Kris Fiore – President
Kris is entering his fourth year with CRAG-VT after serving two years as Vice President. A rare breed of climber, Kris hardly feels the need to leave the Green Mountain State to climb and spends most of his time weeding out new cracks and hammering in bolts in search of new first ascents. Kris is also an AMGA-certified Single Pitch Instructor. Aside from climbing, he coaches high school ultimate at Colchester High School and is the Director of a youth summer camp in the Adirondacks. You will most likely find him and his trusty 50-pound climbing partner, Knuckles wandering inthe woods up at Bone Mountain, come say hello some time and he’ll try to convince you it’s, “well worth the hour and a half stroll up to the cliff.”
Mischa Tourin – Vice President
Mischa found his love for climbing 20 years ago when the Burlington Rock Gym opened in Essex and his father took him to climb Thin Air on Cathedral Ledge. Since then, Mischa has pursued a career in outdoor education and continued to climb in Vermont, out West and around the world. Mischa is certified as a AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, a Wilderness First Responder and a NOLS Outdoor Educator. When he’s not climbing, Mischa guides at-risk youth through social and emotional struggles as the Outdoor Program Director at an alternative high school. Mischa’s favorite climbing memories include learning trad in Red Rock Canyon, traversing granite alpine ridges in the Wind River Range, hand jamming in Indian Creek, projecting routes in Catalunya, Spain, and exploring alongside the wonderful community of climbers in Vermont.
Andrea Charest – Treasurer
Andrea is Petra Cliffs’ Co- Owner and Jill of all trades. Andrea began working for Petra Cliffs in 2002 as a birthday party facilitator, and has moved through each and every position along the way to proprietorship. Andrea is committed to providing a high quality climbing center and offering its visitors, members and employees a positive environment and valuable education. She gets outside as much as possible as a rock and ice climbing and backcountry ski guide, and when she’s not working… she is climbing or skiing.
Rob Flemming – Secretary
As talented of a Secretary as Rob is, he is far less adept at sending the webmasters of this site his biography, so we decided to just wing it. We would love to tell you more about Rob but he seems to be an elusive character who spends his time chewing granola at the climbing gym while cursing at the younger generations of climbers who can hangboard longer than he can and stroking his beard intimidatingly. When he gives us his bio, you’ll know more about our Secretary, but if he sends rock like he sends bios, don’t trust him anywhere near you. He probably topropes 5.4 with crampons while pulling on trees and complaining about his nagging back strain. Cheers.
Pete Clark – Member at large
Pete Clark has been a climber in the Northeast for nearly two decades and has been involved with local climbing advocacy for about as long, having served on the board of directors for other organizations such as the Western Mass Climbers Coalition. He is a PhD candidate in natural resources and is one of only a handful of scientists who have studied cliffside ecology. Check out his semi recent paper titled The effects of rock climbing on cliff‐face vegetation. Seemingly in contrast to this, he enjoys doing first ascents and has done a few throughout Vermont and the Northeast. His dog is also named Peaty (like the moss, and the human).
Steve Charest – Member at large
Steve is Petra Cliffs’ co-owner, Program Director and Head Guide. He has been professionally guiding rock, ice, mountaineering, and ski mountaineering programs since 2001. Steve has a degree in Outdoor Education from Johnson State College and completed a NOLS Outdoor Educators Course for Mountaineering & Rock to kickstart his career as a mountain guide and educator. Steve is involved with the following organizations: IFMGA Aspirant (International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations), AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association)
Anna Gutwin – Member at Large
My first experience climbing was through Outward Bound in high school. I was terrified of heights (and still am) and got totally hooked. From there I spent 6 years learning to climb in the Gunks. Having my formative years be focused on learning the art of trad climbing has given me such a great foundation and I am very grateful to my mentors. When I transitioned from trad climbing to sport I realized that I really enjoy the feeling of accomplishing something that initially felt impossible. I’ve been fortunate enough to chase that feeling on bouldering and sport climbing trips throughout the US. While traveling is nice, I love sinking my teeth into a quality route near home. I also ice climb occasionally in the winter and have learned how to aid climb, so all that’s left to learn is big wall climbing!
Sam Hayden – Member at Large
Sam grew up in Vermont exploring the hills of Pittsfield, Killington, and Chittenden. Exploration has always been what has driven him. From a very young age he was climbing, hunting for edible mushrooms, collecting rock specimens, and mountain biking the trails with his father, mother, and younger sister. When he started climbing at the age of ten, his urge to explore immediately melded with this newfound passion. Soon, every rock, ledge, and boulder was an opportunity to explore vertically. Since then, Sam has dedicated much of his time to developing climbing areas in Central Vermont and has put up first ascents in Colorado, Utah, Norway, and Puerto Rico. He loves to share his discoveries with others, especially the huge untapped bouldering potential of Vermont.
Hunter Hedenberg – Member at Large
Hunter began climbing as an underfoot gym kid at Petra Cliffs over 15 years ago, and has been on and off the walls ever since. As a Vermont native, she has spent most of her time on boulders and bolted lines in Vermont and around the Northeast, but has also climbed some of the greats in Wyoming, Colorado, and the Southeast. When not climbing or training, she can often be found cajoling kids into being active in her role as a high school P.E. teacher. Hunter also has 7 years of experience as a climbing coach, working with athletes of all ages in the hopes of making climbing a lifelong passion for them. She would like to blame her lack of trad climbing experience on the expense of purchasing a whole rack of fidgety things, but it can more accurately be attributed to a crippling fear of heights.
Seth Maciejowski – Member at Large
Seth Maciejowski is a Vermont native who has been rock and ice climbing in New England and around the world for over 20 years. He has a penchant for exploring the ugly, dirty and loose on both rock and ice. Over the years he has served CRAG-VT as secretary and president. In his non-climbing life, Seth serves as a electrical design engineer for Allearth Renewables and hikes and bikes with his wife Allaire and two kids, Phoebe and Ephraim.
Travis Peckham – Member at Large
A native of the Green Mountain State, Travis Peckham has been exploring northeast climbing for over 25 years. Climbing trips west and abroad have brought him to 15 states, 8 countries on 4 continents, but one of his favorite places to climb has always been right here at home. He has been on the board of CRAG-VT since its inception, serving as president from 2005 to 2010. During this period, CRAG-VT acquired Upper West and the Carcass Crag, and coordinated with the Vermont Land Trust to conserve the 82 Crag. He has a degree in computer science from Boston University which he puts to use at his day job, working for a medical software company. He has a beautiful wife, Nancy, and two terrific children Phoebe and Flynn. When he’s not climbing, he enjoys trail running, mountain biking and snowboarding.
Roderick Russell – Member at Large
A native of New England, Roderick first roped up on a whim, ice climbing on a glacier in Alaska as part of a guided trip. He knew immediately that he needed to make climbing a priority and it has since overtaken his life (despite several “why do I do this?” moments). While he’s enjoyed climbing all over the United States, Roderick’s true love is the gritty, gnarly nature of New England / Northeast adventure climbing, and Vermont in particular has no shortage of adventure. When not finding his way up rock or bushwhacking through the backcountry, Roderick makes his living touring the country as a professional sword swallower and speaking about fear, focus, flow and how to perform your best while at the edge of your comfort zone.
Christian Skalka – Member at Large
Chris has been exploring the Green Mountains in various ways his whole life. Rock and ice climbing became two of the main ones a bit more than a decade ago. Although he enjoys traveling to mountains and deserts across the world, the scrappy adventure of VT rock climbing and awesome beauty of its ice cascades keeps him settled. He lives in Burlington with his wife Susan and is passing on his climbing knowledge to his two children. Chris has been a Professor at UVM since 2002 and is now Chair of the Computer Science Department.