Oso for everyone

Chris Whittaker


Chris combined his passion for climbing and entrepreneurship in building Oso. Despite being the founder, he’s not allowed to choose the music in the gym (or the office).

Kyle Smith

General Manager

Kyle is a staple of the Dallas climbing community and has been a part of the gym scene for almost a decade. When he’s not getting a new tattoo or watching the Dallas Stars, you’ll find him at the helm of the gym.

Paul Robinson

Professional Climber

Paul climbs V15 and flashes V13. He’s got his own Wikipedia bio. Paul is the mastermind behind our wall designs and climbing training spaces. We named a wall after him.

Justin Salas

Professional Climber

Justin is the Blind Ascensionist. As a Paraclimbing World Champion, Justin is one of the brilliant minds behind our walls and climber training spaces. You might have seen him on ESPN.


Chief Barketing Officer

The original Oso and primary motivation for our founder to spend more time in Dallas. Super friendly, he’ll see you and expect attention. Driven by his love for pets and salmon. 12/10 is a good boy.

Our guiding principles are simple: Build an exceptional community, and build something that you actually want to climb.

Building an exceptional community starts with putting our members first, both new and seasoned climbers alike. No matter where you are in your journey, we want our members to grow in their abilities and enjoyment for the sport we love. It also means fostering an inclusive community to support the health and happiness of our members.

Building something that you actually want to climb is a commitment to innovating. It’s striving for the right mix of exciting walls, challenging and varied routes, and exceptional training options. It’s focusing on the finer points, continuing to tune the delivery of an experience that we’re proud to bring you. It means there’s always something new to climb.

Taken together, these two principles serve as the compass that guide the choices we make, day in and day out. We want to meaningfully improve the climbing community, together.


Oso began when our founder, Chris Whittaker, quit his job on a Friday, got married that Saturday and told his family (and a few bewildered in-laws) he was building a rock climbing gym on Sunday.

But Oso wasn’t conceived on a whim or from a quarter-life crisis, it grew from an idea and a passion over the course of half a decade.

First exposed to climbing as a Boy Scout in Pennsylvania, Chris took back up climbing after he moved to Dallas for his first job as a management consultant and embraced his newfound Texan-ness: he bought a pair of cowboy boots and a truck, and headed south. What began as a weekend hobby to stay in shape quickly grew into a passion.

Working long hours and living out of hotels around the country during the week, Chris craved the community and joy he felt when climbing. So he started visiting local gyms in each city he traveled to.

After 5+ years of climbing on the road, Chris realized he had visited dozens of climbing gyms across the country. From California to New York, he had seen what worked, didn’t work, and most importantly, what made a good gym great. The recipe he discovered was simple but profound: Focus on the happiness of members, set great climbs for all levels of climbers, and build a community that you’re proud to be a part of.

Since the Monday after his wedding weekend, Chris, along with an expanding team of climbers, designers, architects, engineers, and partners, has been tirelessly working to make the dream of Oso come to life.

He’s excited to share his passion with the Dallas climbing and fitness community, and hopes you’re excited to join him on this journey.

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