Chris and Pam started climbing in the early 90s when big hair and colorful lycra tights were still “in”. From the little crags of Iowa to the big walls of Yosemite, many hours were spent driving to different climbing areas across the country and around the world. They love and have tried every type of climbing: Ice climbing, Bouldering, Sport and Trad. Wanting to share their passion for rock climbing with others, Chris and Pam decided to make a living out of it through Upper Limits. “We enjoy seeing others grow with the sport!”, exclaims Chris. Chris and Pam still enjoy heading to the crags nearly every weekend with their two children.
Head Routesetter & Team Coach - St. Louis
While going to school at Webster University, Travis first started climbing in early 2011. Soon after, Travis started working at Upper Limits Climbing Gym as a staff member, route setter, and coach. Every chance he could, Travis would travel to different climbing destinations such as Southern Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky to hone his skill and come to a greater understanding of climbing movement. Since Travis has been climbing and setting, he has received his Level 1 Route Setting certification with USAC, red-pointed over 100 5.12’s and 5.13’s, and set for numerous climbing competitions including ABS and SCS Regionals.
Staff Development & Customer Service - St. Louis
Dean was born and raised right here in St. Louis. His first time climbing was in 2011, and he immediately became hooked. He spent all of his free time climbing at Upper Limits, and when time allowed, made trips to climb outdoors in places such at Jackson Falls in Southern Illinois, and the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. After getting some climbing experience under his belt, he began volunteering as a route setter at Upper Limits. Later, he worked as a staff, a coach for the climbing team, and an assistant manager. Dean’s dedication to keeping everyone happy eventually landed him a position as the staff development and customer service manager. He is a Certified Climbing Wall Instructor through the CWA, and is a recognized provider of this certification.
General Manager - Downtown St. Louis
Andy started climbing when he was 25 and his passion for the sport led him to join the Upper Limits team in 2011 . Andy is a NOLS graduate, Leave No Trace instructor, and Instructor Provider for the Climbing Wall Association. He also has a degree in music production and can be found playing with various bands around town.
General Manager - Maryland Heights
Shelly Bass has been with Upper Limits Rock Gym since 2010. She graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelors Degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with an emphasis in Outdoor Recreation. Shelly has had a passion for climbing since 2002 and is currently a Climbing Wall Instructor Provider for the CWA. When not climbing, Shelly enjoys most outdoor activities: Backpacking, canoeing, skiing, disc golf, fishing, and gardening just to name a few.
Director of Marketing & Activities - St. Louis
Luke joined Upper Limits after completing his Masters in Business Administration and Bachelors in Recreation Administration. He spent his childhood playing outside in the country of Southern Illinois where he learned to love and steward the natural environment. After a turn of events in high school and college, he remembered his childhood and decided to pursue what he loves: to live, play, and work outside. Now, he works with a variety of clientele seeking to educate and inspire others through outdoor and adventure education. He also enjoys hanging with his wife, cooking, traveling internationally, and almost any outdoor activity.
General Manager - Chesterfield
David has spent nearly his entire professional career within the realm of climbing. He has participated in leadership roles such as president of the Illinois Climbers Association and SIUC climbing club where he advocated for climbing access and inspired others. This desire pushed him to pursue a Masters in Outdoor Recreation Management where he gained skills such as expedition leadership, risk management, recreation planning, a Leave No Trace Master Educator, and a Wilderness First Responder. On the side, Dave enjoys visiting Southern Illinois, backpacking, canoeing, and exploring everywhere.
General Manager - Chesterfield
Emily’s experience as an educator gives her a unique perspective for the Upper Limits family. With a degree in Art Education and a MEd in Educational Administration, she taught art for 9 years in public schools across Missouri and Oklahoma. After her first climb at Jackson Falls in 2010, Emily co-founded a climbing organization for her students. Soon after, she began working at Upper Limits first as a part-time staff member, then as an assistant manager, and now as a General Manager for the Chesterfield gym. By incorporating her passion for inspiring young people and families to have a joyful climbing experience, she is working to integrate climbing through partnerships with local schools. Her love of travel keeps her looking out for the next good climb.
General Manager - Bloomington
Being from the Bloomington area, Upper Limits is where Brock first started rock climbing, being drawn in by the big walls and great community. From part time work, to setting, to assistant managing, to coaching the climbing team and receiving his Climbing Wall Instructor Certification, when the opportunity came to manage the gym, it was hard to pass on. Now Brock hopes help the sport of climbing continue to develop, and introduce climbing into the lives of as many people as possible. He climbs in Southern Illinois when he can, and hopes to travel and climb in many of the other beautiful places the world has to offer.
Marketing & Activities Manager - Bloomington
Originally from Pennsylvania, Ericka joined the Bloomington Team in early 2013 after moving to Illinois for graduate school. Her love for climbing started at a young age and continued through college when she took a “summer job” as a climbing director for the Boy Scouts of America. This summer job started the climbing itch and she has since climbed all over Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Western New York, and North Carolina. When not at the gym, Ericka kayaks, runs, and drinks tea with her cats.
Head Routesetter & Team Coach - Bloomington
Russell has been with Upper Limits since 2012. He started working there after moving to Bloomington to continue his education. He will be completing a Bachelors Degree in Chemistry in 2016 at Illinois State University. He started climbing at Upper Limits in 2008 and began setting in 2012. He is a certified CWA instructor for lead and top-rope climbing. He enjoys coaching the competitive climbing team at the gym and enjoys teaching climbing and setting to anyone interested. When not at the gym he can be found spending time with his wife Kate, doing lab work, playing chess, or reading.