Category: Staff News

MEET LUIS SERRANO BELLIDO

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!

MEET ELI ELLIS

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!

MEET TYLER KEMPNEY

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!  

MEET AUSTIN SCHULER

11/1/2015 | New Stuff, Staff News
Austin Schuler

Hometown: Arcata, California
Hobbies: I draw and ride my bike when i am not climbing. I super into building structures and taking driftwood and rocks from beaches, also i am kind of a gleaner.
Music: Lately I have been listening to Louis Armstong, Louis Prima, Al Green, Shakey Graves, and Them Crooked Vultures.
Vacation: I don’t really know if i vacation… I mostly go on climbing trips.
Movie: Drunken Master with Jackie Chan
Book: My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell is a pretty rad book and there is a dog named Puke!
Quote: “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go on an overnight drunk, and in 10 days I’m going to set out to find the shark that ate my friend and destroy it. Anyone who wants to tag along is more than welcome.” – Bill Murray
Climbing since: 2011

Austin Schuler is The Spot’s newest setter. Austin has been climbing for five years and cut his teeth at local areas around his home town of Arcata, California, and in the Sierras around Tahoe and Bishop. Austin’s been setting almost as long as he’s been climbing, and just after he moved to Boulder he volunteered for 12 hours to help paint the Front Hueco, so we decided to hire him. He’s a great routesetter who enjoys both technical and powerful setting. Look for his initials – AS – and let us know how you like his boulders!

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
Setting is something I really enjoy and so I when I moved out here it was something I wanted to pursue. The Spot’s setting team is awesome!

What do you love about working at The Spot?
I love the community of people who work and climb at The Spot. This aspect helps Boulder feel like home.

Why do you climb?
Because it is the center of my life.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
Hopefully in five years I will still be climbing and be happily living in some awesome place with awesome people. I would also like to receive further education in a field that I am passionate about but for me that doesn’t necessarily mean the traditional college route. I also hope to still have lush locks.

MEET ANDERS RASKER

9/23/2015 | New Stuff, Staff News
Anders Rasker

Hometown: Boulder, Colorado
Hobbies: Climbing, Photography, Skiing
Music: Electronic, Classic Rock, Rap
Vacation: Backpacking through Europe
Movie: The Prestige
Book: Life of Pie
Quote: “All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be.” Pink Floyd
Climbing since: 2005

Anders Rasker has been a part of The Spot’s family for over 10 years. He started out on our youth team and has been quietly crushing the Spot’s hard problems ever since. Now he’s also taking care of a different type of problem – our t-nuts – and he can often be found taking the lead on t-nut repairs and reconstruction. A few weeks ago Ders began setting routes and his first problems, all labeled AR, have been quite popular. He’s also a photographer and an artist – perhaps you’ve seen the cool The Spot sign he made from old bolts welded together? If you see him in the gym please say hi!

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
Beginning of 2015

What do you love about working at The Spot?
The community is always inviting and friendly.

Why do you climb?
It’s always different, and always changing.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
Still climbing, but hopefully I will have won the lottery by then.

MEET TROY SINGH-DEREWA

Troy Singh-Derewa

Hometown: Darien, Connecticut
Hobbies: I love spending time with my dog, Attila. When I’m not climbing I enjoy snowboarding, longboarding, slacklining, and Esports.
Music: I like most types of music, except country! From Rhymesayers hip hop to partying at Bassnectar or chilling to Bonobo- if there’s a good beat I’ll probably like it!
Vacation: My dream vacation is to go to Mallorca for some DWS! Followed by a quick island hop to Ibiza for house music on the beach.
Movie: Funny buddy-flicks like Shanghai Noon or Wedding Crashers are my favorite. Also anything nerdy- like lord of the rings or sci-fi space thrillers.
Book: The Elegant Universe, Siddhartha, Touch for Health
Quote: “When you are in doubt, be still, and wait; when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage.”
Climbing since: ’05 in the Gunks!

