The coach’s mission is to support an environment for youth rock climbers where effort and knowledge are valued above all else. With this theme, we are dedicated to helping our athletes achieve their goals. With continued try-hard, learning, and positivity their desired results will follow.

We do this without losing sight of the big picture; time on the Rocks and Ropes Team is temporary after all. Only when we see a graduate of this program continue to show a strong sense of work ethic in everyday life and continue to explore the world of climbing have we really done our job.

Jon Mavko

Head Coach

With 10+ years of coaching experience, Jon is dedicated to making the Rocks and Ropes Youth Team one of the strongest programs, not only in our Region, but also in the Nation. Jon has grown the size of the program from just 11 kids in 2009 to a roster of over 80 between 5 different teams.

Jon has been actively pursuing climbing since 1998, when he was introduced to the sport through a ropes course program at Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson. A couple of years later, Jon was the recipient of a fortunate mentorship that, over the course of several years, would shape his outlook on the sport and take him to adventurous climbing destinations around the country. Jon was schooled in the culture of traditional climbing ethics all the while making trips to places like Squamish, the Bugaboos and Moab.

In 2002, Jon joined the first incarnation of the Rocks and Ropes Youth Team, then called the Tucson Climbing Project. In this environment, Jon expanded his field of experience with training and competition, and discovered the joys of striving together with a Team of other motivated athletes.

Jon understands that learning climbing skills through mentorship is a dying tradition in the sport, and something that he strives to promote and provide to his athletes. His passion for climbing, working with kids, and his goals to grow the program keep him motivated to bring the best experience possible to our athletes.

Kristina Bergdahl

Lead Junior team coach

I started my climbing career outdoors in late 2011 after a pretty severe running injury during the Mt.Lemmon Marathon; I immediately recognized that it was a sport I wanted to pursue with great passion and gusto for the rest of my life. I am blessed to have a spouse and climbing partner who has mentored me with great patience and it helps that he as wild about climbing as I am. Together we have had the opportunity to travel to amazing climbing destinations, train to become better sport and trad climbers and we have put up more than 50 new routes. Climbing is truly a sport in which your hard work, training and dedication help you to realize your goals and it is pure joy to send that project after endless sessions of hard work. I love the sport with my whole heart.

My personal love of and dedication to the sport brought me to Rocks and Ropes for my training and here I discovered my passion for teaching and coaching the sport. I enjoy every minute when working with Tucson youngest climbers; helping them create and cultivate a deep love of and respect for the sport as well the outdoors brings me much happiness. I am honored to coach the team in Tucson and work with young climbers who never ceases to amaze me.

Elissa Moss

I started climbing in 2010 at a local gym in North Texas, and it didn’t take long for climbing to become a major factor in the way I shaped the rest of my life. I’ve been lucky enough to work in amazing climbing facilities, teach summer camps, coach teams, create branding and artwork for gyms, travel across the southwest to boulder, multi-pitch, and sport climb, and build up a network of climbing partners and friends from the different communities I have been a part of.

One of my favorite aspects of coaching is getting to witness the next generation find their place in and through our community, set and meet personal goals, and discover the gifts that only climbing brings. I feel especially grateful to have found myself in Tucson part of a supportive and talented community of teachers, mentors, and innovators who are paving the way for young climbers to achieve incredible things through this sport.

Adrian Montaño

I moved to Tucson at 17 & was welcomed into a climbing community that was encouraging & inclusive, something that made me feel very much at home. My first day climbing was on Mount Lemmon, where I remember being halfway up a slab and thinking, "this is going to be something I never stop doing." Since then, climbing has been an instrument through which I've explored mindfulness, personal responsibility, risk assessment, and outdoor leadership skills with my partners, who I've always seen see as my "team." The importance I placed on friendship and trust as well as mental strength and physical health were what climbing demanded of me, and I liked that. The sport instilled in me an endless drive to be the best version of myself in various sectors of life, and continues to teach me more about myself, nature, and the virtues of patience, goal setting, & character development. I consider it a privilege to be a part of helping share the lessons climbing can teach with today's youth.

Emma Nakpairat

I began climbing at age thirteen when I wandered into a gym in my hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. I immediately fell in love with the movement, ethic, and community of climbing, and a year later I joined the local youth team. During my time as a youth climber, I challenged myself mentally and physically and found myself climbing at the national level. I also unlocked a passion for teaching and mentorship when I began coaching younger kids on the team. After I graduated, I brought the skills and work ethic I learned to Tucson, where I am continuing to challenge myself on sport routes on Mt. Lemmon and beyond.

Throughout my climbing career, I have been fortunate to encounter a few mentors who have greatly influenced my climbing and character. I am forever appreciative of their guidance and generosity, and the lessons I learned from them will stay with me for the rest of my life. I consider it an honor to be able to pass on the knowledge and spirit of climbing to today's youth, and I hope that our youth team members leave the program not only as great climbers but great people.

Isaac Averill

I started my climbing journey when I was 5 years old. I discovered the Rocks and Ropes Climbing Team when I was 9 and that's when my love for the sport really took off. I started on the junior team and as the years went on, I moved up through the training, travel, and comp teams. When I was starting as a younger climber, competitions always scared me. I never wanted the added pressure of competition and I just wanted to have fun doing what I loved. However, I learned through the Team that competition meant a chance at a pure and thrilling expression of my ability. Once I started, I was hooked. The chance to show the results of my hard work fueled my joy for climbing. Throughout my time on the team, I competed on the National level twice and I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. I'll never forget the sound of the crowd roaring through the chalky air after sending a tough comp climb.

I always looked up to the older athletes as I trained and progressed in climbing. The guidance and comradery that came from my teammates was essential to my growth. As a coach, I want to preserve that kind of lighthearted environment for all the new or younger athletes. Some of my best memories from the climbing team don't consist of climbing at all. Instead, they're filled with ghost stories we'd tell around the campfire during outdoor excursions or playing hacky sack in isolation before a competition. I want to teach what I've learned about climbing throughout the years but, more than that, I want to be a friend to everyone that shares my interest, passion, and ardor for the sport.

Britt Linde PT, DPT

I started climbing during my undergrad in Utah almost 15 years ago, and then became heavily immersed in the outdoor climbing of Flagstaff, Arizona while I was pursuing my doctorate in physical therapy. In school I found life-long friends in my climbing partners, and became passionate (probably a little obsessed) with rock climbing. I also became fascinated with the movements in climbing the more I mastered human biomechanics in school.

I've been practicing as a physical therapist for almost 8 years now, and moved to Tucson because of the climbing on Mount Lemmon. The climbing community in Tucson is second to none, and the people involved have given me so much! I've worked with Jon and Team Rocks & Ropes over the past 5 years treating injuries in young climbers. I've recognized differences between adolescent and adult climbing injuries as well as a serious lack of education in climbing-specific youth injuries in the medical field. I've been slowly working ever since to educate physicians in Tucson on these missing facets in sports medicine.

Climbing has been the most empowering thing I've ever done, the most challenging thing I've done, and also the most joyful. I can't wait to share this with the team, and learn from the incredible coaching staff as well as the athletes!