Jeff Ceccacci and JB Graham are the men leading the team running this 30,500 square foot facility.
- Jeff launched and managed Planet Granite San Francisco for six years before moving to Portland with his family. He’s now the Manager and Part Owner of PGPDX.
- JB, our Assistant Manager, is a southern boy (with a SERIOUS accent) from Southwest Virginia who moved west to chase his passion for adventure sports.
The two sat down to interview each other, talk about life in Portland, climbing and beer sweet tea.
ON LIVING OUT WEST
Jeff: I’ve been in Portland for 7 months now. My three year-old son Angelo and I have been spending a lot of time at the various parks since we moved here. My favorite is Peninsula Park in the Northeast. They have a splash pad and a playground. The community scene here for parents is amazing! I hope we have that nice community feel inside our gym as well.
JB: I’ve been in Portland for 2.5 years now. I first moved west to Montana. Then, I lived in Bellingham for a little while and finally I moved here. I love it.
Jeff: JB, you moved out west to get involved in powder and water. If you had to pick one, would you sell your kayak or your backcountry skis?
JB: That’s a tough question. I’d have to say… Ugh … this is hard. I guess it’d be my backcountry skis because while I love the snow, water is really the element that I chased out to the Pacific Northwest, especially here in Portland with the Hood River. The White Salmon is pretty world class. Honestly, though, it’d be a really sad day, selling those skis.
Jeff: Don’t’ worry we won’t make you do it. That said do you like teaching people how to kayak (hint-wink-hint)?
JB: Yes Jeff, I’ll take you kayaking. I actually just took my girlfriend down the Middle White Salmon River. She had a great time and did really well. Not quite ready for Husum Falls though…
Jeff: I guess Class V rapids are more of a third date kind of thing..
ON CLIMBING AND SWEET TEA
JB: I took my girlfriend climbing to Smith Rocks last week. We topped out Gulag Archipelago in headlamps. It was very romantic. Have you made it out there yet Jeff?
Jeff: I’ve only been there twice. The first time was a shock! I was surprised at the difficulty level. The grades were much harder than I expected. I had a great rope gun, though, by the name of Carolyn Link (Planet Granite Sr. Project Manager). The second time I went with new friends that I met here in the Portland climbing community. They really pushed me to get on some stuff I was scared to get on, but it was great. That’s why I like climbing with friends who push you to a reasonable distance. But, I didn’t have good beta on the best place to buy a beer after climbing….
JB: That would be the Sunspot Café. It has the best gravy and biscuits this side of the Mississippi…
Jeff: Well, I asked about beer, but now that we are on this subject, I’m from Detroit and we say biscuits and gravy. Should I be saying gravy and biscuits?
Jeff: I’ve clearly been doing it wrong all these years. Sweet tea. Yes or no?
JB: Yes, heavy on the sugar.
Jeff: Is there any other kind? Wait, let’s talk climbing. JB, what’s the one thing you can’t forget when you go climbing besides a belay device, rope and partner?
JB: Juanitas chips. They are made in Hood River, Oregon and they are the best tortilla chips ever. I’m sure people in California would not agree with that, but I’m sticking to my guns on this one. And you?
Jeff: For Smith? I’d say a stick clip.
JB: You won’t need that in our gym…
Jeff: Yep, no stick clips in the gym. I am REALLY ready to be open.
ON THE NEW GYM + HAPPY HOUR
JB: Everyone is ready for Planet Granite to be open. People are so excited!
Jeff: I know, especially our staff! If you can capture the psych of the community as a whole, they are that, totally PSYCHED.
JB: We’ve been giving lots of tours to potential members, and I’ve been excited to hear some of the alpinists talk about how they would use the gym to train. I’m just getting into ski mountaineering.
Jeff: Speaking of strongmen, how do you like biking your tank down the streets of Portland? That thing is a beast…
JB: It’s a touring bike, not a beast. I like to be ready for potholes, Jeff! Plus it’s for the winter. I do have a hard time keeping up with you though. Jeff and I live in the same area but he rides a fancy, lightweight road bike and he’s always complaining that I’m sightseeing when I’m actually working hard up those hills.
Jeff: Whether the people of Portland know it or not, I’m always in a race. I want to finish first. Always.
JB: And here I thought it was just about making it in time for Happy Hour.