The mission of the Cheat Canyon Climbing Coalition is to preserve, protect, and expand climbing access and environmental stewardship in the Cheat Canyon Area.
As the number of climbers in the Cheat Canyon area increase, we hope to negate the impact this increase has on the planet. Our organization also plays a major role in development of climbing areas. Over recent years our founding members and other great climbers have put grades on boulders and routes up and down the Canyon. CCCC hopes to one day acquire land of our own! By becoming a member of the Cheat Canyon Climbing Coalition, you could one day be part-owner of some world-class climbing areas.
Meet our Board of Directors
Andrew Leich President, Route Developer, Mental Health Counselor
Andrew began climbing in 2012. He has been steadily developing in the Cheat Canyon area since 2015 when he aborted plans for a fall season in Yosemite, discovering rock closer to home. Andrew has been a major advocate for climbing access in the Cheat Canyon area in recent years and he hopes to extend his efforts through the Cheat Canyon Climbing Coalition.
Zach Tanner Vice President,
Climbing is one of Zach's greatest passions in life; he started climbing when he was 15 years old and has been obsessed ever since. His passion has helped him travel all over North America. Climbing opportunities in Cheat Canyon inspired him, his wife, and two dogs to move to the area from Kent, Ohio in 2018. He is excited to responsibly help develop the climbing in this area and help others discover their passion for the outdoors.
Kevin Shon Secretary, Professional Climbing Guide, AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor
Kevin first learned to climb in WV while attending West Virginia University. He attributes his foundations of climbing movement to the boulder fields of Cooper’s Rock, where the gritstone routes command excellence in footwork. Kevin has been an outdoor professional for nearly two decades, working with Princeton University, WVU, and Outward Bound. Kevin loves the Cheat Canyon and the multiple recreational opportunities it offers to so many who live and come to adventure in the region.
Mike Paugh Treasurer, Geographic Information Systems Coordinator
Mike started climbing in 2005, first cutting his teeth on the Tuscarora sandstone of Seneca Rocks. In his spare time, he enjoys pulling on the gritstone pebbles of Cooper's Rock and trying to send the local hard sandstone sport lines. Once an AMGA certified climbing guide, Mike enjoys teaching climbing and seeing the joy that rock climbing brings to individuals.
Rachel Mitchell Media Manager, Parks and Recreation Specialist
In 2007, Rachel found climbing via college orientation course experience at Cooper's Rock. Her favorite destination crag is Red Rock NV, but she has deep roots in the Cheat Canyon. She competed actively at the collegiate level and moved on to become a routesetter for USAC comps and local gyms in Va and WV. She enjoys sharing her love of climbing with her son and hopes for continued preservation for his generation and beyond.
Doug Moore Owner/ CEO Karst Sports
Doug started caving in 1988 which led to an interest in various outdoor ventures and a few years later, he stared Karst Sports which is a national supplier of caving, climbing, rescue, and outdoor equipment. As a co-founder of MARG (Mountaineer Area Rescue Group) Doug became a Search Manager, participating in over 200 missing person, technical rescue, and cave rescue incidents throughout the mid-Atlantic region.
John Burkhart Environmental Scientist, Owner/Founder Gritstone Climbing + Fitness
John's been climbing off and on for about 16 years but has become more focused on climbing over the past 5 years. He loves the Morgantown and Cheat Canyon region because of the diversity of terrain and all the nooks and crannies that you can get lost in. His favorite cliff-dwelling creature is the green salamander- love those little guys.
Danny Rowand Cabinet Maker, Route Developer
Danny had his first climbing experience 17 years ago at the Roof Rocks area in Cooper's Rock State Forest and he was hooked from day one. In 2009, he began exploring and later developed routes in the Snake Hill WMA. Danny and his good friend, Chris Egress, continued exploration and development throughout the Cheat Canyon as years went on. Danny considers the Canyon his second home and will always be grateful for her.