Staff


BRIDGES ROCK GYM STAFF


Damian Cooksey
Nickname: D
Position: Founder / Director
Damian conceived the idea for Bridges Rock Gym on January 7th, 2004 (Yup, he remembers the date!) His very first crag was the decorative stonework in front of the local Safeway when he was 3 years old. His mom would search frantically around the store for him, only to find him landing some sweet first ascents on the 15-ft wall (to the shock and horror of innocent bystanders). Outside of Bridges, Damian enjoys slacklining (look him up on Wikipedia sometime), anything on a lake, and motorcyle riding the dual-sport trails of California. Fun fact about Damian: he dresses up as the Karate Kid every single year for Halloween - but secretly believes that we are all “Mr. Miyagi” deep down. If he were a mythological creature, he would be Falkor from the Neverending Story and would speak in clear, concise English. The best cheese experience of Damian’s life was freshly breaded and fried Emmenthal, served in a high-altitude hut in the Austrian Alps.








Kevin Stevens
Nickname: Special K
Position: Co-Owner
In the beginning, there was a void… and so began Kevin’s tenure at Bridges Rock Gym. Kevin’s life work has included being an International Traveler, Counselor, Storyteller, and Author. Kevin has been climbing since before most people reading this were even born! His most memorable climbing experience was summiting the great Huascaran (22,305 ft) in Peru. If Kevin were an animal, he would be a golden eagle. And trust me, you would never hear him coming! Some advice from Kevin: Be happy because the alternative is not good. Do good whenever you can because life is short.








Kara Sickel
Nickname: Karebear, Leimer, or K-Dawg
Position: General Manager
Kara joined the Bridges Management Team in May 2011, and loves it here because we prove that coworkers can really be your friends. Plus, who can beat our break time activities? (You can always ask her for some examples!) Kara is originally from Wyoming, has a degree in Cultural Anthropology, and has been climbing for 9 years. Her most memorable climbing experience was exploring Isolation Canyon when no one was around, all wild and free! If K-Dawg were an animal or mythological creature, she would be a Flying Dragon. While in dragon form, she wouldn’t make any noise at all so that she could sneak up on her victims. If you do happen to call her “Karen” by accident, the best way to get back on her good side is by dancing with her, letting her win at board games, or offering her fried cheese crisps.








Patrick Vance
Nickname: P, Pat
Position: Front Desk Manager / Group Sales Manager
Patrick is one of the longest-standing Bridges employees, having joined the team in early 2010. He loves the awesome community of members, guests, and peers he gets to see every time he comes in to work - it’s like his real-life version of “Cheers”! (Are you old enough to get the reference?) The first time Patrick climbed was on the day of his interview at Bridges - he climbed with Anson O. and made a great friend. Outside of Bridges, Pat plays video games, flies mini helicopters, watches lots of movies and TV, skateboards, and saves for his annual trip to Disneyland. His favorite books are Tourist Season, or anything by Jim Thompson. Pat would describe himself as a ghost who likes to listen to Bay Area Rap from the years of 1990 to 1997. If he were an animal, he would be a Battlesloth and would make prolonged low tone beep sounds. Pat’s favorite cheese: Bleu.








Kenneth Pack
Nickname: K-Sizzle, Sir Kensington
Position: Assistant Front Desk Manager / Membership Services Manager
Kenneth has been working at Bridges since November 2014. One day, he ventured all the way to The Bay from Modesto, CA and decided he may as well stick around-ay. (Ask Kenneth about his poetry skills.) Kenneth started climbing as a kid but didn’t really pick it up regularly until 2012. When asked if he does anything outside of Bridges, he seemed confused that a world even existed outside of climbing. However, he does occasionally enjoy fixed-gear bikes, vegan nomz, and IPA’s. If Sir Kensington were an animal, he would be a golden retriever and would eat Daiya cheese quesadillas forever. Kenneth loves climbing anywhere outdoors, but please don’t ask him to climb at Castle Rock…








Chris McCole
Position: Head Routesetter
Setter Tag: CMC
Chris has no idea how long he’s been working here because it’s just been that long. Before he got here and started losing track of time, he went to UC Santa Cruz, Paramedic School, and was an EMT. His two favorite parts about working at Bridges are the truly one-of-a-kind community, and attempting to break the beta of that same community. Chris has been climbing for 22 years but only decided to start buying guidebooks when he nearly died at Castle Rock on a “sport” route that required him to top out 40 feet above his last piece of gear through two feet of dead leaves. Outside of climbing, he enjoys fly fishing, camping, and backpacking. If he were an animal, Chris would be a good old California mountain lion. As far as cheeses go, he prefers them as stinky as possible.








