him) - KESSThe Studio Crew Leader
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?)!
Joe (he/him) - JYLos Angeles Crew Leader
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.
Chaz (he/him) - CDCNorthern California Crew LeaderInnovator of the fast rollout on cp_badlands, Chaz Dela Cruz was a professional demoman and scout player for Team Fortress 2 North American team Blight. After collecting many accolades in his esport career, he swapped out his gaming chair for a metolius big wall harness.A master of stone on boulders and multi-pitch, Chaz is a well-rounded setter who’s thoughtful sequences and quality hold selection make his climbs a team favorite amongst the routesetters. He also holds the honor of being the nicest and most wholesome person on the squad. His only fault is his affinity for puns.
Jonathan (he/him) - JDUBNorthern California Crew Leader
Climbing has this amazing ability to really make you think. It’s this unique activity that can help you embrace challenges, learn from them, and become stronger both mentally and physically. I tend to want to create climbs that are accessible, inclusive and offer a wide range of movement. Sometimes I like to make the climber uncomfortable, or maybe it’s a lot of the time. Yeah, actually that’s what I tend to do. Sorry, not sorry.
Claire (she/her) - BEARRoutesetter
Claire is just a regular human girl. She likes climbing, swimming and laying in the sun. Regular human things, definitely not bear things. She also loves honey, karaoke and collecting teeth.
Karl (he/him) - KCRoutesetter
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.
Wes (he/him) - WESRoutesetter
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 (he/him) - 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 (he/him) - 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.
Zoey (she/her) - 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 (he/him) - 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.
Megan (she/her) - 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 (he/him) - 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 (he/him) - 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 (she/her) - 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 (he/him) - 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 (he/him) - 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.
William (he/him) - BigBoiRoutesetter
Will has been a resident of Sacramento for all of his life. He discovered climbing in 2016 and has been addicted to it ever since! His love for climbing is limited to the plastic holds in the gym, but he plans to eventually venture to the great outdoors and feel that real rock against his fingertips. A couple of his favorite things to do that aren’t gym-related are reading books, rollerblading, or playing video games.
Katie (she/her) - KMRoutesetter
Katie was born and raised in Simi Valley CA just north of LA. She started climbing when she was 11 years old and never stopped. Katie competed through youth and into her adult years. Gym climbing is great but going on climbing trips and sending outdoors has her heart. She started setting in high school at her local gym and was hooked instantly. When Katie moved to Sacramento for college she started setting and coaching for Touchstone right away. When she’s not climbing or training, Katie loves to explore and hike around Sacramento and hang out at the river with friends.
Nico (he/him) - GUNARoutesetterLord GUNA (Nicolas Giovanni Renato Olivier Faraguna) hails from the Land of San Francisco. He is quite the exquisite man who gives jugs to those who love to stand on them. With an arm that can best any major league pitcher and a laugh that turns sound waves into art, Nico can be found talking and taking selfies with his many fans at any of the Bay Area gyms. As the man who invented solidified water, he looks to invent new ways to make bangers for everyone. Nico always chooses the best selection of holds for his climbs and takes pride in great, fun routes that teach a variety of techniques. While he prefers setting and climbing great routes, his boulders really push the limits of human innovation and creativity. He loves underclings, high feet, and making the world a better place for everyone. His only downside is a distaste for puns.
Kris (he/him) - KBRoutesetter
Coming from south bay, Kris was raised and educated on Bay Area climbing since 2007. He expanded his climbing knowledge by running up and down the California mountains, deserts, and coastal areas. Kris draws his routesetting inspiration from all types of climbing; it’s not about the grades or amount of stars a climb has, but about the feelings that come from all the different climbs there are. He is not afraid to utilize the smallest handholds and the biggest feet to emulate the wide variety of outdoor climbing.
Vikas (he/him) - VALIRoutesetter
I started climbing at the DRG back in 2015. Over the years, I’ve transitioned my focus from the gym to outdoor bouldering. I’m always at the gym – climbing and training are my life. Climbing is my community, my obsession, and my source of joy.
I hope I can share my love for climbing with you through my work.
Nolan (he/him) - PIERoutesetter
Nolan was grown in a wee Central Coast town that most folks have never heard of. Things happened and he found himself going to university at Santa Barbara where his grades were much better before he found climbing and setting in 2016. His roots in climbing and setting began at the small on-campus rock wall with a good ole fashioned T-wrench and tote bag to carry the holds. At school, he learned that he was keen to be a route setter. So, upon graduation in 2019, he applied for Touchstone and the rest is history. It was hard to leave his small, farm town for the big city but, the proper bunch of misfits known as the Touchstone Route setters took him in like a lost puppy and have been showing him the beta ever since. The crux of the job is trying to do his misfit family proud setting plastic and climbing rocks.
