Explore the new Macros lineup available at Grizzly Holds

image of grizzly holds ripple effect Grizzly Holds is thrilled to announce the launch of their new macro line, the Ripple Effect macros. Manufactured to the highest standards, these macros feature a flangeless attachment and are available in all standard colors. Gyms also have the option to purchase these macros in full texture or dual texture. To celebrate the launch, Grizzly Holds is offering a 20% discount on any of the 12 different macros until June 15th, 2024. This launch marks Grizzly Holds’ debut in the macro market, demonstrating their commitment to innovation and quality in the climbing holds industry. For more information and to take advantage of the discount, visit www.grizzlyholds.com. image of grizzly holds ripple effect image of grizzly holds ripple effect
CBJ press releases are written by the sponsor and do not represent the views of the Climbing Business Journal editorial team.

Premier Climbing Brand Trango Adds Dawn Wall FFA Climber Kevin Jorgeson to Elite Team Roster

Image courtesy of Trango, photo by Corey Rich.
Trango, the Colorado-based designer and manufacturer of premier climbing gear and holds, is proud to announce that Kevin Jorgeson has joined the brand’s Elite Climbing Team. In addition to wearing and testing all Trango gear, Kevin has also picked Tenaya US as his climbing shoes of choice. Trango is the sole US distributor for the Spanish-based climbing shoe brand, Tenaya.  “I’m excited to join Trango for both the product quality and team,” says Jorgeson. “I’ve known many of the team for my entire career, so to have the chance to collaborate on new product is a thrill. I’ve been logging a lot of hours on the Natural Rock Prodigy hang board lately and have been loving it—in a Type 2 Fun kind of way. I’m excited to push the limits of Trango gear, and to be very hands on in helping to create the best gear on earth.” “Kevin has such a rich climbing background,” says Chris Klinke, Trango president. “His competition climbing background, high-ball bouldering expertise, historic free-climb of Yosemite’s Dawn Wall, support of 1Climb, and more recent focus on the indoor climbing gym scene makes him a perfect partner for Trango. Our brand speaks to both outdoor and indoor climbing adventures, and Kevin brings a wealth of experience to the table.” Jorgeson, who started climbing at his local gym at age 11 and competing in international competitions five years later, has a long-storied climbing career replete with first ascents, films, and giving back to the climbing community. After completing the first-ever free climb of The Dawn Wall (with partner Tommy Caldwell), Jorgeson helped co-found 1Climb, an organization focused on introducing one million urban-based kids to the sport via climbing gyms built in boys and girls clubs. He’s also the owner of Session Climbing Gym in Sonoma Country, California. Jorgeson will be supporting Trango at the annual CWA (Climbing Wall Association) conference in Portland, Oregon. Trango is a leading hold manufacturer with a dedicated team of shapers and route setters; new for 2024 is the introduction of Trango ABS holds which are not only made of recycled materials, but also recyclable. “Innovation is one of the reasons I signed with Trango,” says Jorgeson. “Not only am I very in tune with how Trango is making a difference with shapes and materials, as a father, I’m super keen on the brand’s push towards sustainability and recycling.” About Trango Founded in Boulder, Colorado in 1991, Trango is an athlete-driven brand, dedicated to challenging the status quo of climbing and to advancing indoor gym technology. In addition to designing and producing premier climbing equipment, Trango is the sole US distributor for Tenaya climbing shoes. At Trango, we create innovative equipment that climbers trust. Our company is passionate about solution-oriented products that help climbers pursue the sport we love. You can count on Trango gear to deliver something extra, something special, that will contribute to your climbing adventure, indoors or out. 
CBJ press releases are written by the sponsor and do not represent the views of the Climbing Business Journal editorial team.

