Staff

Interested in joining the staff at Momentum Millcreek? Visit our Employment page to view current opportunities.

Curran Lemp

General Manager - Employee Since August 2015
Me: “Hi my name is Curran”
You: “...Koo-rine?”
Me: “Like ‘current’ without the ‘t’”
You: “Ohh, ok, where is that from?”
This is how I meet people and to answer your next question: No, I don’t mind it at all. The name is an old Gaelic name and was picked out of a book of baby names. However, I am from Albuquerque, New Mexico which is quite far from Ireland. Aside from a year and a half in my tweens, I was rooted in Albuquerque until the summer of 2015 when I moved to Salt Lake City, UT. Looking for both a change of scenery and career advancement, I found what I wanted in a position as the GM of Momentum’s Millcreek location. From my office window facing Millcreek Canyon, I have the pleasure of running one of the world’s premier climbing facilities which is patronized by some of the world’s premier climbers.

When not working, I spend my time pursuing hobbies such as climbing, beach volleyball, woodworking, sliding on snow, and ‘getting out of town’. Climbing counts as my most pursued hobby. Starting in 2006, I’ve logged 10 years worth of climbing adventures across the west and abroad, spanning every discipline of climbing. Except alpinism. I’m not much for suffering.

Since *finally* (SLC’s rental market is tough) finding a place to live near Liberty Park (a.k.a. Sugar Hood), I’ve been impressed with the mix of cultures and activities surrounding that part of town. It nurtures my need for diversity and variety in a way that I wasn’t sure SLC could provide. Despite what people say who haven’t visited here, Salt Lake is a bit of a well kept secret in my opinion. To most anyone who asks, I recommend moving here. There you have it, the secret is out.

Stop by the office behind our front desk at Millcreek and say hi.
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Katie Thorup

Youth Programs Manager - Employee Since April 2014
Katie was born and raised right here is good ole' Salt Lake City, Utah. She began with Momentum in the spring on 2014, and can normally be seen parading around with a wild group of kids.

Before working with Momentum, Katie graduated from the University of Utah with her bachelors in Parks, Recreation and Tourism. She also taught outdoor education to the local schools of Hong Kong. No, she cannot speak Cantonese. She began her climbing career in 2007, becoming quickly addicted to solving the puzzles of real rock. Her favorite style of climbing is bouldering, however, she has recently become fond of trad climbing. Outside of climbing, Katie can be found hiking her two dogs, reading a good book, or spending hours rock hunting.
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Braxton Caroll

Customer Service Representative- Employee Since April 2014
Things about Braxton! First when you see me tell me I'm weird, because I absolutely love compliments! I'm actually quite a shy person, except you will never think that when you see me working. When I'm at work, I'm a completely different ‘can't stop talking’ kind of person. Speaking of work, I'm one of your basic gym staff. You'll mostly see me on the floor though with all of you amazing people! When I get really lucky, I'll even get to teach some of you! Instructing people who are just getting into climbing has got to be my favorite part about my job.

Oh, you want to hear who I am outside of work? Well! I'm the youngest with one older sis, still living with my parents mooching everything I can. That's what the youngest child side of me keeps convincing me into doing. As of right now I'm at SLCC for school, part time, with no clue what I want to do with my life. Recently I purchased a motorcycle for getting around town in the summer and I am loving it. No crashes yet, luckily. I've been climbing since 2014. It's not long but I learned quickly because that's also when I started working at Momentum. I play video games, watch tv with dad, movies, I enjoy being with friends, occasional hikes, backpacking, camping, the bow hunt, snowmobiling, boating, and then the basics eating, sleeping, and being quite lazy. That last part was a quicker run through of what I like, if you want me to expand more on anything, then come into the gym and let's be friends! I'll tell you all about anything.
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Arika Blenker

Shift Leader - Employee Since June 2014
Hey guys,
My name is Arika. You may recognize me as the quiet blonde girl who lives at the front desk. I moved to Salt lake a few years ago from Wisconsin, the land of the cheese heads. Yes, I’m a Packers fan by default but please don’t try to talk to me about football, I know nothing about it. Like most Midwesterners, I moved out here for the mountains. I started climbing about six years ago at UW-Stout. I signed up for a freshman outdoor wilderness kayaking trip to the Apostle Islands and I was hooked! I went on as many trips as I could and decided climbing was going to be my thing. My first love was trad climbing and I had my first lead at Devils Lake. Since moving out west however, I have definitely become more of a boulder-er. It’s hard to resist with Joes being so close!
On the off chance I’m not at Momentum I’ll most likely be reading, drinking Americanos, doing a puzzle, watching Netflix, waiting for the bus somewhere, or catching Pokémon.
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Katie Johnston

