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GRIGRI Lead Belaying Clinic

Posted by on Apr 20, 2014 in Featured, Gym Events | 0 comments

GRIGRI Lead Belaying Clinic

Learn how to correctly lead belay using the Petzl GRIGRI. The GRIGRI probably experiences the most incorrect belaying of all belay devices. Get hands-on experience and learn how to competently pay out slack, both steadily and quickly, and catch your partner safely! Call now to register!

What are you doing this weekend?

Posted by on Apr 20, 2014 in Featured, Gym Events | 0 comments

What are you doing this weekend?

Join us for our Friday and Saturday Night Heights! Get a feel for what climbing indoors is like with three hours of top–rope climbing and bouldering. No experience necessary. Perfect for first-timers who just want to check it out. Our instructor takes care of the rope handling, and safety aspects of your first climbing experience. Sign up individually or with a group of your friends. Rental climbing shoes and harnesses included. Find out more!

Get outside!

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in Destinations, Featured, News | 0 comments

Get outside!

Portland Rock Gym Guides is Portland’s foremost outdoor guiding service. Portland Rock Gym has been providing the Pacific Northwest with the best indoor climbing instruction for the past 25 years. That training is also available outside, bringing together unparalleled education and a memorable adventure. Learn more about all our opportunities to get outdoors!

Summer Camps!

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in Featured, Youth | 0 comments

Summer Camps!

Looking for something fun and exciting for your kids to do during the next school break? Look no further! Consider a uniquely rewarding experience for your children with the Portland Rock Gym Kids Camps. Rock climbing has been shown to help build confidence, improve focus, and increase coordination and strength in children. And, there is no doubt that it is exceptionally fun! Learn more about our Summer Camps now!

First time?

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in Featured | 0 comments

First time?

Is this your first time climbing? Check out all the great opportunities we’ve got to get you comfortable on the rock walls! Be sure to visit our FAQ page to answer all the questions you might have about beginning your rock climbing adventure!

Then be sure to check out our introductory classes and clinics to get started on learning the ropes…

Have you met Miles yet?

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in People Profiles | 0 comments

We’ve got a fabulous new addition to the PRG family! Meet Miles Quillen and read his exclusive interview below!

 

Q: Miles, tell us a little about yourself.  Are you new to Portland, what brought you here, etc.?

A: I’m very new to Portland. I kind of feel like a kid who just moved to a new school and got the same locker number because Richmond, Virginia is a lot like Portland, just smaller and less rainy. My top-notch, beautiful girlfriend and I just moved here from Virginia on a whim, and we’re loving it.

Q: What did you do before you moved to Portland?

A: Before I moved to Portland, I lived in Richmond where I went to school at Virginia Commonwealth University. I studied Interior Design (not decorating) and was one of three guys in my department, it was pretty awesome. For eight years I worked in the natural foods industry at an awesome little health food store. I served as the companies creative director, so I had my hands in a bit of everything. Besides that, trail running, biking and climbing took up most of my time. I also like to wet my whistle here and there.

Q: How long have you been climbing and what/who initially got you interested in climbing?  

A: I haven’t been climbing for that long really, maybe six years total? Most of that climbing was done in my local gym (shout out to Peak Experiences!) which lead me to “study abroad” outdoors. I got into climbing because it’s awesome, period. It’s been the one hobby that has somehow held my interest the longest. I still can’t believe I love it as much as I do.

Q: You recently went on a pretty epic sounding climbing trip.  Can you tell us more about that?  

A: The trip was very epic sounding and overall totally epic at the same time. Myself and two of my climbing partners decided that our life in Virginia had hit a plateau, and we had to do something soon. So, we all quit our jobs, sold just about everything we owned, packed our lives and gear into a few bags and flew to Europe for the summer of 2013. From there we lived in Mallorca and deep water soloed for a month. When our fingers were too pruned to solo we hitch-hiked around the island to some of the most amazingly hard caves I’ve ever climbed in and put in hours and hours of work, broke holds, fell in fig trees, woke a family of bats and finished some of the hardest projects of our lives.

