Boulderz BETA Series 8: Dru Merringer, Setting + Instruction = Life long passion
Dru Merringer is Head Routesetter and Programs Manager at Boulderz.
How did you get into climbing?
I was introduced to climbing at a summer camp as a child in 1990, and I’ve been climbing regularly since 1997. I quickly became known as a “gym rat” as I often climbed more days a week than what was likely healthy for my muscles and tendons.
What’s your favourite thing about climbing?
Climbing has given me so much! I met my wife while climbing and we even went climbing on our honeymoon in Greece. I’ve travelled to so many beautiful and interesting places to climb that I never would’ve seen otherwise. I was fortunate to spend 6 weeks climbing around Thailand and met so many interesting people from all over the world.
Community is such a huge aspect of the climbing world — it’s a group of people who share the same passion and this is why working at Boulderz is so great because our community of staff and clients is second to no other gym I’ve climbed, and I’ve been to a lot over the past 25 years. I really believe that climbing has a balanced combination of physical, technical, mental and social aspects. There’s a certain bond you have when you hold the life of another person on the end of a climbing rope.
And how did you get into setting?
I started as a part time route-setter and teaching advanced courses to finance my gym membership and climbing trips. In 2014 I took the plunge and changed careers full time to an industry I truly enjoy! I grew up as an artistic child and setting is a very creative process. Setting is like a blank canvas on the wall – we create and build a series of movements the climber has to navigate to achieve the top. Or, we get to see them do it a different way that we didn’t necessarily intend. It never ceases to amaze me when they “break” it and make it easier than we thought.
I enjoy the technical/gear side of climbing. I’ve done some rigging for TV shows including a 300ft zipline across a lake and charity events which involved rappelling down the outside of a 28 story office building.
And besides setting, you’re also an instructor at Boulderz?
My responsibilities at the facility include Head Setter, Programs Manager, course conductor and equipment inspection specialist. With both setting and teaching I’m able to give back to the industry that has given me so much. Along with teaching the advanced courses my responsibilities as Programs Manager include hiring and training the recreational instructors and providing them with the curriculum and helping to answer parents’ questions.
Coming out of the pandemic our programs have been very busy because people are extremely passionate about the sport and eager to get back to it. With the way things have been over the past couple years people love that climbing is a mental and physical challenge. Along with the social aspect, climbing has been therapeutic for people.
And what’s the best thing about Boulderz?
It’s the people! Both customers and staff: we are all people that share the same passions and mindset. Everyone is here to make our facility the best it can be. I love the community and this team at Boulderz is really dedicated.