Austin Perkins
Nickname: Austy Boy
Position: Assistant Head Routesetter
Setter Tag: Perky
Before Austin even knew about Bridges, his dad met Damian while he was slacklining on Stinson beach and exclaimed, “You should hire my son!” And so it began… Austin started working at Bridges in October 2011. His favorite part about working at Bridges is seeing all the awesome staff and members every time he comes in. When it’s not Tuesday, Perky’s main gig is building high-end audio equipment for his dad’s company, Spiral Groove. Perky has been climbing since 2008, and his most memorable experience was sending his first indoor V9 to one of Taylor Swift’s more poppy songs. (DJ cred = Becca). His favorite books include The Kingkiller Chronicles and Starship Troopers, while his favorite video games are Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, and Zelda. He thinks mozzarella cheese is totally rad. If Perky were an animal, he would definitely be a squahonking Zeaglebra. If you manage to catch Perky on a good day, try and ask him to perform any random piece of text as Slam Poetry - you’re in for a treat, trust me.








Joseph Hunter
Nickname: Joebi-Wan Kenobi
Position: Maintenance Manager / Teen Team Coach
Joe has been working at Bridges since March 2011 and stuck around because of all the beautiful, amazing people that conglomerate here. He is a proud graduate of De La Salle High School in Concord. Joe has been climbing since before he could even walk, and lists the Aggro Crag as one of his favorite climbing locations. Hobbies outside of climbing include Star Trek, Star Wars, comic books, and shapeshifting (being a tree can be an amazing experience). Joe’s only goal in life is to ride shiny and chrome into the gates of Valhalla. If that dream doesn’t pan out for him, he’d settle for teaching high school English. If Joebi-Wan were an animal, he would be a Bearilla with a great belly-laugh that could be heard for miles, and would eat lots of a very terrible type of cheese (if you really want to know, you can ask him about it).








Rowan
Position: Routesetter / House DJ / Comp Sponsorship Fetcher (Swag)
Setter Tag: Stonefly
Like Wendy, Rowan has been attaching funky little plastic shapes to the walls at Bridges since day one. He really enjoys his Bridges peeps, the community, and what Bridges represents - “It’s a small business with a heart of gold!” Outside of Bridges, Rowan is a Consumer Warranty Supervisor at Camelbak. Since he’s been climbing for 23 years, he could go on listing his favorite climbing locations forever. However, the highlight for him was Fontainebleau, France. Rowan was born in Venezuela but has long since planted his roots firmly in California. If Rowan were an animal he would be a wild mustang screaming “Get out my wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!” Rowan is a self-described freak of nature, powered by two transplanted lungs and fueled by life. His favorite kind of cheese is brie, preferably triple cream.








Wendy
Position: Routesetter
Setter Tag: WL
Wendy has been a setter at Bridges since day one, and has been climbing for over 10 years. She keeps coming back because of the small, tight-knit community. Wendy studied Chemical Engineering at UC Berkeley, and her side job is at a biopharmaceutical consulting firm where she is the Director of Regulatory Science and Affairs. Wendy is one of those rare climbers who actually has hobbies outside of climbing: mushing, fly fishing, diving, mountain biking, and generally anything outdoors. Her favorite video games are Dr. Mario and Mega Man 2 (NES), and she thinks Istara cheese is the best kind of cheese. If she were an animal, she would be a hedgehog making pokey noises. When asked “Why are you here?”, she proceeded to quote the Prince of Bel-Air theme song in full… followed by, “Okay fine, I moved out here for college and because it’s 72 degrees and sunny.”








Jesse
Nickname: El Jeffe, Jessador, Hey You!
Position: Routesetter
Setter Tag: JH
Jesse started working at Bridges in the winter of 2009, and has been climbing for 12 years. The best parts about working here for him are creating routes, and climbing with good people. Jesse kinda has some hobbies outside of climbing - high fiving, playing music, flying kites… but mainly he just likes to climb. Jesse definitely wins the “Smallest Rental Shoe Size That You Can Fit Your Foot Into” award - he’s a street shoe size 10 and can fit into a rental size 6. Dang. Cheese-wise, Jessador prefers Gruyere. If he were a mythological creature, he would be The Nazgul and would say “nahhitscool,” really chill-like. Why is he here? Well that’s simple - it’s because the matter in his body displaces the time-space continuum, of course.








