Team PRG is the highest level of Youth Climbing Instruction that PRG has to offer. Since 1998, we have trained the best climbers in the area to become some of the best climbers in the country. One of the longest standing & largest team programs in the region, our focus is on developing skilled climbers who are safe, passionate and can reach their full potential. Current and prior participants in the program include more than two dozen US Climbing Team members, Nine National Youth Champions and three International Youth Champions. Our teams compete throughout the year in youth events around the area. In addition, Team PRG offers several trips throughout the year to world class climbing areas such as the Shawanagunks, Red River Gorge, New River Gorge and elsewhere. Here, our team members hone their mental and physical skills on some of the best climbing the US has to offer.


Season

Sept – June plus outdoor events over the summer

Cost

$1,090 for the season ($109 per month) + gym membership

Expectations

Members of Team PRG are expected to compete in events throughout the season, as well as attend a minimum of 2 nights of practice a week

Prerequisites

Must have approval from a Head Coach of Team PRG

Questions about the program? Email Tom at tmeehan@philarockgym.com.

COACHES BIOS

  • Dave Rowland - Program Founder and Director

    Dave Rowland climbing a rock faceOur Program Director and the founder of Team PRG, David has more than 30 years experience developing athletes of all levels and all ages, in multiple sports. He began his coaching career as a swim coach, working for high level teams in the Philadelphia and New York area. But when the opportunity arose to start the first climbing team in the region, he leapt at the chance to combine two of his passions—rock climbing and coaching young athletes. Over the past 20 years, David has developed Team PRG into one of the largest and most successful climbing teams in the East, winning multiple Regional and Divisional titles, and placing in the Top 3 at Bouldering Nationals.

    During his career, Dave has personally trained eight Youth National Champions (at least one in every discipline, including several two and three time champions), three International Champions, a World Champion and silver medalist, two Collegiate National Champions, two Adult National Champions, and more than a dozen US Team Members–not to mention many additional champions of Regional, Divisional and local events across the country. At the same time, he has worked to inspire his climbers toward the same lifelong passion for climbing that has kept him in the sport for over 30 years. To that effect, Dave started one of the first high level outdoor programs for youth climbers in the East, and for 18 years has brought the Team to areas like the Red River and New River Gorge, Chattanooga, the Adirdondaks, the Gunks, the White Mountains, and Bishop, CA where they hone and enhance their skills on some of the best outdoor climbing in the country.

    In 2000, Dave founded the first youth age-group competitive bouldering league—the Junior Indoor Bouldering Series, or JIBS—which quintupled in size over five years before he was invited to join the Board of Directors of USA Climbing to help bring about the first ever US National Youth Bouldering series, culminating in the first Youth Bouldering National Championships in 2004, held at the original PRG. In his spare time, Dave has served on the Rules Committee for USA Climbing, as a certified route-setter and coach, founder of the Burn Bouldering Series, and is the author of an upcoming book on climbing technique—oh, and he is also the owner and President of the Philadelphia Rock Gyms!

    Dave still finds time to climb, too! A veteran boulderer, sport and traditional climber, he has spent three decades climbing all over the US and abroad, racking up thousands of sends both indoors and out, from strangely terrifying 5.4 off-widths in Wyoming to monstrously overhanging 5.13 sport routes in the Red River Gorge. As a boulderer Dave spent over a decade developing “local” areas, quietly racking up nearly 400 first ascents—several of which, though he won’t grade them himself, have been called V10 or harder. Though he still loves all aspects of the sport, his current focus is hard traditional climbing, and after years of ticking off 5.12 trad routes, he is currently training for 5.13 gear.

    Dave is also a proud father of one of the next generation of climbers.

  • Tom Meehan - Program Director and Head Coach

    Tom Meehan climbing a rock faceTom Meehan

    tmeehan@philarockgym.com

    How many years climbing: 10

    How many Coaching: 10

    Other jobs you do or have done involving climbing (instruction, guiding, route setting, etc.): Coaching, instructing, guiding, route setting

    Favorite outdoor climbing area for ropes and boulders:
    Ropes: New River Gorge, WV
    Boulders: Tough choice between New River Gorge, WV and Governor Dick Park (Mt. Gretna), PA because it is my home crag

    Favorite Route and favorite boulder. Grade doesn’t matter:
    Routes: Dirty Smelly Hippie 5.13b @ Red River Gorge, WV
    Boulders: Dojo v9 @ Mt Gretna, PA

    How many youth competitions have you been a part of (this includes attended, competed, set, etc.). Split it up between local, championship, and National. Yes the Burn series counts:
    Nationals: 10
    Divsionals: 12
    Regionals: 18
    Local: around 90

    What you love most about climbing:
    Climbing changed my life. It became my passion. In my opinion it is one of the most unique activities on the planet, physically and mentally. Whether you are pushing the limit or just getting started everyone has the same goal and learns the same lesson in the process. That lesson is FAILURE. It is perhaps the biggest part of climbing. It is what we learn from that failure that defines us. It is the same thing in life.

  • Chris Palmer - Head Coach – Coatesville

    Chris Palmer

    cpalmer@philarockgym.com

    How many years climbing: 14 years

    How many Coaching: 7 years

    Other jobs you do or have done involving climbing (instruction, guiding, route setting, etc.): Route Setting 5 years, Rock Climbing Merit Badge instructor 10 years.

