Climbing Staff

adam

Adam Pessl General Manager

Street Cred: 18 years working in the climbing gym industry

Climbing Experience: Took my first climbing class @ Vertical Club on Eliot Ave. in 1987. I was 12 years old. Began spending most weekends @ Index shortly there after. Graduated from Index to Yosemite. Climbed El Cap in 1995. Discovered bouldering shortly there after and realized it was much less work than climbing big walls. Spent many days bouldering in Leavenworth, and then discovered my desk in the office at Vertical World. The rest is history.

Favorite Climbing Area: Seneca Rocks West Virginia

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Matt

Matt Denton Gym Manager

Street Cred: 14 years of climbing and instruction experience.  I have worked for Vertical World since 2010 in youth programs, adult classes, outdoor guiding, route-setting and the youth climbing team. I am a certified Single Pitch Instructor with the American Mountain Guide Association, a certified Wilderness First Responder, and a certified USA Climbing Coach. I obtained a M.S. in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University in 2010.

Climbing Experience: I started climbing outside Austin, Texas 14 years ago at age 17, because a friend needed a climbing partner. By age 19, I had started working for a summer camp as a member of the adventure recreation team. I taught rock climbing, rappelling, caving, team building and wilderness skills.

Favorite Climbing Area: Washington Pass will always hold a special place in my heart.
Contact Matt
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CJ

CJ Huseby Gym Assistant Manager

Street Cred: I am a certified Climbing Wall Instructor through the American Mountain Guides Association.

Climbing Experience: I started climbing in various places around Spokane in the summer of 2008 with some college buddies.  Though I started outdoors and still prefer climbing outdoors, it wasn’t until I climbed in the gym that winter that I gained a true appreciation for the sport.

Favorite Climbing Area: This is a question to which I could not possibly provide a direct answer.  There are, of course, places I prefer over others, but crowning one as the absolute best just isn’t possible.  When I think about a climbing area, I think about the experiences I’ve had there.  Each area, to me, represents memories of adventures, none of which I would trade for another.  I think the Beatles said it best, “In my life, I’ve loved them all.”
Contact CJ
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Anique

Anique Johnson Director of Programs

Street Cred: A degree in Outdoor Recreation Management from WWU and have my CWI (Climbing Wall Instructor) Certification. Climbing Experience: Worked for Vertical World since December 2007.

Favorite Climbing Area: Anywhere warm!
Contact Anique
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alexf

Alex Fritz Head Coach / Head Route Setter

Street Cred: Multi-time U.S. National Team for competitive climbing in bouldering, sport, and speed. Apprentice Coach for U.S. National team for the World Youth Championships in 2013. I also have a Level 1 USA Climbing Route Setting certification.

Climbing Experience: My first day of climbing was at the old Lynnwood REI location where I was the only one in my group of friends who made it to the top of the wall without crying. After that I started climbing recreationally at Cascade Crags in Everett, soon after starting to compete. After a few years I switched to the dark side and joined Vertical World’s competition team. The rest is history!

Favorite Climbing Area: I am a big fan of the local Little Si crag because of all the mega classics and how hard it is to get good at climbing there. However if I was to branch out a bit, I would say I rather enjoy Squamish in the better parts of the year. Maple Canyon found a place in my heart years ago and I would like to go back. Anything with slick granite slopers and hard-to-read sequences are usually my favorites.
Contact Alex
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Andy

Andy Nelson Facilities Coordinator / Instruction Coordinator / Route Setter

Street Cred: AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor, WMI Wilderness First Responder, Easy Street Veteran.

Climbing Experience: I started climbing in college on a bit of a fluke. I only needed a few general credits to graduate, so I was filling them with various outdoor PE classes, backpacking, snowshoeing, running; all things I had done before and knew I would enjoy. Then I took Beginning Rock Climbing. After day one I was immediately hooked. I continued and took the second class in the series, then became a TA for it (which also sparked my love of teaching this sport, but that’s a different story). After several quarters as a TA Vertical World offered me a position and I’ve never looked back.

