Bios about the faces that make up Onsight Rock Gym
Founder, Operations Manager
Christian was born and raised in Hawaii where he spent most of his younger years surfing, hiking, and camping on the islands of Oahu and Kauai. Growing up in Hawaii was always an adventure and these experiences cemented his love for the outdoors. In 2004, Christian moved to Southern California and immediately stumbled across a local climbing gym, just a few blocks from his home. He was instantly drawn to the sport and started climbing regularly at the gym during the week and outside at various crags throughout Southern California on the weekends. It wasn't long before he was traveling across the country to climb at many of the best climbing areas that the United States has to offer. In 2007, he met Yoli, the love of his life, and together they traveled the world, climbing at some of the best climbing destinations on the planet. Christian is happy to call Knoxville home, where he lives with his wife, son, and daughter. He loves the awesome climbing and great people who frequent the Obed, less than an hour away from Knoxville. He enjoys sharing his love for climbing with his family and is excited to be teaching his children about the sport that has given back so much. When he's not climbing, Christian enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, hiking, camping, and traveling.
Climbing superpower: Making everything look difficult
Favorite crag snack: AB&J (almond butter and jelly) sandwich
Favorite crags: Kalymnos, Squamish, Joe's Valley
Yolanda "Yoli" Chen
Yoli first discovered climbing while attending college in Kansas City, MO. After learning the ropes at a local climbing gym, life and school took over and she put climbing aside for six years. After moving to California in 2005, she reignited her passion for rock climbing and explored the multitude of crags in the Southern California region. It was there that she found yet another love, her husband Christian, and together they started traveling all over the world to climb. Now, after a decade, two moves across the country, and the addition of two mini-crushers to their family, they have started their next adventure here in Knoxville, TN. Aside from climbing and being a part of this amazing project, Yoli works at East Tennessee Children's Hospital, loves photography, culinary arts (mostly the eating part), snowboarding, exploring the outdoors, and traveling.
Climbing superpower: Finding awkward rests
Favorite crag snack: Chocolate
Favorite crags: Jackson Falls, Squamish, Kalymnos, Limekiln
Woodrow "Woody" Miller
Co-Owner, Construction Coordinator
Woody was raised in Charlestown, West Virginia, and grew up skiing and hiking in the Appalachian Mountains. Woody developed a taste for adventure early in life and found an outlet for it in the outdoors. During college, he took a semester off and kayaked 3,500 miles across the U.S., raising money for children's charities. He was also an environmental educator and worked with wolves in Minnesota. After living on a tall ship and operating along the Eastern seaboard, he moved to Montana, took up white water kayaking, and worked as a raft guide. Finally, Woody moved to St. Louis and became a construction foreman and continues in the field of construction with the start of his own company. Woody has always loved construction because it has been in his family for generations. Since St. Louis doesn't have an ocean, white water rivers, or mountains close by, Woody decided to take up rock climbing by going to a local gym. It was perfect and exactly what he was looking for: a fun and challenging sport with an amazing community that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. He couldn't be more excited to be a part of this project to help build that community in Knoxville.
Climbing superpower: Alternate beta finder, usually in avoidance of small holds
Favorite crag snacks: Smoked salmon and goat cheese in a pita
Favorite crags: Seems to change year to year, but right now, it's the OBED!
Facility Manager, Head Youth Coach, Routesetter
Meghan was born and raised in West Chester, a suburb of Philadelphia. She stood up at 9 months, started running, and never stopped! At a young age, she took interest in many different competitive sports including swimming, running, and golf. Her love for the outdoors grew through hiking, spending summers at the beach, and traveling with her family as a child. Finally, at age 20, she discovered climbing and never looked back! After working at the local rock gym, she discovered the competitive side to climbing and competed all over the east coast. She has travelled all over the country to climb and fuel her passion for bouldering. Meghan recently moved to Knoxville, TN to be closer to some of her favorite climbing areas. She loves every aspect that climbing brings to her life, and can't wait to share that with everyone!
