Meet our PRG Crew!
Gary has been climbing throughout the West coast for almost 40 years. On a trip to England in 1987, he got the idea of a building a rock gym. While there, Rall heard about a community center that had a climbing wall where people kept in shape during the winter months when the weather was bad. He thought of Portland’s rainy weather and decided to build the USA’s second climbing gym. His wife, Julie, actually came up with the phrase “rock gym” as they named the business. Read more about Gary and Portland Rock Gym’s history here or here.
General Manager, Psychology Enthusiast, Elite Level Sleeper, Moderate Level Rock Climber, AIARE Level I
Erik started climbing in college the notorious mountains of Pennsylvania. After spending too much time on the east coast he headed to Colorado and climbed as much high alpine granite as his schedule allowed. He has also been a backcountry wilderness guide, skier and has a striking suspicion of avalanches. In the Northwest, he digs the climbing at Smith Rock and the skiing that Mount Bachelor and the Northern Cascades offers. Outside of the gym he is probably down the street at Triumph Coffee or in the gym training for some audacious goal, like climbing Mount Hood from the North, South, East and West all in one day. Favorite Climbing Location(s): Moab, Rocky Mountain National Park, Bishop, Red Rocks, Smith, Rumney etc…
Instructor, Head Setter, Guide Extraordinaire,
AMGA SPI, USAC Level 3 Setter
Setting Initials: SH
Sean hails from Tucson, Arizona. He got hooked on climbing in 2002 and has traveled through much of the western U.S. to climb. His favorite climbing area is Bishop, but the climb that sticks with him the most is “Royal Arches” in Yosemite. Sean started setting in 2004 and in 2005 became an AMGA climbing guide. Now he is a USAC level 3 setter and holds an American Mountain Guide Association, Single Pitch Instructor certification. Sean has experience setting for local, regional and divisional USAC comps for roped climbing and bouldering. During the climbing season, you can find Sean out at his favorite local crag, Carver. Sean teaches all of the classes we offer in the gym, and he frequently does private lessons and runs the month long conditioning clinic, Rock Training. When he is not climbing, instructing, guiding or setting, Sean likes to hike, snowboard and “shoot some b-ball.”
Josh is gneiss, tuff, and a little bit wack. All around Rock Solid.
Head of Guiding, AMGA SPI, Wilderness First Responder (WFR), AIARE Level 1
As you may have guessed from the header, Josh studied Geography and Geology in college and loves a good discussion about the Earth.
He grew up in Colorado which fostered a great love of the rocks and all types of climbing. With the Pikes Peak granite batholith as his city’s backdrop, Josh was surrounded by rocks. Not only steep granite canyons and alpine routes, but also limestone ridges and sandstone spires scattered across the Front Range. Those rocks were his playground and inspired a lifetime passion to climb the world. Josh hasn’t looked down since! Some of his favorite climbing spots include Garden of the Gods, Lumpy Ridge, City of Rocks, South Platte, and Shelf Road.
When Josh isn’t climbing he enjoys mountain biking, tele skiing, mountaineering, photography, and pretty much any adventure.
Josh currently teaches our Introductory Lesson and as an AMGA SPI certified guide leads classes and trips for PRG’s Outdoor Program.
Setter, All Around Ripped Dude, Pudding Aficionado
Setting Initials: GF
Griffin is a former youth climber from Cincinnati, Ohio. He has been climbing for 10 years and setting for seven. His favorite place to climb is Little Rock City, TN and his favorite route is “God Module” (V11) at Horse Pens 40. Outside of climbing, Griffin enjoys jujitsu, snowboarding, and mountain biking.
Saxophonist, USAC Level 1 Setter, puppy photographer
Andre has been climbing on and off for over 10 years. He’s originally from Dallas, TX. As a youngin’, he went with a friend to a local comp that had music, food, and prizes. Suffice to say that plus climbing was enough to win him over and he’s been getting after it ever since! His favorite spots to climb are HP40, Hueco Tanks, & Joes Valley.
Besides climbing Andre enjoys creating/editing videos for a climbing YouTube channel called ClimbingTv. He dabbled in photography for a bit and had a gig taking puppy portraits for dog breeders across the Midwest.
You can find Andre setting routes most days at PRG. In addition to all his climbing experience Andre has competed at the world famous Setter Showdown and is a USAC Level 1 Commercial Routesetter. Combine all that and you’ve got another awesome setter putting up great routes at PRG!
Andre also plays the sax and we’re now considering Jazz night at the gym.
Stiles loves climbing and slack lining, and he also claims to play way too many video games. His favorite climbing spots are Carver and Rat Cave. Stiles has been climbing for almost four years. His grandpa is a old school mountain man and was his main inspiration to start climbing. Besides climbing, Stiles has been a drum tech for three different bands that have toured the US, and he’s lived in four different states. His claim to fame came at the tender age of 8 years old when he won a drum-off with a bpm of 300!
