People seem to always be curious…“Why ‘EVO?'”
The story goes something like this:
It was in New Hampshire of 1910 when the first technical climb was completed and recorded in the United States. There, on the intimidating slopes of the Huntington Ravine within Mount Washington, climbing began. Were we there? No. Was our inspiration? You betchya. At EVO Rock + Fitness we believe that we have all evolved from this larger history. Being part of the community and culture is wonderfully captivating, and we want you to come along.
We know that everyone has untapped potential inside of them—it’s only a matter of discovering it. Our gyms provide the framework for people of all ages and abilities to discover that potential through climbing in an encouraging, non-intimidating environment.
Historically, climbing has revolved around community and camaraderie almost more than climbing itself. Stories of sketchy ascents, near-death experiences, and/or sending a super hard boulder problem cannot be told without talking about the people who were there. Profound relationships will always be an integral part of being a climber, and EVO celebrates this fact by hosting ongoing social events for the climbing community throughout the year.
Our Louisville gym is located in one of the most abundant climbing areas of the country. Located ten miles east of Boulder, at the heart of the Colorado Tech Center, it can be considered an evolution of the land’s already expansive playground. Founder Hilary Harris is especially excited for this location, having cut her teeth in this area as a beginner climber. For Harris, this is where it all began.
So remember – regardless of who you are or where you come from, we’re all climbers. Everyone plays a part in this story…this culture…this ongoing evolution.
What’s your story? Tell us at #myevolution #evolou
Our Mission is Simple: Building upon, strengthening and evolving with climbers and the climbing community.
- Stephen PriceOwner
Stephen Price used to play basketball until he discovered the great outdoors traveling in New Zealand, during college. Price realized basketball had nothing on kitesurfing, climbing, or sailing, which he picked up faster than a free lunch.
Since then, in between running his own IT Management Company, Price has been an ultra-marathoner (running over 60 miles a day through National Parks such as Zion and The Grand Canyon), has captained boats in Croatia and the Caribbean, and participated in various adventure races, including the 2002 Eco-Challenge Expedition Race, which took place in Fiji.
Price and Managing Partner Clint Dillard met volunteering on Mountain Rescue, and have been friends for over a decade. One night, approximately three years ago, Dillard told Price about “this idea” for a climbing gym in Louisville. Price told him it sounded great, and to let him know when he needed investors. The next morning, Dillard called and asked him to be his business partner. They met Hilary Harris at the CWA that year, and the rest is history.
- Clint DillardOwner // General Manager
Clint Dillard was born in Marietta, Georgia. He started climbing in 1990, and it changed his life forever. Dillard loves where climbing has taken him, where he knows it will take him in the future, and says simply, “I’m who I am because of climbing.”
His love for EVO Louisville stems from the respect EVO has for the history of climbing, and the community hub the facility provides. In the past, Dillard has spent many years as a climbing guide, a paramedic, a Physician Assistant, a mountain SAR, and is currently in a medical clinic.
He and his wife are “discovering daily adventures” with their children (two and four years old). They are introducing their munchkins to the great outdoors of hiking, climbing, and exploring the world around them. In his spare time, Dillard is a beekeeper and would have hundreds of hives if his wife would let him. His advice to the new climber? “Enjoy yourself. Take a class and find a mentor. Respect the history and ethics of the sport. Welcome to the best sport ever.”
- Hilary HarrisOwner
Hilary Harris is both a long-time climber and licensed architect. Her climbing career started in Boulder, CO in the late 80’s. Gaining rapid recognition and success, Harris was one of a handful of women pioneers in the country, raising the bar on female standards in the sport. Harris has been coaching for more than 20 years and has coached youth to the World Cup level. She has also climbed and trained extensively throughout the US and Europe with the world’s top climbers. When she is not busy working on business relations you can find her at any number of the great crags in colorful Colorado.