Climbing superpower: Onsighting, keeping it real
Favorite crag snacks: Twigs and berries
Favorite crags: The Gunks, HP40, Haycock Mountain
Programs manager, MARKETING DIRECTOR, YOUTH COACH
Mackenzie grew up in the small town of Weatherford, Texas. From elementary all the way to college, Mackenzie played competitive tennis. These days, she has hung up her racket and taken to the love of climbing and biking. While going to college in St. Louis, MO, Mackenzie began rock climbing at the local gym. During those 5 years, she enjoyed climbing and adventuring on the slabs of Jackson Falls. After graduating with a Bachelors in Photography and a Masters in Nonprofit Management, Mackenzie decided to keep up her work in the climbing world. Taking a job as a Gym Manager, Mackenzie left St. Louis for the West. There she spent two years crafting her sandstone Chaco sends out in Red Rock, Las Vegas, NV. In addition, to her Chaco sends, Mackenzie loves biking both on the road and dirt (or on rocks out west). Mackenzie recently moved back to Knoxville to be closer to the Red River Gorge, family and friends, and to escape desert summers. She's super excited to be a part of the southeast climbing and biking communities and can't wait to connect the two and get involved.
Climbing superpower: Climbing in Chacos
Favorite crag snacks: Tiny oranges
Favorite crags: Red River Gorge, Red Rock Canyon
Favorite crag snack:
Assistant youth coach
According to Jonathan’s mother, he climbed out of his crib at six months of age and never really stopped. Jonathan grew up hiking and camping in the southern Appalachians with his family on a regular basis. This helped instill within him a deep sense of connection with the beauty and wonder of the southeastern climbing areas. However, it wasn’t until the fall of 2000 when Jonathan finally discovered rock climbing and immediately fell in love with the sport. Since then, he has shifted his focus multiple times between traditional climbing, sport climbing, and bouldering. The outstanding nature of the climbing community and the unique physical and mental challenges found in rock climbing all add to the allure of this activity that Jonathan hopes to enjoy for the rest of his life. Jonathan moves to Knoxville from Athens, GA with his wife and three young children to join the Onsight Team. He is indescribably excited to be a part of the Knoxville climbing community and to support local climbing through his role at Onsight.
Climbing superpower: Trying and trying and trying again!
Favorite crag snack: Whatever you have ... I'm not picky.
Favorite crags: Red River Gorge, Little River Canyon, Rumbling Bald
Front Desk Staff/ instructor
Patrick grew up in Murfreesboro TN, just south of Nashville. Growing up his hobby was playing the drums and was later on his high school’s drumline. He started climbing at the REC wall at MTSU his freshman year and six months later was working at the local climbing gym, The Ascent. A few months after starting at The Ascent he began routesetting and continued until his graduation. After graduation, he took a step back from climbing and was later injured when he tried to come back to the sport. After deciding to return to school at UT, Patrick began climbing again at Onsight in October of 2018. He is very excited to be back in the climbing community and to continue to progress as a climber.
Climbing Superpower: Being a tall tall boi
Favorite Crag Snack: Avocado’s, Trail Mix Clif Bars
Favorite Crags: LRC, The OBED, Red River Gorge
John Bates Front Desk, Youth Coach, INstructor
John started rock climbing with his high school climbing team in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was quickly introduced to the competition environment and devoted much of his time to training and competing. After a few years, John started transitioning to real rock and fell in love with the outdoor climbing environment. With a great community, and limitless rock to explore, John has been kept busy with training goals and new projects ever since high school. Today, he still finds competitions to be the most exciting setting to rock climb in. The energetic environment just fuels his passion!
Climbing superpower: Finding new beta
Favorite crag snack: Trail mix and Fruit
Favorite crags: The Red River Gorge, Hueco Tanks, Little Rock City
Ashley Durham Front Desk, Youth Coach
Ashley was born in Las Vegas Nevada. Through middle school and high school, she swam competitively year round. Her senior year in high school she injured her shoulder and had to look for other activities. She was introduced by a friend to the sport of climbing and fell in love with the sport. She likes to climb anytime she gets a chance. Ashley also loves to go hiking, paddle boarding, swimming, and all things outdoors. She is graduating from Tennessee Technology University in May 2019 with her bachelors. She has been enjoying hanging out in the climbing community and getting to know everyone. She is looking to climb outdoors more.
Climbing Superpowers: Climbing with 9 knuckles, and good looking nails.
