Petra Cliffs Indoor Instructors & Staff

Claire Cappella

Front Desk Staff

Claire joined the Petra Cliffs staff this May and can be found working at the front desk and helping with birthday parties! She grew up in Connecticut and moved to Burlington to study at the University of Vermont, majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Economics. She has always loved the outdoors, but discovered climbing when making some friends on the UVM climbing team her first year. She is still somewhat new to climbing, but is excited to work on her skills at Petra, learning from the other staff and the awesome community. When not a Petra, she can be found horseback riding, taking photos, hiking, biking, in a hammock with a good book, paddleboarding, and playing with dogs.

Gene O. Desideraggio

Gene O. began climbing on a crag in his hometown in Connecticut and then moved to Vermont to pursue a degree in Forestry with a minor in Geology at the University of Vermont. He began working for Petra Cliffs in June and is eager to improve his technical skills and knowledge of the sport. When he isn't climbing or working at the Petra Cliffs front desk Gene O spends his time outdoors in hammocks, swimming holes anywhere with a mountain view or in the pottery studio. 

Evan Kirk

AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, Front Desk Staff, Youth Program Staff 

Climbing since 2010, Evan joined the Petra staff after moving to Burlington to finish his undergrad at UVM. While he believes any climbing is great climbing, you’ll have to twist his arm to get him to clip bolts or pebble wrestle because he’d much prefer to be two pitches up plugging gear all day long. If he’s not rock climbing he’s running, mountain biking, cycling, hiking, skiing, ice climbing, or generally, doing anything that doesn’t involve water (unless that water is frozen of course). Evan usually works the front desk, but also works summer camps and birthday parties and enjoys helping new climbers gain the confidence and skills they need to have a great time on the walls. He looks forward to seeing you at Petra Cliffs and hopes to see you at the crags too!

Andie Gemme

Front Desk Staff, Youth Programs Staff

Andie started at Petra as a summer camp counselor, and after doing that for two years has started working desk shifts regularly.  Born in Massachusetts and a graduate of Saint Michael's College, she has found her home in Vermont and enjoys spending as much time as possible exploring the mountains, cliffs and trails that Vermont and New England have to offer. Outside of Petra Cliffs, Andie spends most of her time working at Champlain College in their Office of Diversity and Inclusion. 

Patrick Strobel

CWA Climbing Wall Instructor, Front Desk Staff, & Youth Camp Staff

Patrick starting working at Petra Cliffs as a SumMAT camp counselor and has transitioned into a regular at the front desk. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Patrick moved to the Burlington area to attend school at the University of Vermont. He found a desire to climb big rocks on a NOLS mountaineering course and has fostered that desire throughout college. When not climbing Patrick enjoys running, cycling, and just being outdoors.    

Brittany Kirvan

CWA Climbing Wall Instructor, Front Desk Staff 

Craig Morrill

AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor, Youth Climbing Team Coach - Recreational Team, Front Desk Staff, Route Setter

Born right here in Burlington, Vermont, Craig is one of Petra Cliffs' AMGA Certified Climbing Wall Instructors and has been working for the climbing gym since the fall of 2014. He loves to get on hard sport climbs around New England and focuses on routes that require delicate, intricate technique. Therefore, Craig is a good instructor for those looking to learn more about technique and route reading. Aside from being a certified climbing wall instructor, Craig is also a swimming instructor, sailing and watersports instructor, and is a Wilderness First Responder. When he isn’t instructing, Craig helps coordinate some of the events at Petra Cliffs.  

Book a private lesson with him now! 

Brennan Lynch

 Front Desk Staff, Youth Program Staff - Mini Monkeys Instructor & SumMAT Camp Counselor

Brennan started working at Petra Cliffs as a SumMAT Camp Counselor in summer 2016 and is now a Mini Monkeys instructor and a member of the front desk staff. She grew up here in Burlington, VT learning to ski, hike, and ultimately rock climb in the surrounding areas. She loves showing people that it's fun to get outside and try new things! If you see her in the gym, don't be shy, go say hi!

Sarah Fox

CWA Climbing Wall Instructor, Youth Programs Coordinator, Front Desk Manager, SumMAT Camp Director, & Donations Coordinator

Sarah has been a friendly face at the gym since 2014 and is a 'Jill of All Trades'. A graduate of St. Michael's College, Sarah is our Youth Programs Coordinator, SumMAT Camp Assistant Director, Front Desk Manager, and Donations Coordinator. In addition to all of those roles she also is an excellent instructor and loves to share her skills as a climber with others. With a decade of experience in youth programming she also co-leads some of our overnight expeditions and holds a Wilderness First Responder certification. Sarah is CWA certified as a Climbing Wall Instructor and loves to work with all levels. You can book a private lesson at any time or sign up for one of her clinics in the Fall/Winter/Spring seasons!

