They're up with the sun, chain coffee-drinking and working hard to bring you the routes you love to send, project, and crush. 'Touchstone Routesetting' is an industry term for excellence, and each member of the crew brings a little somethin' somethin' to the team. In our ongoing segment, Better Know a Setter, we bring you a closer look at what makes 'em tick. In this weeks installment, we sat down with Sacramento Pipeoworks setter Ryan Rougeux.
How long have you been route setting?
Officially about 2 1/2 years, but I started learning with the old school crew of Andreas, Craig and Peter back in the day at Pipeworks.
How did you get into route setting?
I've worked the desk since 2007, and kept bugging the setters to teach me their magical craft.
What is your favorite gym to set at and why?
The future Pipeworks bouldering expansion will be my favorite.
What are your route setting pet peeves?
When climbers would rather try grabbing a foot chip then learning how to climb slopers. The gym exists so you can work on your climbing weaknesses in a controlled environment, don't gravitate to what you're good at!
What is in your route setting bag right now?
Random Stone Age holds, some bolts, maybe a step ladder and ascender.
What inspires your routes?
Climbing outside on real rock and the motivation to stump the regulars on my routes. It brings me great inner joy to watch someone fall off my routes.
What's the hardest thing about route setting?
Staying motivated and being creative. Imagine spending 8 hours in the gym setting routes... and then spending another hours putting your own time into training for climbing. I live at the gym.
What is your favorite memory setting with the Touchstone Crew?
Many years ago after a rope comp at Pipeworks the keg still had beer in it (sounds crazy right?) and Fernando and Josh did their part to try and empty it. Eventually Fernando felt 'motived' decided to lead the 13b comp route and broke a hold at the 2nd clip that sent him cartwheeling upside down to josh. We threw a helmet on him and he promptly sent the hardest route in the gym.
Where is your favorite place to climb outside?
Right now it's a few secret boulders I'm trying to develop around Donner Summit, there are still so many unclimbed blocks out there.
What is your advice for aspiring setters?
Don't get discouraged. Your routes will be bad for a longtime. Even when your routes start to get better we're still going to tell you they're awful. It's a tough-love tactic.
How many cups of coffee do you consume on a weekly basis?
All of them.