Harris oversees the communications, marketing and outreach of the EVO gyms. She works on future climbing gym start-ups and oversees the corporate relations of the business; all the while striving to live by these words written by David Henry Thoreau: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
- Jon SullivanDIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Jon Sullivan grew up in San Di-a-go, just south of GNARnia. (Just kidding.) He thought he’d be a competitive swimmer until he ditched the Speedo for a harness and enrolled in an American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) program. After obtaining multiple AMGA certifications, he got a job with Avid4 Adventure, where he worked as Climbing Supervisor for six years.
From van living to truck living to straight dirt bagging, he’s made climbing (and skiing) his life, and welcomes everyone to join the evolution.
- Ethan ChaseASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Ethan grew up in Newburyport, MA, and has spent most of his free time in climbing gyms since age 8, when he wasn’t handling sharks at his parents’ aquarium that is. Now, he splits his time between training inside for competitions and developing boulders outside. He enjoys dialing in every move on a climb, so he can repeat it without thinking, even if it’s at his limit and/or he happens to be climbing it in flip flops (which he buys in bulk and wears roughly 363 days a year). He’s also the gym Pokémon expert.
- Thomas SchollASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Thomas grew up in Dallas, TX, and started climbing in college. Naturally he became hooked and has worked in climbing gyms ever since, both because of the ol’ Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life thing and because it’s pretty neat to be part of a rapidly evolving industry. When he’s not at EVO, you’ll find him bouldering outside and/or eating donuts and/or chilling on crash pads in the sun. If you can’t find him, that’s cause he’s a boulderer and therefore is sleeping in. His advice to the new climber: Take it slow; be humble; learn everything.
- Damien WilhelmiMarketing Manager
Damien grew up in Chicago, but quickly escaped to Louisville, CO. Like many of us, he started climbing in college and has dabbled in the sport ever since, though he’s logged just as many hours climbing in caves under mountains as he has on the cliffs on top of them. When Damien isn’t at EVO or spelunking, you’ll find him outside romping around with his dog. His advice to the beginner climber: “You have to focus and commit if you intend to improve. But if you’re just doing it for the LOLs, then simply make the most of it and enjoy!”
- Liz HaasMARKETING CONTENT MANAGER
Liz grew up in rural Vermont and began climbing at the University of New Hampshire when she decided that running 5Ks was no longer her thing. Since then, she’s been obsessed with rocks and writing about rocks for Climbing Magazine, Rock and Ice, her own website, and now the EVO bathroom notes. When she’s not staring at her computer screen, you’ll find her in the EVO bouldering area or outside in Eldo or Rifle. She loves all genres of climbing, except ice climbing, “cause it’s cold and expensive.”
- Nick MillerPROGRAMS DIRECTOR
Nick grew in a small town you’ve never heard of in Indiana: Crawfordsville. He has nearly a decade of climbing experience under his belt, and, while he loves the movement aspects of the sport, his favorite part of climbing is the community and the relationships he’s developed within that community. His favorite part of working at a climbing gym: helping youth and adult athletes exceed their own expectations. When he’s not at EVO, you’ll find Nick outside climbing, mountain biking or skiing with his wife.
- TJ SanfordDirector of Coaching // Head Routesetter
TJ grew up in a small town in southwestern Michigan. He started climbing in college and became fully hooked on the sport after his first Red River Gorge jug-haul. Since then, he has developed passions for outdoor bouldering, sport climbing and trad climbing. When he’s not coaching or setting, you’ll either find him developing new routes outside. TJ’s advice to the new climber applies to all of us: “Learn from others, but remember, there will always be someone who can hike your project in their street shoes.”
- Sarkis BarnettRetail Director
Sarkis grew up in the Wasatch Mountains behind Salt Lake City, UT, allegedly raised by moose. Despite that, he now knows pretty much everything about every piece of gear in the pro shop, frequently speaks in a German accent (…he’s Armenian…), and has a strange affinity for all pink problems in the gym. His advice to the new climber: “Don’t obsess about the pink one in the corner (told ya), solutions might be aid along with chalk, and an onsight might not count if the draws are already up, but who cares. Be excited about your progress.”
