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!
Josette Kniffen - Membership Coordinator
My name is Josette. I am originally from Florida but I have also lived in Colorado, and Texas. I finally made it to the great state of California! When I moved to Santa Cruz Pacific Edge was the first place that I found community and made friends. I lost something too--by strengthening my core my lower back pain disappeared! That is when I knew I would have to continue climbing forever! When I had the opportunity to join the Pacific Edge family I jumped on it! Being outside is where I'm happiest. I love working in the yard, keeping chickens, adventuring in the woods or at the beach, and climbing! I also really love food and friends. Foraging and then cooking dinner is one way I like bring food, friends, and the outdoors together. I am always willing and eager to lend a helping hand. So if you need something just ask!
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.
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 - Senior Desk Staff
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.
Izzi Golino - Youth Programs Coordinator, Youth Instructor, and Desk Staff
Hey my name is Izzi and I’ve been climbing at Pacific Edge since I was 3 years old rules. If you’ve been around for a while you might remember a little girl running around in dresses. That was most definitely me. When I’m not here at Pacific Edge I am at Cabrillo working on a Communications major with plans to transfer to a 4 year university. I have been working here at Pacific Edge for 2 years and you will find me either at the front desk or teaching kiddos as a youth programs instructor. My favorite places to climb are Bishop, California, for bouldering, and in Colorado for anything sport related. If you do find me climbing you’ll most likely find me roped up rather than working a boulder problem. If you see me around feel free to say hey!
Isabelle Kornberg - Route Setter and Donations Coordinator
Isabelle Kornberg has lived in Santa Cruz for 18 years. She took her first class at Pacific Edge when she was 13 years old and has been climbing ever since. Before working at Pacific Edge Isabelle worked as an after-school care instructor for kids through the County Parks. Currently Isabelle is at Cabrillo College taking classes toward becoming a Nurse, so if you have any questions about the human body feel free to ask her. When Isabelle has free time she loves climbing outside. During the summer time you can frequently run into her in the Tahoe area, and during the Winter time catch her climbing in Red Rock Canyon, Bishop, or Yosemite. She loves both sport climbing and bouldering and will frequently see her climbing on both. Isabelle loves crimps and small holds but has also grown very attached to pinches. Isabelle teaches youth programs here at Pacific Edge and she is also Coach for the Youth Competitive Climbing Team. Aside from teaching you will also catch her working at the front desk. Isabelle is very friendly so if you ever see her around don’t be afraid to say hello!
Joshua Abrahams - Desk and Instructor
Josh Abrahams was raised in Mammoth Lakes, a small mountain town that sits just under 45 minutes from both Yosemite and Bishop. Having grown up in such a mecca for climbing would lead one to believe Josh has been doing this all his life. That was not the case; in fact it was not until Josh moved to suburban northern California that Rock Climbing became important to him. He started his climbing career at PGSF as a member of their climbing team when he was 13. Since then he has climbed in places such as Joshua tree, Bishop, and Tahoe. Bouldering is Josh’s favorite discipline by far, so if you’re out and about at the gym you may catch him throwing a sick bat hang. Josh’s habitats include working behind the desk and teaching Pacific Edge’s youth programs. If you don’t see him climbing, Josh can also be found running west cliff, playing basketball, or hiking Santa Cruz’s beautiful trails.
Jocelyn Berkowitz - Route Setter, Instructor, and Youth Programs Coordinator
Jocelyn (also known as Snail) originally grew up in Los Angeles, CA. After graduating from the University of Alberta, Jocelyn caught the bug and began travelling and exploring the outdoors as much as possible. After backpacking and exploring Europe for 6 months, Jocelyn began working in the outdoor industry leading hikes, climbing, kayaking, biking, and backpacking trips. Starting in Colorado, Washington, the foothills of the Sierra's, then Oregon, Jocelyn finally landed in the Santa Cruz mountains. Jocelyn has an unquenchable thirst for being outside, protecting our natural spaces, exploring and enjoying all this beautiful world has to offer. Jocelyn is stoked to join the Pacific Edge community setting routes and sharing her passion for climbing.
