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Meet the Staff: Randy Casillan

Meet the Staff: Randy Casillan

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Words by Alice Kao & Randy Casillan | Photos courtesy of Randy Casillan

How did you pick routesetting as a career?

I didn’t grow up knowing that I wanted to be a routesetter.  I guess I just fell into it.  I was great at math and science as a kid, but nothing in college motivated me.   I started climbing at ClimbX a local climbing gym with a bunch of friends and they were looking for routesetters, so I applied, got the job, and started setting.  I really like the mental aspect of climbing.  I’m always figuring out stuff and creating puzzles for people.
I got more serious about routesetting when I got my level 1 USAC certificate 4 years ago.  I really wanted to set at other gyms and I thought it was a good career development opportunity.  Some of the skills I learned at the clinic were definitely helpful, and I use them in my setting all the time.  It was also helpful to meet people that make a career out of setting because I wasn’t sure at the time it was possible.


I like my job because most of the time it doesn’t feel like work.


You’re also an instructor, what do you teach?

Lead, private classes, technique classes.  I like teaching people figure out how to climb better.


What are you doing when you are not climbing?

When I’m not climbing I’m playing Magic the Gathering at a local store in Garden Grove called Legendary Lotus.  I’m always looking for a good game on the mezzanine, so hit me up if you’re interested!

I also like strategy board games.  “Ticket to Ride” is really fun and is great for beginners.


What’s your setting style?

People think of my routes as tricky.  I don’t think about it that way when I’m setting, I just want to make a puzzle for people to solve.

Although I never trick Chad.03


What’s your favorite move?

I go through phases, but right now it’s Knee bar.  Next up is Gastons.


You’re the one that comes up with cool names for route cards.  Where do you get your inspiration?

I pick a theme and I google a bunch of related words off that theme.

I did a whole section of the wall on Wes Anderson Movies.

Once I used “Frozen” words on the beginner wall.  I thought the kids would like it.

On the wall right now is “Summer” in different languages.

I also like to use references to things I grew up with – ie, cartoons from the 90s, pro wrestlers.


Do you have a favorite route in the gym right now?

My favorite route is the black 12c on the arch.


02Tell us something we don’t know about you!

I like good coffee – ie Keane, Portola or good espresso.

I have a Disneyland annual pass.  I go to Disneyland with my girlfriend before or afterwork.  My favorite ride is Jungle Cruise.


What would you do if you were not a setter?

I don’t know.. I guess I might be a professional magic player, but that’s too hard…..

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