© 2023 Blue Granite Climbing Gym.
My climbing journey started over ten years ago, when I was in high school. A close friend of mine was a world champion youth sport climber who introduced me to the sport after I had quit ski racing competitively and wanted something different to do during the winter. I enjoyed the sport tremendously, but never consistently practiced and grew at it until I moved to Lake Tahoe in March of 2016. It was there that I became more confident climbing outside of a gym, and eventually lead, multi pitch, and trad climbing.
Growing up in Washington, sports and an active outdoor lifestyle have been a part of my life since I can remember. Although I loved it in my home state, moving to California has opened up the door for many new epic adventures backcountry skiing, camping, hiking, climbing, and swimming in alpine lakes. When I’m not adventuring outside, I enjoy practicing yoga, playing with my cat, collecting records, studying sustainability, and working on my (somewhat) vintage truck. I have been coaching youth sports on and off throughout my adult life ever since I stopped competing in them myself, and I absolutely love the feeling of spreading the love and knowledge of sport to the next generation.
Born and raised in South Lake Tahoe, mountain culture has been embedded in my life since day one. Whether it be climbing, skiing, biking, or backpacking, you can always find me outside…oh, and playing kendama. I started climbing just a few years ago with some old construction workers who had assembled climbing walls in their basements and garages. A couple times a month turned into nearly every day after work until I fell in love. Since then I’ve fallen in and out of climbing but am heavy back into it now. Blue Granite Climbing Gym has helped me realize again my passion for the sport and has rededicated me into this lifestyle.
Climbing and yoga alike bring you into a flow state which leaves you feeling alive, aware and full of gratitude. In yoga we work to heal the body and heal the mind allowing the natural flow of energy to reinvigorate us. Calibelieves in incorporating a holistic approach to all things, especially her yoga practice. She has been teaching yoga for over 10 years and practicing since she was a child. In each of Cali‘s classes you will get a chance to both strengthen and lengthen your physical body as well as calm the mind for more peaceful control of the senses.
After a lifetime in sports Emily Sears turned her competitive drive to fitness. While she enjoys pushing her own body to its limits, she looks to instill self efficacy in others no matter the workout. Emily believes everyone should discover their inner bad ass through training and exercise and wants to help you find it!
Crystal Woodward has been teaching and practicing yoga in Tahoe for several years. Crystal has a passion for yoga and its many healing benefits and has spent time studying and practicing several styles of yoga, including recently completing a 300 hr program in Prana Vinyasa. Crystal puts her heart into each class she teaches and hopes to share this love of yoga with her students as they deepen into their personal growth and practice. Crystal enjoys working with students on all levels, and looks forward to practicing yoga and climbing with you at Blue Granite!
Chris Bloch started climbing in 1985, and began competing on the national and international level in 1994, the same year he began route-setting. He has either organized, set routes, or competed in over 200 climbing competitions, and coached a number of notable athletes including Chris Sharma and Ethan Pringle. He competed in Speed Climbing at the ESPN X-Games each year from 1996 to 2001 earning 4 silver medals and 2 bronze medals, making him the most decorated climber in X-Games history. He also was the number one ranked speed climber in the USA, winning six Nationals from 1996 to 1998, was the National Speed Climbing Champion in
1995, ’96, and ’97, and was the North American Speed Climbing Champion in 1996. In difficulty, he was a consistent top-20 finisher in national events, placing 4th in the ABS Bouldering Nationals in 2003, and competed on the World Cup circuit in 1997, managing to place 27 the at the bouldering world cup in Sheffield, England. He was the Head Routesetter for the Subaru Gorge Games from 2000- 2003, and was the Head Routesetter for the ESPN X-Games in 2002. He also served as Bridges Rock Gym’s head setter for five years. Chris has on-sighted V9 and redpointed multiple V10s. He has also onsighted 5.12d, redpointed 5.13 sport routes and has done a few 5.11 trad routes. Chris is excited to share his knowledge and experience with everyone, teach some fun clinics, and help make the routsetting at Blue Granite innovative and fun.
Born and Raised in Napa Valley, Dylan has been climbing for the last ten years. He frequently made climbing trips to Tahoe in high school and decided to move to South Lake Tahoe in 2014 to pursue an education at Lake Tahoe Community College and enjoy everything Tahoe has to offer. He recently graduated with an associates degree in wilderness education and is pursuing a bachelors degree in business. Along with climbing, he loves skateboarding, snowboarding, traveling, enjoying time with his girlfriend and friends, and, of course, coffee.