Youth Festival Registration Opens Soon

usa climbing youth festival header image The USA Climbing Youth Festival returns to Salt Lake City, June 22-23! The Festival consists of fun skills-based training and presentations/workshops for athletes and parents from experienced coaches, top climbers, industry leaders, and other experts. All C & D category climbers who qualify for and compete at either Bouldering or Lead/TR Regional Championships will be eligible to attend the Festival; Youth C’s that are participating in Youth Nationals can also participate in the Festival. REGISTRATION PERIOD Opens Wednesday, May 15 at 6:00 p.m. MT Closes Friday, June 21 at 12:00 p.m. MT 150 spots are available (first come, first served) Youth Festival Registration Learn More
CBJ press releases are written by the sponsor and do not represent the views of the Climbing Business Journal editorial team.

Capitan to Showcase New Membership Growth Solutions at CWA Summit in Portland

capitan cwa summit header image

Capitan, a leading platform for climbing gyms, is excited to announce its participation in the upcoming Climbing Wall Association (CWA) Summit in Portland. Climbing industry professionals can visit Capitan’s booth to discover the latest innovations designed to help climbing gyms and facilities grow their memberships effectively.

At the CWA Summit, Capitan will unveil new solutions specifically tailored to enhance membership growth strategies for climbing organizations including targeted offers, automated referral discounts, gamification and engagement tools, churn reduction discounts and industry-leading integrations. Attendees can explore firsthand how Capitan’s tools can revolutionize member acquisition, engagement, and retention, driving sustainable growth for their gyms.

To enhance the experience for attendees at the Summit, Capitan will be hosting a variety of events and offerings to help each person get the most out of their trip to Portland!

Secure your spot at the networking dinner at McMenamins

Join Capitan for a casual networking dinner hosted at McMenamins, an Oregon institution on Thursday, May 16th! Connect with fellow climbing gym professionals in a relaxed atmosphere while enjoying delicious food and drinks. Many current Capitan users will be there for attendees to directly learn from current users what their experience has been like using Capitan.

As capacity is limited, invites are limited to two people per organization. Transportation will be covered by Capitan from the Convention Center to McMenamins and to the After Party at the Portland Rock Gym. 

Request an invite for your organization at the networking dinner here.

Enter the raffle to win an iPad

 Capitan will be raffling off an iPad to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is stop by Capitan’s booth on Thursday to get a raffle card. To complete your entry card, you will need to get a sticker from a current Capitan user handing them out (they will be wearing bright Capitan hoodies to make it easy to find them). The winner will be announced on Friday.

Run with Capitan

Get into town Tuesday? Kick off your Summit with a casual run where all paces are welcome! Meet the Capitan team at Upright Brewing (10 minute walk from the Convention Center) at 6 PM for a 5k run along the river. After the run, Capitan will cover the first drink for each attendee.

RSVP for the run on Tuesday here.

Schedule a New Gym Coffee Chat 

Opening a new gym is daunting and Capitan is here to help. Owners all over the world opening their first gym use Capitan to set their business up for success from the start. Connect directly with the Capitan team to explore how Capitan can help you with your and learn more about the tools and programs Capitan has specifically for new gyms.

Schedule time for a new gym coffee chat here.

Schedule a Technical Coffee Chat

Capitan’s open and supported API is pushing the industry forward and enables gyms to unleash new opportunities. Meet directly with Capitan’s technical cofounder to learn how your organization can benefit from the best-in-class integrations Capitan already supports and explore other ways you can utilize the API to meet your organization’s goals.

Schedule time for a technical coffee chat here.

Grab a Voodoo Doughnut!

Conferences can be overwhelming, so stop by Capitan’s booth on Thursday for a custom Voodoo Doughnut to recharge.

About Capitan:

Capitan is a climbing-specific platform that streamlines waivers, entry passes, memberships, events and more with a focus on helping climbing gyms grow. Their open and supported API allows organizations to connect with all other tools they use to run their business. Capitan is used in climbing gyms across multiple countries, from boutique bouldering facilities to large, multi-location organizations.

Interested in exploring how Capitan can help your organization and not attending the CWA Summit? Book a time here for an intro call or email Capitan at info@hellocapitan.com.

CBJ press releases are written by the sponsor and do not represent the views of the Climbing Business Journal editorial team.

