Diane Russell - Owner
Co-Owner of Pacific Edge. She got her start in rock climbing at the age of 14, in Boulder, Colorado. Beginning with instruction from the Colorado Mountain Club, climbing quickly became a major focus. From here she was introduced to mountaineering and ice climbing. Her first love is the wild places, and she prefers and excels at rock climbing. Her love for the sport and encouraging teaching style made her an excellent guide for the Colorado Mountain School. With more than 45 years of experience in the sport; guiding and climbing has taken her around the world from New Zealand to the Himalayas, to Europe and throughout the United States. Her extraordinary climbing ability made her a recognized and successful competitor in countless Nationals, World Cups, and climbing at the Extreme Games…and she is still getting out there on real rock. Her most recent adventure brought her back to her love of the backcountry when she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2014 (from Mexico to Canada). You may also find yourself on her thoughtful routes set here at PE signed: Di. Good Luck!
Tom Davis - Owner
The Founder and Co-Owner of Pacific Edge. He has been climbing for over 40 years venturing from the continental United States to Canada, Alaska, South America, Europe, & New Zealand. He is a strong all-around climber with accomplishments on big walls, long free climbs, sport routes, & in high altitude mountaineering. Tom’s climbing home is Yosemite. He has climbed dozens of Walls in the Valley including El Capitan, Half Dome, Washington’s Column, Mt. Watkins, and numerous solo walls. Long Free Climbs are his favorite, and he has done many of the classics including the West Face of El Cap, Astroman, the Rostrum, Blind Faith, Free Stone, The Crucifix, and the Chouinard-Herbert. Further from home, Tom has climbed Denali (20,320'), Huascaran, in Peru (22,200'), Lotus Flower Tower (Northwest Territories), and the North Face of Mt. Robson in Canada. He has completed numerous first ascents at Pinnacles National Monument and in Yosemite. He worked four seasons for the Colorado Outward Bound School and served on the Yosemite Search and Rescue Team in Tuolumne Meadows. Tom is methodical, and determined in his approach to climbing and training. He brings the sum of this extensive experience when teaching his many classes at Pacific Edge.
Scott Lappin: General Manager & Senior Route Setter
Scott first started climbing in the most unlikely of places: Indiana. Convinced there was more to the sport than climbing on 20ft walls of bad limestone, he dropped by the local climbing gym and just never left. Over the years Scott has managed to travel and climb throughout the East and West coasts, venturing as far away as South America and New Zealand. But his heart is never far from the noise of streaming beta, chalk dust, and smelly rental shoes. So look for the devilish grin of that route setter (RSL) in the corner who’s hoping the foot chip you are on doesn’t spin. Scott is co-manager of Pacific Edge, manages our extensive pro-shop, and can also be found teaching a variety of specialty classes such as Big Wall, Multi Pitch, Lead and Outdoor. Ask him your gear questions and prepare to understand the world of climbing a little bit more thanks to him.
Mike Kittredge - General Manager & Climbing Instructor
Mike joined the Pacific Edge team in January 2013. He is part of our management team and a climbing instructor. Some of his favorite climbing destinations include the Bishop Area, Pinnacles, The Leap, The Valley, Shuteye Ridge, and Joshua Tree National Park. Mike is a solid all around climber who enjoys sport climbing, easy-moderate multi-pitch trad, and has been known to play on the occasional boulder. He has a strong commitment to social justice and our environment. As such, Mike recently spearheaded a collaboration between PE and Coastanoa High School to revive the Project Climb Program designed to introduce youth at risk to climbing while also using climbing as a vehicle to address other life skills such as leadership development, responsibility, commitment, safety and more. He also played a significant role in updating the lighting in the gym to be more energy efficient. When not climbing he enjoys surfing, photography and just hanging out in nature. Whenever possible he lives to enjoy the moment and finds beauty in observing our natural world.
Larry Leo: Facilities Manager
Larry was our first employee. He is an indispensable asset to the workings of the gym! He is the first person we call when we can’t find something or we need help problem solving. He is always ready with a smile or helping hand, from belaying kids to fixing t-nuts and ropes or hanging a door. He can be seen at all hours of the day and night, the man behind the scenes. Fishing is his favorite pastime, which he does wherever there is water. Fish beware his skill is great! Motorcycle riding and restoring is another hobby. Larry is generous with his time. He may be found helping a friend move or driving an elderly person on a shopping excursion or taking someone out on the bay on his fishing boat. Pacific Edge is fortunate to have him on the staff!
