Community Ambassadors

Our 21-22 Community Ambassador team is here! Community Ambassadors, located throughout the United States, are rock star volunteers who help Access Fund connect to local networks. Ambassadors play a significant role in raising awareness about our work, as well as fundraising through events, outreach, and social media. By serving in their own communities, Ambassadors collaborate with other local climbers, brands, and entities, connecting old and new climbers in protecting and conserving the areas we hold dear.

If you are interested in learning more about the program or are considering getting involved, please contact [email protected].

Click below to quickly refer to your regional Ambassadors:

Northwest Region

WASHINGTON

Name: Jamie Sookprasong
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email:
[email protected]
Location: Seattle, WA. Ancestral lands of the Coast Salish, Duwamish, and Suquamish.
Jamie fell in love with rock climbing in 2015, when he first laid eyes (and fingers!) on the sculpted sandstone of Castle Rock State Park in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. He spends much of his time seeking out boulders and long, adventurous trad routes. He’s always stoked to teach new climbers the skills and ethics needed to have a great time out, owing much of what he knows to his own mentors. Jamie is excited to further connect and educate the Washington community and hopes its collective efforts will ensure climbers of all backgrounds and skill levels can enjoy the stunning Pacific Northwest for generations to come. He serves as secretary for the Washington Climbers Coalition’s Stewardship & Advocacy Committee.

Name: Rob Basanta
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email: [email protected]
Location: Everett, WA. Ancestral Lands of the Coast Salish, Snohomish, and Tulalip.
Rob has been interested in climbing and other outdoor sports from a young age, mostly because of his involvement with the Boy Scouts. While living in Arizona, Rob became interested in canyoneering. Then he moved to Washington and kicked climbing into high gear. He mostly enjoys big-alpine endeavors. Rob is excited to share the passion and work of Access Fund with other Washington climbers, so that we can continue to recreate responsibly in the places we love.

Mountain West Region

CALIFORNIA

Name: Kacie Hang
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Email: [email protected]

Location: Palm Springs, CA. Ancestral land of the Cahuilla.
Kacie began climbing, hiking, and enjoying all sorts of outdoor recreational activities six years ago. The perseverance, resiliency, humility, and overall adventure harnessed in outdoor recreation led her to study environmental science, where she strives to bridge a connection between land conservation and proper climbing ethics, among other environmental issues related to the outdoors. As an outdoor educator and ambassador, Kacie hopes to show others the importance of being stewards of our land and respective communities.

Name: Bridget Lillis
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Email: [email protected]

Location: California and Colorado. Ancestral lands of the Ohlone, Awaswas, Muwekma, Popeloutchom (Amash Mutsun), Tamien, and Ute.
At an early age, Bridget fostered a deep connection for the outdoors and adventure through her early-childhood camping, rafting, canoeing, and backpacking trips with her family. Her love of the outdoors has led her to work as an environmental consultant in the Bay Area. Bridget is always looking for new ways to connect with nature, which is what originally drew her to climbing. She started teaching yoga at a local climbing gym and fell in love with the mental and physical challenge of the sport. Bridget is excited to join the Community Ambassador team for her second term to continue to unite her personal and professional passions of environmentalism and conservation with one of her favorite activities—climbing.

Name: Khristina Rhead
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Email: [email protected]

Location: Los Angeles, CA. Ancestral land of the Tongva.
Even though Khristina considered herself to be an environmentalist before getting into climbing, hiking, and camping, her love of these activities has made her more aware and concerned about the impact that outdoor recreation has on the environment. In the last few years, she has also seen the negative effects that climate change and development are having on the outdoors. With Access Fund, Khristina is excited to preserve climbing crags, participate in the complicated and important task of protecting wilderness while encouraging folks to get outside. She looks forward to promoting the organization, getting climbers stoked to take action with us. Most importantly, Khristina is committed to making this work intersectional. She can’t wait to partner with diverse organizations to accomplish the shared goal of protecting and preserving the wild places we love for future climbers.

COLORADO

Name: Luke Patience
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email: [email protected]
Location:
Denver, CO. Ancestral lands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute, and Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux) territories.
Luke began climbing seriously about five years ago, and after moving to Colorado, he began a life with an insatiable pursuit of gravity, focusing on all climbing disciplines, backcountry skiing, and mountain biking. He left the offices of NASA in Houston, Texas, to pursue a career in the outdoor industry. He now manages Wilderness Exchange Unlimited in Denver and uses that platform to support the community through stoke and education. He is also pursuing the ambitious goal of becoming an IFMGA Certified Mountain Guide. “Access Fund is one of the most important efforts in the outdoor industry, especially as climbers if we’re going to actually be about supporting visibility and equity for marginalized communities,” he says.

