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Meet The Mont Team - Kale

May 20, 2022

Meet The Mont Team - Kale

Assistant Store Manager & Route Setter
Kale McCauley @kale_mccauley

Mont is very proud of our Assistant Store Manager, Kale who will be route setting at the National Youth Climbing Championships. We sat down with Kale to ask him some questions about his climbing history, favourite setting styles and his thoughts on the future of rock climbing. 

Firstly, how did you get into rock climbing?

Basically High School, it was a chosen elective class. We had this really cool teacher, who taught Outdoor Ed and I started climbing in the gym.

I then had a great Outdoor Ed teacher at Lake Ginninderra College that won awards for his programs and had the opportunity to go on trips to the Nullarbor, Great Barrier Reef and Japan Snowboarding. He led me to climb at Canberra Rock Climbing at Mitchell and I joined the squad there and got right into it.

I’ve been climbing on and off from seventeen and started getting more serious in the last six-seven years. I started route setting and coaching five years ago and am now the Head Setter at Canberra Indoor Rock Climbing – South Rock in Hume.

Portrait of Kale by one of his climbing students

What climbing disciplines do you set?

We have a bouldering wall but are more known for our top-roping.

What is your favourite hold type to set with?

I would say one of my strengths is smaller edges like crimps, but I kind of like slopers because they are my weakness.

To be a good setter I think you should not set for yourself, in a home gym you have the luxury to play around with ideas. But in a commercial gym, you need to set for the mass, not the minority.

Something I have noticed is you can’t have an ego as a setter, someone will always criticise your climbs. Regardless whether they liked or hated it, it is good to take something from it. Every time we set, we learn something new as well. Taking in new information. Every set is new and unique.

What is your favourite style of climbing?

Old school, thin, sustained and overhung. Today’s trend is quite parkour and dynamic which looks spectacular and is entertaining to watch. But if you are a proper climber you understand the intricacies and how gnarly it is to chalk up on a two-finger bad edge.

Where do you find your inspiration?

All over the place, sometimes I’ll see a move that another setter has done, and I’ll try and recreate it or something similar. Also outdoor climbing moves, certain cruxes give me the inspiration to lead the climber into a certain move. 

With indoor climbing becoming a sport of its own, how do you think this new style of climbing has impacted the climbing community?

I think that at times it is creating a divide between what is considered the definition of a climber. People are putting boxes around a lot of things, such as ‘you aren’t a climber unless you climb outdoors’. If you’re climbing and having fun, it is climbing.

Do you prefer climbing indoors or outdoors?

Outdoors, totally, for me it is a much more grounding experience. I feel a bit more complete, and connected being outdoors in the elements, I find it fulfilling. To me training indoors is a tool. Then when you climb outdoors you get to see how the training transfers to rock, and it is fulfilling when you finally clip a chain or top a boulder.

Where are you setting next?

I am setting for the Youth Nationals from the 3rd to the 5th of June. It will be my first National Comp, I’ve been a State Lead Setter since 2017. Pumped!

If you want to be a setter, do it! The more diverse the setters the more exciting and different the climbs will become. 

Drop into the store and chat to Kale if you have any questions about your next pair of climbing shoes and gear.


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