Ona Jones: Membership Coordinator
Ona was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California. She grew up spending most of her time outdoors, backpacking, camping and exploring the Tetons and Yosemite. Ona has always felt most at home and alive in nature and was so excited when she discovered climbing as an addition to her adventures. Climbing has also inspired growth in her yoga practice and her life as a whole. The combination of yoga and climbing has strengthened her physical, mental and emotional well-being. Ona loves being part of the climbing community where she feels encouraged to grow and challenge herself without judgment or criticism. When Ona isn’t climbing or practicing yoga at the gym, you might find her in her art studio sewing and painting, in the mountains exploring and climbing or trekking around in a foreign country.
Sage Weseman: Team Edge Head Coach & Route Setter
Sage is a beast. Not much is known about his history other than that he was basically in full on beast mode from the moment he walked in the door. Some say he is from Santa Cruz, others say he was a boulder that transformed into a man and charged over here from the Sierras. Remember that guy that on-sight flashed your project last night in front of your face? That was this guy. He’ll give you uber- beta on your project and cheer you on while you crush… sstrroonng!!! Sage can also be found at the desk, teaching and coaching the Youth Program or setting some fine routes.
Triana Griffith: Youth Programs Coordinator
Triana grew up in Santa Cruz playing competitive soccer and swimming for UCSC’s team. She did not find Pacific Edge until she was 14, when her friend asked her to take Rosie’s core class. After that she was hooked and spent most days at Pacific Edge after school. Besides climbing rocks, Triana loves to play piano and sing, and can sometimes be found playing around town. She is currently a student at Cabrillo and is majoring in music. First and foremost, she is our Youth Programs Coordinator. She oversees the training and supervision for all employees in the Youth Program, while at the same time implementing a curriculum designed toengaged and safe young climbers. When not coordinating her staff, she also works as a deskie and is a coach for the youth competitive team. Finally, Triana loves cats, has two, and will be friends with anyone who watches Rick and Morty.
Toni Sanchez: Team Edge Head Coach & Route Setter
My name is Antonio Sanchez more commonly known as "Toni". I have been climbing for 5 years. I grew up in Santa Cruz and enjoyed playing and competing in several different sports and only began climbing at age 19. I enjoy climbing both in the gym and outside, but I enjoy bouldering over anything else. So far, I have been bouldering in Red Rocks Las Vegas, Bishop California, Tahoe, Yosemite Valley, and of course Castle Rock State Park here locally. I also enjoy climbing competitively and mainly focus on the training and athletic side of climbing. I am a route setter and one of the head coaches for PE’s competitive youth climbing team. I love climbing and enjoy working/teaching/helping train others who are motivated to reach their goals and share a love for climbing.
Miguel Garcia: Kids Climb Staffing Coordinator
Miguel Garcia was born and raised in Santa Cruz. He has been climbing for about 6 years now, and when he is not climbing, he likes to chill at home with his Dog Oliver. Miguel graduated from CSUMB with an Art Research degree. He is a nationally certified EMT and will be pursuing his national paramedic certification. Miguel works as a climbing instructor for various classes, our Kid’s Climb coordinator and a deskie. He also wants to be sure you know loves tacos.
Climbing is integral to Carl’s life, and he has been passionate about climbing outdoors, in all its forms, since he was eighteen – a long time ago. He feels his professional life as an educator, and his love of climbing, blend well to support his role as a climbing instructor for Pacific Edge. Some of his favorite climbing venues include Pinnacles, Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, Lover’s Leap, the Sierra Nevada, and the Cascades. Included on his most favorite things-to-do list, is to introduce people to climbing outdoors in one of our stunningly gorgeous national parks. When not climbing, Carl enjoys photography, hiking, backpacking, skiing, and river rafting, especially with his wife and children. He has been privileged to do so in some of the most beautiful places on Earth, including the western United States, Alaska, Canada, and Nepal. He feels most fortunate to be part of the Pacific Edge community.
Conor was born in 1990, he made his climbing debut at age 5 crushing the local gym walls to the envy of his fellow birthday party compatriots. Eight years later he made his much anticipated return to the sport of climbing. Before long he began wielding a drill and in doing so earned enough to support his international exploits. He currently sets some outrageous boulder and Top rope problems at Pacific Edge, often implementing his love of powerful dynamic movements into his routes. He had the privilege of climbing in South Africa, Switzerland, France, Spain, and in much of the U.S.
