I know you guys have definitely seen him around, since between coaching and routesetting, Ellis is basically at one gym or another ALL THE TIME. He's a busy guy for sure, but always worth chatting with for a moment, even if it's to just get some beta from him. He's one of those guys whose beta always works, even when you insist it won't. HE ALWAYS KNOW BETTER!
This weeks blog post can't be brought to you by our normal writer, cause ... well it's awkward to interview yourself and write about yourself. "Meet Caillin: by Caillin. As dictated by Caillin, About Caillin. #imawesome" So I'm (Retail Manager Trevor) stepping in for the week so you can meet the lady behind the scenes. Chances are you have seen her pecking away on her laptop at the different gyms, but maybe never knew what she did or if she even actually worked there, (I mean, does she?) She does and her are some things you should know!
If you're mostly a daytime climber, you've probably seen Chris and his dedicated crew of routesetters setting — and making a general racket — at one of the gyms on any given weekday. You can barely hear him and his crew cracking jokes and making fun of each other over the noise of their drills, but be assured — most everything that comes out of their mouths to each other is some form of ball-busting, but that's how it goes. They know how to set, and how to actually make it ... fun? Chris was one of Kyle's first kids on Team Texas, and joined forces with Stan and Kyle when they first bought Summit Grapevine. He now wears many hats — owner, routesetter, and orchestrator of many things within the yoga program. He's a super busy guy, but make sure you thank him for all the work he and his crew does by setting stellar new routes and problems every week, so we never get bored!
For climber John Ellison, the "crux" of his life is just beginning. If life is a 5.13, he was just served up the double-deadpoint-to-impossible-mono crux move that would stop many climbers in their tracks. In 2011, John was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer that will most likely end up taking his life. Instead of taking the woe-is-me approach, John has decided to spend his remaining time on earth funding research and cures for the disease that has now made his life so difficult. By scheduling his fundraising efforts between his frequent treatments, he has been able to start Climbers Against Cancer, one of the only legitimate organizations solely dedicated to fundraising and raising awareness about cancer entirely within the climbing community. A bit more on the organization and its massive European reach so far.
Stan is the ever-present, but rarely seen partner in Summit Gyms. He's an ex-Team kid turned Team coach turned gym owner who's now a lot of the brains behind our 3 — going on 4 — gym operation. He spends hours locked away in an office, doing all the drudgework necessary to owning a business that no one else was willing to do. It's because of him that we actually know what we're doing enough to keep expanding, and he keeps us all thoroughly entertained by being the sole source of probably all original comedic content within the company. If it's funny, it's only because Stan said it first.
Kyle Clinkscales, owner of Summit gyms, head coach of Team Texas and basically the mastermind behind a lot of the climbing gym expansion in the Dallas area, is not the diabolical dude you'd think he'd be. He's not cocky, he's not cunning — he's just a guy doing what he loves, and trying to make it as awesome as possible. It was six simple words, "Why don't you sell it to me?" that basically took him from owning no gyms, to owning three gyms and now building a fourth. Kyle has been an enormous part of the Dallas community basically since its inception, and he continues to write the history of Dallas climbing, and strive every day to make it bigger, and better.
As we tore down the panelling to begin our reconstruction project at Summit Carrollton, the dust, chalk and God-knows-what-else from the past 22 years came pouring out of the gym's walls, like smoke from the microwave after you accidentally nuke a fork. (Similes are not my strong suit.) Besides giving us the anticipation of potential future lung problems, the dust brought with it some very strong feelings of nostalgia from a lot of us who have been climbing at this old climbing gym for the past few years. This gym — now Summit, but formerly Exposure — is one of the oldest climbing gyms in the state, as well as the country. A lot of people have graced its walls, (Climber Jack Mileski, who coined the term "beta," actually got his start at Exposure back in the day), and it's seen many, many changes throughout its 22-year history in the Dallas area.