Climb Insider: CWA Summit next week and SLC World Cup wraps

image of climber in competition

Just a few thoughts

It’s really heating up for the world’s top comp climbers after this week’s World Cup in Salt Lake City. Our sport’s second Olympic appearance is less than 3 months away, and next week in Shanghai is one of the last chances for athletes to qualify. Good luck climbers! It’s also heating up for industry professionals in North America, who convene next week in Portland for the annual CWA Summit. It’s not too late to attend or enroll in a pre-conference workshop! If you’re headed to Portland please stop by the CBJ booth and say “hi”! We’ll be giving out CBJ swag to members 🙂 See The Freshest Job Posts Here

Community & Culture


Salt Lake City World Cup

Comp Scene

For Gym Managers


For Routesetters

Training Tips

Manage Vertical World – Climbing Jobs Weekly 2024 May 9

vertical world header CBJ hosts the most active job board for climbing businesses and organizations. Below are the latest posts from this past week…
Gym Manager Vertical World Seattle, WA “The Gym Manager is responsible for the daily operations of a Vertical World facility. The position strives to offer VW staff an exceptional managerial experience, while also collaborating with senior management to accomplish the company’s goals. The Gym Manager requires a high level of skill and dedication, and the ability to lead by example in every expected way.”


10 Best Skills To Put On Your Resume By Indeed Editorial Team “While you can often easily determine hard skills to list based on details in a job description, selecting relevant soft skills isn’t always as apparent. To help narrow down which soft skills to put on a resume, review the various duties of the position and determine which of your personal strengths will help you successfully complete those tasks. You can also speak to a resume expert for help organizing your skills on a resume.” Read the full article here


See all current jobs // Post your job FT = full time PT = part time
Routesetter at Bridges El Cerrito, CA PT – routesetter
Customer Experience Supervisor at Sender One Santa Ana, CA FT – coach, front desk, instructor
Human Resource Specialist at The Spot Colorado PT – other
Head Routesetter at FA Climbing Chicago, IL FT – routesetter
Routesetter/Team Coach at Wallnuts St. John’s, NL FT – coach, routesetter
Assistant Project Manager at EP Climbing Bend, OR FT – manufacturing
Project Manager at EP Climbing Bend, OR FT – manufacturing
Head Routesetter at MoCo Bouldering Conroe, TX FT – routesetter
General Manager at Bouldering Project Salt Lake City, UT FT – manager
Gym Manager at The Front Salt Lake City, UT FT – manager
Gym Manager at Vertical World Seattle, WA FT – manager
Stout Adventure Coordinator at University of Wisconsin Menomonie, WI FT – manager

