About Us

The Missoula Climbing Team, also known as the Gnar Pirates, are a youth competitive climbing team located in Missoula, MT and managed by the non-profit Defying Gravity. Now in existence for six years, the Gnar Pirates compete as members of USA Climbing's sanctioned Bouldering and Sport climbing disciplines.

We currently have twenty three active members ages 8-15 that compete within our competitive region which includes Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and western Colorado.

To learn more about the non-profit that manages our team and their involvement in the local community visit us at Defying Gravity.

To learn more about our team history and where we compete scroll through the timeline below.

Justin Willis

Justin Willis

Head Coach

Justin started climbing as soon as he could walk with his dad. When he was eight he began competing in bouldering competitions and soon had started the climbing team in Billings, MT that has now grown to more than thirty kids. He placed 7th in the sport climbing national championship in 2008. Shortly after he was introduced to the world of ice climbing and changed his main focus from rock to ice and mountain climbing. Since then he has represented the USA in eight Ice Climbing World Cups. During the 2015-2016 season he placed 3rd in ‘Under-22 World Championships’ in Rabenstein, Italy becoming the first American male to receive a medal in a World Cup Championship in the last 20 years. When not coaching the Gnar Pirates for Defying Gravity, competing around the globe or climbing large routes in the mountains, he is a counselor for high-risk teens at InnerRoads, a wilderness therapy program.

He is a sponsored climber and skier and lover of all things steep. His sponsors currently include - Outdoor Research, Petzl, Cilogear Backpacks and Julbo Eyewear.


Bridget Creel

Bridget Creel

Assistant Coach

Bridget is a student at the University of Montana studying Ecology and Organismal Biology. She grew up in Bozeman, Montana climbing occasionally with her family, but her passion for climbing was not ignited until 2007 when she joined the Bozeman Climbing Team. Her enthusiasm for competition climbing brought her to the ABS Youth National Championships in 2009 and the USAC Sport Youth National Championships in 2010 where she placed 8th in female Youth D. While she left the climbing team to pursue distance running in high school, her passion for climbing sparked by the Bozeman Climbing Team has carried on and she has remained an avid climber ever since. She continues to hop in the occasional competition and loves climbing for the endless exploration and challenge it provides.


Gnar Pirate Bouldering Team Roster

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Sport 2017
Dahnke, HunterBanks, Birch
Banks, ColeAdams, BaileyAllmacher, MichaelBanks, BirchAnderson, Jayden
Rhoderick, AbbeyBanks, ColeBishop, HunterBanks, ColeBanks, BirchBanks, ColeBanks, Birch
Tarkalson, MattDahnke, HunterDahnke, HunterBassette, SageBanks, ColeBessette, SageBanks, Cole
Thomas, JadeHotchkiss, GabeFilardi, WrenBishop, HunterBessette, SageClemer, InezBeighle, Allie
Kilminster, GracieHotchkiss, GabeDurek, JackBishop, HunterHarrington, OliviaBessette, Sage
Kornish, TimKilminster, GracieKinderwater, JackHarrington, OlivaIudicello, CorinBurmeister, Lily
McKay, WillemKinderwater, JackKohler, KatelynHulsey, RomanKiely, EvelynClemer, Inez
MIller, HannahKohler, KatelynMcKay, WillemIudicello, CorinMaxell, EdenHulsey, Roman
Parsons, ClaireMcKay, WillemParsons, ClaireKiely, EvelynMcKay, WillemIudicello, Corin
Rhoderick, AbbeyMurphy, ZachPeacock, QuinnKinderwater, JackMiller, SophiaKiely, Evelyn
Tarkalson, EthanParsons, ClaireRhoderick, AbbeyMaxwell, EdenMusco, LucaLaatsch, Paige
Tarkalson, MattRhoderick, AbbeySamuels, Ari JoseMcKay, WillemRhoderick, AbbeyMaxwell, Eden
Walden, SkyeRyan, QuinnSmith, HenryMiller, SophiaSamuels, Ari JoseMcKay, Willem
Tarkalson, MattTarkalson, MattMonoghan, JessSherrill, CamilleMiller, Sophia
Walden, SkyeParsons, ClaireThornblade, IanMusco, Luca
Rhoderick, AbbeyVon Doersten, SylvieRhoderick, Abbey
Samuels, Ari JoseWarren, AudreySamuels, Ari Jose
Schenck, EdwinSherrill, Camille
Sherrill, CamilleSpeare, Olin
Smith, HenryTegeder, Summer
Speare, OlinThornblade, Ian
Surber, ClaytonVon Doersten, Sylvie
Warren, AudreyWarren, Audrey
Wick, Betty
Wick, Ruby
Team Roster/Results: 2011-2017