CLIFF SIMANSKI (CLIFF)
Cliff has loved climbing as long as he can remember. From being rescued by the local fire department after getting stuck in a tree at the age of 5, to starting a climbing club while studying Communications and Italian at George Washington University, climbing has always been a part of Cliff’s life. After actually learning to climb at Sportrock in Alexandria, VA, Cliff moved to NYC where he began working at the MPHC Climbing Gym as a routesetter, youth coach, and assistant manager. In 2010, Cliff took off in his truck on an open-ended road trip landing him in Yosemite Valley for just over a year.
When Cliff was asked to join the team at The Cliffs in 2013, he returned to NYC motivated to reunite with his favorite climbing community and share his passion for climbing as the Head Routesetter.
ANDY SPEVACK (AS)
Andrew began climbing eight years ago in a small, dusty and crowded Chicago gym populated by climbers looking forward to their 7-hour weekend commute to the Red River Gorge. He spent all of his free time simulating the powerful and pocketed steep sandstone that makes the area famous. He moved to New York for graduate school in 2010, and when The Cliffs opened in 2014, it rekindled his love for climbing. He has since remained focused on training and creating routes that make you work hard.
IVAN VARGAS (IJV)
Ivan began rock climbing at his local gym in Miami, FL in 2008. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Gainesville, FL for college, where he received his degree in Journalism. It was at the Gainesville Rock Gym that Ivan truly committed himself to the sport, taking frequent trips to climb outside (primarily throughout the Southeastern U.S.), competing in the Collegiate Climbing Series and learning how to set routes.
Ivan moved to New York City and began working at The Cliffs in 2014. Here he hopes to continue progressing both as a setter and climber, and is excited to become a part of the Northeast’s thriving climbing community.
CHRIS SCOTT (BC)
“Big Chris" started his turbulent marriage with climbing in upstate New York back in ‘97, 19 years ago for those who don’t like to do math. He has primarily been concerned with outdoor climbing during that tenure, although Chris has also enjoyed intermittently setting plastic for roughly 13 years at over 20 gyms. Though he has been in constant love with climbing, he has been known to take breaks from time to time to pursue other interests (i.e. foosball).
He has been to many (if not most) major climbing areas in the States, especially bouldering zones. He was a long term guide at Hueco Tanks, which he considers the best single area in the US. He has also spent many months exploring what he considers the best region of rock in the country, the Southeast. Chris also lived in CO for several years, spending a decent amount of time in RMNP, and various other zones. Chris feels most comfortable calling the Gunks home as he lived, went to college, and worked (Rock and Snow) there for about a decade.
BC enjoys talking about the “old days,” attempting to evolve from a boulderer to an endurance guy for the first time, and going off about certain HBO TV series. He also DJs around his living quarters, Brooklyn, NY. Chris gained the “Big” moniker for his unusually large hands and...heart.
LISA NISHIMORI (RS)
Lisa ("Risa") started climbing at a small NYC gym. With no space for gym egos, it was the ideal place for growth with an awesomely supportive community. During her first month of climbing, she headed out to Rumney and from then on was hooked. She's spent almost every weekend since going outside to The Gunks, Birdsboro, Farley, East Coast, West Coast and anywhere she could go. Risa hopes to recreate some of the beautiful routes she's climbed and to be an active supporter of NYC's great climbing community.
RENÉE STACHO (NAY)
Going from girly-girl to gym rat, San Francisco to New York, climbing has led Renee (Nay) through many transitions and gave her a way to harness all of her crazy. Nay entered the climbing community at the ripe age of 16, and now couldn't imagine life without it. Mission Cliffs was her home gym for many years -- SF WHOOPWHOOP -- but she turned over a new leaf by moving to NY in 2007. It wasn't until 2009 that Nay discovered outdoor climbing and now she leaps at the chance to get out there. Bouldering is awesome, but ropes are Nay's jam, allowing her to tune out the world around her and find a flow that puts her in her element. That's where it's at.
Where is Nay now? Currently on sabbatical in Costa Rica, skipping out on the East Coast winter to earn her yoga certification! See all you pasty peeps in the spring time!
SAM GARDNER (SG)
Sam started climbing in 2010. He started setting boulders at The Cliffs in 2014 to get a change of pace from carpentry and get more involved in the climbing community. With nothing special to offer, he likes small holds and big moves.