Category: Staff News


10/4/2016 | New Stuff, Staff News
John Whelden

Hometown: Nantucket Island, MA
Hobby: travel, books, adventures
Music: wood brothers, Jerry Garcia band, all bluegrass
Vacation: Chilean Patagonia dirt bagging
Quote: “He is the richest whose pleasures are cheapest”
Movie: The Last Trapper, Jeremiah Johnson
Book: A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius, Desert Solitaire
Climbing since: February 2016

We’re excited to welcome new front desk staffer John Whelden. A great guy who loves the outdoors, climbing (of course) and snow boarding. Orignially from Nantucket, John still co-owns a lobster/clam restaurant back east, but moved out here for school and the mountains. Say hi next time you see him!

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
Because I love the easy going vibe.

What do you love about working at The Spot?
Getting to hang out with all my friends, sharing laughs, meeting new folks and spraying people with terrible beta.

Why do you climb?

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
Chilean Patagonia with a pretty wife, ocean in the front yard, and mountains in the back yard… and a dog named perro.

Anything else you’d like to tell folks?
Be nice to your mother!


9/10/2016 | New Stuff, Staff News
Sarah Filler

Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Hobby: Climbing, Reading, Star Trek
Music: Punkish
Vacation: Not a beach but anywhere with climbing.
Quote: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” -Spock
Movie: Donnie Darko
Book: We Are The Ants
Climbing since: March 2006

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
I originally joined the team to further my setting experience and feel like I am still doing that today. Setting at The Spot has taught me a lot. Boulder is also a pretty great place to live!

What do you love about working at The Spot?
One of my favorite parts about working at The Spot are my coworkers. The people I work with everyday are hilarious and everyone at The Spot feels like a family.

Why do you climb?
I climb because it pushes me mentally and physically and I love the feeling of when something clicks and you can make progress or send something you’ve put a good amount of time into.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
Mars for sure.


8/8/2016 | New Stuff, Staff News
Amy Ostrowski

Hometown: Woodland Park, CO
Slacklining, Climbing, Digital Painting, Video Games
Mostly chill electronic but a little of everything too!
Vacation: Thailand. I dream of deep water soloing in Railay.
The Back to the Future trilogy
Rock Warrior’s Way
“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.”
Climbing since: 

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
My first time ever climbing was at The Spot and I fell in love with not only climbing itself but the community and atmosphere of The Spot as well. It’s one of my all-time favorite places!

What do you love about working at The Spot so far?
My coworkers. Each and every one of them is an adventurer in their own way and I love coming back to work from the weekend and hearing their awesome stories.

Why do you climb?
Climbing for me (and probably many others) is a competition with my past self and no one else. I’m always striving to grow stronger both physically and mentally, achieve my goals, and overcome obstacles. Right now, fear is my biggest obstacle in climbing but I’m working hard to build that mental fortitude. I know that all of the work I put in will help me in other aspects of my life as well.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
I have yet to travel out of the country, so I hope to have visited many new places by five years from now and be back in my homeland of Colorado. I feel incredibly fortunate to have lived my whole life here and I think that will always bring me back!

Anything else you’d like to tell folks?
Climb safe!! Everything can change for you in one single instant. Double-check everything!


5/7/2016 | New Stuff, Staff News
Hunter Damiani

Hometown: Melbourne Beach, Florida
Hobby: Art, although luckily I get to call it a profession too.
Music: Grateful Dead particularly 1969 and 90’s Hip-Hop
Vacation: Somewhere new, anywhere with rocks… I’m not picky as long as I can climb I’d be psyched! Still never been to Hueco… if you are going this winter let me know.
Quote: “Goonies Never Say Die”
Movie: The Goonies
Book: “Food of the Gods” Terence McKenna
Climbing since: 2001

Hunter has been part of The Spot’s family for many years as our #1 tape artist at Psychedelia (check out his creation from Psych ’16). He’s also a badass boulderer with double-digit FAs across the region. So we feel fortunate that he formally joined The Spot’s staff as a member of the setting team. If you dig the new “HD” problems let him know!

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
I have been climbing at the Spot since I moved to Colorado in 2005 and since then I have been creating tape art for “Psychedelia” and volunteering… I have always felt like part of the team, happy to make it official!

What do you love about working at The Spot?
Working at the Spot is spending time with friends and climbing… plenty of goofing off and great times to be had. I have such a great time every day I “work” that it’s hard to even call it a job. I love it here. Plus I get to be creative on the wall… it’s like painting with movement.