Henry started climbing five years ago in Santa Barbara, CA. He is a dedicated boulderer and a self-proclaimed “gym rat.” Henry has called SLT home for the past two summers, and has spent a majority of his time here knocking out the classics around the lake. Originally a gymnast, he particularly enjoys boulders that require obscure body movements.When he is not bouldering, he spends his time playing games such as, Magic:The Gathering, DOTA, and chess. He’s always excited to meet and climb with new people!
Originally from SoCal, Sarah moved to Tahoe shortly after high school to pursue her passion for the beauty of Lake Tahoe and the Sierras, where she learned how to rock climbing along with a multitude of other outdoor passions. Being a Wilderness Education graduate from Lake Tahoe Community College, Sarah has had a long affinity for anything outdoor related. She fine-tuned these skills but taking any and all classes that would further her backcountry knowledge and climbing skills. From advanced climbing to self-rescue and technical rescue courses, she fell in love with the incredible adventures and skillset that climbing offers. After graduating, she took to improving her skills by purchasing her own gear and moving forward with her climbing abilities; ranging from sport climbing and traditional leads to alpine mountaineering. After LTCC, Sarah spent time receiving her Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certificate, serving as a backcountry guide in Yosemite National Park, and becoming a California State Marshall Fire Fighter. She currently resides in and works as an EMT on an ambulance.
Cori started climbing in 2014 in her hometown of San Bernardino. She moved to the Bay Area for college and fell in love with the climbing community there. Her adventures have taken her climbing all over California but the colorful sandstone of Red Rock, NV has her heart. Cori made the choice to move Tahoe in May 2018, because of its abundant climbing, sunshine, and hiking trails. When she’s not climbing, Cori enjoys working on sewing projects, swimming and sunbathing by the lake, and practicing yoga.
My name is Lauren Tee but I go by LT. I’ve been in and out of Tahoe for about 6 years, originally grew up in Washington state. I’ve bounced all around the PNW but I always seem to find myself back in South Lake Tahoe. I’ve been climbing on and off for about five years. I started climbing at 19 while I was living in Bellingham, WA. I started with strictly bouldering until my preference became sport climbing. I’ve gone through quite a few serious injuries over the last 2 years that have hindered me from climbing regularly, but I just recently started climbing again, trying to ease back into the normal climbing routine. Other passions of mine are freestyle skiing, slacklining, and hiking.
Patrick grew up in the suburbs of the Silicon Valley and began venturing into the mountains during his time at the UC Santa Cruz. Casual weekend backpacking trips laid the groundwork for what would become a full-fledged passion for mountain climbing. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, he began his guiding career on Mt Shasta in Northern California. Here, surrounded by devoted climbers and skiers, he began to hone his skills for both working and recreating in the alpine. Patrick has guided, climbed, and skied throughout the Sierra Nevada, Pacific Northwest, Patagonia, Alaska, Canadian Rockies, and Himalaya. When Patrick isn’t chasing perfect granite or steep powder high in the mountains, he migrates back to sunny Santa Cruz in search of flip flops, warm sand, and salty ocean air.
Founder and roaster, Jared Marquez, was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe. After 21 years of being immersed in the privileges and challenges of his hometown, he headed out to San Diego where he spent the next 8 years developing personally and finding the tools to come back home and make Tahoe a better place. After learning about community development and attaining his BA in Psychology (specializing in therapy and community interventions) he realized that starting a small business was the most strategic way to use his strengths and make a difference back home.
After 3 years of research and continuing his education on his own, the heart and vision behind Refuge Coffee had become a clear plan, a powerful brand, and a distinct and excellent product.
Refuge Coffee continues to fulfill its original vision today, not only by providing excellent coffee for the South Lake Tahoe community to start the day with, but also by supporting the local community. Refuge Coffee sponsors TAMBA (Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association) events and trail-building, personally develops areas in South Lake Tahoe for recreational rock climbing, and sponsors and volunteers with SOS Outreach, a program that mentors underserved youth through snowboarding and skiing.
Refuge is about more than coffee. It’s about inspiring a better life, starting with the community of South Lake Tahoe.
I learned from an early age that I loved being active. Both of my parents were in the Navy, and my childhood was spent traveling and trying out new activities with each coastal place we lived. When my dad retired from the Navy, my family moved to New Mexico.
By living in the mountains outside of Albuquerque, NM, I was able to learn how to climb, ski, and go backpacking. I fell deeply in love with mountains and music performance and felt pulled toward both. By the time I graduated high school, it felt too soon to leave New Mexico. At that time, I was determined to improve as a musician so I went to University of New Mexico to study music and psychology. From high school on, I also worked at a summer camp for youth on the Autism spectrum. Those joyous, challenging experiences only fueled my desire to understand how others learn and process information. My spare time was filled with climbing, camping, and skiing. Those passions grew to become obsessions. I made money as a ski instructor, a university employee, a musician, and as an actress, and while doing so….. I came to accept that I loved being outside too much to ever live in a crowded city, even if it meant sacrificing my goal of working as a full-time musician.