Career Centers of Climbing Industry

https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/access-fund.pngAccess Fundhttps://www.accessfund.org/inside-access-fund/careersorganizationUSA - CO
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/wi-adventure-rock.pngAdventure Rockhttps://adventurerock.com/jobs/facilityUSA - WI
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/alpine-climbing-adventure-fitness.pngAlpine Climbing Adventure Fitnesshttps://climbatalpine.com/about/careers/facilityUSA - CA
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/american-alpine-club.pngAmerican Alpine Clubhttps://americanalpineclub.org/jobsorganizationUSA - CO
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/ascend.pngASCEND Climbinghttps://www.ascendclimbing.com/ascend-jobsfacilityUSA - OH, PA
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/ascent-studio.pngAscent Studiohttps://ascentstudio.com/employment/facilityUSA - CO
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/bonfire-collective.pngBonfire Collectivehttps://thebonfirecollective.com/team/serviceUSA - CO
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/bouldering-project.pngBouldering Project (pick location)https://boulderingproject.com/facilityUSA - MN, TX, UT, WA
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/ab-calgary-climbing-centre.jpgCalgary Climbing Centrehttps://calgaryclimbing.com/employment/facilityCanada - AB
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/central-rock-gym.pngCentral Rock Gymhttps://centralrockgym.com/careers/facilityUSA - CT, FL, MA, NY, RI
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/delire-1.pngDelirehttps://www.delirescalade.com/en/carrieresproductCanada - QC
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/eldorado-wall-company.pngEldorado Climbinghttps://eldowalls.com/pages/careersproductUSA - CO - Louisville
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/entre-prises-1.pngEP Climbinghttps://epclimbing.com/na/en/ep-usa-careersproductUSA - OR - Bend
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/Logo-Everlast-Climbing-square.jpgEverlast / Kumiki / Groperz / eXpressionhttps://everlastclimbing.com/pages/careersproductUSA - MN
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/fa-climbing.pngFA Climbinghttps://faclimbing.com/careers/facilityUSA - IL, PA
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/on-guelph-grotto.pngGuelph Grottohttps://www.guelphgrotto.com/careersfacilityCanada - ON - Guelph
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/trublue.pngHead Rush Technologies // TRUBLUEhttps://trublueclimbing.com/about/careersproductUSA - CO
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/high-point-climbing.pngHigh Point Climbing & Fitnesshttps://www.highpointclimbing.com/employmentfacilityUSA - AL, TN
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/impact.pngIMPACThttps://impactclimbing.com/careers/productCanada - ON - Milton
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/junction-climbing-center.pngJunction Climbing Centrehttps://www.junctionclimbing.com/employment-opportunitiesfacilityCanada - ON - London
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/metolius.pngMetoliushttps://www.metoliusclimbing.com/job-openings.htmlproductUSA - OR - Bend
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/metro-rock.pngMetroRockhttps://metrorock.com/facilityUSA - MA, NY, VT
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/momentum-1.pngMomentumhttps://recruiting.paylocity.com/recruiting/jobs/All/df699b76-9e67-4daa-9236-27d597e75dbf/Momentum-LLCfacilityUSA - TX, UT, WA
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/movement-2.pngMovement Gymshttps://movementgyms.com/careers/facilityUSA - CA, CO, IL, MD, OR, TX, VA
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/Logo-OLC-jpg.jpgOLC Architecturehttps://www.olcdesigns.com/about-us/#teammemberserviceUSA - CO
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/Logo-OnSite.pngOnSitehttps://www.theonsite.com/careersproductCanada - QC
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/organic.pngOrganic Climbinghttps://organicclimbing.com/pages/employment-opportunitiesproductUSA - PA - Philipsburg
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/peak-experiences.pngPeak Experienceshttps://www.peakexperiences.com/employmentfacilityUSA - VA
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/salon-de-lescalade.pngSalon de l'Escaladehttps://www.salon-escalade.com/vertical-jobs/recruteurs/organizationFrance
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/va-sportrock.pngSportrockhttps://www.sportrock.com/join-our-teamfacilityUSA - MD, VA
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/stone-age-climbing-gym.pngStone Agehttps://climbstoneage.com/employment-staff/facilityUSA - NM - Albuquerque
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/ut-the-front.pngThe Fronthttps://thefrontclimbingclub.com/careers/facilityUSA - UT
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/the-gravity-vault.pngThe Gravity Vaulthttps://gravityvault.com/careersfacilityUSA - CA, NJ, NY, PA
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/the-north-face.pngThe North Facehttps://www.thenorthface.com/en-us/about-us/careersProductUSA
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/the-pad.pngThe Padhttps://www.thepadclimbing.org/employment/facilityUSA - CA, NV
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/co-the-spot.pngThe Spothttps://www.thespotgym.com/careersfacilitiesUSA - CO
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/trango.pngTrango // Tenayahttps://trango.com/pages/careersproductUSA - CO
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/treadwall-fitness-1.pngTreadwallhttps://treadwallfitness.com/careers/productUSA - MA
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/nc-triangle-rock-club.pngTriangle Rock Club (choose location)https://www.trianglerockclub.com/morrisville/about/employment/facilityUSA - NC, VA
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/co-ubergrippen.pngUbergrippenhttps://ugclimbing.com/jobs/facilityUSA - CO
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/UK-Climbing.pngUKC (jobs in UK)https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/job_finder/organizationUnited Kingdom
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/vertical-solutions.jpgVertical Solutions // Habit // Proxy // Pebblehttps://vsclimbinggyms.com/company/careersproductUSA - UT
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/vertical-world-1.pngVertical Worldhttps://verticalworld.com/facilityUSA - WA
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/VITAL.pngVitalhttps://www.vitalclimbinggym.com/careersfacilityUSA - CA, NY, WA
https://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/zenith.pngZenith Climbinghttps://zenithclimbing.com/employment/facilityUSA - MO