Favorite Crag Snacks: Peanut butter and honey sandwiches, and lots of coffee
Favorite Crag: Obed
FRONT DESK STAFF
Keagan was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. She was introduced to climbing at a young age-- her parents encouraged her to try many outdoor sports, but climbing was the one that stuck with her the most. As a freshman in high school, she began climbing regularly and competing in local competitions. At this point, she was in love with the sport and the community. Keagan always counts down the days until the weekend when she can head to her favorite crags and climb on real rock with friends. When she's not climbing, she enjoys yoga, hiking, and learning new languages. She recently spent a year living in the Bavarian Alps where she spent most of her free time snowboarding, mountain biking, and traveling around Europe. Keagan is constantly looking for new adventures, and always eager to try new things.
Climbing superpower: Flexibility, carrying on conversations while sending
Favorite crag snack: Nut butter and Apples
Favorite crags: Stone Fort, Obed
Olivia Moser front desk staff
Olivia has always been encouraged to be active, so once her allustrious middle school soccer career ended, she was introduced to climbing by her dad. Once she got started climbing she couldn’t stop and has now been climbing for almost two years. She self identifies as more of a boulderer but is always down for a good lead climb. She hasn’t been outdoor climbing yet (it kind of scares her) but she hopes to try soon. Aside from climbing, Olivia has several hobbies such as hiking, reading, cooking, and doing Doggie Day Trips at Young-Williams Animal Shelter.
Climbing Superpower: Staying Positive
Favorite Hike: Charlie’s Bunion
Favorite Hike Snacks: Chocolate Chip Clif bar and mandarin oranges
Daniel Reiger front desk staff
I grew up in Knoxville, I started climbing in 2006. Climbing quickly came to the forefront of my life. It is a beautiful melding of adventure, outdoor experience, exercise and camaraderie. I find climbing fosters a mental state of mindfulness, and a distinct feeling of living in the moment, I seek to learn from that feeling and incorporate those lessons into other avenues of life. The rock (or plastic) always has something to teach about oneself if one is willing to listen. In 2008 it led me to move to Fayetteville, WV, where I began working as a whitewater rafting guide on the New and Gauley rivers and found whitewater to be a unique yin to the yang that is climbing. I found in whitewater, a unique way to support myself and allow me to live in world class climbing destination, where the New river gorge, Meadow river gorge and Summersville lake were only minutes away. After 11 seasons I moved back to Knoxville in 2019 to resume school.
Favorite crag snack: tuna pouches and baby food packets
Favorite crag: Meadow river gorge, WV. Rocktown, GA
Climbing superpower: pad shuffler extraordinaire
Mary duggan front desk staff
Mary grew up just outside of Knoxville in Alcoa, TN. She became interested in the outdoors when she started hiking regularly in high school, but it wasn't until her junior year of college that she found a love for climbing. While taking a semester long outdoor leadership course, she got to try out mountain biking, climbing and whitewater kayaking, and climbing stuck. She graduated from UT in 2018 with a degree in public relations and sustainability, and climbing has gradually become her favorite way to spend her time outside of work. Besides climbing, she likes to spend her time at concerts, coffee shops and the farmers market. She loves teaching others the outdoor skills she has learned and sharing the love of climbing!
Favorite crag snack: any form of chocolate & any form of cheese
Favorite crag: The Obed
Climbing superpower: trying everything, but finishing nothing (aka having a good attitude)
Paige Flanagan front desk staff
From an early age Paige felt a draw towards climbing. As a climbing gym wasn’t really a “thing” where she was from her younger self resorted to climbing fences and ropes in the backyard. Everything changed when she discovered a new climbing gym had opened up near her home in Murfreesboro, TN. She got a desk job there and the rest was history. Since then she has learned the ins-and-outs of climbing and has gotten to the point where she can share her passion with others. Things were shaken up a bit when Paige decided to relocate to Knoxville for school and had to leave her local climbing gym but fortunately she was able to find Onsight where she was welcomed with open arms. Nowadays Paige enjoys pushing her limits in the gym and coaching her minis climbers to the top of the wall!
Favorite crag snack: having a questionably high level of faith in my belayer
Favorite crag: The Obed
Climbing superpower: Peanut butter crackers