Hello! And welcome to the latest edition of MEET YOUR ROUTESETTER! Today we've got a brief Q&A with Summit routesetter Brian Seale. Brian is the crew boss for one of our two routesetting crews - his crew sets at Dallas and Carrollton, as well as any gym that has an upcoming competition. Brian is a bit of a nerd (in the best way possible) as well as a dad joke aficionado (worst way possible). If you went to our latest SBS competition, he was one of the Lieutenant Dangles walking around. Yes, there were two Lieutenant Dangles that night ... Anyways - here's more about Brian:
How long have you been working at Summit?
I have been working at Summit since last May - so about a year and a half. I first started routesetting at school at Oklahoma State. I headed up the setting there, and when I graduated I did not want to get a corporate job. So I emailed (Head Summit Routesetter) Chris and asked him for a trial. I gave up my spring break to come try out for routesetting here, but I got a rad job out of it. He liked me, so here I am.
How did you start climbing?
When my brother, who's a few years older than me, went off to college, he came back and was like "Brian, there is this cool thing called rock climbing." When I was 17, he took me to Exposure (now Summit Carrollton), and I loved it. That was 7 years ago — I have been hooked ever since. I got a membership soon after and was obsessed — I was here 5 days a week, climbing with the members.
What was your start in routesetting?
Once I started climbing up in Oklahoma at the school's wall while I was attending OSU, they saw me, a strong little freshman, and let me start putting holds on the wall. And it was kind of the Wild West there for my first two years — there was not really any sort turnover schedule — whenever somebody wanted to strip route they could, and anyone could come in and set. And everyone was a volunteer. Starting my junior year, I went to the director of the outdoor center / climbing wall and I said, "Hey I will organize all this if you pay me." He said yes, and I organized everything there for about two years, and got it on a steady turnover, and got good routes on the wall. And got like 2, 3-thousand worth of new holds on the wall, as well.
Favorite climbing area?
Horse Pens 40. Because I love slopers. Jordan (fellow routesetter) actually started calling me Slopemaster B, and I am really proud of that.
Glass Bowl, a V10 out at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. It's a pure, technical boulder. I have never done it, but I really like it.
I think it's a fun job — I get to be creative with it, and I get to work with my hands. PLUS - I get paid to rock climb. I really don't know what I would do if I had to work in an office all day.
I am currently a Level 1 USAC certified routesetter, and I am actively working to get my Level 2 certification, then from there hopefully get my Level 3. I would love to be able to set for Regionals, and Divisionals. I really enjoy comp setting. I actually really love setting for the little kids - the D and C kids (kids between 5 and 13 years-old). Which is really ironic because I am 6'2”. I take maniacal joy in giving kids with little hands big slopers.
As for my daily goals - I like to put up product that members and walk-ins will generally enjoy. It’s not about what I like — it’s about what’s fun, and what’s comfortable. I love to set technical boulders, so maybe V2 / V3 climbers learn something, instead of just climbing up ladders. But really, I just try to give the members what they want. If we get certain feedback that a lot of members want deep starts on Big Tex, then next time we set Tex we put deep starts on it. We try to roll with the punches, and work with what people give us. It’ s all about them.
Favorite Summit memory?
My favorite type 2 fun Summit memory was the first 12 Hours of Summit Suffering. Because it sucked, my feet were bleeding and I was running on Red Bull. At the end I had an extra boost of energy and I climbed like five 12cs in hour 12. Just a good event as a whole, it was fun when you look back on it, but I would never want to do it again.
Little known facts about Brian:
He's got dad jokes for days. You know the type — groan-worth jokes that always elicit a groan from their audience. His current favorite:
"What did the angry almond say to the peanut?
I'll CASHEW outside ... how bout dat."
What a two-fer — it involves both pop culture AND a pun. He starts every morning with his setting crew by telling them a joke of the day. Regardless of how funny the crew actually finds these ... he tells them anyways. As long as Brian finds it funny, then GOSH DARNIT it's worth telling.
He loves Star Wars. Like, more than that person who owns every DVD and "has the world's best Chewbacca impression" — he has a $500 custom-made lightsaber. It was a high school graduation gift from his boss in high school, who made the lightsabers to sell at conventions. Brian claims the saber is "dual-able," meaning it's made for him to fight with. Do they make concealed carry licenses for lightsabers? This sounds dangerous.
Brian is a loud and proud World of Warcraft player. He plays as a max level Druid of some sort or another. He showed me a picture of his character and I can neither confirm nor deny whether any of this is true because I am obviously a n00b. His character could probably kick your character's a$$ so maybe don't fight Brian ... also keep in mind, the man has a usable lightsaber IRL.
He majored in Finance at Oklahoma State University. And while the office life that would inevitably befall a finance major was not for him, he is still a huge finance nerd, and is constantly following the market and talkin' bout investments.
He says he has been called an "honorary Oklahoman." As a Texan, I doubt that such a title even exists. Don't Mess with Texas™.
He tore the cartilage in his knee at the gym a few years ago, back when Carrollton was still Exposure. He sent a problem, and then dropped from about three-feet up. Unbeknownst to him, he tore quite a bit of cartilage in his knee. But he went to Colorado immediately after and hiked around for a few days. It wasn't until he returned home and his knee was the size of a cantaloupe that he figured a doctor visit might be in order. Hello, knee surgery!
Homeboy can apparently sing like an angel. But like, maybe one with a deep voice. He was in choir for a few years in high school, and won an award for being the best at hitting super low notes. All about that bass ...
Lastly, he worked at a vet in high school, and claims to have been pooped on more than any else at the gym probably ever has. New dad Trevor Whitis contested that claim, but really, no one wants to judge that. So Brian Seale can rest assured that he is the ALLEGED Most Pooped on Summit Employee of All Time.
That's all there is! Got a question about the economy? Ask Brian! Wanna know more about Druids? Also ask him! Need a hilarious joke? Maybe ... maybe don't. But he can sing at your wedding, so there's always that. (And I am pretty sure at least 3 or 4 Summit employees are ordained so ... Summit wedding anyone?!) This is just the surface level of this complex man, so make sure you say hey next time you see Brian. He often comes to the gyms outside of setting hours, and is at nearly all of our events #loyalty. He's a pretty cool guy and definitely doesn't bite but watch out for that lightsaber.