Maggie (she/her) - MAGSRoutesetter
Long before she knew what a crimp was, Maggie achieved the dream of so many little girls by becoming a real ballerina. After becoming disillusioned with the world of professional ballet, she pretended to be a normal person for a few years before wandering into a climbing gym and becoming completely obsessed with yet another ridiculous physical activity. Fast forward a few years, and her curiosity was piqued when she saw a bunch of misfits throwing plastic holds around and creating the climbs she so enjoyed. Intrigued by the similarities between routesetting and choreography, and never wanting to work in an office ever again, she decided to try this setting thing. She doesn’t regret her decision. When not climbing, Maggie loves going on scenic hikes with her husband and drinking tea and reading while lounging on the couch with her two cats, Circus Peanut and Twix.
Pierre (he/him) - EnkiRoutesetter
A classic East Bay kid, Pierre spent his childhood playing football in the streets and video games on the couch. He and his brother discovered climbing when, after years of bouncing and tumbling at a local trampoline park, their group of friends were looking for a new challenge. “Diablo Rock Gym was just like a more grown-up version of what we were already doing,” he said. While he can often be found quietly scrolling through his Instagram feed (or respectfully avoiding yet another lap on your project), don’t let his modesty fool you—Pierre’s real secret recipe is his determination and laser-like focus.
Pierre recently discovered climbing outside and is finding fast success. While his climbing is impressive, it’s his maturity and perspective that’s sure to turn heads. Upon sending his first outdoor project, he said, “It’s about more than just climbing things that are hard for me. [Climbing] is the best excuse to be outside, discover a different view and perspective of nature, and spend time with my brother.”
Noah (he/they) - Bam-BamRoutesetter
I’ve been climbing for 4 years and setting for nearly 3. I started working for Touchstone at the Berkeley Ironworks desk in 2020 before transferring to Pacific Pipe. I always knew I wanted to get into route setting, and I feel really grateful for the opportunity to set boulders and routes that I get to play with while also interacting with other players. My favorite style of climbing is crack climbing and that definitely shows up in some of my setting but I also try to integrate movement from all styles of climbing that I’ve experienced in the past. I draw inspiration from climbing heroes and historic climbs. Setting allows me to connect with climbing on another intimate level while also connecting with those who climb my sets.
Kylie (she/her) - K.O.Routesetter
I started my climbing career at the tender age of seventeen, and for the past four years, I’ve had one recurring problem—tall people! They have this nasty habit of doing my thirteen-move projects in two moves, reaching past cruxes, and constantly looking down on me. This past year, my quiet competition against the tall has transformed into all-out warfare as I fight to set problems they can’t break. My pledge to my fellow short people is that I will never surrender, though my neck may grow tired of looking up at them and my pride takes hit after hit as they skip sequences I’ve agonized over.
Brent (he/him) - INDYRoutesetter
I’ve been climbing for a total of 12 years, setting for 6 years, 3 of which have been here with Touchstone. Routesetting has helped me better understand the headspace and abilities that climbers of all backgrounds and skill levels possess. I like to put myself in the place of a climber breaking into new grades and create safe, interesting situations on the wall that will test their problem-solving abilities as well as add to their repertoire of movement that will only assist on one’s journey to “the next level.” So, the next time you find yourself in one such quandary, believe that the rewarding hold you want is just around the corner. Literally. Go get it!
Zach (he/him) - YABOYRoutesetting
I started climbing in 2012. My first passion was bouldering but after some time I grew to love sport climbing too. When I’m not seshing with my bros, I’m gaming and spending time with my amazing girlfriend.
Vik (she/her) - OATRoutesetting
Originally hailing from the land of bratwurst & sauerkraut, Viktoria moved to the golden state as a kid and has lived here most of her life. After going to college in LA she decided she never again wanted to live in Southern California and traded the (slightly) warmer water for the vibrancy of the Bay. Her journey with climbing started in her early childhood but took a decade-long pause due to an infatuation with open water swimming. After a tender reacquaintance 7 years ago, she realized that climbing had always been her true love and she hasn’t stopped chuffing since. You can find her convincing boulderers that they should lead with her, perusing the aisles of Berkeley Bowl, ordering the darkest Bavarian beer on the menu, or starting yet another hobby/project to satisfy her ever-curious Gemini heart.