Kevin Pickren – General Manager
Originally from North Carolina, Kevin’s climbing career began in 1997 when his father surprised the kids with a guided outdoor climbing trip. It only took one climb in Estes Park, CO to know that climbing would become a lifelong passion. 20 years later, Kevin has had the opportunity to visit many phenomenal climbing areas including Red River Gorge KY, New River Gorge WV, Horse Pens 40, Hueco Tanks TX, and many more.
After years of grinding in corporate America, Kevin made the decision to combine passion and career by joining Central Rock Gym in 2011 while finishing an MBA from UMass Amherst. He strives everyday to create an experience at Central Rock Gym that allows visitors to experience the joys of climbing much like he did that day in Estes Park. When he manages to pry himself away from the gym you’ll typically find him hiking in the White Mountains, mountain biking, or launching into house renovation projects.
Steve Barry – Assistant Manager
Born and raised in Maine, Steve has spent most of his life learning to poke fun at people from Massachusetts. With that being said, he’s been known to make segues that don’t really make sense. It was about ten years ago when he found rock climbing via top ropes in a sixteen foot tall wall at a YMCA in Old Town, Maine. His climbing gym glory days started as a full time belayer and quickly flourished as he encountered more and more climbing gyms with larger operations.
Today he identifies as a sport climber and enjoys pantomiming beta, talking about beta, spraypoints, bluepoints, teaching anything rock climbing related, watching other people climb, “flash or no flash”, and also trying hard as often as he can. He loves his family, sewing, jiu jitsu, bicycles, and of course rock climbing. Go talk with him.
Peter Schmalzried – Head Route Setter
Peter hails from the flatlands of the Midwest and spent many college weekends on the steep jugs of the Red River Gorge. He has been climbing since 2008 and has led both beginner and advanced trips all over the country. Since 2011, he has been organizing colored plastic bits (aka Route setting) on anything from tiny home walls to the largest gyms in the country. He is the Head Route Setter for the Watertown facility and Cambridge. You can find his rope climbs and boulders in Cambridge, Watertown, and Randolph.
When he’s not setting you’ll find him teaching private lessons, biking around Arlington, traveling to see family, or raising his new baby!
Stephen Bryant – Competitive Team Head Coach
You may not recognize the above name because nobody calls him Stephen. Known as Tex (from the great state of Texas), he was born and raised in a small town outside of San Antonio. Tex spent most of his time huntin’, fishin’, and lovin’ every day.
While he has been climbing and coaching for over a decade, he got his start in the caving community at the age of 14 and made the transition to climbing in college. He received a BS in geology from the University of Texas at Austin while managing the on-campus climbing center and heading up their guiding service. After graduation, he moved to North Carolina and dove further into the climbing industry as a coach and route setter for Triangle Rock Club. Tex is currently in charge of all the competitive teams at CRG Watertown and Cambridge, including the youth and collegiate teams (Northeastern, MIT, Brandeis, and Tufts).
Fun fact: He knows the words to every country song ever written and can be caught singing along while driving around town.
Sofia Maluf – Youth Programs Coordinator
Sofia has spent her last several summers working as a coordinator and instructor with different youth organizations. These organizations specialize in changing youth participants’ lives through challenge and discovery both indoors and out, with a focus on healing through community, and celebrating the fun and friendship of childhood.
Sofia found CRG and began her rock climbing professional development (both through climbing and employment) sometime in the last six years, though the specific start time has been long forgotten. She probably hails from New England but we don’t know for sure.
When she’s not coaching or climbing at the gym, Sofia is probably answering (read: dodging) questions about where she’s actually from, and when she started climbing. Her catchphrase: “Let’s go-go!”