After Spain, we flew to France and put significant time in on the big walls of the Verdon Gorge then over to Ceuse which is hands down the best crag in the world. Mark my word. After that, we lived on an Italian commune and then made our way to the Dolomites where we realized the clothing we had wasn’t nearly warm enough to enjoy climbing there. So, we went back to sunny Spain to finish some awesome deep water projects. It was a summer I’ll never forget.

Whenever someone hits the road for any length of time, fellow climbers are always wondering, “How did you fund something like that?” That’s a big part of it. It takes serious planning and living extremely frugal up until you leave. Having a good job and selling just about everything you own certainly helps. That last part is also a very liberating feeling. I suggest everyone does it.

Q: Besides climbing what else do you like to do with your free time?

A: I love doing anything and everything with my girlfriend, Ashley. She’s my best friend in so many ways. We’re kind of health nuts, so when we’re not working you can usually find us doing CrossFit, running, or cooking. Cross-training will change your game and if you haven’t put down that soda yet, do it. Besides staying active, I put a ton of hours into freelance graphic design. I love staying busy. Idle hands are dangerous.

Q: Most solid piece of advice you’ve ever received?  

A: Less is more.

Q: Anything else you want to say or leave us with?

A: Everyone should be watching True Detective on HBO. Also, I’m new here, so say hello and let’s be friends! Love, Miles.

Meet our new PRG face painter: Kait Helms!

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in People Profiles | 0 comments

Get to know a little more about one of our newest additions to the PRG family: Kait Helms!

Q: Kait, tell us a little about yourself.  Are you new to Portland, what brought you here, etc.?

A: I’ve been in the Portland area for 2.5 years now! I came up from sunny California to study nursing at the University of Portland. I am surprised the people up here have yet to develop gills due to all the rain!

Q: How long have you been climbing and what/who initially got you interested in climbing?

A: I have been climbing for 11 years now. My uncle Joe was a climber and took me to Sanctuary Rock Gym 24/7. Once my brothers realized they didn’t care too much for the sport, it became mine. I joined the youth climbing league and competed throughout the West coast and had tons of fun. I took a break from climbing last year when I studied abroad in Spain, France, Britain, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Australia, but now I am home and nothing is holding me back!

Q: Any really memorable climbing moments/accomplishments thus far?  Any favorite places to climb?  Favorite type of climbing?

A: Favorite places to climb: Pinnacles National Monument, Castle Rock, Yosemite, and local crags off the Big Sur Coast.
Favorite type of climbing: Ropes! I just want to go as high as I possibly can, and I’ll climb any style that allows me to do so.
My most memorable climb would have to be my first trad lead in Yosemite about 5 years ago. My uncle, a friend, and I decided to make the trip and climb a few routes at the base of El Cap. We couldn’t find the trail head so we scaled up the side of the hill crawling under bushes and over huge boulders. Thirty minutes later when we reached the bottom of the face, my uncle and I were searching for the guide books. They were no where to be found. Then, we both looked at my friend, Ryan, who was very new to climbing. He had a real goofy look on his face… ALL three guide books had been left in the car under Ryan’s pillow. So we improvised and found a decent sized crack on the nose of El Cap which I lead with my new set of nuts. I felt very accomplished.

Q: Besides climbing, what else do you like to do with your free time?

A: I enjoy slacklining and setting up a line anywhere I can! I always have webbing in my car, or I bring it along on hiking trips. I am also a crazy animal lover and enjoy riding horses, walking my dog, and hanging out with my lil’ hedgehog, Humphree.

Q: You previously worked as a professional face painter.  That’s a pretty unique job!  Can you tell us a little more about experience as a pro face painter?

A: I definitely need to get out of “face painter” mentality… I keep seeing kids and thinking “She would make a perfect rainbow butterfly!” or “He has the perfect cheek for a shark!” It was such a fun job! I was given the opportunity to make people happy, and I absolutely adored it. Plus, it fueled my glitter obsessions.

Q: All of our events are now going to entail face painting by Kait. Are you on board?

A: Cuss yeah! As long as y’all could deal with the glitter trail…

Q: Most solid piece of advice you’ve ever received?

