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The 5th annual So iLL Showdown is two weeks away! We rebooted this event in 2014 and in the time since, the Showdown has quickly become the most anticipated climbing competition in the region. Each year, we have the privilege of working with a talented team whose skills and experience help us deliver an incredible event.

This year, we are proud to announce that two guest setters will be working alongside Climb So iLL’s house routesetting team to create the range of problems that will ultimately decide the 2018 Men’s and Women’s Showdown Champions.

Photo: Touchstone Climbing

Lauren Reynolds

Lauren Reynolds joins us from Portland, Oregon where she sets for Planet Granite PDX. Lauren began her setting career shortly after she began climbing. Her drive to learn new techniques and climbing movement motivated her to make the shift from climber to routesetter. In that time, Lauren has set for various USA Climbing youth competitions. Most notable, Lauren set for the Woman Up competition at Touchstone’s San Francisco location – Dogpath Boulders. This event was set entirely by a female routesetting team for a female-only competitor pool.

“Routesetting and climbing is a male dominated industry. Encouraging other women to participate in climbing and setting is one factor that influences me to continue setting. There have been days where I want to get a typical 9 to 5 and make the big bucks because setting is hard, hard work. But if I drop out, that’s one less woman there to help the trade progress. And that’s what setting is all about: progress. We strive to come up with new ideas and new movement to keep climbers interested and challenged. I’m here to stay so I can influence more women to take up their impact drivers and force that sick rose move!“

Mark Mercer

Mark Mercer is no stranger to the So iLL Showdown. In 2017, Mark made the podium and placed second. “I had such a blast last year that it made sense to come back this year!”

Hailing from Orlando, FL, Mark is the Head Routesetter at Aiguille Rock Climbing Center. Mark is a Level 5 USA Climbing setter with 15 years of setting experience. In that time, Mark has set for World Cup events and USA Climbing National competitions. Recently, he has been focusing on setting for adaptive events which gives athletes with physical disabilities access to bouldering and sport climbing competitions.

“Growing up, I enjoyed the competition atmosphere and recognized the positive influence the climbing community had on me. I started routesetting when I turned 16; I wanted to help provide that atmosphere for others. I enjoyed being behind the scenes much more than being in the spotlight.”

Test your skills on Lauren and Mark’s problems in this year’s Showdown. Register today!

Yusuf Daneshyar

Author Yusuf Daneshyar

Yusuf Daneshyar is the Program Director at Climb So iLL - with roles at the gym including routesetter, instructor, and coach. Over an 8-year climbing career, Yusuf has climbed in gyms and outdoor areas around the world.

More posts by Yusuf Daneshyar