Name: Andrew Reed
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email: [email protected]
Location: Cascade, CO. Ancestral lands of the Cheyenne and Ute.
Climbing has dramatically shaped Andrew’s life. He now does his best to effect positive change in the lives of others through climbing, conservation, and community building. As acting president of the Pikes Peak Climbers Alliance (PPCA), Andrew is fully integrated into the conversations that shape our climbing community. His goals as an ambassador this year are to expand the PPCA Joint Membership Program, foster creative educational programs, and diversify the PPCA to be fully representative of our community.

Name: Matthew Tangeman
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email: [email protected]
Location: Dolores, CO. Ancestral lands of the Pueblos and Ute.
Matthew grew up in central Washington and cut his teeth as a middle schooler running around Icicle Canyon—with no crash pad, just aqua socks for climbing shoes, and a habit of stumbling out of the mountains way later than he told his parents. Though he’s since upgraded to real climbing gear, not much else has changed. His free time when not climbing is dedicated to photography, telling stories, backcountry skiing, running, and trying to make the climbing community a better place. Nothing will ever convince him Index is not the best crag in the world.

Name: Chelsea Stencel
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Email: cstence[email protected]

Location: Boulder, CO. Ancestral lands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute.
As much as Chelsea loves spending her free time crying her way up moderates in Eldorado Canyon, she believes that protecting and preserving climbing areas is so much more important. She is a staunch believer that, at the current rate of growth, there is no way climbing will continue to exist in the same way without conservation. Chelsea knows Access Fund plays a key role in preserving the future of climbing and is stoked to not only continue to pursue her passion for conservation and stewardship through her role as an ambassador but to expand Access Fund’s reach. She believes in emphasizing intersectionality, inclusivity, and learning more about the best ways to respect and care for the places we climb and the people native to the land.

UTAH

Name: Greg Barltrop
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email: [email protected]

Location: Salt Lake City, UT. Ancestral lands of the Ute.
Greg is back for his second year as an ambassador and is stoked to get climbers passionate about Leave No Trace climbing principles, as well as spread awareness on how much positive impact the Access Fund has had on his local crags. Greg has climbed for the past 12 years all over the world in all forms: rock, ice, snow. He is most excited for new adventures in the desert and high mountains.

Name: Haley Brenkmann
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Email: [email protected]

Location: Sandy, UT. Ancestral land of the Ute.
Haley has been climbing for a little over five years. She spent three years bouldering and then took a deep dive into trad and sport climbing. She finds energy in helping others and the environment. Whether it is picking up litter or removing graffiti, she has an unparalleled passion for restoring the mountains to their original condition. She serves as a member of the Wasatch Graffiti Busters, a nonprofit organization dedicated to graffiti removal along the Wasatch front, and is a loyal member of the climbing community. Her goal of being an ambassador is to educate and inspire others to get outdoors, leaving it better than we found it. She is very excited for her opportunity with the Access Fund and hopes to not only grow in her own love for the outdoors but also spark more joy in others.

South/Southwest Region

ARIZONA

Name: David Rozul
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email: [email protected]

Location: Mesa, Arizona. Ancestral lands of the Akimel O’odham (Upper Pima) and Hohokam.
David has been climbing for seven years and brings a genuine enthusiasm and passion to the climbing community. He firmly believes that knowing the history of a place breeds a deeper connection to lands we use and love. He is excited to raise the visibility of indigenous culture and history, especially around the ongoing battle of Oak Flat. He is a Filipino-American and looks forward to inspiring climbing advocacy and participation to diverse populations and giving back to the climbing community that has already given him so much.

OKLAHOMA

Name: Heather Supinie
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Email: [email protected]
Location: Norman, OK. Ancestral lands of the
Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), Osage, and Wichita.
Heather has been climbing for over five years and wishes she found the sport sooner. She started and mainly climbs in the gym but has had the opportunity to climb outdoors in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Oklahoma (yes, there is climbing in Oklahoma!) and the Happies in Bishop, California. She’s ecstatic about joining the community ambassador program again. Protecting the outdoors and the environment are some of her biggest passions.