A: “Never stop exploring.” I will most definitely NOT stop exploring, in fact I can’t wait to plan my next trip!

Q: Anything else you want to say or leave us with?

A: Fun fact: I own a 110 lb. Great Dane and a 7 lb wiener dog, and people stop me all the time to take pictures cause apparently I look silly with such an odd pair. I also have a duck named Bill… get it? Cause ducks have bills… hahaha.

Anchor Cleaning & Rappel Clinic

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Gym Events | 0 comments

With the Spring climbing season fully upon us, it’s a great time to learn from the pros how to safely clean an anchor and rap off a route. This is crucial information for any climber whether you lead or top rope. On Day 2 of this two day clinic, we will go outside for some practical application on the real rock! If the weather keeps us indoors, participants can either get refunded or rescheduled. Participants must be belay certified. Call now to register!

Our Own Artist: Meet Nora Jameson!

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in People Profiles | Comments Off

Have you seen Nora Jameson around the gym these days? Learn a bit more about our fabulous new employee!

Q: Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been climbing and what and/or who got you started?

A: I’ve been climbing since I was 8 or 9 years old. My aunt and uncle climbed a bit and when it was obvious I liked it, my parents found a gym and I joined a junior team when I was 10 and climbed all throughout high school up to senior year when I got 6th place at nationals when I was 17.

Q: You’ve climbed in quite a few places around the US, do you have a(any) favorite climbing destination(s)?

A: I really love the New River Gorge, it’s fantastic face climbing and sport. Of course, the gorge is a great place to go swimming and cliff diving after climbing all day too.

Q: Part of your climbing career has involved competing at the national level, can you tell us a little about that?  Now you’re coaching our competition team and it’s all coming full circle.  How does previously being a competition climber yourself help you in coaching?

A: Well, I try to think about how my coach pushed me to climb better, how he inspired to be a better climber and have fun when climbing harder stuff and not just be frustrated. I look at projects and try to make them fun for the climbers. It’s not just about competing when you’re on a team, it’s about having fun. We can’t forget the reason we’re climbing is not just to be competitive but to be a good sport, a good climber, and a supportive team member.

Q: Climbers need to train pretty hard today and put in a lot of time and effort in order to do well in competitions.  What are some of your thoughts on training for climbing and/or training for competing?

A: When training for climbing it’s good to have goals and projects you’re working and also cross training is really clutch. Having an active lifestyle outside of climbing does wonders for climbing. Additionally, like I’ve mentioned before, when you’re training and doing workouts it’s important to enjoy the workouts and the climbs – it’s not a good workout if you don’t like the workout. Try to pick your cross training activities and workouts so you enjoy doing them; that’s the best way to train, have fun projects and good workouts that get you stronger.

Q: Besides climbing you’ve spent the last few years completing your Master’s degree.  What did you get your Masters in and what would you ultimately like to do with it?  I have a feeling it is not working at climbing gym. ;)

A: Ahah. Yea, I spent the last three years working on my Masters in Chemistry specializng in Chemical Biology at the University of California, Irvine. Ideally, I would love to teach at the university/college level getting undergraduates interested in doing research. It’s really important to me that students get an understanding of what science is outside of the textbook – doing science is waaayyyy different than just studying science. Appreciation for the work, tedium, perserverance that scientists go through on a daily basis to make breakthroughs can’t fully be appreciated until one attempts those same motions.

Q: Other than climbing what else do you like to do? 

A: I love to make art (drawing, stencils, watercolor, mixed media), and I do professional photography. You may have seen me around the gym with a huge camera in tow. I love to read as well as play music (violin, guitar, ukulele). I was classically trained on violin for 9 years and have since gone in the direction of bluegrass and Irish fiddle.

Q: Who are your heroes, climbing or otherwise?

A:T.E. Lawrence and Bruce Lee are two of my heroes that come to my mind instantly. Brilliant minds who have persevered through the system, through racism, towards equality and understanding all the while being true to themselves. In the words of Bruce Lee, I try my best to “honestly express myself as a human being” as well as maintain a healthy body and mind; “As you think, so shall you become.”

Q: Best advice you’ve ever received?   