Nick Qaqish - Team Coach, Instructor, & Desk Staff
Nick grew up in San Francisco and fell in love with climbing during his first year of college. He walked into Dogpatch Boulders and was instantly hooked. He loves bouldering so much, that it took working at Touchstone gyms for over a year to finally get him to top rope. Since then Nick has dabbled in sport climbing but to this day remains a boulderer at heart. Nick transferred to UCSC from USF looking for a change of scenery. He’s been working in climbing gyms for the past few years as he finishes up his degree in molecular biology and hopes to continue his education and pursue a master’s degree in nursing. Nick’s favorite spot to climb is Red Rock Canyon, where he was first introduced to the world of outdoor rock climbing. When Nick isn't in the gym or library he spends his free time playing Civ 5 and walking his chihuahua, Chancho.
Adam Kinnard - Desk Staff and Instructor
Adam Kinnard was born and raised in the East Bay. He loves LOTR. And Cardi B. He started climbing in college at the gym, and quickly fell in love with bouldering. His fave bouldering spots are the Buttermilks and the Happy’s. He slowly (and reluctantly, due to a fear of heights and gear), got roped into sport climbing while abroad in New Zealand. He’s worked in outdoor ed in the Sierras for Outward Bound California and Naturebridge. While living in a wee-little cabin in Yosemite, he began trad climbing, which he had previously sworn he’d never do. Now he loves it! Even though he gets scared, a lot. Adam is happiest when sharing outdoor adventures with friends. For him, climbing is as much a social bonding experience as it is a sport.
Adam is new to Santa Cruz, and is at Cabrillo working on his pre-reqs for nursing school. He is also learning to surf! Come say hi at the front desk, and reach out if you want to surf or adventure! Or binge watch LOTR. Or jam to Cardi and/or Beyonce. Peace, love, and chow.
Danny Haber - Desk and Instructor
Hello! My name is Danny, I started climbing and backpacking in 2012. I thru hiked the PCT in 2013, the Via Alpina (Europe) in 2014, and the CDT in 2015. Like the rest of the staff at PE, I love the outdoors, and challenging myself. I grew up here in Santa Cruz where I fell in love with running on the many beautiful trails. Seasonal jobs have taken me across the U.S. working mostly as a hiking guide with children. I am currently training for climbs in the Sierras, and competing in the Santa Cruz Half Iron Man. Ask me about anything endurance!
Carl Pearson - Instructor
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.
Julia Townsend - Women’s Climbing Club and Instructor
Born in the Granite State of New Hampshire, Julia Townsend grew up skiing and scrambling in the White Mountains. An athlete from a young age, she played competitive soccer in the Olympic Development Program, trained as a dancer while at Emory University, and likes practicing yoga whenever she can. Past job highlights include being a teacher, sailor in Maine, and working on ocean conservation. Julia moved to California in 2007 and received a Master’s in International Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
A member at Pacific Edge since 2014, and instructor since 2016, Julia is psyched to be part of the PE community, and especially enjoys supporting other ladies through the Women’s Climbing Club. When she is not climbing or planning her next adventure, she is an instructor with REI’s Outdoor School based out of Saratoga. Favorite climbing areas she has visited so far: Yosemite, Red Rock Canyon, and Kalymnos. Julia is currently certified in Wilderness First Aid through the National Outdoor Leadership School, and likes to make acai bowls.
Deb Collins - Instructor
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!
Melinda Reece - Instructor
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.
Aldric Azucena - Route Setter
Climbing is life! My favorite outdoor area is Tahoe and Bishop. I have been climbing for 3 years now. My favorite kind of routes are tall overhanging boulders with sharp granite crimps. Other things I enjoy at pacific edge are climbing the moonboard and hanging out with friends.
Teja Pratt - Desk Staff and Instructor
Teja has been climbing at Pacific Edge for just over a year now, but her climbing experience extends beyond that. Teja loves every activity outdoors from climbing trees to swimming in the ocean. Currently Teja is taking classes at Cabrillo College with an interest in Environmental Science, since she loves the outdoors so much. Teja has been climbing outdoors Yosemite and Tahoe and some closer to home such as Castle Rock and Panther Beach. Her favorite of those places has to be Yosemite due to the amount of climbing potential there is. Teja is a dynamic climber and throws herself at every route, and hold, that she can. At Pacific Edge Teja is one of our Youth Program instructors, a coach for the youth competitive climbing team, and part of our desk team. You are likely to find Teja up on a wall or just hanging around, so if you see her don't hesitate to say hello.