Changes to IFSC Age Categories

usa climbing spraywall header At the 2023 general assembly, the IFSC member federations voted to approve a shift in the minimum age for World Cups from 16 to 17, effective for the 2025 season. To align with that change, those member federations also approved a shift in IFSC age categories, starting in 2025, to U17, U19, and U21 (the current IFSC age categories are U16/Youth B, U18/Youth A, and U20/Junior). In addition, the IFSC determined that the 2025 Youth World Championships will include only the U17 and U19 age categories. As a result, those who are 14 or 19 the year of the Youth World Championships will not be eligible for the event (as of 2025). Once formed, USA Climbing’s new Youth Series Task Force will make recommendations to minimize impacts on the 2024/2025 season. As a reminder, we are accepting applications for the Task Force until Friday, May 10. Apply for the Task Force Read the Task Force Charter
CBJ press releases are written by the sponsor and do not represent the views of the Climbing Business Journal editorial team.

Thinking Outside Yourself: Behind the Wrench with Kevin McLean

Kevin McLean routesetting at The Gravity Vault Upper Saddle River
Kevin McLean (pictured)—who compares a climbing gym to an art gallery, a head setter to a curator—has currently been “curating” the art at The Gravity Vault’s UPSR gym, a role that has involved navigating team dynamics and “[finding] the balance for the community.” (All photos by Amalia Wompa at The Gravity Vault Upper Saddle River)
Behind the Wrench…is an ongoing series that interviews the “rock stars” of the climbing industry: the routesetters at the gyms. Kevin McLean is the Head Routesetter at The Gravity Vault Upper Saddle River (UPSR) in New Jersey. UPSR was The Gravity Vault’s first location and one of the few climbing gyms in the state back when it opened 19 years ago. After a photoshoot at the gym, we sat down with Kevin for a quick conversation about leading a setting program, keeping an open mind as a head setter, staying humble and open to criticism from setting teammates, the value of setting clinics for members, and remembering to keep having fun.   Name: Kevin McLean Title: Head Routesetter, The Gravity Vault Upper Saddle River Location: Upper Saddle River, New Jersey

WOMPA: Tell me a little about yourself, your climbing, your routesetting work.

MCLEAN: My name is Kevin McLean, I’m the Head Routesetter for The Gravity Vault Upper Saddle River. I’ve been climbing for around twelve years now and routesetting for a little over six years. I’m mostly a rope climber; I love sport climbing, trad climbing…Funny enough, I’m not against bouldering at all, but I don’t even own a crash pad.

Since you’re more into sport climbing, is that focus your preference for routesetting, as well?

Routesetting is obviously related to climbing, but it’s also a different practice of its own. When it comes to routesetting, I don’t discriminate one way or the other. I just really love getting up on the rope and setting awesome, flowy routes just as much as I love getting intricate, flowy movement out of boulders. And I think it’s good to have a balance, you know? It’s interesting to think about some people who work at bouldering-only gyms, especially if they try to get into the competition scene, where ultimately you’ll have to do both practices.

It does seem like styles of routesetting can vary so much by location. Why is it important to think beyond one’s own setting bubble?

I think that’s a really important role for the head setter. I always think of a gym like an art gallery and the head setter is almost like the curator. If you’re a beginning climber and you come into The Gravity Vault where I work, the routes in our gym will shape you as a climber. I think that’s a really important thing to keep in mind, so you have that diversity in your setting, helping people become more well-rounded and well-exposed climbers.

Do you think being a head setter, or just being a setter in general, has changed your relationship with climbing?