North/Central Midwest Region

ILLINOIS

Name: Jeff Jaramillo
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email: [email protected]
Location: Peoria, IL. Ancestral lands of the
Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), Peoria, Sauk and Meskwaki, Miami, and Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux).
Jeff grew up scrambling and kicking dirt in the mountain scrublands of northwestern New Mexico and currently calls Illinois home. Living several hours from outdoor climbing has taught him to greatly appreciate fleeting moments on rocks and to recognize the fragility of our access to them. It has also made him appreciate our indoor climbing spaces and the exponential need for education and stewardship. The events of 2020-21 have sparked in him an understanding of many gaps and disparities in climbing culture that need to be included in that education if we are to ensure access and inclusivity for everyone. This is Jeff’s second year on the team and he looks forward to helping educate and stoke climbers in gyms and crags across the Midwest.

MICHIGAN

Name: Laura Slavsky
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Email: [email protected]
Location: Marquette, MI.
Ancestral lands of the Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ and Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux).
Laura began climbing on the south shore of Lake Superior in 2014— on both rock and ice—and hasn’t stopped since. She believes climbing has the power to shape people’s lives and is driven to promote access to the sport for people from all walks of life. She believes mentorship spills over into all parts of Access Fund’s mission. She is looking forward to continuing her work within the local climbing community to promote climbing accessibility, education, and conservation.

MINNESOTA

Name: Jess Arnold
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Email: [email protected]
Location: Minneapolis, MN. Ancestral lands of the
Wahpekute, Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ, and Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux).
Jess grew up in the Midwest and spent her summers traveling west with her family to explore national parks. She began climbing five years ago and now enjoys multipitch adventures with good folks in beautiful places. Whether through guiding at local crags, teaching trad clinics, or sharing campfire conversations after a long day outdoors, she demonstrates that education and community have always been as important to her as the rock itself. Jess looks forward to further engaging local climbers to be better stewards of the land while fostering more inclusive environments for all.

WISCONSIN

Name: Gokul Gopal
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email: [email protected]
Location: Madison, WI. Ancestral lands of the Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), Peoria, Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Sauk, and Meskwaki.
Gokul has been climbing for over 12 years. His introduction to climbing was atypical, climbing outside before climbing in a gym, trad before sport, and ice before rock. He believes that careful management of the rapid growth in climbing can make the difference between a respectful community that protects the outdoors and a runaway problem that brings destructive impact and closures. With a few of his students, Gokul started a small company, Skillzboard, to provide climbers and climbing instructors additional pathways to skills and safety education. He believes that nurturing low-impact, safe, and sustainable forms of outdoor recreation is critical to the future health of both the outdoors and our access to recreation.

Name: Adam Ronchetti
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email: [email protected]
Location: Madison, WI. Ancestral lands of the Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), Peoria, Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Sauk, and Meskwaki.
Adam has been climbing for about 10 years. He started in the gym but was hooked on the outdoors the first time he climbed at Devil’s Lake. He’s excited to be a part of the Community Ambassador program because he believes education and community engagement are the best ways to ensure the outdoor climbing areas we all love will continue to be available for everyone to enjoy.

Southeast Region

FLORIDA

Name: Nicole Golden
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Email: [email protected]
Location: Melbourne, FL.
Ancestral lands of the Ais and Seminole.
Nicole loves big-wall trad/aid climbing, and she’s been climbing in the Southeast since 2011. Her goals as an ambassador are to help Florida climbers connect with one another and the local climbing organizations they travel to. She believes teaching environmental awareness is just as essential in the transition from gym to crag as learning how to clean an anchor.

GEORGIA

Name: Alex Teodorescu
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email: [email protected]
Location: Atlanta, GA. Ancestral land of the Mvskoke (Muscogee / Creek).
Alex’s passion for climbing and the outdoors started 14 years ago, during an intro to climbing class in college. He believes in the importance of protecting our crags so that everyone has the opportunity to experience adventure and connect with nature. Alex is excited to work with Access Fund to grow the mindset of stewardship, equity, and inclusion in the community and conserve the places we cherish for future generations.

TENNESSEE

Name: Ryan Indelicato
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email: [email protected]
Location: Knoxville, TN. Ancestral lands of the Cherokee and Yuchi.

Ryan has been climbing for over four years. He got his
start bouldering at the local climbing gym and now looks forward to any opportunity to get outside on southern sandstone. He enjoys the community aspect of climbing and loves introducing friends to the sport. Ryan believes in removing barriers to entry and promoting an inclusive community for all to enjoy.