Favorite Climbing Area: There are several areas that have special places in my heart. First would have to be the Far Side at exit 38. It’s where I first climbed outdoors, where I honed my technical skills, and the Snoqualmie Valley is where I spent a good deal of time as a youngster. For sheer beauty and volume though I would have to say Icicle Creek in Leavenworth is my current favorite area. It seems like you can’t walk 100 feet without running into a pristine rock face, and being nestled in that alpine environment makes it seem so surreal.
Contact Andy
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Maria-Monaco

Maria Monaco Retail Coordinator / Front Desk / Instructor

Street Cred: I have a BA in Business/Marketing, 3 kids, 3 dogs, 1 gecko, a mouse named Amy Winemouse….and I love to climb! Climbing Experience: I’ve always loved hiking but discovered climbing at a birthday party in… 2002? I was hooked after my first try. Since then I’ve climbed all around Washington and Oregon. Recently, I completed Mt Whitney at 14,508ft in a day.

Favorite Climbing Area: Smith Rock is my fave for all around great climbing and amazing beauty, Mt Erie is awesome for being close to home, great views and fun climbs, Mazama is the farthest I’ll go for a day of climbing and Index is still my biggest challenge.
Contact Maria
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Aran Kagen Team Coach / Route Setter / Instructor

Street Cred: Attended ten national youth climbing championships and countless divisional and regional championships, which has yielded a hefty bag full of medals (and participation ribbons). Graduated with honors and distinction from CU Boulder (2015) with a B.A. in “thinking and thinking about thinking” (AKA Philosophy/Psychology double major)

Climbing Experience: I first climbed at my own birthday party at the Redmond Vertical world actually. I loved it so much that I immediately joined one of the youth programs. I was 9 at the time, and shortly after, I joined the Vertical World climbing team. I continued competing with the team until I had to leave for college. Rock climbing taught me to work hard, developed my sense of humor, and helped me in so many other ways. Currently, I’m very happy to be back here coaching the team and route setting!

Favorite Climbing Area: You mean besides the Redmond VW steep zone? I think Bishop, CA has got to be my favorite place I’ve ever climbed. Everywhere you look, there are incredible boulders to climb with lots of safe fall zones. There’s also some variety in rock types and beautiful scenery to take in. Last and most importantly, you can get some amazing cheesy bread in town that is to die for.

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Brigit Anderson

Brigit Anderson Instructor

Street Cred: WFR, CWI and hopefully some other CREDS soon

Climbing Experience: Since college so around 2009/2010? I studied abroad around a lot of mountains and realized climbing was a new way to travel in the mountains and access new stuff in mountains… so I started climbing!

Favorite Climbing Area: For pure ROCK climbing, Index because of the granite finger cracks.

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Jenna Tseng Team Coach/Youth Instructor

Climbing Experience: I’ve been climbing for around 6 years. My Dad had work friends who obsessed with climbing and they eventually got me into the gym and later onto team.

Favorite Climbing Area: So far, my favorite has been smith rock, somewhat because I’ve been there the most. Lots of crimps, lots of footholds so it’s kind of my style.

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Emily Grabow

Emily Grabow Front Desk

Street Cred:  Currently studying biology at Lewis & Clark College. I built a human poop bag dispenser at Index to earn my Gold Award for Girl Scouts.

Climbing Experience:  I’ve been climbing since I was in 6th grade starting at Vertical World. I also climbed on the competitive team for 5 years and continue to participate in local comps.

Favorite Climbing Area:  Joshua Tree! (I have a tattoo of one of those weird looking trees)

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Tracy Fairfield

Tracy Fairfield Front Desk/Youth Instructor

Street Cred:  I have a husband, a dog, a room full of yarn and sci-fi/fantasy books, and a BFA in computer graphics.

Climbing Experience:  I’ve been skinning my knees on trees and rocks (and one time a cactus) since I was a kid in Arizona. I tried climbing a bit in college, but I didn’t really get into it until we moved to Washington and realized that climbing is much more fun when the sun and snakes and scorpions aren’t trying to kill you.

Favorite Climbing Area: I still really love Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon just for the unique landscapes, but I’m looking to try a lot more in Washington!

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Daniel Pruss

Daniel Pruss Front Desk/Youth Instructor

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Edward-Daschle

Edward Daschle Front Desk/Youth Instructor

Street Cred: I first worked at Vertical World in 2008 when I taught Little Rockers. Between then and now a couple of those little rockers have worked at the gym, teaching team kids and their own little rockers. And now I’m back working at the gym; it’s the circle of Vertical.