I would say it’s definitely changed my relationship with climbing. At first, as a general routesetter, you’ll come in with a little bit more individuality in your setting and your style, and you can afford to do so because it’s balanced out across a team. Once you’re in a head setter position, you have to be that one who finds the balance for the community. Because [as a setting team], you’re not just setting for yourself, and you’re not just climbing for yourself. I’ve definitely noticed how I’ve changed as a climber, since working as a setter. I always have to force myself to climb in different styles and understand movement and be able to build my skills, in order to then give a better experience to the members through my setting.
McLean setting with Andrew Farfalla at UPSR
As the head setter on a crew, McLean says it’s important to “make sure you’re not influencing other setters to set more in your style and what you like. You have to make sure it’s good for the gym.” (Pictured: McLean setting with Andrew Farfalla at UPSR)

Yeah, I’ve heard some people feel that since they’ve become a setter it both restricts their creativity on the wall but also enhances it because they have to think about what everybody else wants to climb, as opposed to just their own preferences. So, do you think being a head setter makes you more creative or stricter in your setting?

I think it makes me more creative. And I think a very important trait to keep as a head setter is that you have to have an open mind. It might be my job to make sure the gym is getting what it needs, but you have to make sure that you’re not influencing other setters to set more in your style and what you like. You have to make sure that it’s good for the gym. There have been times when I’m talking to setters and I’ll notice something and I’ll keep it to myself. For example, I may think, “I personally would change that,” but I don’t say it because I don’t want to let my preferences kind of “bleed” into their routes. So, I always like to sit back on that sort of stuff and let the routes get forerun, get some feedback, and kind of let the “group think” have more of a say. But one other thing I would say about how working in the industry and being a routesetter has changed me as a climber is that I definitely need to manage my time differently. For example, trying to balance out energy consumption is a big issue. When you’re setting almost full-time, hobby climbing sometimes gets compromised because you’re giving so much time and energy to your job. At the end of a day, it’s one of those things where you’re like, “All right, well, I’ve been working all day, I’m not going to stick around to do my own session.”
Elevate Climbing Walls

You’ve talked about holding back on critiques, but would you have any advice, especially for beginning setters, on how to deal with criticism?

I think, personally, I always take criticism, and I take it well. And I think you always have to listen to it. You can be kind of pragmatic about it. You hear the criticism, you take it for what it is and apply it to the situation. I think you can make that determination of, “Okay, that’s valid criticism. Let me take it into account and put my head around it, maybe even implement the change and see the difference.” In comparison, sometimes you get criticism that isn’t so useful and you can dismiss it. But definitely for beginners, I think it’s really important to stay open-minded and interpret criticism and take the time to determine its value. Because you don’t want to be dogmatic about setting either. It’s important to stay humble.
McLean next to Jamie Harpster on a setting day
Part of working together on a team, says McLean, is being open to constructive feedback from coworkers. “I think it’s really important to stay open-minded and interpret criticism and take the time to determine its value,” he says. (Pictured: McLean collaborating on a setting day with Jamie Harpster, Chief Operating Officer for The Gravity Vault’s Upper Saddle River, Chatham, Hoboken and Montclair locations)

Could you describe the process it took to become a head routesetter?

If you’re looking to be a head setter, I think first and foremost you have to have a strong work ethic. Setting as a job is very labor intensive, but if you’re trying to be a head setter, you’re probably already familiar with that fact. I think it’s important to get a lot of exposure and see what other gyms are doing. See how other routesetters approach a set. Do clinics if you can. Personality wise, I think as a head setter it’s really important to be a person who’s willing to compromise and has good people skills. Because, again, people’s hearts and souls are in their routes. Having the ability to grace a conversation—where you can give somebody criticism but also help shape them into a better routesetter and not diminish their signature or their spirits—is invaluable. Being able to manage and multi-task, as far as administrative work, is also important. The first thing I should’ve mentioned is you have to be passionate about this sort of work. Again, it’s not just your job, and it’s not just you setting routes. You’re creating an experience for the members here. You’re creating this visual and experiential art. You want to be able to give the community something special. You want to have that kid come into the gym for the first time and have it click with them the way it did with you when you became a climber. I think that’s such an important part of the job to me. I try to think outside myself.