A: Letting go is easier said than done, but once it is done, you wonder why you didn’t do it earlier. Let go, and don’t sweat the small stuff; enjoy life because it’s short and we don’t get a second chance.

Meet Connor Corley!

Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in People Profiles | Comments Off

Meet our latest PRG Employee, Connor Corley!

Q: Connor, tell us a little about yourself.  Are you new to Portland, what brought you here etc.

A: I am brand new in Portland, and so far the first month has been wonderful! Though I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, I’ve spent the past four years in central Arkansas where I just finished my degree in Environmental Studies at Hendrix College. I played DIII Lacrosse at Hendrix and got heavily involved with the outdoor programs and the local climbing coalition. I’ve spent the past two summers in Buena Vista, CO working as a whitewater rafting guide near the headwaters of the Arkansas River, and also climbing and backpacking in and around the Arkansas River Valley. I came to the Northwest on a whim and the beckoning of the good friend and current roommate, as well as the allure of the unparalleled forests, whitewater, climbing, and beaches around Portland. Also the friendly people and delicious local food have yet to disappoint.

Q: You were a rafting guide in Colorado previously?  What was that like?  Do you have any plans for getting on the rivers in Oregon? 

A: Being a raft guide was a childhood dream of mine ever since I first rafted the Ocoee River in eastern Tennessee as a young gun. Living and working in the Arkansas River Valley was an incredible experience, and waking up every morning to go paddle down beautiful class III, IV, and V whitewater is just about as exciting and fun as it gets. My specialty was overnight trips, and I loved being able to get to know people of all walks of life over multiple days of paddling, cooking, and camping together.

I’ve already gotten to raft three different times in my short tenure in the Northwest. The Deschutes River near Maupin, The McKenzie near Eugene, and the Tieton near Naches, WA have all been gorgeous, though I’m hoping to ditch the single-day runs soon and get a couple nights in on a river soon!

Q: Can we organize a PRG member trip?!

A: I’d love to! I only own a single boat so it might be tight with more than six or so people, but it’d be pretty cheap if we all split the cost of gas and some adult sodas…or just regular sodas. There are a ton of great rivers around here so options abound! Just holler and I’m sure we can organize something.

Q: How long have you been climbing and what/who initially got you interested in climbing?

A: I was initially brought to the local gym by my good friend Robert back in Arkansas a few years ago. After awkwardly navigating the wall for a few weeks I finally caught the bug and I’ve been climbing on and off now for over two years. Though I ended up working at our gym teaching classes and wall monitoring, the real allure for me was all the various quality climbing areas in Northwest Arkansas. For me outdoor climbing is what it’s all about, and I’m anxious to explore all the world-class basalt that Oregon has to offer!

Q: Any really memorable climbing moments/accomplishments thus far?  Any favorite places to climb?  Or you can substitute rafting moments here…

A: One of my most memorable climbing moments thus far actually resulted in me not getting to climb at all. Some friends and I heard about a new area that had been developed that wasn’t in the Arkansas climbing guidebook, and decided to check it out. We left after class and drove about 30 miles on dirt forest service roads, got my car stuck in the mud at least twice, and finally arrived at our campsite at around 1am, only to be greeted by a freak snowstorm. After roughing through the storm with a little liquid courage, we awoke to several inches of snow on the ground, but still decided we should try the 5 mile hike-in to the illusive bluff-line crag. After a frigid hike with packs full of gear, we arrived to find icicles hanging from the entire thing. Not a single one of us got to climb, but we did at least figure out where it was! Oh, the things we do for love…

Q: Besides climbing and rafting what else do you like to do with your free time?

A: I’m an avid reader, and play the guitar pretty poorly, but my favorite hobbies involve being anywhere in the forest doing anything. I’ve also been known to brew homemade wine and bake artisan breads with my roommate, who is an avid bread-head.

Q: Most solid piece of advice you’ve ever received?

A: “Don’t ever lean up against the sink while you’re washing your hands, you’ll end up with a wet crotch, and people will think you’re a jackass.”

Q: Anything else you want to say or leave us with?

A: I just want to publicly apologize for forgetting everyone’s names all the time. I’ve never been very good at that sort of thing.