// Local Limelight: Keith Morris

 In Climbing, Community, News

If you’ve been a part of the Maine climbing community for a while (think before EVO!) then you’ve probably met Keith Morris, EVO Partner and the man behind the scenes holding us all together. Keith has been a part of the Maine climbing community since he moved to Maine in 2004 and became involved at Maine Rock Gym. More recently he has been doing everything from getting our HVAC systems updated to cleaning out every nook and cranny of the gym to prepare us for our reopen.

Here is a look into our history and mission through the eyes of the man who has been here through it all.

Tell us a little bit about Maine Rock Gym and how you became a part of the Maine climbing community.

Maine Rock Gym was started in 1994 by Scott and a couple of other Partners. I came to Portland in 2004 and purchased a 50% share from one of the partners and started to learn how to run a climbing gym (having never climbed before) from the manager at the time, Nathan Kimble. Nathan departed to a new career about a year later and I then took over as the manager and started the kids programs, which were a huge success!
Over the years, Maine Rock Gym produced some exceptional climbers such as Dave Graham, Luke Parady, and Joe Kinder, which for a small town climbing gym was extraordinary. We had a very committed, friendly, social climbing crowd and the gym was often full to capacity.

How did Maine Rock Gym transition into EVO?

In 2012 or 13, Mike and Scott started talking about the possibility of building a larger climbing gym in Portland, as MRG was very small, getting tired, and in need of upgrading. They partnered with the founder of EVO Rock + Fitness, Hilary Harris, and EVO Portland was later born in 2015.
EVO is an extension of the old Maine Rock Gym.
I still see faces going back to 2004, we have at least two of the founding MRG members who are now members here at EVO. Some of our core staff, including Chuck Curry and Chris Pert, were employees at MRG. I also see people who started at MRG as kids and are now married with kids of their own.
The thing I like about this community is that everyone is so friendly, even if you have not seen them for years they are still happy to see you.

What are your feelings around EVO’s reopening?

Reopening after the COVID-19 lockdown is going to be the biggest challenge MRG/EVO has ever faced. The only thing we can do is make sure we do everything we can to make our facility as hygienic and inviting as possible, follow the CDC guidelines, and keep our members happy. with exceptional routes from our talented setting team.

My hope is that our members will feel safe and return to climb with us, helping a local company in these testing times.

If you see Keith around the gym, be sure to give him an elbow bump or air-five of appreciation for everything he has done for this community.

Thank you, Keith, we love ya!


Want to match Keith with some EVO swag of your own? Click Here to shop the EVO pro shop!

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