It was a winter morning like any other in late 2015 when, while sipping his morning coffee, Kevin decided to open a world class climbing gym in his hometown of Santa Rosa. The idea had been swirling in his mind for years, but on this particular morning, it wasn’t an idea. It became a commitment. If you know Kevin, you know that he’s stubborn. When he makes up his mind to do something, it gets done. Even if it takes six years like the Dawn Wall.

If the Dawn Wall taught Kevin anything, it’s the power of partnership. So, when long time friend and fellow Santa Rosa native, Mike Shaffer, told Kevin he was thinking of opening a gym somewhere, Kevin asked if he’d be willing to move back home and team up. Without hesitation, Mike said yes and left his PhD program in Iowa.

While driving home from Yosemite one night,
the name of the business struck Kevin.

Per the dictionary, “a period devoted to a particular activity.” It fit. The notion of “time well spent” became their north star that would inform every big decision, especially in respect to location, design and culture.

For two years, Mike and Kevin searched for something central, easy to access, and that would allow them to build from scratch. By building “ground up,” they would have maximum creative control over every aspect of the gym. From the architecture to the layout, the air conditioning to the light fixtures, every element was chosen with intention.

When designing the gym, Kevin and Mike wanted to create a space that was comfortable to spend time in, regardless of activity or level of experience. So, they focused on creating a welcoming environment to non-climbers and climbers alike by placing a cafe/lounge in the heart of the space.

Perhaps most importantly, the notion of “time well spent” guides the culture that Mike and Kevin seek to cultivate, for both staff and the community. When you take time out of your day to visit Session, that matters. Session exists to create a facility, community and culture worth your time, where you can discover more about yourself, connect with others, and have fun.



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