The guy responsible for everything set by "JC," Jon was the first routesetter to take part in our gym's routesetter intership program, and then become a full-time member of our setting crew! Not that it's a contest but he might be the tallest member of our setting crew. Not that his setting reflects that, cuz Jon is a versatile setter, who likes to set anything, as long as it gets people thinking! He's a super friendly guy, so here's a little bit more about the routesetter that is responsible for our setting crew's recent skateboarding obsession.
How long have you been working at Summit?
I have been routesetting for the gym for like a year and a half, two years.
How did you start climbing?
A friend of mine was on a trip and called me up and told me about his first experience rock climbing. He told me to immediately go online and look up 'rock climbing.' So I Googled it and the first thing it pulled up was a clip of Chris Sharma on Dreamcatcher. As soon as I watched the whole video, I just knew that i wanted to rock climb. Then my friend downloaded all the Dosages movies and we just watched climbing videos, and convinced ourselves we were never going to be gym climbers. We told ourselves we were going to “max out” Mineral Wells and only be outdoor climbers. But then in April of 2010 wewent to Mineral Wells and realized, 'F*#&, we gotta learn how to actually do this.'
We didn’t go with anyone, no guides or anything. I bought all the gear, and from reading online I set up our top-ropes. For the webbing anchor at the top, I just tied everything together with figure-eights. I actually just used figure-eights for everything because that’s all I knew.
We realized we actually needed to learn what we were doing, so went straight from Mineral Wells to Grapevine. I started bouldering and realized how amazing bouldering was. Haha, so now I am a gym rat who routesets.
What was your start in routesetting?
I was talking to Chris LoCrasto (head routesetter for Summit) one day — I had never met him before — but I was climbing at Grapevine all the time then. Routesetters Ryan Sewell and Kyle Hilton had just left the gym, and I was like, 'I bet you’re going to need routesetters!' and he was like 'Well, do you wanna be a route setter? It doesn’t pay that well but do you wanna try it?' (Way to sell it, Chris!) I was like, 'Yeah actually, I'd love to be a route setter!' So he had me email him, because he was thinking about doing this routesetting internship program. He said that he was hoping that I could be the first person to do the program. So I emailed him, but he never responded! I knew that the setters set at Grapevine on Sundays, so I just went up to Grapevine on a Sunday and asked about the internship again. Chris was just like, 'Sure, let's start something right now!' And that's how I started my six-month routesetting internship.
Another routesetter, Connor Love, moved after my internship had ended. So they needed another full-time routesetter, so Chris asked me if I was in. So I got really lucky!
Favorite climbing area?
I have only been to Hueco and Rocky Mountain National Park, and I can't choose between either. I like going to both of them, so I can't say I have a favorite.
I honestly don't really have a favorite. I did try Both Sides of the Spectrum, a really cool boulder problem out in RMNP a couple times over two years. It's a three-move V12, and the first time I got on it I couldn't even start it. But last time I got on it I was able to make the first move!
I used to always make up problems with my friends. There’s always been moves I’ve seen in climbing videos that I wanted to create. So for me, routesetting is really just being able to create that movement and share that movement.
I like to try to set stuff that is completely different than what you are used to climbing on. So it’s really hard for you to figure out.
Favorite Summit memory?
Probably during our Denton competition, during finals when the lights went out, and everyone pulled out their cells phones to light the problems. For me, it showed me how modern climbing has become.
Little know facts about Jon:
He has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of climbing videos. He has tons of them, both popular and obscure, on his computer and claims to have seen Dosage over a dozen times.
His parents own a vet clinic, where he worked for a few years. He said he basically worked was basically a vet tech minus the certification. He knows A LOT about taking care of critters!
He's an awesome skateboarder (but claims to have never broken a bone ... that he knows of. Although this is the same guy whose idea of medical care is calling his veterinarian dad whenever he has an injury ... ) He's been an avid skateboarder for 10 years, but took a break from skateboarding when he started climbing. He and the other routesetters have recently gotten back into skateboarding, though, and you are likely to see them cruising around the gym parking lots on their boards when they are not routesetting ... so maybe guard your cars.
He used to want to get into track racing, and owned a Honda S2000 (for the non-car inclined ... a really fast car. Google it and you'll wonder how the hell Jon even fit into that) that he'd race around with his friends. Alas track racing proved too expensive, so he traded in that little convertible for his current Civic, which he says "does not go fast ... it's just for carrying pads."
Last but not least, his music taste encompasses just about everything ... except for Christmas. Don't even start with that stuff around Jon.
Ok, there it is! We are extremely grateful that Jon survived his first outing to Mineral Wells, and that he has a few more knots besides the figure-eight under his belt. He has been a super awesome addition to our setting team, and we are excited to see what his second year of routesetting will bring us / what sweet skateboarding moves he can teach the rest of the crew. Everyone better be doing handstands on their boards or something by the end of next year, Jon!