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.
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.
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.
Lead Training team coach
Jilian has been addicted to climbing ever since the first day she put a harness on. She is well rounded in Sport, Trad, and Bouldering. Jilian has an acute sense for form and training and has been putting that focus into Climbing since 2013. She comes from an extensive background of Training and Competing in multiple sports. She has been successfully competitive in dance for 10+yrs, professional since she was 16, and teaching ever since. She also had spent 4 years Coaching for a Nonprofit "Girls on The Run", State Champion 300&100 Hurdles, and first female to ever receive the Personal Fitness Award at her High School. She study Biomechanics and Dance throughout her Undergrad and Masters at the University of Arizona. As well as, has her Personal Training Certification through ACE, Pilates Mat Certification, and Yoga Certification. All disciplines she to this day is continuing studying to help her refine Movement Principles and Conditioning for Climbing.
Compared to most of the members on today's team, I started pretty late. I started climbing at The Bloc in 2014 at the age of 16 and haven't stopped climbing since. About a year and a half later I decided to join Team Rocks and Ropes and get some instruction from Coach Jon and the other coaches running this amazing program. I built relationships and developed a passion for outdoor rock climbing that could not have come anywhere else. My climbing has taken me to amazing places like Bishop, CA and Hueco Tanks, TX to challenge myself on world class boulders as well as spend time in my own backyard, Mt Lemmon, finding and repeating some of the greatly underrated granite boulders it has to offer.
I am excited for the opportunity to share my passion for the sport of climbing with everyone on the team. Climbing has changed my life in many ways and I hope to show today's team members how great of a sport climbing is as well as encourage and push all of the athletes to be the best versions of themselves possible.
Technically, I started climbing when I was five or six years old, when my Dad dragged me to Rocks and Ropes in the hopes of tailoring his own future climbing partner. Obviously something had yet to develop in my brain, because I hated every minute of it. I finally saw the light in 2009, and have become exponentially addicted to climbing; a recent trip to Greece involved one day of being jet-lagged in a museum, and six days of climbing as much limestone as I could get my hands on. To me, the fact that I have only scratched the surface of the sport is the most exciting thing in the world.
I can attribute a massive part of my obsession to the two years I spent on the climbing team at Rocks and Ropes. The team setting combines hard work and focus with fun and companionship, and this is the perfect balance to improve as both a climber and a person. Having received so much out of my experiences on the team, I am thrilled to be able to help give the same to new climbers. I hope to be a part of building each member's appreciation of the sport, the climbing community, and all the possibilities that come with.
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.
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.
For me, coaching actually came before climbing. For about eleven years, throughout all of middle and high school and most of college, I was heavily involved in music, specifically the marching arts. To me, marching band was not only an activity, but it taught me aspects of determination, responsibility, self focus, and team coordination that I had never been exposed to before. After I graduated high school, I was presented with the opportunity to teach the very same drumline that had become my home for four years. Of course I accepted, and I worked with many talented young musicians who ended up teaching me more about the activity and the teaching process than I had ever learned previously. I began climbing in 2016, and immediately it struck those same chords with me as marching band did. The athleticism, the focus, the drive, the creativity, it was all so familiar. I was hooked! I knew without question that I wanted to be involved, helping to shape more kids into being not only better climbers, but better individuals as well. I have already met and instructed so many highly passionate and proficient young climbers, and I continue to be astounded every day at the joy and sense of accomplishment climbing can bring them. At the end of the day, it's all about how much we can learn from each other, and that is my favorite part about coaching.