Why do you climb?
I don’t know really why but ever since day one I was hooked…. there was no stopping it.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
Continuing what I am doing today…more art, more climbing and hopefully lots of more traveling around the world to develop new climbing. Just living, I’m not too worried about the future because no matter what it will come.

Anything else you’d like to tell folks?
Always do what you love, except no other lifestyle… it will be over before you know it, so you better enjoy it now.


5/4/2016 | New Stuff, Staff News
Jeffrey McCallister

Hometown: Longwood, Florida
Hobby: Bouldering, Esports
Music: Drum and bass, rap, electronic
Vacation: Korea
Quote: The best climber in the world is the one having the most fun.
Movie: 12 Angry Men
Book: A Song of Ice and Fire series
Climbing since: October 2011

Jeff is a strong young climber you’ve probably seen hanging around The Spot climbing all the problems. He’s a recent Florida transplant and cut his teeth setting at Aiguille under the illustrious Mark Mercer. Now we’re lucky enough to have Jeff bringing his unique perspective and friendly attitude to our team at The Spot. We’re psyched to have him on board!

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
I love the atmosphere, the community, and the big holds. I like to set things people will enjoy doing day after day.

What do you love about working at The Spot?
I love being at the spot in general so being able to do it as a job is like a dream come true.

Why do you climb?
I climb because I love pushing myself physically and I love problem solving. I climb to improve myself.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
Travelling the world, crushing boulders.

Anything else you’d like to tell folks?
I’ve been told I look unapproachable, but I just don’t want to bother people. Don’t be afraid to ask me anything!


3/15/2016 | New Stuff, Staff News
Ryan Needles

Hometown: Laramie, Wyoming
Hobby: Climbing, Skydiving and Surfing
Music: Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Sublime, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Vacation: Anywhere with a beach
Quote: Try hard, Stay humble
Movie: Anything Sci fi. I also love watching documentaries.
Book: Up Above the World by Paul Bowles, Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Climbing since: 2012

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
I joined the team because everyone that works at the Spot is awesome. It’s a great place to work and climb!

What do you love about working at The Spot?
The community of climbers. Everyone is so friendly and stoked. It motivates me to climb and train more.

Why do you climb?
I climb because I was a gymnast for 12 years so this seemed like a good sport to get into after that. I love the adventure side of being outdoors and exploring new fun climbs. The movement of climbing though is so much fun and unique. Nothing really compares to it.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
Still climbing and having fun. Living in Boulder. Done with school and working as a Physical Therapist is the goal!

Anything else you’d like to tell folks?
Come climb at the Spot! It’s a fun relaxed place to get strong!! Also it’s a great place to find a climbing partner. A lot of my good climbing partners and friends, I’ve met at the gym.


2/20/2016 | New Stuff, Staff News
Casey Newman

Hometown:  Waterford, CT.  Transplanted to Boulder in ’78.
Hobbies:  Climbing, skiing, hiking, working on my house and building stuff.
Music:  Really almost anything, EVEN some country, but favorites include U2, Santana, Steely Dan, to name a couple.  My iPod is quite a mish-mash of stuff.
Vacation:  Rocks, snow, sand and water.  Just need a place to play.
Quote:  Dog is my co-pilot.
Books:  Recent favorites…The Tiger, Once They Moved Like the Wind, The Wave.
Climbing Since:  1973. OMG, I’m old.

Casey has worked in the outdoor industry for decades, a true “lifer”. He was one of the managers when The Spot first opened in 2002, then left to pursue other endeavors. This time around Casey is re-joining the team as a route setter, a role he’s been in before. We hope you enjoy the CN routes around the gym! We recently caught up with Casey…

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
This is my second time around on the crew.  I’m one of Dan’s partners in the business and was on the original management team in a few different roles for the first five years.  It’s a great business with a really good crew of people who all love working here.  I’m psyched to be able to contribute again and help us grow and get even better at the game.

What do you love about working at The Spot?
When people do what they love, it shows.  The whole outdoor industry is full of folks who follow their passion and make it work.  Plus, I get paid to climb!

Why do you climb?
It’s the most fun, engaging, powerful, life affirming thing I’ve ever encountered.  It’s a lifetime sport (hopefully a long one) that gives you the best relationships you’ll ever have.  Plus it gets you outside and it’s a great workout.  What else do you need?

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
Hopefully, with my wife, family, and friends… on a rock or a mountain, in a boat, on a beach, in the woods, on the snow, probably also in the hot tub.  With a beer.

Anything else you’d like to tell folks?
Follow your passion, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, be nice to people (except rude a#$holes), hang out with dogs, they’re good for your outlook and disposition.