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
I am a part of The Spot family because I believe in making the sport of climbing accessible to everyone. Not only are Spot climbers some of the strongest climbers around, they are also usually the ones having the most fun! Working with this team allows me to do what makes me happy, as well as progress with my goals for climbing.

What do you love about working at The Spot?
The best part about working at The Spot is being involved with the climbing community. I am inspired by people every day who are working to get stronger and experience more out of life.

Why do you climb?
I climb because because it helps me to be a better person! Through climbing I have learned patience, dedication, humility, and a way to push what my body is capable of. Climbing has also brought me to some of my closest friends.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
In five years I hope to be using climbing as a way to see more of the world. There are so many amazing places to see and types rock to experience. To be happy and healthy is all I can ask for!

Anything else you’d like to tell folks?
Thank you for showing interest in my life! I am grateful to be at The Spot in beautiful Colorado.

MEET MICHELLE WATSON

8/11/2015 | New Stuff, Staff News
Michelle Watson

Hometown: Arvada CO
Hobbies: Painting, Reading, and far too much time on Pinterest
Music: Wu Tang, Odesza, Gogol Bordello, Lily Fangz
Vacation: NYC, hopefully Japan one day
Movie: Princess Mononoke, SLC Punk, Amelie
Book: Harry Potter
Quote: “Those eggs were a lie! They gave me no eagle powers! They gave me no nutrients!” – Nacho Libre
Climbing Since: 2011

We’re psyched to introduce Michelle Watson, one of our newest staff members. A Colorado native, Michelle has been a member and part of The Spot community for years, so it only felt natural to give her a job! She is one of the nicest, kindest people you’ll meet, and between her cool blue hair and her outdoor crushing, Michelle fits right in here at The Spot. Next time you’re through the gym and she’s working the front desk say “hi”!

More from Michelle…

Why did you join the team at the Spot?
I wanted to have a job that was meaningful and that I could get excited about, climbing is something I want to share with everyone in the community. I’ve wanted to work here since I started climbing because this is the one place in Boulder that really feels like home.

What do you love about working at the Spot?
I absolutely love the people I work with, I never knew work could be so much fun and I’m so thankful to be having this experience right now. I also love being able to introduce new people to climbing because I think it can change lives, it definitely changed mine.

Why do you climb?
I hated climbing when I started, I was a soccer player for 12 years and didn’t have room for much else, my sister introduced me and I slowly grew to love it and actually quit playing soccer for a while. It’s a very individual sport in that it’s all about pushing yourself and trying hard but the relationships that climbers develop are the coolest and tightest I’ve ever seen so it’s really the best of both worlds.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
Terrifying question. I have two years of college left and really am not sure of how I want to apply my degree right now, all I really know is that I love doing anything artistic, I love climbing, and I hope that I can find some way to make money AND be happy.

Anything else?
I just want to thank everyone in the gym for making the Spot my favorite hangout and now my wonderful workplace, it’s been great and I’m psyched for the good times to come!

MEET JASON POWELL

6/16/2015 | New Stuff, Staff News
Jason Powell

Hometown: Memphis, TN
Hobbies: All sports and anything active. I also enjoy partying
Music: all the good stuff
Vacation: Boulder, CO
Movie: Documentaries
Book: The ones with pictures
Quote: Everything I’m not made me everything I am – Kanye West
Climbing since: 2006

Born and raised in the South, Jason Powell is one of the more entertaining individuals you will meet in The Spot. Don’t let his size and burliness confuse you though, he’s a real softie inside. Jason is among our most knowledgeable staff ambassadors and he’s always down to talk beta. He gets pumped up about new boulders, and knows his way around the community and local crags. Say “hi” next time you see him, and ask where he’s been bouldering!

Between member check-ins we got a few words from Jason…

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
I joined The Spot family in late 2013. There was a unique opportunity for someone to join the front desk and I just so happened to be that person. Forever grateful!

What do you love about working at The Spot so far?
I love the family environment!

