Born and raised in Kentucky, Blake spent his childhood in the mountains of Appalachia, where he began his lifelong affair with the outdoors. He has been rock climbing for over twenty-six years, is a certified AMGA guide, and enjoys all types of climbing, from big walls to crack climbs to clipping bolts and pebble wrestling. He has ticked off hundreds of routes across the US, including over 1700 routes in the Red River Gorge alone, over 100 of which are first ascents, all while managing a successful software company.
Blake’s combined experience in the outdoor and tech worlds brought him to the American Alpine Club in 2012, where he now pushes around zeros and ones, constructing web applications and software as the AAC Senior Software Engineer and Code Monkey.
These days, you can find Blake in and around Red River Gorge, Kentucky, climbing rocks, bolting new routes, fixing old ones, dusting off boulders, and eating Nutella brownies at the Red River Rockhouse, where he can often be found writing code for the American Alpine Club and maintaining the website www.BadBolts.com where climbers nation-wide can report bolts that may need attention. Check it out next time you find a spinner.
Clark Bledsoe- Grand Teton Climbers' Ranch Assistant Manager After years of flatland and football, Clark found home again at higher elevations after a momentous trek in the Colorado Rockies. Shortly thereafter, he moved to the Left Coast, seeking tutelage from the madcaps and boddhisatvas of the climbing tribe. The will to climb has since taken him back east and west again to delight in the vertical lands of Turtle Island. Clark is thrilled to return to GTCR to share his love for alpine air, traditional lines, and climbing history.
Being raised in New York City did not keep John from the outdoor world, he grew up hiking, hunting and fishing spending most weekends in upstate NY. A passion for travel developed in him over many family vacations and hunting trips both domestically and internationally. John pursues rock climbing as his main focus and is always looking for an adventure. An AMGA certified SPI and licensed NYS guide, John loves working with those new to climbing and the outdoors. John is psyched to be working with the AAC and is looking forward to a great season at Hueco!
Bryan "Raff" Rafferty was born and raised in the Boston area of New England. He began his climbing career by exploring the seemingly endless supply of underrated granite in New Hampshire and Maine. From the first moment his skin touched the stone, a transformation took place which would change the bloodline of Rafferty's forever. A climber was born. His timeline was permanently shifted to one of adventure and mischief. With an insatiable thirst for the vertical life, the act of rock climbing became a platform for what would become a wide array of side projects and hobbies leading him on the path to eventual glory in becoming an AAC Membership Coordinator, the first of it's kind.
Currently residing in the witch city of Salem, MA, Raff spends his days spreading the good word of the American Alpine Club, being a full time dad, and occasionally climbing when time allows on that sweet sweet granite he likes to call home. Always psyched and rarely idol, you're bound to see this elusive creature out at the crag or in the gym complaining about gravity. Give him a hug.
Truc has been reveling in the climbing world for over 25 years and is currently serving as the Marketing and Communications Director for Vertical World Climbing Gyms. Aside from teaching his 6 month old son the ethics of climbing-dirt-baggery, he's an avid photographer, skier mountaineer, and alpinist, as well as the guitarist for The Struggles and an unbelievable source of energy and stoke. You can usually find him emceeing our events and instigating a party.
As a living breathing namesake, Dakota Walz represents the few unlikey wall climbers to come from the flatlands of North Dakota. Seriously, that's his real name. He didn't have the opportunity to experience rock climbing until he was about 19 at a local YMCA wall. It was short and far from world class, but at the time it was his only gateway to the world of climbing. Soon after, he moved away from ND making the classic climber's pilgrimage to just about every major climbing destination he could, cutting his teeth on a myriad of styles and disciplines of climbing along the way. These days he works as an Emergency Medical Technician on a local ambulance in Denver, CO while simultaneously fronting the Denver Chapter Membership Coordinator position.
Matt is a Bay Area native and has always been a huge fan of the outdoors. Climbing was an instant love affair that began in 2010 and has stayed hot and heavy ever since. Matt is a die-hard boulderer (real word) but has recently got psyched on trad climbing. Matt's love for the outdoors and the preservation of our outdoor spaces led him to start the Bay Area Climbers Coalition, a volunteer-run non-profit that works with land managers and climbers to preserve, steward, and maintain access to local climbing areas. When Matt isn't climbing or working with land managers, you will find him working at Berkeley Ironworks, eating snacks, or suffering on his road bike up in the Berkeley Hills. He is really excited to make the AAC in the Bay Area even better for the climbing community!
Born in Staten Island, NY, Cliff moved to Granby, CT at a young age. There, he was promptly rescued by the local fire department after climbing too high up a tree. A continued love for the outdoors kept Cliff climbing, but it wasn't until his senior year at the George Washington University that he would really embrace the sport and it's community. Cliff moved to NYC in 2007 where he began exploring the Gunks while working at the MPHC climbing gym and route setting at various other facilities in the area. Yet, the open road beckoned to Cliff and he would soon pack up his truck for a true taste of the dirtbag lifestyle. Two years later, Cliff returned to NYC with a desire for Yosemite's granite cracks, the sacred boulders of Hueco Tanks, the steep amphitheaters of the Red, and two screws in his right ankle. After instructing and route setting at The Cliffs Climbing + Fitness for several years, Cliff is now a part of the route setting team at Brooklyn Boulders and happy to be squeezing in pitches in the Gunks again. Cliff is elated to come on board with the American Alpine Club and excited as always to share his passion for climbing with the NYC community.
As a graduate of Saint Mary's College of California with a degree in biochemistry, Gus has decided to pursue his outdoor passions and contribute to the AAC's climbing community at the Grand Teton Climber's Ranch. Hiking and camping have been central to Gus's life for as long as he can remember. In his college years, Gus picked up climbing to further his adventurous habits. Gus has taught climbing to varied age groups: he has instructed children as a camp counselor at his home-town gym, Rocknasium, and mentored his climbing peers at Saint Mary's College. In addition to climbing, Gus is also a woodworker and amateur photographer. Gus is looking forward to expanding his alpine climbing background and welcoming fellow climbers to the Grand Tetons.
Logan grew up near Harrisburg, PA is a recent grad from Millersville University of Pennsylvania where she majored in Geography with a focus in Environmental Studies. She began climbing in college, where she learned to love the subtleties of technical diabase bouldering at Governor Dick in South Central PA. Logan continues to channel most of her energy into crimpy boulder lines, but enjoys a finger crack or a sport route when the mood strikes. She hopes to go on to continue her education and complete a Master's degree in GIS technology. Logan loves traveling South to the New River Gorge, Seneca, Stone Fort, and Rocktown whenever possible.