Meet Tonya Bamboe

Our new Head Route Setter for our Boston region

Originally from Central Puget Sound, Tonya began climbing at Edgeworks in Tacoma, Washington at age 16. Little did she know her hobby would spark a lifelong passion and career in climbing. Much like Rock Spot’s Director of Routesetting, Tonya is a West Coast transplant. She spent her college years in Oregon studying neuroscience, motor learning, and kinesiology while competing in the Pacific Northwest Collegiate Bouldering series. Her background in movement has lead her to spend time developing training programs for herself and her many climbing students; she can often be found trying to progress her skills and strengths after a long day of routesetting. Although she works hard to improve in the sport her end goal is to continue her life long passion as the 80 year old lady climbing 5.5 and laughing as she clips on the approach to the rest of the crag.

Due to her West Coast upbringing, Tonya has climbed at most major crags from Northwestern Canada to Arizona. Despite travels from Leavenworth to Bishop or Flagstaff the Canadian forest of Squamish filled with slopers and vibrant greens holds her heart. Conversely, you can find Tonya in the Red Rock Canyons of Nevada during wet Pacific Northwest winters. Although both places bode all practices of climbing, Tonya is almost always found bouldering. Although she is experienced with sport and traditional climbing there is something incredibly satisfying about trying at maximum effort to summit a rock in as few moves as possible. Not to mention she loves having a bed for an afternoon nap. Her proudest accomplishments to date include “Margin of Error” in Red Rock Canyon, and a long time running slab that terrified her called “Phat Slab” in Squamish. Naturally, her favorite problems are found in Squamish and Red Rocks; “Mantis” was the first climb to inspire her love of slopers with it’s simple movement that hold the true spirit of pebble wrestling. Meanwhile, “The Dirty Rail” embodies every movement of roof climbing that always ignites her love of the sport.

Tonya’s setting career stems from a simple exchange. Once a friend asked her if she “wanted to try setting a route” she laughed and said “Why would I do that? That is literally the dumbest thing you’ve ever asked, why would I set a route when I can just climb a route?!”. Oh, the irony. Soon enough Tonya started setting for The Circuit Bouldering Gyms in Portland, Oregon. During that time she has helped build and open new gyms and has since worked for Planet Granite, Club Sport, and Gemstone Climbing Center while continuing to travel set for competitions and teach setting clinics. For Tonya, climbing extends beyond personal accomplishment and emphasizes community; she believes her calling is to foster potential in others while nurturing a love of learning through a lifelong passion. With this mindset her drive to see others succeed is one of the primary motivators for her love of routesetting and coaching, Tonya welcomes the challenge of teaching new movement while encouraging others to try hard on and off the wall. After years of working in the climbing industry Tonya continues the pursuit of knowledge and experience by joining team Rock Spot as the Regional Head Routesetter for Massachusetts.