Why do you climb?
Because it is one of the most unique, if not the most unique sports out there. In basketball, a field goal in the U.S.,is the same as a field goal in Brazil, which is the same as one in China…But rock climbing is totally different and always changing. Not only are there different types of rock, but not even the same styles are consistent. The sandstone in Joe’s Valley is different from the sandstone in the Ozarks, which is a little different than the sandstone in the Chattanooga area. And the crazy thing is that every area has its own style and feel. Definitely something you don’t get with other sports.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
You know that’s a funny question. Most people would want to hear that I’m crushing, climbing, and being adventurous…but in reality, I want to have a family, be working a job that I’m just as excited as I was on the first day working there, in good health, and climbing in some form or fashion. Sounds pretty good to me!

Anything else you’d like to tell folks?
Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something. Strive for greatness and love what you do!

MEET RYAN KEMPF

6/1/2015 | New Stuff, Staff News
Ryan Kempf

Hometown: Redlands, CA
Hobbies: Climbing, cooking, fly fishing, glass blowing, many more random things.
Music: I love all types music, but I grew up on hip-hop.
Vacation: I’ve traveled a lot in the states, I would like to see Squamish, Patagonia, Cirque of the Unclimbables, other far off places.
Movie: Top Gun
Book: Desert Solitaire
Quote: “Find the things that you love and that love you, and run to them”
Climbing since: 2009

We’re pretty psyched that Ryan recently joined our team as new Bookkeeping Manager. Not just because he’s excellent at bookkeeping (which he is) but mostly because he feels like kin. Ryan is an avid trad climber, and you’ll find him on the walls of Eldo as often as his desk at The Spot. But he also has years of gym management experience, as well as years of financial consulting and restructuring work with distressed companies. We’re not distressed, just excited to have a great new like-minded professional on the team here.

Between check writing and payroll processing, we got a few words from Ryan…

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
I am excited to have found an opportunity with a company where the business’s mission and vision are aligned with my personal and core values. Climbing has given me so much, it feels great to be able to give something back to the community.

What do you love about working at The Spot so far?
I love being surrounded by passionate, enthusiastic people that truly believe in what they are doing. It’s contagious.

Why do you climb?
I climb because it brings balance into my life, makes me happy and gives me something to strive for. Climbing has taken me to some beautiful places and introduced me to some amazing people. I have learned more about myself through climbing then pretty much anything else.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
In 5 years I hope to have done some more international traveling. I look forward to accomplishing some personal and climbing related goals, growing as a a person and enjoying the experience along the way.

Anything else you’d like to tell folks?
“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.”  ― Edward Abbey

 

MEET DIANE NICKERSON

4/10/2015 | Staff News
Diane Nickerson

Hometown: Minneapolis, Colorado Springs
Hobbies: Bouldering, eating, reading, drinking chai
Music: Too many to list
Vacation: As in favorite? Well, my family’s from Jamaica, so going back there is always best. Any warm ocean is second best!
Movie: Period piece or Sci-fi. Or Jackie Chan.
Book: How about author? Jane Austen, Neal Stephenson, Anne Perry…
Quote: I don’t ever remember quotes.
Climbing since: 1996 (except for a year of nonstop whitewater kayaking)

Extremely stoked is the only way to describe having Diane back as a Coach at the Spot Gym! It is impossible for Diane’s passion for climbing and positivity not to impact every person she encounters. With years of coaching experience she knows how to keep things fun while staying super focused and progressive. She coaches by example and is always ready to put her climbing shoes on and figure out a problem with her students or jump into a hard workout to bring up the motivation. If you have seen Diane having a session or coaching at the Spot, we are sure you will agree 100%!

Here’s some more from Diane directly…

 

Why did you join the team at The Spot?
Because it is The Spot– I love this gym!

What do you love about working at The Spot so far?
I love the camaraderie of the Spot staff, as well as the community of experienced climbers. There is such a wealth of climbing and climbing-related knowledge to be mined here. And of course, coaching Spot teams is super fun!

Why do you climb?
Because I cannot not climb. I’ve tried. More than a few times! heheh..

Anything else you’d like to tell folks?
Stop reading and get back to bouldering!