Our Evolution

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, and we invite you to join the evolution of this sport as it continues to amaze us.

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, or sending a cruxy 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 Portland gym is special because it evolved from the Maine Rock Gym, (MRG), built in 1994. The climbing community had gotten so big that the MRG needed to expand to a larger facility, which became EVO. The soul of the MRG community lives on at EVO with the ownership, the staff, and community.

Regardless of who you are or where you come from, we’re all climbers, (maybe you just haven’t discovered it yet!) and we all play a part in this story…this culture…this ongoing evolution.

What’s your story? Tell us at #myevolution

Our Mission

Our Mission is Simple: Empowering people. Strengthening communities.

Our Team

Partners

  • Scott Howard
    Scott Howard Managing Partner

    Scott Howard was part of the urchin diving industry when he recognized the necessity for a climbing gym in Portland, Maine.  According to Howard, many urchin divers were climbers, but had to travel far to reach a facility.  He put his heart, soul, and bank account into creating the Maine Rock Gym (MRG), which came to fruition in September 1994.  Howard credits the tenacity of Mainers to the completion of the MRG.  However, as the community grew, he realized an even bigger and better facility was needed.  He teamed up with Hilary Harris, Mike Lambert, and Keith Morris—momentum grew.

    In 2015 EVO Rock + Fitness opened and there was much rejoicing.  Howard’s vision for EVO revolves around what the climbing community needs to move upward and stay strong.  In addition to helping manage the EVO squad, he runs a commercial greenhouse called Olivia’s Garden, and is also a fly fishing guide.  In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, mountain biking, being with his 3 kids, and eating bok choy.

     

     

  • Michael Lambert
    Michael Lambert Partner, Gym to Crag Program Coordinator

    Michael Lambert grew up sailing in Rhode Island but fell for climbing in 1995 when he moved to Arizona, where he obtained his B.A. in Adventure Education from Prescott College.  When he graduated in 1999, climbing had become a pivotal part of his life. Despite some extensive globetrotting, Shagg Crag in Maine and Cathedral Ledge in New Hampshire remain two of Michael’s favorite spots.  However, he says it’s the people, even more than the locations, that make climbing truly special; hence his excitement about joining the EVO team.  His stoke thrives on Maine’s climbing community and anyone who’s looking to throw on a pair of shoes.

    Michael’s diverse experience as a sailing instructor, boat builder, sail-maker, arborist and small business-owner are invaluable; he’ll jump into anything from SketchUp architectural redesigns to building campus boards to playing Tetris with flooring.  Michael’s high standards ensure that he will help EVO Portland continually grow as the sport of climbing flourishes, pushing standards in both the facility and the programming.

     

  • Hilary Harris
    Hilary Harris Founder, CEO EVO Rock + Fitness, Inc. , Partner, EVO Portland

    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 often find her at one of the great crags in New England, hiking or sea kayaking the coast of Maine.

    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.”

  • Cort Gariepy
    Cort Gariepy Partner, Wall Designer and Builder

    Cort Gariepy is a man of many talents and trades, whose work is all over EVO Rock + Fitness. From the front desk we check into, to the walls we climb on, and the chairs we sit in, Gariepy’s welding hand has touched everything. After designing and building the walls, he used the extra steel to make recycled-rope benches and arm chairs. He built the retail area, (with a pretty sweet LED back-lit display), and introduced Hilary Harris to Scott Howard, which pretty much got the whole EVO Portland ball rollin’.

    Gariepy loves the EVO family, and says it’s a segment of the greater climbing community that seems to have a “very warm soul.” He loves the energy of climbers, and how they’re such an assorted mix; all “bound together,” yet going in their own diversified directions. Gariepy says he hasn’t grown up yet, but in the meantime, you might find him at his house in Hawaii. His recommendation for the new climber?  “Watch YouTube climbing videos for lingo.”

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris Partner, Outreach Coordinator

    Keith Morris was born and raised in England but moved to Maine in 2004 to be closer to his family. His daughter was here in Portland, having married Scott Howard, who (at the time) was founder and owner of Maine Rock Gym (MRG).  Morris bought half of MRG and became involved with the rock climbing community. He was thrilled when MRG and EVO Rock + Fitness combined forces, saying the best parts of MRG came to EVO. He enjoys every moment of the mixed environment at the facility. “Where else can you find rock climbing and tango?” Morris asks.

    As a dedicated grandparent, he especially loves the opportunity kids have at EVO, and how climbing is a passion they can pursue for many years—not to mention the portable climbing wall—Morris loves the portable climbing wall! He also enjoys Bradbury State Park, Great Wolf Lodge, peanuts, (but really hates peanut butter).  His advice to the new climber?  “Take classes to minimize risk, and learn from those with experience.”

Management

  • Chris Pert
    Chris Pert Assistant Manager, Private Instruction & Group Coordinator, Really Into Jazz

    Chris Pert is a certified AMGA Single Pitch Guide and USA Climbing Level 1 Routesetter.  He was born and raised here in Maine and started climbing as a kid on the cliffs of Acadia.  After completing his degree in jazz trumpet in 2005 (fun fact) he began working at a gym in Boston as Head Routesetter and climbing coach.

    He has since made a career around climbing.  When not at the gym, you can find Pert out running, playing the trumpet, or being a dad.  Pert is allergic to avocados, and offers this advice to the new climber: “Focus on technique.”

Staff

  • Chuck Curry
    Chuck Curry Head Route Setter, Head Coach, Forever Psyched

    Chuck originally hails from the great state of New York but has chosen to make his home here in Maine.

