About Climbing Business Journal

Climbing Business Journal is an independent news outlet dedicated to covering the indoor climbing industry. Here you will find the latest coverage of climbing industry news, gym developments, industry best practices, risk management, climbing competitions, youth coaching and routesetting. Stay current on the latest trends that are shaping indoor climbing.

We created CBJ to fill a gap in the climbing media universe.  While there are many magazines, websites and film companies covering the exciting and photogenic world of outdoor climbing, we wanted more information about the growing indoor climbing community.  We wanted one place that offered news and advice for people that work in the industry or just love climbing on plastic: owners and managers of climbing gyms, routesetters, hold shapers, wall builders, pad designers, equipment retailers and climbing geeks. Since that place didn’t exist we decided to create it. CBJ launched in July 2013.

Our goal is to provide breaking news, in-depth coverage and just plain fun stories about the indoor climbing industry.  We are still figuring out what works and what you, our readers, want to see.  We welcome your thoughts, suggestions and gentle criticisms, so why not drop us a line? We would love to hear from you.

Climbing Business Journal’s mission is to authentically and generously inform and connect the professionals and organizations of indoor climbing.

Editorial Manager

Joe RobinsonRead articles by Joe Robinson Joe Robinson, Editorial Manager
Communications specialist and poverty economist, Joe has been contributing his expertise to the global climbing industry for nearly a decade and currently manages CBJ editorial. He traveled around the world as the IFSC’s community manager during Olympic inclusion as well as across the US while writing for Alpinist, Climberism, DPM and CBJ. He worked in local climbing gyms of the Pacific Northwest and West Michigan and advanced economic empowerment, educational equity, youth development and diversity programs alongside national non-profit organizations.

Senior Editor

John BurgmanRead articles by John Burgman John Burgman, Senior Editor
John is the author of High Drama, a book that chronicles the history of American competition climbing. He is a Fulbright journalism grant recipient and a former magazine editor. He holds a master’s degree from New York University and bachelor’s degree from Miami University. In addition to writing, he coaches a youth bouldering team. Follow him on Twitter @John_Burgman and Instagram @jbclimbs, and read our article about him: Meet John Burgman, U.S. Comp Climbing’s Top Journalist

Marketing Coordinator

Jamie Strong Jamie Strong, Marketing Coordinator
Jamie has been working in graphic design and marketing for about a decade. She is a co-owner of a climbing gym, a youth climbing coach, and a certified yoga instructor. Jamie holds a master’s degree from University College London and a bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University. She spends her weekends and vacations traveling to climb throughout the US.

Associate Editor

Naomi Stevens Naomi Stevens, Associate Editor
Naomi is a personal trainer and a routesetter who has also worked at climbing gyms as a youth team coach. After starting college at Colorado State University in 2017, she wanted to make new friends and found climbing, fell in love, and now climbing dictates most of what she does. Naomi earned a bachelor’s degree in Ecosystem Science & Sustainability, and when not climbing she enjoys baking, gardening and crafting.

Legal Analyst

Jason PillRead articles by Jason Pill Jason Pill, Legal Analyst
Jason is a longtime climber and an attorney with Phelps Dunbar, LLP in Tampa, Florida. He practices in the area of labor and employment and assists clients in handling unique issues that arise at the intersection of law and technology. Additionally, Jason managed a climbing gym before embarking on a legal career, and he currently serves as the Chairperson of USA Climbing’s Risk Management Committee.

Contributor

Devin Dabney
Read articles by Devin Dabney
Devin Dabney, Contributor
Devin is a professional podcaster, writer and music producer who lives in Indiana. In addition to CBJ, he also writes for The Climbing Zine. Devin has spent over a decade working in the climbing industry in a variety of roles, including head routesetter, competitive youth coach, personal trainer, event coordinator and community ambassador. When he isn’t making music, climbing, drawing or traveling, you can usually find him playing video games or grabbing a beer with his friends.

Contributor

Zoe Leibovitch
Read articles by Zoe Leibovitch
Zoe Leibovitch, Contributor
Zoe has been a climbing competitor on the national and international level since 2006. She has traveled the world competing in IFSC events, has been on the Evolv athlete team since 2014, and continues to spread her passion for climbing as a guest setter and coach. She has written for Climbing Magazine and worked The Spot as event and marketing coordinator. In addition to climbing, Zoe enjoys snowboarding, surfing, and all things adrenaline-pumping.

Contributor

Jonathan Littauer
Read articles by Jonathan Littauer
Jonathan Littauer, Contributor
Jonathan is a writer and head routesetter currently based out of Stavanger, Norway. He has worked as a magazine editor, a corporate storyteller, and his fiction is represented by Jabberwocky Literary Agency. He spent the last five years setting for climbing gyms in New England. When he’s not writing or bolting plastic to plywood, he’s outside somewhere, hiking, climbing, or surfing.

Contributor

McKenzie Long McKenzie Long, Contributor
McKenzie got her start in the climbing industry as a belay instructor at RockQuest Climbing Center, followed by an internship at Alpinist. She lives in the mountains of the Sierra and works as a writer and graphic designer. She has co-authored two climbing guides, including Supertopo’s High Sierra Climbing, and is the author of This Contested Land: the storied past and uncertain future of America’s national monuments. She loves cream in her coffee, bright color palettes, and smooth sandstone cracks.

Publisher

Scott RennakRead articles by Scott Rennak Scott Rennak, Publisher
Scott has been promoting indoor climbing since 1997 when he bought Climb Time of Cincinnati and started what would become the American Bouldering Series. Since then he has helped hundreds of small businesses grow including climbing gyms and manufacturers. He is available for projects through Reach Climbers. In his free time he still scours nearby hills for fresh boulders, skis all year, and is a dedicated father to his two young children.

Founder

Mike Helt Mountain Helt, Founder
Mountain has over 20 years experience working in and with climbing gyms all over the country. He’s a USAC Level 5 National Chief Routesetter with setting experience that ranges from locals to international World Cups, and he sat on the USAC Routesetting Committee, which created USAC’s routesetter clinic and certification system. In 2007 he founded Routesetter.com and ran the site until its closing in 2009. Mountain is also Head Routesetter at Mesa Rim Climbing – Reno.

CBJ Alumi

Over the years many others have served on the CBJ team and contributed to our development, including:

  • Marlowe Kulley
  • Jon Lachelt
  • Leif Coopman
  • Noah Rezentes
  • Theresa Phamduy
  • Madeleine Eichorn
  • Chris Ryan
  • Austin Lokey