    Favorite outdoor climbing area for ropes and boulders:
    Ropes: New River Gorge & Summersville Lake, WV
    Boulders: Governor Dick Park at Mount Gretna, PA

    Favorite Route and favorite boulder. Grade doesn’t matter:
    Route: Pod 5.13b @ Summersville Lake, WV
    Under the Milky Way 5.11D Summersville Lake, WV
    Boulder: Honeycomb V10 @ Dayton Pocket, TN
    Under My Thumb V6 @ Haycock Mountain, PA

    How many youth competitions have you been a part of (this includes attended, competed, set, etc.). Split it up between local, championship, and National. Yes the Burn series counts:
    118 Competitions Total
    Nationals: 3
    Divisionals: 10
    Regionals: 15
    Locals: 90

    What you love most about climbing:
    There’s a lot to love about climbing. Getting a First Ascent is by far one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced as a climber, but being out in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Maybe get a little scared on routes or psyched on some boulders and having a good laugh with friends. That’s what’s kept me climbing and will keep me climbing for decades more.

  • Jake Daughtry - Head Coach – East Falls

    Jake Daughtry

    jdaughtry@philarockgym.com

    How many years climbing: 10

    How many Coaching: 3

    Other jobs you do or have done involving climbing (instruction, guiding, route setting, etc.): Instruction, Route setting

    Favorite outdoor climbing area for ropes and boulders:
    Ropes: Wild Iris, Wyoming
    Boulders: Rocktown, Georgia

    Favorite Route and favorite boulder. Grade doesn’t matter:
    Route: Zorro 5.11C, Wild Iris
    Boulder: Girls of Juarez V4, Hueco Tanks

    How many youth competitions have you been a part of (this includes attended, competed, set, etc.). Split it up between local, championship, and National. Yes the Burn series counts 40+

    What you love most about climbing:
    I wasn’t very social as a kid. I was shy, quiet, and it was hard for me to be part of any team. When I found climbing at age 16 I fell in love with the physical side. I realized quickly that it was way harder than any other sport I had been a part of in the past (soccer, baseball, golf, track & field). It took a while for me to get used to it because I was such a string bean.

    Eventually, I got to climb outside at some nearby bouldering areas such as Gretna and Governor Stables. I then started to understand the mental aspect of climbing. Outside was a completely different animal. When you’re at the top of a boulder, pumped out, thinking at any moment you might rocket off the top and go crashing down hopefully to a soft catch by your friends who are just as scared as you, it is a crazy feeling. A feeling that, until this day, I’ve never had in any other sport.

    After a few years of climbing, I got involved in route setting and coaching. There’s something about creating puzzles that others get to enjoy that is addicting. Not to mention seeing the excitement and satisfaction of a kid crush your project with ease that got me hooked even more with climbing. So to simplify everything, I love all aspects of climbing. It changed the scared kid I used to be, and gave me confidence in myself. Climbing helps direct my passion for life into something positive.

  • Matt Brooker - Head Coach – Wyncote

    Matt Brooker

    mbrooker@philarockgym.com

    How many years climbing: 11

    How many Coaching: 5

    Other jobs you do or have done involving climbing (instruction, guiding, route setting, etc.): Current – Route Setter, Past – instructor at the desk for PRG, and worked at the climbing wall at Bloomsburg University for 3 years, which is where I started climbing.

    Favorite outdoor climbing area for ropes and boulders:
    Ropes – The New
    Boulders – Coopers Rock

    Favorite Route and favorite boulder. Grade doesn’t matter:
    Route – Narcissus (12A at the New)
    Boulder – Boxcar Arete (V8 at the Gunks)

    How many youth competitions have you been a part of (this includes attended, competed, set, etc.). Split it up between local, championship, and National. Yes the Burn series counts:
    Set 29
    Burn series of all 4 comps – 20
    Rope USAC Local(Rope Burn)-6
    USAC Rope Regional
    USAC Boulder Regional 2017
    USAC Boulder Divisional 2019

    What you love most about climbing:
    Either the fact that there is always something harder to work and always room for improvement and to get better. Or the sense of community where seeing someone send their first V4 after projecting for a while can have the same amount of excitement as someone sending their first V10

FAQs

  • How do I get approval to be on team?

    Must have approval from a Team Head Coach. It is strongly suggest that anyone looking to be on Team PRG has been through our Youth Program. Contact Tom at tmeehan@philarockgym.com

  • What is the age requirement?

    We have kids aging from 9-18 on our Team. It depends more on motivation, maturity, and skill rather than age.

  • How many nights a week are practices?

    We have 3 formal practices a week at each facility. We require kids to attend at least 2. Most kids will climb around 4 nights per week.

  • Can we practice at other PRG facilities?

    Of course! It is encouraged. Team members automatically get upgraded to a Multi Gym Membership with no extra cost!

  • Does your Team compete in USA Climbing events?

    Yes. We do NOT require kids to compete in these events, but we prepare our team for the mental as well as physical aspects of these event including in depth strategy for these events.

  • Is private training an option?

    Yes. We have a number of expert level coaches who can create personalized programs for athletes to follow to reach their peak performance.