    A devoted husband and proud father of two, Chuck has been immersed in many aspects of climbing for 16 years. From trad to sport, bouldering to plastic, guiding to coaching: he’s had a hand in it. Here at EVO, you can find Chuck organizing the setting or coaching TEAM EVO and our Adult Team Programs. Route setting has been a cornerstone of Chuck’s skill set for many years. However, he still strives to grow and evolve every time he picks up his drill.

    If you have questions and you see Chuck in the gym, grab him! He generally keeps to himself but loves answering your questions about climbing or anything else for that matter. “I want to do whatever I can to get people hooked on climbing. I know how it feels to unlock certain parts of the sport. But it doesn’t happen overnight, you have to fight for it. It doesn’t matter how long you have been climbing, you still get those feelings. I want to help flip the switch and see the light come on, to instill something in someone that they can take with them always, no matter where life takes them. Welcome to Climbing!”
  • Trevor Bostic
    Trevor Bostic Route Setter, Team EVO Coach, School League Coordinator, Gym Mom

    Trevor grew up bouncing around the U.S. but finally settled in Maine, where he discovered his love for climbing at Maine Rock Gym. He was instantly hooked, and his love for the sport only grew while attending college in Boston. It’s now been 10 years and Trevor’s climbing has taken him all over the world, introduced him to some of the best people, and supplied him with memories to last a lifetime. His favorite thing about climbing is seeing people push their limits both physically and mentally. Trevor is always looking to share his passion for climbing with others! If you see him around the gym, don’t hesitate to ask questions or even just talk beta.

    “No matter if you are just starting or a bona fide crusher, try hard respects try hard. Join me in the bouldering area, on the yoga mat, or outside and lets push our limits together!”

  • Taino (Tai) Grosjean
    Taino (Tai) Grosjean Front Desk Manager, Instructor, Dad Jokes Extraordinaire

    Tai is a recent transplant from Southern New England, joining us from the CT/NY border near New York City. He got his start in the world famous “Gunks”, absolutely loves climbing, and feels extremely fortunate to be able to work in the industry full time. Tai is also an experienced instructor and guide for both indoor and outdoor climbing, as well as many other outdoor activities – he’s an AMGA-certified SPI and CWI/P, as well as an ACA-certified Instructor and IT. Lastly, he’s also passed the infamous Registered Maine Guide exam, and looks forward to not having to take it again.

     

    Tai’s recommendation for new climbers? That’s easy: it doesn’t matter how hard you climb, or how high you go. What truly matters, is how you feel when you climb. The best climber really is the one having the most fun.

  • Joscelyn Pizzino
    Joscelyn Pizzino Social Media Coordinator, Community Outreach

    Joscelyn, originally from California, started climbing in 2014 at a tiny climbing gym in her hometown. She immediately fell in love with the community and hasn’t looked back since. When not working at EVO, Joscelyn enjoys getting outside; whether it be climbing, hiking, backpacking, or just soaking up the sun. She also has a quirky pup named Bosley that is often moseying around the gym with her, don’t hesitate to come say hi!

    Joscelyn’s advice to the new climber? “Ask questions and get involved in the community!”

  • Elliott Boardman
    Elliott Boardman Instructor, Front Desk, Tall Boi

    Elliott grew up in the Portland area and began his climbing career in 2016. Since then, climbing has become one of his major passions and has led to many new friendships and experiences! Elliott is currently studying Environmental Science at UNE and is hoping to combine his passion for climbing and conservation work in the future. When not climbing or in the gym, Elliott can be found studying, listening to the Grateful Dead, or staring longingly out a window waiting for good climbing temps (usually all at once.)

    Some of his favorite local spots to climb are North Conway and Shagg Crag! If you see Elliott around the gym, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation! (He’s the really tall, strong guy)

    Elliott’s advice to the new climber? Don’t get discouraged or frustrated by failure, it’s all a part of the process!

  • Gage Klein
    Gage Klein Front Desk, Instructor, Seriously stoked to be here

    Gage has lived in Southern Maine his whole life. After 8 years spent pursuing a career in film and photography, and three studying martial arts, a friend introduced him to EVO. To say “climbing took over his life” would be an understatement. Though an avid hiker, cyclist, and photographer, climbing has quickly become his dominant interest. He sees the climbing community as one big, super stoked, all-inclusive family which has redefined his goals and values. 

    Gage’s number one goal as an EVO employee is to provide everyone with the opportunity to benefit from and become a party of the EVO family! He also takes photos for the gym; if you see him walking around with his camera, don’t be shy!

    Advice for the new climber? “In climbing, the competition is only between you and yourself – not yourself and others. Everyone is a potential friend who you can climb with!”

Environment

Environmental stewardship is at the core of our business philosophy, and it extends to our educational programs, purchasing policies, and building design.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

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.

PURCHASING 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.

BUILDING

EVO Rock + Fitness has been designed and built to the highest environmental performance standards of any climbing gym in New England. 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 turning on the AC.

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 outdoor fresh air that is able to cool the building naturally. Our air filtration system is designed to filter the chalk that is generated in a climbing gym, so it goes into the filter and not your lungs!

Our lighting systems use the most efficient fluorescents available on the market 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.

Employment

EVO is always excited to bring new people to our team. We are a visionary company that believes our evolution hinges on having the best staff possible: upbeat, professional humans who have fun, climb, and check their egos at the door. We are seeking staff that is self-motivated, organized and want to be a part of the larger community of climbing and fitness. If there is not a posted position that you are currently interested in, please submit your application, and we will keep it on file for when an opening becomes available.

 

POSITIONS POSTED:

General Staff Position(s)

Party + Group Facilitator/ Belayer

If you are interested in a position, fill out this  Job Application and Application Questionnaire  and email to:

portland@evorock.com

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