My partner and I moved to Tahoe the summer after I graduated in 2017. It seemed like an obvious choice – skiing and climbing paradise! Since moving, I have coached climbing and skiing as a living. Exploring California, and helping others learn to push what they are capable of, has only increased my love for these pursuits! Any type of climbing gets me stoked, but multi-pitch trad or sport routes with fun features are my favorites. Creating and maintaining a positive, informed, and responsible culture is a priority for me and I look forward to spreading the stoke with Blue Granite!
Wes started climbing about 25 years ago and quickly became a fan of the hideous slopers that made Pusher famous. His favorite places he has climbed are Squamish, Fontainebleau, and the Red River Gorge. He is a professional hydrologist and father of two. He has worked and/or lived in Tahoe since 2006.
Robert grew up in San Diego, where athleticism and nature were a major influence. Surfing taught him how to interact with the dynamic elements of nature and care for these wild places. The drive to be an athlete, brought him to his next adventure of gymnastics, were he was a competitive gymnast for 8 years. Upon discovering rock climbing, he quit gymnastics and poured his energy and attention to the sport of climbing. As his passion grew, he moved to South Lake Tahoe, to pursue a higher education in 2012. Tahoe was the perfect destination because of the Lake Tahoe Community College and world class granite. After a few years at LTCC, he transferred to Sierra Nevada College to get a bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Psychology. His understanding of body movement and outdoor education provides an excellent platform to enable others to further their own skills while, adventuring in the mountains.
Do you remember when you were a kid and thought anything was possible? I’m still that kid. Climbing has been the best venue for me to explore the ideas I had as a child, and has allowed me to challenge the potential of my body and mind. As a coach I do the same with my athletes.
Climbing found me on February 4th, 2007 when a close friend led me up a snowy Corrugation Corner at Lovers Leap. I was instantly hooked. Over the next eleven years I climbed in eleven countries and on some of the most inspiring big walls in the world, from Yosemite to Patagonia. Through these experiences I realized how important mentorship and partnership were to my growth. I was lucky enough to have incredible mentors and powerful partnerships that will last a lifetime. These, along with my pursuit of sports physiology and the concepts of training mental strength and emotional fitness have led to my passion for coaching.
Since 1997 I have coached athletes in a variety of sports ranging from competitive freestyle skiing to big wall climbing. In 2016 I started mindbodyclimb, a coaching and training service for climbers. Since then I have witnessed athletes young and old learn to climb with an increased sense of joy and confidence while accomplishing goals they never thought possible.
I truly enjoy every type of climbing from bouldering to alpine big walls. One of my favorite aspects of climbing is whether you are pulling on plastic with friends or tying in for a committing long route, it brings people together in ways almost no other sport can.
I’m as passionate about serving the climbing community as I am about climbing. I want to share the fruits that both climbing and life’s toughest challenges have given to me. I’m looking forward to enhancing the experience of every person who walks through the doors of Blue Granite.
Brad and Gianna Leavers are a young, South Lake Tahoe local couple who have been recreating in Tahoe their whole lives, and since 2013 are happy to call this place home.
Brad grew up in Redding, CA and quickly moved to Mt. Shasta to attend Collage of the Siskiyous fire program and learn to ski. He spent the next ten years working across Northern California with Cal Fire, including at Truckee Station 50. After learning to climb in Mt. Shasta he moved Sacramento to be closer to the excellent climbing and skiing in Tahoe and all across the Sierras.
Gianna grew up in Placerville, CA and has skied in Tahoe since she was a little girl. She went to college at UC Davis where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and also discovered rock climbing for the first time. She has been climbing in Tahoe and all over California for the last six years. She also spent the five years that she lived in Davis working at the local climbing gym, Rocknasium.
Brad and Gianna met in Davis, and continued to travel to Tahoe together frequently to climb and ski. They moved to South Lake Tahoe together in 2013 and got married at Zephyr Cover two years later.
When Brad and Gianna moved to Tahoe they asked themselves the same question local climbers have been asking themselves for years….how is there not a climbing gym here? After thinking about it for a couple years, they decided to take the leap and build a brand new climbing gym. From day one, Brad and Gianna have had the support of the community and that still remains the driving force behind Blue Granite Climbing Gym.
The vision for Blue Granite is to provide a place for community members to recreate, socialize, and foster long-lasting climbing partnerships and friendships. It will provide a safe place for local youth to participate in fun and healthy activities. The gym will provide programs for local families to interact and engage in an active lifestyle together.