About Our Coaching Services

Alex Coaching cred Mei Ratz

About Our Coaching

Our coaching is the heart of all we do at Climb Strong. We are dedicated to helping athletes stay healthy, avoid injury, and improve performance. Our programs are highly individualized but are principle-based and are flexible. We build all of our coaching based on a 1-year overview, with the training broken down into 4-week focus blocks.

As an athlete, you’ll have access to your program via the Climb Strong mobile app, and can communicate with your coach via the app or via email. Once each month, you’ll have a special meeting with your coach to determine how well the previous plan worked, what’s coming next, and any adjustments that need to be made.

In addition to your workouts, your coach will plan regularly scheduled tests and measurements to make sure you are on track. We’ll help you not only with planning, but can work with you on exercise technique, climbing tactics, and even general fitness and weight management. Our coaching staff consult with a wide network of doctors, therapists, and dietitians to assure you are getting the most out of your time with us.

Our Team


Steve Bechtel

Steve is the founder of Climb Strong. A climber for more than 30 years, Steve has established over 300 new routes across the globe, from grade VI big wall free climbs to 25-foot sport routes on his home crags near Lander, Wyoming. An exercise science graduate of the University of Wyoming, Steve has been studying and experimenting with climbing training methods since his teens. After spending a few years as a full-time climber, Steve opened Elemental Performance + Fitness in 2002. Elemental is a full-service gym in Lander, but was built around the training needs of high-level climbers.

Alex Bridgewater

Alex is a high-level rock climber that originally moved to Lander to train at Elemental as part of the Climb Strong Program. He has been climbing for ten years and is well versed in anything from big wall free climbs to hard boulder problems and competition climbing. He has lived in Lander since 2016 and has worked and trained with Climb Strong since day one. In seeing the success of his own climbing Alex has since taken a role in passing on this valuable knowledge to others eager to push their own limits. Alex is available for training consultations and for long-term climbing coaching.


Charlie Manganiello

Charlie has been with Climb Strong for 7 years. A high-level boulderer and rock climber, he focuses on personal training and coaching, and works with climbers from around the US. Charlie now heads the Elemental Strength program in Lander, and is a frequent contributor to the Climb Strong site. He is the author of the Climb Strong Deadlifting Manual and the forthcoming Strength Training for Climbers, and is one of the lead instructors at the Performance Climbing Coach events. He offers single-session consultations and monthly coaching programs.

Ken Klein

Ken is a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Performance Climbing Coach, and Northern Colorado Climber’s Coalition Board Member.  His climbing travels have taken him all over the world from the amazing limestone walls of Spain and Mexico to the expansive boulder fields of the Rocklands of South Africa.

He has coached and instructed rock climbing in every capacity: from youth teams to accredited college courses. His passion for coaching is matched by his ability to connect with climbers of all levels. Ken is constantly evolving as a climber; whether he is repeating a climb in Rocky Mountain National Park or working on a project 9,000 miles away, he is always learning to look more closely at himself and his own climbing, while consistently trying hard and having fun.