Meet your Manager: Ross Nelson, GM of Summit Denton

A familiar face at Summit Denton became the gym's General Manager in May! Say hello to Ross Nelson! A fixture at the Denton gym since it opened in 2015, Ross has taken the helm at our cool little gym near the downtown Denton square. A recent UNT grad, Ross knows the ins and outs of this college town (and can feel the pain of any students going through finals / weird roommate situations). Here's a bit more on Ross!

How long have you been with Summit?

Since the day Denton opened, Nov. 2, 2015. (But who's counting, amirite). One of my best friends, Cole Dyson, was working at Carrollton at the time and said there was an opening at Denton. So I decided to apply, and I applied like, 3 or 4 times and finally got a call from Adam (Denton GM at the time). And we set up a schedule for an interview, and he was like "Yeah, we’ll give it a try." I started at front desk, and then in 6 months I became an assistant manager. A month later I started teaching core, and then I became the event assistant here, and then right before I graduated, I became the general manager. 

How did you start climbing?

I started climbing at the UNT wall, like a month into my freshman year. One of my friends, Liam (who is now a routesetter here!)  just told me to give it a try. I was trying to lose weight, I still had some high school baby fat I was trying to get rid of, and it worked really well. 

Favorite climbing area?

Honestly, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, because there is so much to do, and it's such a nice area. You can camp there for like a week or two, and climb everything you possibly wanted to. Added bonus that it's not so far away.

 Favorite climb?

Do I have to have sent it, haha?

I have always wanted to get The Glass Bowl, V10 at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. Every time I go to HCR, I want to get on it.

Favorite Summit memory?

A cat got in here one time, and we had to chase it around to get it out. We had the bay door open and it just waltzed in here. It did a ninja kick off the wall to get around us, and it almost got stuck behind the wall. But we got it. (#onlyindenton)

What do you like about working at Summit?

The community here! Being in the position that I am now, I can actually nurture the community that I want. I went from being on the outside, to being a part of it, to now being in charge of helping it is a really cool transition. And now I am just trying to grow it more and more.

Little known facts about Ross:

His dog is a polar bear. He has a half Anatolian Shepherd, half Great Pyrenees named Kylo who is basically a walking cloud. He is only a year and a half old, but is already 100 pounds. I hope everyone gets the joy of meeting and also petting him. 

He invented Gnarly Feet, odor-controlling desiccant balls that go in your shoes. We've since sold out, but we carried them at our gyms. You can read more his entrepreneurial pursuit here. If he had more time he would restart the venture - unfortunately GMing a gym is fairly time-consuming so it may be awhile before we see Gnarly Feet on the shelves again. 

He just graduated cum laude from UNT with his Bachelor's of Science in Biology.

He was born in Palmdale, California, a town whose only claim to fame is also being the birthplace of rapper Afroman, who rapped about Palmdale in the incredibly NSFW song "Colt 45."

He knows American Sign Language fairly well. He studied it in high school because "it was easier than French and Spanish," but also really because his mother knows ASL, and she served as her church's ASL interpreter during services, and could sing and sign at the same time. If I try to answer a phone call while walking I manage to mess it up so that level of multi-tasking is impressive. 

And also along the cool talent vein, Ross is a pretty proficient potter. He took a college pottery class with his mother when he was 11-years-old, and has stuck with it from there. He has his own wheel now, but has not made anything in a bit. He makes plates, cups, bowls, vases and such, and apparently his parent's house is OVERRUN with pottery. There are definitely worse fates. Unless there's an EARTHQUAKE.

 Some of Ross' ceramic work!

Some of Ross' ceramic work!

While traveling out to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch for last year's 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell competition, where he was volunteering, Ross rode with two other employees and a Denton member. While on the road, the member started experiencing really sharp stomach pains. Blaming it on something he ate, he soldiered on. Eventually the pain got so bad, they had to pull over at a gas station for about an hour as they waited for the member to start feeling better. Eventually the member was like, "Yeah, I think I need to go to the hospital." So they went to the nearest hospital, where the member learned his appendix was already ruptured (which is really bad), and he needed surgery immediately. So he goes into surgery, and Ross and his friends were now without a ride to 24HHH. They eventually tracked down some nearby friends to take them the rest of the way. The member, post surgery, was able to make it to Horseshoe a few days later, with still-healing incision wounds, to work his shift as a volunteer. Now that is dedication. 

Ross had an internship with an engine-building company a few years ago. His job was to pack up the engines for shipment. One day, he was packing up an engine, when the end of the shift happened. Everyone had to stop doing what they were doing, and go home. Thinking nothing of it, Ross left the engine to finish packing up on another day. That night, a contractor came to install a paint room in the building, and had to install an accompanying chimney in the ceiling. They used self-tapping screws to install the chimney, and one of the screws fell down and landed EXACTLY inside the engine Ross had not finished packing up. It eventually gets shipped off to its new home, where it proceeds to break immediately. The owner sent it back to the company for inspection, where they found a pulverized screw inside an equally busted engine. I mean .. what are the chances ...