Customer Service Representative - Employee Since January 2015
Hey there, I'm Katie, a Salt Lake local, climber, artist, aspiring beer snob, and dinosaur lover.
My passion for climbing manifested at a young age in the form of compulsive tree climbing. My attention turned to rock six years ago when I moved to New York and lived in the shadow of the infamous Gunks. I've been back in Utah for two years, and I've been a Momentum gym rat about the same. My main interest is sport climbing, although I am developing a fondness for bouldering as well.
Aside from climbing, my other main passion is art, specifically metalsmithing. I like to play with fire and hit things with hammers.
When I'm not at the gym, I'm in my studio making jewelry or selling at craft fairs.
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Adriana Chimaras

Shift Leader plus lots of other things - Employee Since April 2015
Mi nombre es Adriana y naci en Venezuela. I moved to Miami, Florida in 1992, where I learned English as a second language. People rarely guess that I am Hispanic, as my accent has gone away since then. Ever since I moved to the Salt Lake Valley two years ago, people often ask "did you learn Spanish on your LDS mission"? I usually chuckle and respond, "Actually, I am Hispanic!".

My passion for climbing began in 2009, while living in Oregon. I had a strong lady climber friend take me sport climbing at a small crag call Ozone, in the Colombia River Gorge. We then ventured into the local bouldering gym, spurring a long weekend trip to Smith Rock. At Smith Rock, I met strong impassioned women climbers who inspired me to pursue this budding passion. After witnessing these lady crushers in their element, and seeing just how much climbers eat, the scales were tipped and I was hooked! In the fall of 2012, I chose the dirtbag lifestyle, selling most of my belongings and moving into a van. I lived in my van for 14 months, exploring the diverse climbing and welcoming communities throughout the US. Finally settling down in Salt Lake in December 31st, 2013, at 11:30 pm; just in time to ring in the new year!

I currently work for Momentum as a Youth Program and Personal Coach, furthering my love of teaching and introducing others to the fantastic world of climbing. I also coordinate the Joe's Valley Bouldering Festival, helping to foster a positive relationship between the local and climbing communities. My perfect day is lounging on crash pads, eating lots of chocolate with all my lady climber friends and crushing hard boulders.
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Tyler Price

Shift Leader - Employee Since April 2015
I grew up all over the west, living in Wyoming, Colorado and Nevada. I also spent a year as an exchange student in the Slovak Republic in 2012/2013. My parents live in Seattle, WA and instilled a passion for the outdoors in me when I was little. I grew up hiking, backpacking and snowboarding in Wyoming and the Colorado Rockies. My family and I later took up mountain biking, which quickly stole my focus. Later in life, I had my first climbing experience in the Flatirons and Eldorado Canyon with a family friend.

The prospect of adventuring in the Wasatch brought me to the Salt Lake Valley. I attend Westminster College, where I am studying Environmental Science and Outdoor Education and Leadership. I have been lucky enough to lead trips for the Westminster Outdoor Program and pursue rock guiding certifications through the AMGA. Climbing has definitely taken over my life, with most of my climbing taking the form of Trad and Bouldering. If I could pick two happy places, they would definitely be Indian Creek and Joe's Valley. I enjoy long walks and rides in the Wasatch (or the beach) and hope to explore Canada, Argentina, South Africa and Europe as soon as possible!
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Josh Schmidt

Shift Leader - Employee Since August 2015
Hey There!
If you've met me, you may be asking, "Why is this gumby kid so spry at 6 o'clock in the morning? Why is he smiling? Has he even had coffee yet?"
The answer folks, lies with the fact that energy is not in short supply! I have been enjoying my work at Momentum for quite some time, and being able to talk to such a large and involved community at work makes the job all the more enjoyable. I have not been climbing for as long as most, but I love the conversations and the stories that come out of the gym and those that visit it!

As a climber, I have been pebble wrestling and rock clambering for about three years, and I would have to say that the Southern desert of Utah, and Little Cottonwood Canyon are my home. I love this state and all that it has to offer and feel fortunate as a climber to be in a place that is not only a mecca for climbing, but it is also a mecca for great people, good vibes, and good experiences to come.

Other interests of mine include Biology, Chemistry, The Ocean, Music, and being a goof! I love to explore, and talk about travelling – although I haven’t been to many places – and all the amazing things to see around the world! Finally, I believe that the most important thing in life is to laugh, live life to the fullest, and be as friendly as you can be.
The next time you see me in the gym, feel free to say hello! I love making new friends, and really appreciate good conversation!

