Bios about the faces behind the creation of 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
Founder, Marketing Director
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 snacks: Massive quantities of fruit
Favorite crags: Jackson Falls, Hueco Tanks, Kalymnos
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 snack: 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
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
Hilary was raised in the metro Atlanta area and began a relationship with the outdoors early on, as her parents regularly took her hiking and camping as a young girl. Already an avid and passionate hiker, her introduction to rock climbing began while earning a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at Dalton State College, just miles from the rock climbing mecca that is Chattanooga, Tennessee. She owes much of her rock climbing experience and knowledge to strong mentors from the climbing community. A big part of what draws Hilary to the sport of climbing is the community and the camaraderie that results from dedicated individuals sharing a common passion. After college, Hilary spent a summer on a chainsaw and technical trail crew in Colorado with the Southwest Conservation Corps. She has climbed in areas all over the southeast and in Colorado. Hilary also enjoys volunteering with trails organizations, canoeing, biking, and traveling to new places. She is really excited to be part of the Onsight Rock Gym team!
Climbing superpower: Using her flexibility to navigate hard moves
Favorite crag snacks: Homemade granola and coffee
Favorite crags: Foster Falls, Shelf Road
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.
Staff, Instructor, 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
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
Front Desk Staff, Instructor, Youth Coach
Originally from the notoriously mountainous (er, totally flat) state of Florida, Becky got hooked on climbing during her summers at camp in Western North Carolina. Becky then spent her undergrad years at Sewanee, kindling her passion for trail running, climbing, and paddling during the school year and sharing that enthusiasm (along with groan-worthy jokes and puns) with campers during the summer. A few years and an M.A. later, Becky moved from Charlottesville to Knoxville, where she teaches literature courses at the university and tries to resist talking about Victorian novels in polite company. She loves working with kids and is beyond psyched to coach the Mini and Junior Crushers at Onsight! When she’s not in the library or at the crag, you can find Becky downing an inordinate amount of coffee, eating breakfast food, and moving at a moderate (but respectable!) speed on the trails in East TN or Brevard.
Climbing superpower: A dynamite sense of humor; balance-y, single-leg squat moves
Favorite crag snack: Nutella and the occasional juice box
Favorite crags: Looking Glass, T-Wall, New River Gorge
Derek is originally from Berryville, VA and graduated from Old Dominion University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. His first night at ODU, he went to a climbing wall and experienced the sport for the first time. Having come from a very athletic background, he found it very humbling and more challenging than it initially appeared. He was instantly hooked and the rest is history. He developed a vast amount of knowledge in the sport and passion for training during his college years. He takes on every opportunity to travel to climbing competitions and to climb at outdoor crags and makes the absolute most of it. He accredits his climbing success to his somewhat unique style of training (ask him about it sometime!). He has now made his way to Knoxville, where he couldn't be happier to share his passion for climbing and training with the Onsight community.
Climbing superpower: Levitation
Favorite crag snack: Anything in the form of a bar
Favorite crag: New River Gorge
Front Desk Staff
Susan first started climbing around age 11, climbing up as many trees and fences as she could find in her hometown of Brentwood, TN. It was not until her senior year of high school she discovered that a whole sub-culture of climbers and climbing existed. Elated to find out there were people who loved climbing as much as she did, she delved into rock climbing and started climbing as much as she could as a freshman at UT. Thanks to the UT Outdoor program, Susan was able to go on her first climbing trip outdoors to the beautiful Linville Gorge. Her sophomore year of college she chose to study abroad in Barcelona so she could discover some of Spain's world famous climbing. Her favorite climbing in Spain was trying out deep water soloing in Mallorca. In addition to climbing, Susan loves biking, trail running, open water swimming, dancing, yoga, cooking, eating, reading the newspaper and singing in the car. She is currently a student at UT taking pre-med classes in the hopes of getting into dental school. She is very psyched to be a part of the Onsight team and is excited to get to know more people in Knoxville's climbing community.
Climbing superpower: Tiny hands for crimping
Favorite crag snack: Fruit
Favorite crags: Mallorca, Linville Gorge, LRC
Front Desk Staff
Andy was born in Seward, Alaska where he found his love of the outdoors at an early age. He has since traveled and lived all over the country absorbing nature and culture each stop along the way. His love of the outdoors pushed him to try many things from backpacking to whitewater kayaking. Though he finds all of these actives enjoyable climbing is the one that truly gets him psyched. Andy has worked at other climbing gyms and outdoor teaching areas and is excited to get more people stoked to climb.
Climbing superpower: Finding the snakes
Favorite crag snack: Granola
Favorite crags: Red River Gorge, Obed
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 snack: Sea-Salted Almonds and Unmelted Dark Chocolate
Favorite crags: Obed
Front Desk Staff
Darby grew up in Nashville Tennessee, started climbing in middle school when his cousin took him to a local gym, and hasn't stopped climbing since. He enjoys the physical problem-solving aspect of climbing and is always encouraged by the positive environment the climbing community provides. He is currently enrolled at the University of Tennessee and is majoring in Materials Science and Engineering. Darby also enjoys many other outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, trail running, slack lining, biking, and kayaking. Darby is very passionate about the sport of climbing and hopes to one day work in the outdoor industry.
Climbing Superpower: Pinching like a lobster.
Favorite crag snack: The good ole PB&J
Favorite crags: Obed, Stone Fort, Rocktown and the Red River Gorge