A Day of Climbing, Route Setting and Teaching Yoga with Janna Sukor

Janna Sukor’s life is an assembly of many different activities: climbing and bouldering, route setting, yoga, acting, stunt performing, painting, and learning languages.

We paid a visit to her tranquil home space — where we also met her gorgeous feline friends, Ben and Net — and BFF Climb, where we got a mini-crash course on route setting and the thought processes behind this intricate craft.

As she goes about a day route setting and teaching yoga, Janna also shares with us some other activities she’s pursuing at the moment, what work means to her, and why she can’t do without sleep.

Hi Janna, how are you doing today?

“As a freelancer, my activities vary. I’ve gotten really interested in studying languages, so I’m hoping to become multilingual this year! I want to explore Thai, to add to Bahasa Melayu, English, and Korean.

I’m also looking forward to travelling and working with the stunt industry again. I’ve had some amazing acting and stunt performing opportunities, but had to give it a break due to travel restrictions over the last two years.”

First Thing

Most of Janna's mornings start with a good shower — and a greeting from her two affectionate, curious cats!

“On off days, I spend a lot of time sleeping in. Best activity ever!

Otherwise, most mornings I frolic in the shower to my heart's content, have my vitamins and coffee, and I’m ready for route setting work at BFF Climb.”

Route Setting

Route setting takes up the biggest portion of Janna's day.

Like a yoga mat or blank canvas, route setting begins with an empty wall that setters fill with climbing holds.

Route setting requires the creativity to put together different routes for climbers of all skill levels.

“A day of route setting runs from 8am to 5pm. It takes up the biggest portion of my day, and is the most intense of my many activities. It is a laborious, male-dominated industry and there are a lot of physical and mental requirements. Nevertheless, I really enjoy the craft.

Climbing gyms rely on well-planned routes for a range of customers, making route setting an important and demanding job. Led by the head setter, we set between 18 and 24 routes each day, usually in teams of 5 or 6 setters.

The hardest part is the creativity it requires. We have to consider multiple factors: difficulty grades, hold choices, movements, climbing styles, safety, and aesthetics, just to name a few. Right after, we try out and adjust the routes we’ve set.

I started climbing because I had to. As an 18-year-old service crew member at the local climbing gym, I was asked to explore the sport to better serve customers. I took a liking to it and 4 months later, I found myself on the podium at my first climbing competition. It’s been 14 years since. I haven’t stopped climbing and have no intention to.”

Post-Work Training

After work, Janna tries to find some time to train.

“If work ends earlier than expected, I’ll train for a bit. I’m working towards completing an 8A grade climb in Switzerland, my favourite outdoor bouldering location! We’ll know if I’ve met my goal by the end of October — fingers crossed!

With indoor climbing, you can train without worrying about external factors. The facilities provide all you need, except willpower! You just need to show up. Outdoor bouldering, on the other hand, requires planning and adapting to your surroundings.

Outdoor bouldering doesn’t lie. There’s nothing you can blame for a poor climb. Not the route setters, not the holds, not the rental shoes. In that honesty lies the beauty of Mother Nature. The complex boulder routes are like puzzles that, once completed, leave you with a great sense of satisfaction. Plus, you get a mesmerising view at the top!”

One of Janna's outdoor bouldering escapades in Fontainebleau, France. Image c/o Janna.

An avid climber, Janna's husband is also her travel and bouldering partner — pictured here carrying the crash pads needed for outdoor bouldering. Image c/o Janna.

Like her varied interests, Janna's explored many different destinations, and also practised and taught yoga abroad. Image c/o Janna.

Teaching Yoga

“I teach yoga until around 8pm. Taking my energy off route setting and teaching yoga right after is actually refreshing! Imagine going from a physically demanding activity to a soothing, restorative practice. That transition is a healthy mix of hard work and rest.

To me, yoga and climbing supplement each other. Whenever I climb, I’ll practice yoga as well. At the end of the day, work-life balance is what I strive for. With my activities as they are, it is safe to say that I achieve that daily.”

Time Off

Janna's a plant lover and her home is filled with beautiful specimens, like this tall succulent.

More of Janna's plant collection, alongside some of her crystals and scents she diffuses to unwind.

“Wednesdays and Sundays are my usual days off. I spend time with and for myself: getting a massage, visiting a plant nursery, window shopping, or catching up on a drama. On Sundays, I’m usually home with my husband and our cats. We are both homebodies and spend most of our weekends chilling with TV, music, or games.

I freelance to explore different interests, minimise burn out, and achieve balance as much as possible. I choose not to label climbing and yoga as ‘work’. To me, working means doing things in return for something else. I try to go into everything with kind intentions, so that if something doesn’t go to plan, I don’t feel spiritless or unmotivated.

That said, I do get burned out once in a while. I recover pretty quickly after an absolute resting period, which used to include travelling pre-pandemic. Nowadays, a little sleep-in and hearty meals with good friends does the trick. Sometimes, I paint.”

Wind Down

Two essential parts of Janna's evening routine: playing with her cats and a cup of green tea.

“After yoga, I come home to my cats, entertain them, do some chores, and practice a little evening ritual.

Before I go to sleep, I set an ambience in the living space with downtempo sounds and dim lighting, light my scented candles, and diffuse a blend of my favourite essential oils around the house. I’ll brew a cup of green tea and sit on the sofa, journaling the day in my head. It’s a form of acknowledgment of my day, a little mindfulness ritual I do every day.

Apart from the support of my family and husband, I depend mostly on self-care. Believe it or not, I spent a lot of my time in bed, sleeping to soothe and rejuvenate myself. Some people say that sleeping is a luxury, but to me it’s an essential form of recovery. It’s my go-to.”

Janna wears the French Linen Easy Tank Top in Blush Pink, the Bamboo Sateen Everyday Pants in Desert Rose, and the Sunday Towel in Soft Greige. Her bed is dressed with the Slate Blue duvet cover and Desert Rose pillowcases from our bamboo sateen collection.

Thank you, Janna, for sharing your day with us! Head over to Instagram to follow Janna's journey.

‘How are you doing today’ is a series that follows a day in the life of someone we admire, exploring the nuances of mental health and emotional wellbeing — including how we work, how we play, and our relationships with the people around us. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Both climbing and route setting require immense focus and determination — which only makes the result more rewarding for Janna.

Practising yoga alongside climbing is one of the ways Janna finds balance between hard work and rest.

Featured on Janna

French Linen Easy Tank Top

Bamboo Sateen Everyday Pants

Sunday Towel

Build Your Own Bamboo Sheet Set