Climbing Experience: I’ve been climbing consistently since I was 13, though it was somewhere between ages 6 and 8 when I tried out climbing for the first time in a Vertical World summer camp. There are pictures. I hung upside down. I was adorable.

Favorite Climbing Area: Gold Bar and Leavenworth. The first places I really climbed outdoors, and still my favorites.

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Devin Bishop

Devin Bishop Route Setter/Instructor 

Street Cred: 

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Devin has climbed extensively in the Cascades for nearly thirty years and guided for more than ten. His adventures as a rock climber, alpinist and ski mountaineer have taken him to Alaska, California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and British Columbia. Devin is an adventurous spirit and enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for climbing with others.

Certifications:

  • Wilderness First Responder
  • AIARE Avalanche Level 2
  • AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course April 2018
  • AMGA Rock Instructor Course, April 2012
  • AMGA Certified Climbing Wall Instructor (Lead)

Climbing Experience: 

  • Denali (2) via West Buttress
  • Mt. Rainier (75+) via Ingraham Direct, Disappointment Cleaver, Kautz, and Emmons Glacier routes
  • Mt. Hood (1) via South Side
  • Mt. Baker (30+ ) via Easton, Coleman/Deming and North Ridge routes
  • Mt. Shuksan (3) via Sulphide Glacier, Fisher Chimneys/NE Ridge
  • Mt. Olympus (2) via Blue Glacier
  • Mount Stuart (2) via Full North Ridge IV 5.9+ and West Ridge III 5.6
  • Dragontail Peak (4) via Backbone Ridge IV 5.9 & Serpentine Arete III 5.8routes.
  • Prusik Peak (3) via Stanley-Burgner III 5.9+ and Beckey-Davis III 5.9 routes.
  • Forbidden Peak via West Ridge III 5.6
  • Liberty Bell via Liberty Crack V 5.10 C2
  • South Early Winters Spire via the Direct East Buttress III 5.10 C1
  • El Capitan via the East Buttress III 5.10b/c
  • Half Dome (3) via Snake Dike III 5.7

Favorite Climbing Area: Yosemite, CA, no contest.

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Sky Pzychodzen

Sky Przychodzen Youth Instructor

Street Cred: I’m 15 and in my sophomore year of High School. I am able to climb and belay in most of the different areas that gym climbing has to offer (Lead, Bouldering, Top rope and Auto belay.). I have also had a lot of experience with young kids and working with them.

Climbing Experience: I am on the VW climbing team, and I have gained a lot of climbing experience through being on the team. I have gotten to compete in Lead, Bouldering, and Speed climbing competitions and have learned a lot about climbing through them.

Favorite Climbing Area: If we’re talking about outdoor climbing, then probably Joshua Tree. Mostly because it’s so beautiful there.

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Anna Kruse

Anna Kruse Youth Instructor

Street Cred: I have been climbing for over five years. I was in youth programs for three years before I was hired on as a youth program instructor.

Climbing Experience: I started climbing with my dad, who would occasionally bring me in to climb with him. I had tried plenty of other sports before climbing, but none of them really clicked. I eventually convinced my parents to sign me up for youth programs, and immediately fell in love.

Favorite Climbing Area: I don’t really do a lot of climbing outdoors, but I basically live at the Redmond gym.

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Arabella Pearson

Arabella Pearson Youth Instructor

Street Cred: I’m a senior in high school and I have competed at youth climbing nationals for sport, speed and bouldering.

Climbing Experience: I started climbing 4 years ago and have competed on the Vertical World Climbing Team for the past 3.

Favorite Climbing Area: Favorite climbing location: As a Canadian dual citizen, I have to go with Squamish!

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Brooklyn Weaver

Brooklyn Weaver Youth Instructor

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Elaine Sullivan

Elaine Sullivan Front Desk/Youth Instructor

Street Cred: Elaine has been climbing since she could walk but with ropes since 2004, she is currently working on her Masters Degree in Nutritional Research and hopes to get into the nutrition and mental health field. Elaine enjoys climbing in open air the most; the inherent risk associated with climbing keeps her mindful of the brave souls that came before her and set the stage for this incredible sport. Climbing for Elaine is just as much a mind game as it is a physical one, it continues to be a source of inspiration and humility.