James Sherrard

Youth Climbing Team Coach - Competitive Team

For the past decade James has been climbing, hiking, backpacking, and until a knee injury slowed him down playing, captaining and coaching collegiate level Ultimate Frisbee. James is in his fifth year as a Teen Leader at an annual week long environmental program (Family Nature Summits) in addition to two years of co-leading rock climbing through the same program. After moving to Vermont to work in the water resources field, James began climbing at Petra Cliffs and volunteering at youth climbing events. He is excited to use his past coaching and climbing skills a a coach for the Youth Climbing Competitive Team. When not climbing or generally outdoors, he is available to chat about the health of Lake Champlain or tell terribly cheesy jokes!

Kristofer Fiore

AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, Youth Climbing Team Coach - Recreational Team, Route Setter

After years of wall-crawling at Petra, Kris finally joined the staff this year to coach the Youth Climbing Team and help with route setting. His favorite type of climbing often involves spending entire days weeding out cracks and hammering in bolts to discover first ascents in Vermont. If you can't find a partner for some far away rock that hasn't ever been climbed, give him a call. When not climbing, Kris is a summer camp director in New York, copy editor, and Colchester High School's ultimate frisbee coach. Kris also serves as Vice President of CRAG-VT and is a loving father of one beautiful canine daughter named Knuckles.

Sam Edson

Youth Climbing Team Coach - Pro Team, Route Setter

Sam joined the Petra Cliffs staff as a route setter and in the Fall of 2015 became one of the Youth Climbing Team coaches! As an avid climber, Sam has traveled to many of New England's most famous rocky areas in his many years as an experienced boulderer. When not climbing, Sam can be found wakeboarding, skateboarding, and hitting the slopes on his snowboard.

Gavin Cote

Front Desk Staff

Gavin joined the Petra Cliffs crew this past June as our youngest staff member. He started climbing in 2014 after participating in the Petra Cliffs SumMAT Camp for a summer expedition; he participated in two consecutive Ultimate New England Expeditions with the program in back-to-back summers. Around three years ago, Gavin joined the Youth Climbing Team, and now trains and competes as a member on the Pro Team. You will catch him running birthday pand helping out at the front desk

Eliza DuPont

CWA Climbing Wall Instructor, Art Coordinator

Eliza has been working at Petra Cliffs and blessing us with her smile for almost four years. Her skills include working the front desk, indoor instruction including private lessons and women's adult clinics, coordination of our lovely art gallery and a variety of other miscellaneous duties. She is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys a plethora of activities including climbing of course, but also skiing, biking, soccer, yoga, playing with dogs and laying in the sun just to name a few. Outside of her work for Petra Cliffs she is a photographer, caretaker and artist's assistant who is also taking classes to go back to school!  If you recognize her in the gym then you'll notice she often has a little golden dingo dog with a floppy ear by her side named August (Auggie!), so say hello if you spot them!

Matt Haddock

Youth Program Staff - Vacation & Summer Camp Counselor

Matt grew up in Richmond, Vermont in a log cabin with his parents and brother. He spent his childhood hiking through Vermont trails, snowboarding at Bolton Valley, and spending as much time outside as possible. Matt is now a senior at Lyndon State College studying psychology, and hopes to use his degree in the social work field when he graduates. He is thrilled to be a part of the youth program staff at Petra Cliffs and enjoys his time working with the Vacation Camp as well as our SumMAT Camp. Matt has never been so happy to get up for work than at Petra Cliffs, and is looking forward to the wonderful adventures ahead!

Cassie Marion

Front Desk Staff

She may be new to the Petra team, but Cassie has been climbing since grade school and loves to be involved in guiding, teaching, and experiencing the outdoors. This true Vermonter recently graduated from UVM with a degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism. She spends long periods of time guiding whitewater rafting trips on the mighty Hudson River in the Adirondacks, followed by hiking, bouldering, fishing, paddleboarding, and being rad. On the Vermont side of Lake Champlain, Cassie spends her time flying, skiing, climbing, biking, running, making maple syrup with her family and so much more! She loves the entrepreneurial life, and digs any challenge that comes her way.

Chris Cobler

Front Desk Staff

Chris Cobler started with Petra on the climbing team in 2013, where he quickly fell in love with climbing. prompting him to volunteer route-set, and help with the gym. He quickly earned a spot on the Petra Cliffs team where he now works at the front desk. You may find Chris doing anything from birthday parties to belay lessons, and working on any small projects around the gym that may arise. When Chris isn't working at Petra he is usually climbing, snowboarding, playing soccer, sailing, or sleeping. Chris is currently enrolled at VTC for Electro-mechanical Engineering. Chris also works for the Air National Guard out of Burlington where he is a Crew Chief for the F-16. Chris is always happy to lend a hand and greet you as soon as you come in!

Additional Front Desk Staff

Gene O. Desideraggio, Kerry Wilson, Matt Karkut, Olivia Hunt, Devon Achilles,  Sam Mervis, Alex Gemme

Youth Program Staff

Youth Climbing Team: Brennan Lynch, Craig Morrill, Sam Edson,  Sarah Fox

SumMAT Camp: Meet our SumMAT Leader team HERE