Our Coaches

THE Coaches


Our Coaches

THE Coaches


Competitive rock climbing is an opportunity for youth to be challenged as an individual, while developing teamwork skills. Challenges that our team members may be faced with include workouts, techniques and strategy - and our coaches emphasize these in a fun, yet very focused, environment. Team workouts focus on balance, movement, communication, mental strategy and physical strength.

Every Stone Summit Climbing Team coach sees potential in each of our team members, and motivate them to achieve the highest success they desire. Our coaches are all knowledgeable, organized and empathetic in order to create a positive rock climbing experience. 



As the Head coach of the U.S. Youth National Climbing teams since 2007, Claudiu is at the forefront of rock climbing training, development, and program management. He has been a mentor to both youth and professional climbers including one of the world’s best female climbers, Sasha Digulian. His years of climbing and coaching experience have made the Stone Summit Climbing Team competitive on the local, national, and global level.




Kody has been the head coach of the AZR Ascenders and head route setter at AZ on the Rocks in Scottsdale, Arizona since 2009. However, he just recently removed himself from both of his positions at AZ on the Rocks in pursuit of other things. In his near decade coaching the Ascenders, he has been fortunate to work with some fantastic coaches from around the world and learned a little bit from all of them.

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Jackie has been training and competing since she was 12, but not as a youth climber, an equestrian. She trained with Olympic rider Kathy Connolly, and learned about what it takes to be a top athlete. When she started climbing in 2008 it was an immediate addiction. After a few years of working with amazing climbers like Josh Larson, Sydney Mcnair, and Dave Wetmore she combined the skills from her riding career with what she had learned from these professional climbers. 

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Olexiy Shul’ga has been coaching the annual Pre National Training Camps for the past couple of years with focus on Speed Training
 for US Youth Athletes from all around the country.

Olexiy is a professional coach originally from the Ukraine, 
where speed climbing has long traditions of excellence
and intensive training of high level athletes.  He brings years of
 experience coaching elite speed climbers and has an extensive
background in Sport Physiology, Psychology with
development of athletic training systems.

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Scott is an amazing asset to our youth climbing program at Stone Summit. He is a special education teacher by profession and had devoted his life to teaching kids both in and outside of the climbing gym. When asked why he loves to coach climbing, he says, “Because it goes hand-in-hand with both of my life’s passions: climbing and teaching. Seeing progress in my own climbing as well as that of my athletes is most rewarding for me. I feel the confidence that climbing instills in kids can translate to all other aspects of their lives.”

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It can be said that Dion always had a vertical infatuation. Then he discovered climbing in 2007 at his university wall and fell in love. Climbing was yet another reason to be in nature pushing one's limits, both physical and mental.

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Grace Robertson

Coach Grace started climbing in high school with her brothers and loved getting outside with her family. In college, she helped start the collegiate climbing series at Georgia Southern University. After college, she coached the competitive team in her home town for 3 years. She is passionate about climbing and wants others to share that same passion for the sport. 

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Neal coaches teams from Peak to Summit. Neal started climbing in Raleigh, NC at Triangle Rock Club where an alternative form of exercise quickly evolved into a personal passion and professional career. He believes that climbing is much more than physical strength. It's also about coming alongside kids and youth to help them solve problems and grow as individuals. This is what climbing is all about.


My name is Cora Pursley. I have been climbing for 2+ years and I am a coach for peak/apex teams. The first time she climbed she fell in love with the sport and community. She loves both the mental and physical training it gives you. She loves coaching because she enjoys helping kids reach their goals and seeing their excitement once their goal is met. 

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AJ Shirey

AJ is the head coach of the Stone Summit Vertical team. Having started climbing at age 11, he draws on nearly a decade and a half of climbing experience- as a competitor in two youth national championships, an outdoor climber throughout the southeast's premiere crags, and as a coach and instructor for the last several years. 

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Danny Hartman

Danny is a coach for Peak, Apex and Ascent. He has been climbing since 2012, when he fell in love with climbing at University of West Georgia. Shortly after he trained hard to joined their climbing team and competed for 2 years in the USA Climbing Collegiate Series, then moved back to Kennesaw to finish his degree at Kennesaw State University. 

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Nicole Mejia

Nicole is currently a coach for the teams Klub, Peak, Apex, and Ascent. When not with the kids at practice, she can be found working the front desk at Stone Summit, teaching new climbers how to belay, or forerunning the latest routes set in the gym. Over two years ago, March 2015, she was introduced to climbing and the obsession has only grown since. Though starting off in the gym, Nicole will jump at any chance to take the sport outside amid friends and nature.

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Alex is a coach for Stone Summit’s Apex team and is also a Stone Summit employee. She grew up in the town of Hamilton, Georgia where she graduated high school and went off to college. Alex discovered climbing in her first year of college at the University of West Georgia in 2012. She quickly fell in love with the sport and was immediately progressing as a climber through the help and support of her friends. 

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John Heidbreder

John is a coach for Klub, Peak, Apex, and Ascent. He began climbing four years ago at Stone Summit, and was hooked from the very beginning. He holds a degree in exercise science from Berry College, and hopes to use that knowledge to help the kids accomplish their goals.

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Ben has been climbing and competing since 2011 and is a former member of the Stone Summit Climbing Team. He earned a spot on the US Team in 2016, competing in China later that year at Youth Worlds. He was the Collegiate National Speed Champion in 2017 and is an Evolv sponsored athlete. 

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Kirby Coggins

Kirby is a former Stone Summit Team member & college student who now shares his knowledge and experience as a Team Coach.