In what other ways do you try to give the community something special?

I also run a program at Upper Saddle River called “Setting Club,” where I strip a big section of the wall and get ladders, holds and hand tools out, and I actually give our members an opportunity to come in and set their own routes. I usually stay hands-off; in a clinic, I would teach you routesetting skills, but in a setting club it’s more of a social event. It’s interesting to see how people’s attitudes change once they’re about to put a hold on the wall. Because they realize that their climb is going to stay there and be climbed by other people, and suddenly everything changes in that moment for them.

How has a club like this one changed the community?

After taking on the head setting role and kind of finding the groove with the workflow and all that, I started to have an interest in looking to other places and seeing what other things I can help with within the gym, whether it be through business or the community. I figured the club would be an awesome way to engage the community. I’m just responding to what I hear from the members. I overheard a lot of members mention how they’d love to set, and so I thought, “Let’s make it happen.” Since then, there’s been a hugely positive response. After the last one I did, I took pictures of everybody and what they set so I could do member highlights on our Instagram. The club has been a great way of providing community engagement and also just responding to the community. It’s free for members, but we do have to limit participation. Typically I strip the Walltopia walls, because it’s much more challenging to use set-screws and to teach people how to navigate the granite walls. We ended up deciding on having twelve people in pairs, where each person or team would make a route. Then me and my crew would go in and set-screw everything before clearing the area and allowing everyone to forerun and make last minute tweaks to their climbs. We also order pizza and just have a fun social event.
A Setting Club group
“Setting Club” at UPSR was started over a year ago and, in McLean’s opinion, “has been a great way of providing community engagement” at the gym. (Pictured: one of the Setting Club groups that has given the event a try)

It’s interesting to see “old school” gyms that have undergone a modern expansion and now have a mix of walls in the same space. Has having wood and false-granite walls at UPSR ever posed a problem for new setters?

The old walls are contoured and shaped in ways that aren’t flush like a panel, so it definitely presents certain challenges at times if you’re trying to use large macro holds or volumes. At the same time, it provides certain challenges to work around. With problem solving being such a big part of the setting process, I think it’s just another variable that enables routesetters to have to think critically and find the best route at the end of the day, with all of these variables at play. Our location having those two different wall types is great because it gives us that variability to work with.

Would you have any last-minute advice for fellow setters or head setters?

What I’ll say is I love what I do. It’s an incredible thing to be able to do what I do and enjoy it. I just hope that anyone who’s getting into setting is able to find a path that doesn’t sour the experience, because I’ve seen it happen and it’s a real bummer. Because like I said, it’s such a cool thing we’re able to do. People come into it with passion, and either they burn out or things don’t go their way. What I would say to a new setter is to make sure you keep having fun. It is work, and it is heavy at times, but it’s important to remind yourself to stay grounded and maintain that original sense of why you wanted to do it in the first place.

Bouldering Gym Opens in “Center Hub” for Wellness and Fitness in Coastal Town

Seacoast Climb gym interior
Aptly-named Seacoast Climb—situated in Rye, New Hampshire, not far from the Atlantic Ocean coastline—opened this spring and brings a new climbing space to the seaside town. (All images courtesy of Seacoast Climb)

