Rock Climbing: How to Form Community

Pilar Amado was looking for a community of climbers like herself. When one didn’t exist, she took it upon herself to found one of her own. Now, her fellow climbers are some of her closest friends.

Video Transcript

Pilar Amado: Technically I started climbing 11 years ago. I’m old. I didn’t know many climbers of color, either. Like I knew a couple, but it was just hard.

People of color are vastly underrepresented in Pilar’s climbing community.

Pilar: Because there was Latin in the community and it can be really intimidating to get into.

Chicago. Sending in Color.

Pilar cofounded Sending in Color so others would feel welcome.

Pilar: If you guys want to join us, I can teach you maybe a thing or two, but if not, just feel free to climb.

The initial idea was to maybe just have an Instagram group. I kind of wanted a little more.

Pilar organizes monthly meet-ups at local gyms.

Pilar: But I finally got new shoes.

Member of Community: I love the leggings.

Pilar: Oh, thanks. I like that this is shorter, too.

I like the community. I’ve made such good friends climbing. They’re my best friends in life; my boyfriend climbs too, that’s how we met. So it’s just become part of my life.

Having this hangout is not to just meet other climbers; it’s to encourage these people who have never tried it to be like, “Oh, this is going to be like a more friendly environment and I’m not gonna be by myself, and then there’s someone there who can guide me a little more through my first experience climbing.”

Pilar: This is scary; I don’t want to do this.

Pilar introduces several new people to climbing at each meet-up.

Pilar: There’s a point where I feel safe on that last hold and then at some point, I’m like nope.

What’s your name? Stephanie? Ah don’t worry, we’re all climbers.

The desire is there. I mean, people are looking for this kind of spaces to join. I was not expecting anything and then now we host monthly hangouts with regular people, new people.

Community member: Push it up. You got it Stephanie, you got it. Yeah!

Pilar: I think it’s just a matter of showing up. It’s like, you put in a little bit of extra work and people are very supportive. So that works.

Move Mountains. Grotto Network.

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