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 our summer setter, Zach Wright. Zach returns to school this fall, but will be wielding a drill again in 2015.
How long have you been route setting?
I started setting for Touchstone at the beginning of this summer. Before that, when I worked desk at The Studio, I would finagle my way into setting a boulder problem here and there when the setters came around.
How did you get into route setting?
Before I worked for Touchstone, I coached a competitive climbing team, so imagining/training competition style movement was part of my job. Getting to see the routesetting at the national level was always inspiring; there's a level of aesthetics, hold selection, and movement variety you rarely see in commercial gyms. Being exposed to that level of routesetting and working with a competitive team made me want to try my hand at creating the routes, rather than just consuming them.
What is your favorite gym to set at and why?
LA Boulders. They have the best hold selection and the best walls of any gym I've set at.
What are you route setting pet peeves?
That moment where the bolt is too short, and then the T-nut is stripped, and I left my drill on the ground, and my tape won't tear quite right, and my tape angles are off, and none of my moves are forced, and I missed my grade, and my route is a turd.
What is in your route setting bag right now?
Several beers, a pint of gelato, an episode of Breaking Bad, a puppy and 8 hours of sleep.
What inspires your routes?
Mega-slappin' beats, Gregor Pierce's winning smile, caffeine, the weekend.
What is your favorite memory setting with the Touchstone Crew?
My first time setting Pipeworks. It was my 5th day on the job and I ended up having to set the steepest line out of the arch. I had never set on a steep wall in my life. Basically I struggled harder getting through that arch than on any climb or day of work in my life. I distinctly remember getting stuck in an aid bolt in the roof, and I'm there and struggling and trying to like, lift my bag with one arm and get myself out of the bolt with my other arm, and I'm just spinning in the roof and I'm like “Literally I'm gonna puke in this roof, 40 ft. off the ground and then pass out.” But I didn't. I made it through, eventually. Then I went home and drank beer and ate gelato and passed out at like 8 PM.
Where is your favorite place to climb outside?
The bouldering areas near Truckee are pretty dope, and of course Bishop is rad in the winter. But I'm also psyched to hit up Mortar and session with some friends and then hit the skatepark or something. They're all fun for their own reasons.
How many burritos do you eat every week?
No burritos. I rock the Berkeley Bowl specialty sandos. The turkey club panini is on point, I basically live off of those.
How many cups of coffee?
2 espressos minimum to get out the door in the morning, then however much I need to be like, a functional human being for the rest of the day. And hella kombucha, cause I like to stay cultured.
What is your advice for aspiring setters?
Routesetting gets easier once it stops being so damn hard. Also, don't take yourself too seriously. Seriously.