Your buddy ole' pal, Josh
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Sam Thurman

Shift Leader - Employee Since August 2015
I grew up in the small but outdoorsy town of Driggs, Idaho. I then moved to Utah County with my family in 2008 and shortly after got my start in climbing. My "home" crag was Rock Canyon and I'd frequently travel between there and Maple Canyon. Fast forward to January 2015; I graduated high school early and then shortly after relocated to the Salt Lake area, and have enjoyed it ever since.

I love my job because I get to be so involved in an amazing community of people who live to share their stoke for climbing, adventure, and a general appreciation for the outdoors. It is within this community that I have had the chance to make many life-long friends, learn many new skills, and gain an even furthered appreciation for the world of climbing.

In my free time I enjoy doing most things that involve challenging myself and being allowed to learn from those that have more experience. I ski/snowboard, longboard, hike, camp, backpack and climb whenever possible. Whilst most of my hobbies include exercise, I am also an avid enthusiast of relaxing, and enjoying the more mellow side of life.

I am always looking for new friends to embark on adventures with, feel free to talk to me anytime you see me.
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Dona Crowne

Shift Leader - Employee Since November 2015
When I'm not at the gym working or getting the latest updates from our vibrant Mo Town Members, I'm probably hanging out with my adorable monsters; Maddox (6) and Julian (4). I spend a lot of time showing them all the splendors the outdoors in Salt Lake has to offer.

When I carve out time for myself, and I make sure to carve out a lot, I almost always spend it climbing, running, or skiing. Climbing entered this mix of awesomeness just a few years ago due to a lackluster ski season that allowed me some extra free time. That free time was quickly absorbed with climbing and I have spent the last couple of years learning as much as I can and working hard to really enjoy what climbing has to offer. I'm very fortunate, in that I get to work and play within a community that shares the same interests as me. It's never a boring day in this sweet little world!
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Jacob Anderson

Customer Service Representative - Employee Since November 2015
I joined the Millcreek Momentum crew in November 2015. Since then I have enjoyed meeting all of the members and helping introduce new customers to our wonderful sport. Climbing has been a central part of my life since I first walked into a gym three years ago. Although originally focused on being a boulderer I have grown to love sport climbing and pushing my limits on the sharp end of the rope. One of my favorite elements of climbing is the sense of exploration that each new route offers.
Outside of climbing I am a recent graduate of Olympus High School and am currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah with hopes of becoming a Robotics Engineer in the future. When i do have free time i usually spend it relaxing with friends or enjoying the great outdoors. Some of my favorite outdoor activities include hiking, backpacking, and of course climbing. Because of this, growing up in Salt Lake City has been a dream come true with accessibility to amazing canyons all within fifteen minutes.
My favorite part about working at Momentum is being surrounded by amazing people and climbing that continues to inspire me.
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Nelson Papke

Customer Service Representative - Employee Since March 2016
Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to read my staff bio! My name is Nelson Papke, and I hail from the climbing mecca of northern Minnesota, although I’ve spent the majority of the past few years in western Montana. I just recently moved to Salt Lake City in March of 2016 and have been working at Momentum since then. Upon arriving I’ve been impressed by both the talent and friendliness of the climbing community here in Salt Lake and I feel extremely grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it.

I enjoy placing gear, long approaches, a moderate amount of choss, and dealing with unforeseen circumstances. For me the most rewarding aspect of my climbing has always been the friendships I’ve developed and adventures that I’ve had along the way, and working at Momentum has allowed me to help share that with others.

I also work part time in Millcreek Canyon on the BSA High COPE course, facilitating participants experience and helping them as they build teamwork, self-reliance and trust, all things that I see as integral to the climbing experience as well.

Outside of climbing, I love playing music, cooking, meditating, doing yoga and having new experiences.

Again, thanks for reading and I hope to see you at the gym!
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Jake Jensen

Customer Service Representative - Employee Since March 2016
I am a recent transplant from West Michigan, which is where I first discovered my passion for climbing in 2003. I immediately immersed myself in the sport despite Michigan's almost complete lack of real rock. I spent several years in the Midwest's competition circuit. From there I have worked at almost every gym West Michigan has to offer, honing my craft as a route setter. Taking extended weekend trips to boulder or sport climb when ever time and finances would allow (nearest climbing being 6 to 8 hours away). Needless to say I am ecstatic and overwhelmed to have so much great climbing at my fingertips here in Utah. So if anyone wants to show me around, feel free to hit me up!

