The most important aspect of any climbing gym is its routesetting and we don’t take that lightly.
We deliver world-class climbing because we have some of the best setters in the business! And while we turn over our gyms in 6-8 weeks, our focus is always on quality not quantity.
How do we do it?
USA Climbing offers five levels of certification for routesetters and few setters ever advance beyond Level 2. Fewer than ten setters in the country hold the ultimate distinction of L5 certification. Our Director of Routesetting, Jeremy Hardin, is part of this elite group and the rest of our full-time team is certified at L4 and L2 respectively.
We are proud of their commitment to their craft, inspired by their lines, and humbled by their seemingly endless creativity. And we encourage them to take time to set and teach around the country because we know they’ll come back home to Sportrock newly inspired to create the amazing routes we’re known for.
Want to learn more? Click on the photos below to read their (often hilarious) responses to our questions.
Year you started climbing? 2002 Year you started setting? 2004 Year you started working at Sportrock? 2002 How many comps have you set for? 100+ including multiple World Cup and National Championships. What is your goal when setting? For gym setting, I try to make every climb consistent in grade, with respect to height and reach, with flow and memorable sequences or movement. For comp setting, the goal is to create fun and fair routes or problems to separate the field of competitors. We try to test all abilities and styles for the overall "best" climber of the event. How do you come up with route names? That's the hardest part of my day. Normally it comes down to the first two words I can rhyme that are appropriate. Favorite route name? One Crazy Hooker. What inspires you to stay constantly creative? My reputation. Setting pet peeves? When climbers do a sequence or move incorrectly or harder than what is obvious and then complain the movement was "awkward"... sometimes it's not the climb that’s awkward, it's the climber. Words of advice to climbers who get stumped on your routes? Try harder. Passions in life? My wife and son, cars and trucks, fixing stuff. How would your family or friends describe you in 3 words? He’s a Workhorse. What would surprise us to learn about you? I train and compete in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If you could be any animal in the world - what would you be and why? A Lion, because he’s the king of the jungle!
Year you started climbing? 1996 Year you started setting? 2001 Year you started working at Sportrock? 2017 How many comps have you set for? 32 Why did you start setting? Early on I was more focused on competing than setting. I competed in ABS & USA Climbing National events, UBC Pro Tour events, Mammut Bouldering Championships, Dark Horse Series, Portland Boulder Rally, 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell, and even an Ice Climbing comp. I thought comps started to neglect the competitor for "world cup" style problems so I started to focus on setting to better understand this style. I have been head setter for a few different gyms in NC, PA, and OR over the years, and I have set multiple USA Climbing National events. What is your goal when setting? To force you to do whatever I want you to do. How do you come up with route names? I stare at the computer screen and mumble until I come up with something. Favorite route name? Manilla Vanure. What inspires you to stay constantly creative? Coffee and pastries. Setting pet peeves? Metric bolts. Words of advice to climbers who get stumped on your routes Seek out beta or work it out with a friend. Sometimes I can set very contrived with a specific sequence, so if you can't figure it out maybe someone else can. Just like outside, learning how to project routes can help with the redpoint process. More pull-ups always help. Passions in life? My wife and baby boy... and cookies, all of them. How would your family or friends describe you in 3 words? Slow-motion Train Wreck. What would surprise us to learn about you? Before getting back in the gym I was a High School Chemistry/Physics/Math teacher. I have horrible balance. I am a huge fan of rap and hip-hop. If you could be any animal in the world - what would you be and why? Gorilla, it’s my spirit animal.
Year you started climbing? 2005 Year you started setting? 2009 Year you started working at Sportrock? 2012 How many comps have you set for? Dozens. Why did you start setting? I would skip class to go climb at Virginia Beach Rock Gym while my friends, Scott Johns and Tommy Morrison, were setting and they kind of took me under their wing. What is your goal when setting? To force the movement, duh... How do you come up with route names? I keep an ongoing list in my phone of things and phrases that I think would make good route names. There’s lots of pop culture references. Favorite route name? All my favorite route names are NSFW. What inspires you to stay constantly creative? The bills don't pay themselves. Setting pet peeves? Not having enough coffee. Words of advice to climbers who get stumped on your routes? Trade beta for baked goods. Passions in life? Rock climbing, yoga, art, building things. How would your family or friends describe you in 3 words? Doesn't follow instructions well. What would surprise us to learn about you? I’m a bit of a neat freak. If you could be any animal in the world - what would you be and why? A pug, everybody likes pugs.