1/18/2016 | New Stuff, Staff News
Luis Serrano Bellido

Hometown: Jaén, Spain.
Hobby: Climbing, running, reading, playing music, beer.
Music: Rock, blues, reggae, R&B, pop, pretty much everything.
Vacation: South America
Quote: A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself. Jim Morrison
Movie: Pulp Fiction
Book: The Pillars of the Earth
Climbing since: 1998

Luis Serrano grew up climbing on beautiful Spanish stone. For the past few years he has lived in Washington with his wife, Andrea, where he set at several gyms including Vital Climbing and The Seattle Bouldering Project. After spending part of his summer in Austin, Texas, helping set the pre-opening set for the new Austin Bouldering Project, he moved to Colorado this fall and has been working at The Spot with our setting crew ever since. Luis is a great guy to have around. He is quite strong, with a technical style and an eye for the aesthetic. We’ve loved having Luis on the team and we hope you love his problems!

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
Before moving to CO I had heard very good things about this climbing gym. Knowing that the route setting is world class made me have a lot of interest in working here and learn more about this art.

What do you love about working at The Spot?
The environment in this gym is amazing, really nice people, customers and coworkers. The most important thing to feel good in a work place.

Why do you climb?
If you ask me ¨why do you climb?¨ is like you asking me, “why do you breathe?”

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
This is a really hard question for me. Honestly I don’t know. Maybe Spain, maybe still in the USA, maybe somewhere in central Europe. What I know is that I will be psyched anywhere I am.

Anything else you’d like to tell folks?
I am very excited to be in a place like this, with great people and with the possibility of setting boulder problems for you! Thank you!


12/30/2015 | New Stuff, Staff News
Eli Ellis

Hometown: Boulder, CO
Hobby: Art, slacklining, skateboarding and snowboarding
Music: Everything from Pretty Lights to The Grateful Dead. I love it all!
Vacation: Snowboarding in Japan
Quote: “Just know it’s possible.” Kevin Pierce
Movie: Art of Flight
Book: To Kill a Mockingbird
Climbing since: 8th grade, so around 2010

Not only is Eli a fantastic coach who brings enthusiasm and knowledge to every student he works with, he also spent over 5 years on our Climbing Teams. His in-depth experience with our programs gives him a unique ability to connect with both new and experienced youth at The Spot, while passing along the wealth of knowledge he’s picked up over the years. Eli also manages to balance his passion for multiple sports such as slacklining, snowboarding, and climbing while excelling in his studies at CU.

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
I wanted to better my climbing with a strong group of people, and The Spot was that community.

What do you love about working at The Spot?
Working with great people, from the customers to fellow staff.

Why do you climb?
It’s a fun way to get out on adventures, get stronger and push yourself.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
Traveling around the world climbing, slacklining and snowboarding.

Anything else you’d like to tell folks?
It’s been a pleasure working here these past few months and I’m looking forward to many more!


11/25/2015 | New Stuff, Staff News
Tyler Kempney

Hometown: Carthage, NY
Hobbies: I love climbing, all of the disciplines: Ice, Mixed, Trad, Sport, and Bouldering.   Other than climbing, I can be found longboarding, skiing, or playing lacrosse.
Music: Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff, Hilltop Hoods, and T-Swift.  Anything.
Vacation: Exploring a new country or culture with my wife.
Movie: 180 South, Tommy Boy, Man on Fire, Miracle on Ice
Book: Omnivore’s Dilemma, The Rock Warrior’s Way, Hatchet, and… GUIDEBOOKS!
Quote: “All I need is psych and water”
Climbing since:  In 2012, I went on a college trip to the Red River Gorge and I’ve been psyched since then!

We’re pretty excited to have Tyler join us at The Spot’s front desk. He brings several years of experience teaching climbing and leading outdoor trips. Tyler is also a very well-rounded climber who enjoys trad and ice as much as bouldering. Recently transplanted from NY, we think he’s gonna enjoy Boulder. Welcome to the team Tyler! Say “hi” to him next time you’re in.

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
The Spot is the raddest gym in the West!

What do you love about working at The Spot?
The Spot’s community; from the staff to the dedicated members create a welcoming atmosphere.  It feels like home!

Why do you climb?
Climbing is fun! It takes you to beautiful places and introduces you to great people. ALSO the personal breakthroughs of mental, physical, and technical battles. It’s a form of moving meditation. I just love climbing.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
I hope to be with my wife, Lois Ann, exploring cultures and climbing in Europe or South America.

Anything else you’d like to tell folks?
Keep the psych high!  I just moved here from NY this past September and I’d love to meet everyone!