I am a teacher of many things, and I love sharing my passions with others. I caught the climbing bug immediately after exposure and have never looked back. I've been climbing about 20 years and teaching almost as long.
Teaching climbing is pure joy for me for many reasons but primarily because I love watching the enthusiasm of my students as they improve after just a short time. Students report that learning to climb is fun and exciting. Did I say it was fun?
When I'm not climbing or working at UC Santa Cruz, I enjoy spending my time pretending to be an abstract artist (debrcollins.com) and practicing Yoga.
I grew up in a small town near Santa Cruz that allowed me the freedom to roam; From playing at the beach to exploring the redwood forests, there was always an adventure to be had!
My name is Freddy, or as some know me, the “the big scary guy.” I was born in Watsonville but at the age of nine I moved to Santa Cruz. I played and instructed tennis most of my life and thought I would continue with tennis until Toni brought me in to Pacific Edge to climb. I was instantly addicted to this wonderful sport and have dedicated myself to climbing. My skills are improving with my new focus and I am striving to train harder in order to catch up with my mentors. I started working at Pacific Edge in February in 2014, as a Kids Climb and Birthday Party belayer and now work as a desk jockey and coach for our competitive climbing team, Team Edge. This is by far the best job I have ever had, and it has given me the opportunity to meet the most amazing people ever, train harder, and explore the world of climbing! I have climbed at Castle Rock, Lake Tahoe, and Red Rocks and so far, Red Rocks is my favorite. I have decided to make it a yearly trip. I am trying to be there after Christmas every year, slowly ticking off projects in my guidebook. If anyone has projects here and needs a spotter or motivation, let me know! I know there is still an entire WORLD of climbing that I want to explore and I am excited to see where I will go.
Born and raised in the “Granite State” of New Hampshire, Julia grew up scrambling in the White Mountains. An athlete from a young age, she is a product of the Olympic Development Soccer Program. After college in Atlanta at Emory University, Julia studied dance in New York City, and was a professional sailor on the mid-coast of Maine before becoming a teacher. She moved to the Monterey Bay in 2007 and got her Master’s from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. After working in conservation for the past 10 years, she is excited to transition into the outdoor industry. Julia enjoys working the desk, teaching Basic Safety, and coaching Rock Stars. When not at the Edge, she likes playing outside, surfing, yoga, samba, and acai bowls. She’s passionate about helping other ladies get climbing on rocks, and loves to chat about planning future adventures.
When Maxx first came in to Pacific Edge, he was just looking for a fun way to pass some time. It wasn't long before he realized he had discovered his new passion and decided to leave his tech job behind to pursue a life on the rocks. Since then, Maxx has devoted most of his time to learning as much as he can about climbing, and continues to pursue his big wall dreams. Some of his favorite places to climb are Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Lovers Leap, Vedauwoo, and Wild Iris. When Maxx is not climbing, working behind the desk or teaching a class you may find him on a slackline, down at the beach, or picking on his guitar serenading his dogs.
Rock climbing changed my life, showing me how I wanted to be in this world. It continues to teach me so much about who I am, my fears, my strengths, my balance, my commitment, my love of nature, the mountains, my freedom! I began climbing in 2004, the summer of dreams and possibilities. As soon as I got on the wall at Pacific Edge, I was all in. I bought a truck and packed up like any sassy little climber lady ready to enter the vertical world. I traveled to Thailand, Eastern Sierras, Yosemite, Tahoe, Red Rocks, Smith Rock and on and on. I spent a season living in Yosemite. This was the highlight of trad climbing for me, the purest adventure. Returning to Santa Cruz, I found my passion wanting to be shared. I began teaching climbing at Pacific Edge Climbing Gym in 2008. This brought even a deeper meaning to the spirit of climbing, witnessing others experience the very thing that has created the woman I am today. In 2010, I began guiding outdoor climbing adventures with Adventure Out and in 2011 began managing their climbing programs. I am also a Wilderness First Responder, have trained with the American Mountain Guide Association and continue to teach women's climbing courses at Pacific Edge.
I was born in New Mexico and always loved climbing things and finding ways to get up high. I moved to Santa Cruz six years ago and stumbled upon this amazing gym and fell in love! I have always wanted to learn more about rock climbing. I have always wanted to work with kids in finding self confidence and new, safe and productive ways to grow mentally, physically and spiritually! I find all of this at Pacific Edge.