- Noelle DewittYoga + Fitness Director
Noelle grew up in Boulder, which basically makes her a unicorn. She began climbing in 2009, started teaching yoga in 2012, and has managed yoga studios and led yoga and fitness training workshops since 2014 (read: we’re super lucky to have her at EVO). Now, Noelle’s main focus is teaching pre and postnatal exercise and raising her little one. When she’s not at EVO teaching Strong Mamas or working with instructors to cook up new classes, you’ll find her outside enjoying nature in Eldorado Springs or at a brewery with friends.
- Nick Santomauro Assistant Head Coach
Nick is a native East Coaster, which makes him a pro at dealing with extreme humidity and decoding New York accents. He began climbing in 2015 and started coaching in 2016. When he’s not at EVO you’ll find him outside bouldering with friends, most likely in Rock Mountain National Park if it’s not snowed in–and sometimes when it is snowed in. His advice to the beginner climber: Climb smart, not hard. And climb a lot. Fun fact, Nick started climbing because of Google. He won’t tell us anything beyond that, but if you get the full story out of him, let us know.
- Abby Wilson
Abby grew up in Boulder, CO, and began climbing in 2011. After crushing on Team BRC, she started working at EVO and used her technical climbing talent to begin setting in 2018. She loves comp-style climbing, especially powerful, crimpy boulders. When she’s not setting, you’ll find her climbing or painting or eating strawberry Twizzlers while chilling with her pet hedgehog named Kiwi. Her advice to new climbers: remember to take your harness off when you’re bouldering.
- Ryan Needles
Ryan grew up in Wyoming and started climbing in Vedauwoo. We’re impressed that he didn’t quit the sport immediately after his first off-width battle, though he has transitioned from granite crack climbing to hard bouldering. He enjoys powerful moves and loves setting coordination dynos, which may or may not have anything to do with his love of dinosaurs. When he’s not setting, you’ll find him climbing and chilling in the Boulder-area. His advice to the beginner climber is simple: try hard.
- Nick Bradley
Nick grew up in Livermore, CA, where he started climbing in 2005 at the age of 8. His favorite routes are those with lots of crimps and body tension, but his true loves are coffee and his coffee mug, “cause that’s where the coffee goes.” When he’s not setting you’ll find him climbing outside (post-coffee-drinking) in Bishop, Hueco, RMNP and anywhere else with hard boulders. He advises new climbers to focus on learning how to climb better, not just harder. We’ll take his advice, since we’ve seen him float V10.
Environmental stewardship is at the core of our business philosophy, and it extends to our educational programs, purchasing policies, and building design.
We believe climbing lives beyond the walls of our gym. Respecting the outdoor crags that we all enjoy as a community is an essential part of keeping the sport of climbing alive. We fully endorse Leave No Trace ethics throughout our educational programs and policies.
We are very conscious about the environmental and social impacts of what we buy. That is why you will see products that are organic, recycled, locally made, and non-toxic throughout our gym.
If you have questions or concerns about a product we use or carry, please let us know.
EVO Rock + Fitness has been designed and built to high environmental performance standards. We started by designing a building that is oriented to the south so the building can optimize daylight and solar heat gain during the winter. During the summer months, the sun can be more easily controlled on the south side, which ensures that we can keep the building as cool as possible before needing the air conditioning.
Our roof is also facing south so we can add solar panels to the building in the future.
Landscaping uses drought-tolerant native plants, so an irrigation system is unnecessary.
Our mechanical system meets high-efficiency ratings above and beyond code requirements. During the summer months when there is a demand for cooler air the system is designed to bring in the outdoor fresh air to cool the building naturally. Our air filtration system filters the chalk that is generated in a climbing gym, so it goes into the filter and not your lungs!
Our lighting systems use efficient fluorescents along with LED’s in select locations. The fluorescents are modern with high-quality color rendering which makes people look like their natural selves instead of the older type of lights that make the skin look green.
Our interior finishes are non-toxic, emitting very little amounts of volatile organic compounds. This keeps our indoor air clean and fresh to make your workout the best it can be.
All water fixtures meet or exceed the highest standards as defined by the LEED Green Building System.