Climbing Experience: Elaine took to climbing in 2004 thanks to teachers in camps just like her! She learned the most about climbing from a dear friend in college. While life often gets in the way of daily climbing, it’s nice to know that the Pacific Northwest holds some great climbs close to home. Her first real climb was on Beacon Rock in the Columbia River Gorge, the place she calls home, when she lead belayed the instructor up the route and then flashed it herself!

Favorite Climbing Area: Smith Rock will forever hold special memories for Elaine.

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Lina Strom

Lina Strom Youth Instructor

 

Megan-Grabow

Megan Grabow

Street Cred: I am a high school senior who has been climbing at Redmond Vertical World for 8 years.

Climbing Experience: I started out taking a single day camp 4th grade. I was in junior program (now base and ascent club) for two years before joining team. I competed for 5 years and it was the best experience ever. I competed in bouldering, top rope, and lead climbing. I am best at crimps. My onsite is a few grades higher on crimpy routes.

Favorite Climbing Area: Joshua tree! Even though I can barely climb V0s there, it will always be my favorite.

Matt Jones

Matt Jones Team Coach

 

Ethan Owens Youth Instructor

 

Roslyn Gannis

Roslyn Gannis Front Desk

Street Cred: I have a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Resource Management from West Virginia University, and am currently pursuing a M.L. (Master in Life) as we speak. Part of my degree required earning a Wilderness First Responder, which probably helped me become a seasonal park ranger for the US Forest Service at Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and for the National Park Service at Padre Island National Seashore, TX. (There’s not a lot of climbing in Texas, but Padre Island had some good surfing when there was waves!) While in college I had the opportunity to be an intern at Great Smoky Mountain NP and Olympic NP, so I’ve been helping people enjoy the outdoors for most of my career. I can’t remember how many miles of trails have been hiked in national parks, and feel like that’s a good problem to have.

Climbing Experience: I was hooked on climbing after making it to the top of a state fair climbing tower. That pursuit of high places to see the view below, as I learned to belay in Pennsylvania, but there has been a lot of dabbling with climbing in a lot of places–my first outdoor experience ever was in the New River Gorge in West Virginia, and I have since gone on day-trips to the Elwha River area on the Olympic Peninsula, Columbia River Gorge, Leavenworth, and most recently Monroe, Colorado. (Go there in the autumn, the aspens are ALL golden.)

Favorite Climbing Area: Hands down, the New River Gorge in West Virginia is my favorite climbing crag. The first crag is always the most special to me. But my favorite peak by far is Mount St. Helens.

 

Jonathan Rippel

Jonathan Rippel Youth Instructor

Street Cred: I started climbing in Boy Scouts when I was 11 and immediately fell in love. The moment I turned 14 I became a climbing instructor for my district and began teaching classes for adult scoutmasters on how to climb outdoors so they could bring the sport back to their troops. When I started college at Texas A&M, I joined the small (at the time) climbing team and founded a beginners’ workshop that introduced new climbers to technique and various training methods.

Climbing Experience: I tend to stick to bouldering, and can generally climb in the V5/6 range outdoors. Some of my more fun accomplishments include Lobster Claw V5, Nobody Gets Out Alive V2 with the bathang start, and a few classic highballs such as Melon Patch V0. My current project is Baby Martini V6 in Hueco Tanks.

Favorite Climbing Area: My favorite crag is without a doubt Hueco Tanks outside of El Paso, Texas. There are so many classic problems and the rock tears at your hands in all the right ways.

 

Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee Front Desk/Youth Instructor

Street Cred: Currently attending Bastyr University for Nutrition and Culinary Arts. Though I only started climbing in 2017, I can boulder, top rope and lead. I will climb 5.12+ one day!

Climbing Experience: I remembered climbing at parties or special events when I was little, however, there was no such sport where I grew up…but I have many years of wall and tree climbing experience…hehe. I can help with boulder, top rope, and lead climbing indoor and outdoor.

Favorite Climbing Area: As long as it’s outside, I am happy.