Episode #23

Credit Photo Courtesy of:
Brian Poon


About this Episode

This month’s episode features multiple guests who share their insights and experiences in the space of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. The guests include Access Fund staff member Taimur Ahmad, founder of Brown Girls Climb and Access Fund board member Bethany Lebewitz, and Access Fund board member Kenji Haroutunian. In light of recent events concerning social justice, both nationally and within the climbing community, our guests give us some powerful insights on the importance of social justice and why climbers should care about these matters.

We all come from different backgrounds and experiences, so understanding this topic can be challenging and uncomfortable for some. This opens up opportunities for learning, as these guests share their experiences in climbing over the years, their thoughts on route naming, and what they are optimistic about for the future of climbing. Taimur, Bethany, and Kenji leave us with a lot to reflect on and suggestions about how to move forward in our respective climbing careers with these important ideas in mind.


3:55- Episode welcome and Taimur’s intro

5:48- Bethany’s intro

6:46- Kenji’s intro

9:16- Progression of DEI over the last 30 years

13:07- Impacts on Bethany’s climbing experience

17:25- Founding Brown Girls Climb

19:25- Defining leadership

22:45- Impacts of Kenji’s climbing experience

28:20- Impacts of Taimur’s climbing experience

32:09- Social justice & climbing

40:52- Re-naming routes

59:08- Coming from different background & relationship building

1:02:50- Being action-oriented- What can climbers do?

1:21:38- Optimism for the future of climbing

Why Route Names Matter: https://www.accessfund.org/open-gate-blog/why-route-names-matter

Four Ways LCOs Can Make the Climbing Community More Inclusive: https://www.accessfund.org/open-gate-blog/4-ways-lcos-can-make-the-climbing-community-more-inclusive

Renaming Routes at Ten Sleep: https://www.climbing.com/news/ten-sleep-route-names-changed-to-honor-racial-justice-movement/

Power Company Climbing: https://www.powercompanyclimbing.com/uprising-resources

Brown Girls Climb: IG and Facebook: