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CRAG Vermont
Board of Directors
Lauren Greco
Executive Director

Hailing from the midwest, Lauren (she/her) got her start climbing on the bullet hard sandstone of Southern Illinois 12 years ago. There, she fell in love with climbing as a movement and mental practice, a container for her closest friendships, and a way to feel a part of the landscape. Never having developed much aerial awareness, she prefers to stay on rope, and loves tip-toeing across thin crimps as well as jamming her way up cracks of all shapes and sizes. Lauren has a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.S. in Community Development & Applied Economics from the University of Vermont. She is especially motivated by the opportunity to foster a culture of stewardship within the outdoor recreation space and is overjoyed to be joining CRAG-VT as the new Executive Director!

Kristen Fiore

Kristen (she/they) is entering their fifth year with CRAG-VT after serving two years as Vice President. A rare breed of climber, she hardly feels the need to leave the Green Mountain State to climb and spends most of her time weeding out new cracks and hammering in bolts in search of new first ascents. Kristen is also an AMGA-certified Single Pitch Instructor and WEMT and is a coach and guide at climbing at Petra Cliffs Mountaineering Center while working full time as the Director of a youth summer camp in the Adirondacks. You will most likely find Kristen and their trusty 50-pound climbing partner, Knuckles wandering in the woods up at Bone Mountain, come say hello some time and they’ll try to convince you it’s, “well worth the hour and a half stroll up to the cliff.”

Mischa Tourin
Vice President

Mischa (he/him) 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 and the founder of Sterling Mountain Guides. He is a Wilderness First Responder and a NOLS Outdoor Educator. When he’s not climbing, Mischa is a teacher. 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.

Rob Fleming

As talented of a Secretary as Rob (he/him) 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. This was written in 2017 and he has done nothing to update it. Let this stand now as a relic of his stubbornness.

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Phil England
Phil (he/him) grew up in the woods on a mountain in East Montpelier, VT where he developed his appreciation for being outside and connecting with nature. He started climbing later in life, but immediately fell in love with the activity as a mental and physical challenge, a way to build community, and a great excuse to get outside all year round. His first significant outdoor climbing was on multi-pitch ice, where he developed a great respect for skill building and risk (and rope) management. Phil loves a good long alpine day, a perfect jam, a flowy slab, and pretty much everything else to do with hanging on to rocks and ice. He’s excited to keep exploring and climbing all over the world while Vermont stays home base. Besides climbing, Phil is a registered yoga teacher, a network engineer, and a volunteer for a musical theatre company.
Sam Hayden

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.

Pete Clark

Pete Clark (he/him) 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).

Seth Maciejowski

Seth Maciejowski (he/him) 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.

Steve Charest

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)

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Gene O Desideraggio

“Gene O.” (Gene Otello Desideraggio) began climbing on a crag in his rocky hometown in Connecticut and then moved to Vermont to pursue a degree in Forestry with a minor in Geology at the University of Vermont, but also he moved to Vermont because he heard there were more rocks there. He has worked a variety of roles for Petra Cliffs since 2017 and has been stoked to become a part of the Vermont climbing community and explore the plentiful rock in the area! When he isn’t setting routes in the gym or romping through fern-filled bouldering areas GeneO spends his time in the outdoors learning about nature, anywhere with a mountain view, or making art and music with friends and food. In addition to working in the climbing industry GeneO has a B.S. in Forestry from UVM, and also completed the Vermont Master Naturalist Program. He hopes to use his knowledge of the natural world to help educate others about nature and encourage stewardship of our outdoor spaces.

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Matt Bresler

Matt (he/him) is a board member and active climber. He began climbing in the 90’s, and climbs year-round. He has climbed in roughly twenty U.S. states and five countries, although Vermont is still his favorite. Matt loves the variety of climbing available close by: bouldering in the Notch, clipping bolts in Bolton, and getting scared witless at Marshfield or Wheeler. He believes climbing is great because it has no rules. He loves seeing the scene grow. When he’s not climbing, Matt enjoys spending time with his family and working as an education and training professional. If you see him at the crag, please say hi!

Joey Catania
Joey Catania

Joey Catania (He/Him) knew it was love at first crimp when he placed his fingers upon Vermont’s glorious schist cliffs. While he fancies himself an explorer and is happiest on a remote cliff that rarely gets the attention it most definitely deserves, he’s also the first person who will strike up a conversation with you at the climbing gym and get excited to hear all about your projects. Predominantly a sport climber, but the will-they/won’t-they history with trad is always a source of debate in his various belationships.

Deane Calcagni
Deane Calcagni

Deane grew up in Vermont and has been playing in the Green Mountains for as long as he can remember. He started climbing in college and spent much of his 20’s climbing in Vermont as well as the Adirondacks. Climbing fell by the wayside while Deane was raising young children, but his 7 year old daughter recently got interested and it has become a frequent activity for his family. His professional life involves lots of numbers and crunching them. When he’s not climbing or working he can be found pursuing various nerdy hobbies.

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Julia Vitale

Julia (she/her), originally from central New Jersey, came to Vermont in hopes to find other dedicated, like minded climbers. She has been climbing for almost 10 years, and has been recently touring through New England to explore all the classic climbing gems. Julia loves the Vermont climbing community, the culture it offers, and the potential it brings. Julia has a hidden talent for finding the jams in any climb, as a natural crack climber does. Her special interests include day-dreaming about the cracks tucked up at Black Mountain and guessing what cam sizes can fit in any natural, non-climbing structure. Outside of climbing, Julia is a Speech Language Pathologist for both educational and medical settings working with a variety of ages. Currently, she has a focus on adaptive climbing education and guiding; encouraging folks to explore climbing no matter the ability. You can catch Julia meandering through local gyms, striking up conversations, and always with a smile.