Climb Strong

My name is Steve Bechtel. I have been studying training for climbing for most of my life. Everything I have found that works, I have written down. Everything I know about training is on this website.   Climb Strong started as a way of “correcting the course” for my friends who climbed and trained for climbing. Our mission is to deliver effective, applicable training information to climbers of all levels and interests. We look to move all climbers forward; through shared knowledge, motivation, and improved training tactics.


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.

Ellen Bechtel

Ellen keeps the boat afloat. A trainer and coach for over 11 years, Ellen manages Elemental Performance + Fitness, and she manages the day-to-day business side of Climb Strong. Ellen is a Yoga instructor, avid climber, and a mother of two. Ellen specializes in strength training and mobility, but is well-versed in training athletes of all kinds. She still makes time to train most days, and is sending harder than ever…even after more than 15 years in the sport.


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.


Amanda Sempert

As the Director of Operations, Amanda coordinates the Performance Climbing Coach seminars and other training events. She is a Lander native who returned in 2016 after living all over the country for a decade. As a former multi-sport athlete, Amanda brings an enthusiastic passion for climbing and fitness training as a class instructor and coach, specializing in core and kettlebell training. Although she is relatively new to climbing, she is a product of Climb Strong and is now a confident moderate boulderer and sport climber, well on her way to becoming a high-level climber.