Meet Alex Puccio and Joel Zerr

by Jon Vickers /

We would like to introduce you to our newest Momentum staff members, Alex Puccio and Joel Zerr. With over 30 years of combined climbing experience, this talented couple from Boulder, CO, is getting after their new roles at Momentum and are excited to experience all the amazing climbing Utah has to offer.

Joel, originally from Reno, is now Millcreek’s Head Setter and Alex, originally from Dallas, is a coach for Team Momentum and a personal coach. Both are excited to make the most of their new home in Salt Lake City. Below are some questions we had for them about their hopes for working, training and of course climbing in Utah.

Alex Puccio, Momentum Team and Personal Coach

Alex Puccio Coaching Team Momentum Member
Alex points coaching Team Momentum’s Sami Singleton on the System Wall at Momentum Millcreek.

What type of climbing is your favorite? Bouldering, but I enjoy sport climbing as well.

What is your favorite rock type? Sandstone and fine grain granite

Favorite activity on a rest day? I like to go for runs and do girly things like get my nails done and shopping.

If you had to do a different sport what would it be? Maybe tennis or boxing.

Alex, what is your favorite aspect of coaching? Does it help your personal climbing?

I love coaching, because it gives me a feeling of fulfillment in my life. I need to do something that isn’t about me and my training, but it also needs to be something that i’m passionate about. This is why I coach! I also feel like I learn from the people I coach. I believe that you can learn something from everyone so yes, coaching does benefit me in many ways! 🙂

What are you most excited to pass on to this next generation of climbers?

Momentum has given me the opportunity to work with their amazing climbing team and do my own personal coaching that I love as well. Coaching the youth of our sport it’s very rewarding and I feel honored that I get to be apart of helping the next generations to come achieve their own goals and dreams!

How do you view body type?

I use to use excuses like “i’m too short” or “he’s a guy so he’s stronger”, but over the years I have realized that it was just holding me back from my own potential. I now understand that we are all just different as people. We all have different bodies and some climbs will suite our body type and some won’t. I don’t see it as he’s a boy and i’m a girl anymore. I now see it as this is my style and this is your style. Since i’m a smaller and shorter climber I don’t like to use the excuse that it’s “too reachy” so I personally like to seek out the “reachy” or “tall person” boulders and even tho it may be harder for me I usually keep working them till I do it!

What climbing plans are you most excited about in and around SLC?

There are so many great climbing areas around SLC and that’s what i’m most psyched about! There are some climbs that do stand out to me like War Path, but I haven’t seen a lot of things around here yet so i’m sure my interest list will just keep growing.

What do you like about being able to train with Momentum?

Momentum is an amazing training facility. They have everything I need to train so that I can be my strongest and fittest for competitions and climbing in general. I also love that there are 3 momentum gyms to train at, in which all are amazing facilities, so that I always have new boulders to train on!

What will it be like having someone like Nathaniel Coleman to train with for competitions?

It is always better to have a training partner that can keep you psyched especially on those down and rough days you have from time to time. Having people like Nathaniel, Joel and many others to train with is part of my success. It’s hard for me to stay motivated when climbing alone inside sometimes.

What do you think of the climbing community here in Salt Lake?

The Climbing community here in SLC reminds me a lot of Boulder just much bigger and a bit more spread out. SLC is definitely an epicenter for climbing!

What is your favorite non-climbing thing about SLC so far?

The coffee shops here in SLC are AWESOME!!!

*To set up personal coaching with Alex email climbingschool@momentumclimbing.com.

Meet Joel Zerr, Momentum Millcreek Head Setter

Joel Zerr wrapping up a new boulder problem at Momentum Sandy.
Joel Zerr wrapping up a new boulder problem at Momentum Sandy.

What type of climbing is your favorite? Bouldering, although really enjoy sport climbing as well.

What is your favorite rock type? Sandstone and Gniess

Favorite activity on a rest day? Reading, editing photos/video and cooking.

If you had to do a different sport what would it be?  I’ve dabbled in and always been fascinated by Martial Arts.

How is Momentum different than other gyms you have worked in?

Theme setting seems to be a big part of the setting at Momentum.  As in using a set of holds from the same family in order to give a very aesthetic appeal.  I’ve seen other gym do this but not to the same degree.  Both Shannon and Steven have solid reputation for being great setters and I am always psyched for the opportunity to work with other experienced setters and see their approach.  

What climbing plans are you most excited about in and around SLC?

I’m psyched on the bouldering in LCC, Joe’s and Castle Rocks, ID.  Also, the variety of good sport climbing is motivating.  I’ve been trying Mask of God V13 a bit in Joe’s, and I’d love to put together Warpath V14.  Warpath will be more a longer term goal but after a couple sessions on it, it seems possible.  I’m also very psyched on checking out the sport climbing in Millcreek Canyon outside of Moab. The Bleeding looks incredible!

What do you like about being able to train with Momentum?

Momentum is fun gym to train at.  The bouldering angles are great and having access to the 3 different gyms is always helpful for mixing things up.  The training areas are also super nice and very convenient.

After being here for a month or so, what do you think of the community here?

I’m pretty damn impressed with the community here in SLC so far.  It seems like there are many core climbers that are supportive of each other and just psyched to get after it!

What is your favorite non-climbing thing about SLC so far?

There seems to be some really good coffee.  The cost of living is low so that’s also cool.  

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