When I'm not climbing/working I'm still spending at least 50% of my time outdoors, hiking, camping, playing soccer, hopefully skiing when winter rolls in, and searching for halfway decent swimming holes (really missing Lake Michigan in these summer months!). The other half of my time I am just as happy staying in, I've seen just about everything Netflix has to offer, I consider myself a cinephile (person obsessed with film), and being from Beer City USA (Grand Rapids), I appreciate a good craft brew.
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Isabel Reback

Customer Service Representative - Employee Since June 2016
Hi! As you can see (up there ^), my name is Isabel. I grew up in Park City, and moved to Salt Lake after spending a little time in Southern California and hating the weather there. I started climbing in the Cottonwoods while in high school, now, 4 years later, I am on the climbing team at the University of Utah. I’m mainly a boulderer for competition purposes, but I’m more passionate about sport and trad. I am now in my senior year, about to graduate with a degree in Psychology and Chemistry, and the plan after I receive my diploma is to take some time off, then hopefully head to Medical School! In that time off I would ideally like to travel around North and South America hitting up some of the premier climbing destinations, so if you have any recommendations for me I would love to hear them! Other things about me: I was a dancer for the majority of my life (which helps me appreciate how comfortable climbing shoes feel when compared to pointe shoes), I’m a certified EMT, a vegetarian, and I color code everything. Other things that I like: backpacking, playing baseball-darts, books, making new friends, and dogs!


If you ever need someone to climb with, have a question about chemistry, or are in need of a stupid joke stop me in the gym because I can most likely help you out!
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Marc Poole

Customer Service Representative - Employee Since August 2016
Hey y’all! I am a native east coaster from VA, just south of D.C. However, my constant search of adventure (and education) has slowly brought me west , first to Grand Rapids, MI and now Salt Lake. I am pretty new to the area so if I ask “Where is that?” when you say you're from Ogden, just laugh and play along. My love of climbing has been fostered by Autumn trips to the Red River Gorge, great nights eating Miguel’s pizza, climbing cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and bleeding over sharp rocks in Joshua Tree. I love the outdoors and its ability to challenge, awe, rejuvenate, and form relationships. My favorite ‘job’ and hobby has been bringing people all over the country (and Romania!) to backpack, climb, canoe, kayak, and cliff jump in beautiful spots. This passion for wilderness and bringing people outside has driven my study (I’m a grad student at the U of U studying Parks, Recreation, and Tourism) of how the outdoors impacts us and how we can further use it to make healthier, happier, cooler people.


When I am not working at the gym I am most likely studying (LOTS of reading), climbing, snowboarding, hiking, strumming a guitar, or enjoying a dark craft beer with friends. I often climb here at the gym: boulder and rope. My favorite part of this job is the community and friendships I have made here, so please feel free to spark conversation!
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Ben Nielson

Customer Service Representative - Employee Since August 2016
I like two things mainly, cameras and climbing. Oh and that sushi that you can taste test at smiths. I know, I know, you're only supposed to take one, but sometimes one's just not enough. I have spent that last three years moving around the west coast comparing all the best sushi tastings in all the most prestigious grocery stores as well as testing out the local stone. I have to say us Millcreekers' are pretty lucky with our local smiths sushi selection; and hey the local choss isn't so bad either.

Enough about sushi. At one time I studied chemistry, but now mostly look through the glass of heavily beat up Canon. I've been climbing for ten years and have climbed nearly all styles on all types of stone. Find me walking around the floor if you want to talk about random climbing areas or your favorite route, because that is one of my favorite things to talk about. I would say I am most psyched on clean, quality, steep, limestone... and Smiths sushi!
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Shanyne Van Strien

Customer Service Representative - Employee Since August 2016
I’ll save you some trouble, as I’m sure you’re looking at my name and wondering…it’s pronounced “Sha-neen”, and yes, kudos to my parents for being creative.

I’m a recent transplant from West Michigan, from a small (really, really small) town called Middleville. I graduated from a community college with my Associates of Science, and am continuing my degree in Kinesiology in dreams of someday becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Soon after transferring to the U of U, I became fascinated with wilderness rescue and medicine; so, you’ll have you excuse me if I get chatting about some new splinting technique I learned.

My favorite place to climb in Michigan was a little spot called “Grand Ledge”, about an hour east of Grand Rapids. Right off the Grand River, all the climbs are either top rope or boulder. Leaving me wanting more and inspiring me to travel down south to The Red, Kentucky. My journey in climbing started a couple years ago, even though I still consider myself a newbie; especially when I get to watch these great climbers here in SLC! My favorite style of climbing is multi-pitch sport with a long approach. After checking out the view of a long climb, getting back to camp with hot food and a cold beverage, chatting about the climb and getting more psyched for the next day…There isn’t a feeling better than that.

Speaking of which…. I’m gonna go climb now! Adios!
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Kris Cornell

Membership Manager - Employee Since September 2012
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