Seacoast Climb Rye, New Hampshire

Specs: In March, the bouldering-focused gym Seacoast Climb opened in Rye, New Hampshire, with owner Matt Ming at the head, a resident of the area for about ten years. Throughout his life, Ming has competed in multiple sports and found climbing to be “the go-to activity” for his rest days and idle time. However, prior to this year—when Seacoast Climb and Salt Pump Portsmouth, a climbing gym located a bit further north, opened in the region—the nearest indoor climbing gyms had been about a 30-minute drive from Rye. “The goal was really just to bring [climbing] here,” Ming said of the new gym’s origins.
Capitan software
The concept for the building that now houses Seacoast Climb first came together when a legacy indoor skatepark on the property closed. “When the property was purchased [by a private owner] in 2021, the goal was to have a place where the seacoast could have a center hub for wellness and fitness,” said Ming. The facility, called Airfield Place, hosts a variety of fitness-related businesses, such as a pickleball club, physical therapy specialist, and traditional gym. After the traditional gym opened, Ming stopped by to check it out, intending to become a member. “I was on the treadmill overlooking the gym on the mezzanine, and planned to climb later that day, and I saw the space itself where Seacoast Climb is [now] located, and I just had an epiphany. I reached out to the property management, and several conversations later, we agreed it would really be a good fit for a climbing gym.”
The front desk at Seacoast
The new climbing gym at Airfield Place is one of several businesses operating within the sports complex, contributing a vertical element to the wellness and fitness hub.
The location was deemed ideal for a variety of reasons: According to Ming, the ceilings are high, the facility is well-lit, the building was updated after the skatepark closed, and the space is “inviting to anybody who walks in the building.” Additionally, Seacoast is located on a main road that runs parallel to the New Hampshire shoreline, in “a very lively place,” said Ming, with beaches and state parks nearby—a factor he hopes will help bring in new visitors to the gym.
Seacoast features a Kilter Board, hangboards, and stretching and skill-building spaces. Ming decided not to offer traditional fitness amenities, wanting to complement rather than compete with other businesses in the building. “At 6 Airfield Drive, there is a community of mixed interest,” Ming explained. “Some people really do come in to just lift weights, some people have other fitness goals…[The facility] really is hustling and bustling with a lot of excitement around fitness.”
Climbing at Seacoast
“The feedback and reception from the community has been wonderful,” Ming says about Seacoast, which also provides climbing skills classes for adults and younger climbers.
Walls: Eldorado Climbing Flooring: Eldorado Climbing CRM Software: RGP Website: www.seacoastclimb.com Instagram: @Seacoast_Climb In Their Words: “[In Rye] there are a lot of different subcommunities for outdoor enthusiasts, indoor climbing enthusiasts, and ski enthusiasts. There’s just so many different pocket communities around here. Since announcing Seacoast Climb was opening up, the feedback and reception from the community has been wonderful. There are so many people who are just so excited that they have something in their backyard, and they don’t have to travel long distances to enjoy it. And that was the goal: to really bring something local where we can have some fun with fitness, make some friends, and share the joy of indoor climbing.” – Matt Ming, Owner of Seacoast Climb
[Editor’s Note: Corrections were made to the quotes in this article on May 15, 2024.]

New Climbing Holds and Volumes: May 2024

The May Grip Report highlights the newest grips from 14 leading companies. Macro sizes, complete sets, dual textures—all reflecting World Cup comp season is in full swing. BRANDS INCLUDED BELOW: 360 HoldsArtLine HoldsCommunity Climbing EquipmentEP Climbing – Furnace Industries – Hito ClimbingKando Holds – Kilter Grips – NicrosPolytalon GmbH – RSH HoldsThrill Seeker HoldsUnleashed ClimbingVirgin Grips


New from Artline Holds: Tribeline Pockets


New from Community Climbing Equipment: Crescents 16 Big Foot Distribution by: Bold Climbing


New from EP Climbing: Cavern Family: Cavern XS – Cavern 2XLCavern 5XLCavern Medium


New from Hito Climbing: Bowl Dual XXL2


New from Kando Holds: Donut Modulo – PLW 5PLW 4PLW 1PLW 2 & 3 North American Distribution by: Solostile Climbing Lab


New from Kilter Grips: VTF Comp Pack #1


New from Polytalon GmbH: Luna Complete



New from Thrill Seeker Holds: Titans II Giga 1Titans II Giga 2


New from Unleashed Climbing: Fangs


New from Virgin Grips: The Seashells largeBlobsUFO PU E.6Manta RayBonBons North American Distribution by: Solostile Climbing Lab


New from 360 Holds: Evolution Balls


New from Furnace Industries: Full Set F-Line Naked Drytooling Holds


New from Nicros: Seismic Slopers Assembly


New from RSH Holds: Kirra Total Set

Submit your latest shapes and products

Each month we publish a list of recent hold, volume, and training gear releases. Brands that self-report using this form will be included for free.