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Onsight Rock Gym

5335 Western Avenue

Knoxville, TN 37921

(865) 888-9123

info@onsightrockgym.com

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5335 Western Avenue
Knoxville, TN, 37921

865-888-9123

Onsight Rock Gym is a brand new, world-class indoor rock climbing gym in Knoxville. Featuring over 12,000 sq feet of climbing surface and walls that soar over 50 feet tall, we are Knoxville's largest and tallest rock climbing gym. Onsight offers top rope/lead climbing and bouldering for all ages and abilities as well as a wide array of programming for adults and youth. Onsight even has a separate climbing room for private parties and events. We are proud to be a part of Knoxville's community! 

Our Team

Bios about the faces that make up Onsight Rock Gym

OUR team


Christian Robinson

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

Founder

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!


Meghan HeiseY

Facility Manager, 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


Mackenzie Wilder

Program manager

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 and also became a CWA Climbing Wall Provider/Instructor. 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 and avoiding all things slopey

Favorite crag snacks: Tiny oranges, a fizzy water, and a bunch of random bars

Favorite crags: Mount Potosi, Red River Gorge, Red Rock Canyon


KEVIN FLINT

Marketing Director

Kevin’s love for the outdoors and adventure began at an early age. Before he was 2-weeks old, he had his first outdoor experience on his family’s ski boat on Cherokee Lake. He grew up playing in the mountains, rivers, and lakes around East Tennessee, Kentucky, and the region and has a deep connection to land. He tested every sport, including biking, hiking, hunting, fishing, kayaking, backpacking, wakeboarding, skiing, and more. While in high school, a friend introduced him to rock climbing at a small crag in Virginia. He was hooked! After college, he worked as an outdoor writer for an area magazine, outpost/zipline/rope course manager at an area rafting company for 4-years, marketed large events, then led teams for advertising/marketing agencies. His marketing experience includes work on national campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, but his passion is working in and around climbing and other adventure sports. Kevin has traveled around the world backpacking and exploring remote and wild lands, but climbing is his go-to sport. He is always up for a day in the Obed, a weekend trip to the Red River Gorge, or a week in Yosemite. He is also a certified hang gliding pilot and gear tester for major outdoor magazines and brands.

Climbing superpower: Using his long reach to find a small hold no one knew was there

Favorite crag snack: Apples and almond butter

Favorite crags: Obed, Rumbling Bald, Red River Gorge


DEVIN COOLEY

Head Routesetter, Youth Coach

Devin spent his early childhood in eastern PA, settling in Collegeville in 2004. His early climbing experiences were scrambling up rock formations like Bear Rock and Bake Oven Knob along the Appalachian Trail. As a teenager he took up climbing more seriously and became a member of the Philadelphia Rock Gym. He made quick progress in the sport and within a few years, he competed at the youth bouldering nationals. His success and attitude as a climber led to a sponsorship from Practical Climbing, an international soft-goods company. His love of the sport and his exceptional creativity (inherited from his father) drew Devin to routesetting. He first learned his craft at PRG under the guidance of Dino Liddick, and soon was setting for competitions that drew some of the world’s strongest professional climbers. He gained additional experience setting for other climbing gyms and universities in and around the Philadelphia area and soon filled the role of Head Routesetter at Philadelphia's largest indoor climbing gym, Go Vertical. In addition to setting, Devin loves to teach and coach young climbers. His enthusiasm for the sport, knowledge, and experience make him an excellent teacher and motivator. It is rumored that Devin once had a pet giraffe named Jerry. He may still have pictures to prove it.

Climbing superpower: Arms much longer than yours

Favorite crag snack: Espresso

Favorite crags: Cooper's Rock, WV, Hunter's PA, Green Lane, PA, Onsight Rock Gym, TN.


Jonathan Carter

head 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


Charles Grimes

Front Desk Manager

Charles grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. As a boy, he spent most of his time either playing in the woods or fishing. On vacations, his dad would take him to Boone, NC where he would clamber over and scramble up anything and everything. Being on rock outdoors was and is a comforting place for Charles. However, his first experience in a climbing gym was the opposite. Charles refused to listen to his belayer or trust his harness and he would not return to a gym for a very long time. Charles eventually moved Boone where he met his wife Lauren and studied theatre, music and art. Working part time in a kitchen while in college led to a passion for cooking where he would spend close to a decade toiling over a sauté pan, playing banjo, and getting outside with his wife and dog. A recent endeavor gave Charles the opportunity to work in a climbing gym where he immediately fell in love with the culture and atmosphere. He wanted to go back in time to encourage himself to give it another try. When he saw the chance to be close to so much good climbing, with his wife's approval of course, he pounced! Charles is excited to join the Onsight team and very eager to meet more of Knoxville's climbing community! 

Climbing superpower: Grunting, growling, and screaming

Favorite crag snacks: Watermelon, peaches, and coffee

Favorite crags: Pilot Mountain, Great Falls, Carderock


ZACH EDWARDS

Instructor, Youth Coach, Routesetter

Zach was born and raised here in Tennessee. At an early age, he was involved in the Cub Scouts which eventually led him to being awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. It was during those formative years that Zach discovered his passion for the outdoors. From white water excursions to multi-week backpacking ventures, he was simply hooked. Along the way, he pursued other athletic endeavors such as soccer, swimming, rugby, parkour, and of course, rock climbing. Zach is currently pursuing a degree in 3-D Studio Art at the University of Tennessee, where he still actively pursues the sport that stuck: climbing. After classes he can typically be found training at the gym or escaping to the Obed for some much needed time on the rocks. Since high school, Zach has had experience working with different climbing gyms and youth programs. The only thing he enjoys more than climbing is helping engage others in the sport, whether they are new or simply trying to improve. Zach is stoked to be a part of the team and bring his psyched attitude to Onsight Rock Gym! 

Climbing superpower: Anything and everything slopey 

Favorite crag snack:  Bananas and peanut butter

Favorite crags: Obed, Stone Fort, searching for new boulders


JOANN JOHNSTON

Front Desk Staff

JoAnn has loved climbing since the age of three, when she mostly climbed bookshelves and playground sets. After being a gymnast for 13 years, she fell in love with the sport of rock climbing after college when she went on a trip to Enchanted Rock in Texas. Her favorite place to rock climb is the Obed, and her dream is to climb at Yosemite National Park. JoAnn graduated from Baylor in 2014 with her Bachelors in Environmental Science and went on to graduate from Covenant Seminary in 2016 with her Masters in Educational Ministries. She works full time at a church in Farragut, and part time on staff at Onsight. When she’s not rock climbing, you can probably find her in the Smokey Mountains hiking or hanging out in her hammock. 

Climbing superpower:  Campusing unnecessarily, then proceeding to complain about footholds

Favorite crag snacks: Sea-Salted Almonds and Unmelted Dark Chocolate

Favorite crag: Obed


Zachary Orig

Instructor, Front Desk Staff

A native of Carrollton, Georgia, Zachary developed an affinity for climbing and all things outdoors when he was a member and later officer of the Outdoors Club in high school. Although he never went camping as a child, he participated in activities that ranged from simple day trips to his local rock climbing gym near Atlanta to backpacking treks in the north Georgia mountains while in high school. Such explorations led to his admiration of topographical contour lines and pretty maps. Among other things, Zach has explored trails and crags in Tennessee and Colorado in addition to his home state of Georgia. He gained experience as a Summer Camp Counselor from 2013-2016 before coming to Onsight in Knoxville. He is currently enrolled at the University of Tennessee majoring in Architecture and minoring in Sustainability where he hopes to one day use his knowledge of buildings and the environment for the greater good. When Zach isn't climbing, he can be found shooting photography, drawing, reading overdue textbooks from the library, eating unhealthy amounts of sandwiches, or sipping coffee at a local coffee shop. Rumor has it that Zach also loves to dance behind the front desk. Keep a look out next time you're at the gym!

Climbing superpower: Dyno-Soaring

Favorite crag snack: Cheese and crackers

Favorite crags: Foster Falls, Clear Creek Canyon