Ex-Software Developer, Russian Super Star
Katya has been living in Portland for 5 years now and hails from “Mother Russia!” She has been climbing for 6 years and counts PRG as one of her favorite crags, although she finds something special and unique about all of the crags she visits. Katya first tried climbing at Six Flags amusement park. Kudos to them for getting her hooked! To challenge you to get to the top, the hardest route had a $20 bill attached to the anchor. Unfortunately, Katya didn’t win big money that day but she did keep climbing, which is winning in our book! Among climbing her other favorite activities include hiking, mountaineering, and scrambling. Despite having, in her own words, perfect alcohol-resistant Russian genes, she doesn’t partake in any drinking. When not working Katya always seems to be climbing. You’ll be able to easily spot her in the gym or at the crag because due to abnormal flexibility in her knee joint, she manages to incorporate a drop knee into every move, whether it’s necessary or not. Katya abandoned a career in software development to pursue climbing and guiding as a profession. We’re feeling really lucky to be a part of this transition and have Katya on board with PRG!
Eats Anything, Part-time Knitter, Bath Tub Swimmer
1. I like to eat, mainly competitively (good challenges). I love anything, I don’t care. If it can be described as food, I’ll eat it. I also knit (part-time).
2. I love lost boulders in Klammoth, California. They’re super fun problems, and you don’t need a pad because they’re on the beach. Problems are always changing because of the tide. It’s amazing. If there was food on top of the boulder problems, I would never leave.
3. I can swim the length of a bath tub.
4. College degree son!
6. Moved to Portland from Crescent City, California.
7. If there are any food challenges, let me know about them. I’m trying to build my portfolio.
Instructor, Excels at Belay Dance Style
Setting Initials: BW
Ben has been climbing for about five years. The story of how Ben got started is best told his own words: “As a runt growing up outside Boston, I lived in some housing projects where the maintenance would charge residents $20 if they ever locked themselves out to get back in (which was illegal). My mother, a creative woman, used to have me free solo the porch scaffolding and the rafters under the eves to break in through an open window or porch door and unlock the apartment from the inside. This is when I discovered my confidence with the Y axis. My mother only charged $5, and sometimes I would sneak a slice of American cheese from the fridge and fold it up into a cube and eat it.” His favorite places to climb are Cathedral Ledge, NH & Red Rock, NV. Besides working at PRG, Ben is also a Research and Development Test Pilot for the nonprofit Pacific Space Flight. He is a self proclaimed Expert Minesweeper with a 52 second record. Aw yeah, Minesweeper.
Not a cop/artist
Born and raised in the southwest, Zachary is a lover of all things wild and free, van life, and kittens. Future ambitions include getting lost in the Bro-Muda Triangle, watching Point Break a few more times and being rad, a lot. Zachary is known for doing some questionable things with his friends, aid climbing 5.8 sport routes, referring to his mysterious “French partner” way too often and tying-in with 6 overhand knots (not for climbing). Zachary holds a Doctorate of Divinity from the Universal Life Church.
Pro Snuggler, Cat Doodler
Youth Instructor, Pro-Belayer, Future Dirtbag
Leah was born and raised outside Boulder Colorado and spent many of her early years exploring and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. After discovering climbing in middle school, she competed for the Boulder Rock Club’s youth team for six years, paying her dues as a gym rats and earning numerous medals and ribbons during her competitive career. She caught the outdoor climbing bug and spent the last few years cragging in and around Colorado. Her favorite spots are Boulder Canyon, Rifle and Hueco Tanks. As an instructor, she rocks it in the youth climbing club, birthday parties and Friday/Saturday Night Heights at PRG. When she isn’t wrangling children or hanging around the gym, she enjoys reading Terry Pratchett, studying Japanese, getting flash pumped on 5.10 outdoor routes and fantasizing about paddling a miniature kayak down the Willamette.
Rock Paper Scissors Judge, AMGA, USAC Setter
Thais got started climbing four years ago at a gym in Santa Cruz, climbed casually for a few years then got really psyched and started climbing outside every weekend. This inevitably led to Thais quitting her job, building a van, and going on an awesome climbing road trip for 8 months through US and Canada. Squamish, Bishop, Ten Sleep, Joe’s Valley and Smith Rock are some just some of her favorite climbing spots. Eventually she landed in Portland in August of 2016 where she is going to school and still living in her van, lovingly named Miss Janky Jankinson. In her free time Thais still rocks the rollerblades, crushes 5.12 finger cracks and knits. She is also a numbers genius. Give her any number from 0 to infinity and she can not only tell you the number directly before, but also the one right after.