Harrison
Nickname: Hairy
Position: Routesetter
Setter Tag: HD
Harrison’s time at Bridges has been completely shrouded in mystery. Nobody is really sure when he started working here - not even Harrison himself. His day job is acting as Head of the Library Data Lab at UC Berkeley, and he really is quite a good actor! Harrison would describe himself as a mild mannered geek, trapped in the body of a rock climber, wishing to be the Abominable Snowman. He knows the secret of life, but isn’t telling. He’s been to the other side, and the grass wasn’t greener. His favorite cheese is a nice, nutty Emmental. In all of his 40+ years of climbing, Harrison’s most memorable climbing experience was meeting his future wife, Sue Patenaude, at a crag called Turkey Tail in Colorado. Since he spends most of his time climbing and does not enjoy books, video games, music, or film… drinking cocktails is pretty much his only other hobby. If he had the opportunity though, he would like to spend time trumpeting boisterously, but only if there was no one around.








Sohil
Nickname: Soso, SoChill, Soso Masta, Sohelium Air
Position: Routesetter
Setter Tag: Soso
Soso has been working at Bridges since June 2013. Outside of the gym, he’s a Business major at SFSU, and is entering his 6th year of officiating NCS High School Water Polo. His favorite video game is Mario Kart: Double Dash, and his favorite books are the Ender’s Game series and anything by Charles Bukowski. Perfect description of Sohil: a Caramel Crusher from Candy Rockland here to bring happiness to the Masses. Soso claims to have enough hair on his body to weave a medium Persian rug, and he likes his cheeses to be the stinkiest of the stinkies. His main goal is to train so hard that one day he can jump high enough to fly. If Soso were an animal, he would be a caramel dragon bringing sweetness and fire to all the land, making the Michael Jackson “uhh” sound. Targaryens forever.








Arno
Nickname: Arnimedes
Position: Routesetter
Setter Tag: AF
Arno started working at Bridges in August 2012. He’s yo-yoed back and forth between the Bay Area, Wyoming, and Tahoe ever since… he just can’t seem to stay away. His favorite part about working here is, of course, the community. He’s been climbing ever since he was a wee laddie, and his top-ranked crags are Fontainebleau, Tahoe, and maybe Yosemite? (Question mark?) His most memorable climbing experiences involve any situation that has gotten a little Hairy off the Decker. Outside of climbing, Arno is a tutor who enjoys the Golden State Warriors, guitar, and dogs. He considers himself to be “Arno” only most of the time… who he is the rest of the time will remain a great mystery to all. If he were an animal, he would be a happy Labrador, and his noise would be ear flaps when people send. Arno’s perfect cheese would be something aged and very wise.








Becca
Nickname: Becca Boo
Position: Front Desk Staff
Becca has been working at Bridges since March 2014. She’s also an actor, certified EMT, and certified Medical Assistant. Becca has been climbing leisurely for 10 years, and would love to go climbing in Thailand. On the side, she enjoys acting, backpacking/hiking, refurbishing furniture, and playing pool. Becca would describe herself as an adventurer, a hoper, a dreamer, a magic bean-buyer. If she were an animal, she would be a Unicorn with a nice whirring trill. As for cheese, Becca Boo likes double cream brie and cottage. Anytime she sees someone yawn, hears the word “yawn,” or anything having to do with a yawn, Becca has to yawn too. She’s yawning right now.








Jessie
Nickname: Jessandra, Jrad
Position: Routesetter / Yoga Teacher / Administrative Assistant / Yoga&Fitness Program Manager
Setter Tag: Jrad
Jessie used to work at the original Brooklyn Boulders, but Bridges claimed her heart in February 2014, and she started out by teaching yoga. Jessie began climbing seriously about 6 years ago. Her favorite climbing location is Bishop, but she also loves hiking deep into the woods to find boulders. Her dream climbing/living location is anywhere by the ocean; Hawaii or Spain would make good contenders. When catching a breather from her seemingly infinite number of jobs, Jessie enjoys yoga, coffee, sunbathing, skateboarding, hiking, dancing, climbing (obvi), and the ocean. Her Chinese zodiac is the Monkey. Jessie is out of the closet as a fan of BSG and BTVS, and if you know what those are you are super cool and you should binge watch them with Jessie and bring cheese. Jessie also loves coffee.








Varya
Nickname: Young Var, Var Var Binks, Var Star, Fireball Fedorovster, Var-sity
Position: Routesetter / Belay Staff
Setter Tag: VF
Varya has been working here since May 2014, and the best part for her is seeing kids get excited about climbing. She has been climbing since early 2013, and her favorite climbing location so far is Red Rocks. Her most memorable climbing experience was watching the rain come in over Yosemite Valley as she was rappelling down a granite wall-turned-waterfall. Hobbies outside of climbing are… basically just climbing. And the great outdoors! She’s not too picky when it comes to cheese - she likes any and all. It has to be good cheese though, so yea maybe she can be a little picky. If Young Var were a mythological creature, she would be a hippogriff. Making hippogriff noises.