Northeast Region

MAINE

Name: Mischa Ostberg
Pronouns: they/them/theirs
Email:
[email protected]
Location: Southwest Harbor, ME. Ancestral land of the Penobscot.
Mischa has been climbing for five years since their first experience climbing at Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park. Mischa feels outdoor recreation is not readily accessible to all and believes there needs to be more effort in the industry to help remove obstacles to the outdoors that many experience. Mischa is also a passionate environmental educator and wants to continue to educate climbers and community members on how they can affect change and protect outdoor spaces.

MASSACHUSETTS

Name: Dan Jazwinski
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email: [email protected]

Location: Shirley, MA. Ancestral lands of the Pawtucket, Nipmuck, and Wabanaki Confederacy territories.
Dan was introduced to gym climbing six years ago and has progressed to sport and trad climbing outdoors. During his outdoor adventures, he noticed the impact that the sport was having on the environment around him and felt the need to get involved in improving and protecting the areas where we climb. Since then, he has become involved with several local climbing organizations and is excited to make an even bigger impact by working with the Access Fund as an ambassador.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Name: David Cook
Email: [email protected]
Location: Rumney, NH. Wabanaki Confederacy and Abenaki / Abénaquis territories.

Dave gained interest in climbing as programs director of a summer camp in Connecticut about 10 years ago. He has since traveled and climbed all over the world and now owns and operates the Barn Door Hostel in Rumney, New Hampshire. This adventurous career path has guided him towards creating communities and friendships in everything he does. Dave thinks climbing should be for all ages and all abilities. He is ecstatic to continue to foster a community through his role as community ambassador for Access Fund.

NEW YORK

Name: Aaron Blasingame
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email: [email protected]
Location: New Paltz, NY. Ancestral land of the Munsee Lenape.

Aaron has been climbing for over 12 years and has climbed all over the country. While he prefers trad climbing, he has experience in all forms of the sport, from bouldering to alpine. Aaron is excited to become part of the Access Fund and interact with and teach the growing outdoor community in crag ethics and Leave No Trace principles.

Name: RJ Lau
Pronouns: he/him/his
Email: [email protected]
Location: New York, NY. Ancestral land of the Munsee Lenape.

After exploring 100 countries, RJ discovered his passion for the outdoors in New Zealand, where he lived as an expatriate. In 2018, RJ moved back to New York City and joined the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), where he’s currently the co-chair of AMC’s NY/NJ Climbing Committee. He’s also a member of the Outdoor Leadership Development Committee and the Interchapter Climbing Committee. When RJ is not exploring or climbing, he spends his free time raising awareness about the importance of diversity, conservation, and preservation of our outdoor spaces within the greater community.

PENNSYLVANIA

Name: Ken Hull
Pronouns he/him/his
Email: [email protected]
Location: Boalsburg, PA. Ancestral land of the Susquehannock.
This is Ken’s second year as an Access Fund ambassador. While serving last year he also became an ambassador for South Central Pennsylvania Climbers (SCPA) and developed a very close working relationship with Pennsylvania’s two other local climbing organizations—Southwestern Pennsylvania Coalition of Climbers and Eastern Pennsylvania Alliance of Climbers. His passion for climbing and being a part of the Access Fund team has allowed Ken to be involved in many different climbing projects locally and beyond.

HAWAII

Name: Wai Yi Ng
Pronouns she/her/hers
Email: [email protected]
Location: Honolulu, HI. Ancestral land of the Kanaka Maoli/Hawaiian Kingdom.
Although Wai Yi’s upbringing did not include outdoor activities, she realized she loved the outdoors after her first outdoor climb in 2006 at Rumbling Bald, North Carolina. She moved to Hawaii in 2010 to pursue a career in environmental sustainability and is now the environmental manager for the city and county of Honolulu, where she protects and manages sensitive and limited resources. She’s excited to pay it forward, become a resource to the local climbing community, and raise awareness about Access Funds initiatives!

ALASKA

Name: Michelle Johannsen
Pronouns she/her/hers
Email: [email protected]
Location: Fairbanks, AK. Ancestral lands of the Tanana and Dënéndeh.
Michelle has been climbing for six years, including bouldering, rock, and ice climbing. Having learned from friends and mentors the importance of land stewardship, Leave No Trace principles, and land access issues, Michelle has become passionate about caring for our climbing spaces so that others can continue to enjoy them for generations to come. Michelle is also enthusiastic about sharing safe practices and introducing beginners to the basics of climbing outdoors. She is especially eager to engage women in the outdoors. Michelle has coached youth bouldering and instructed a Women’s Gym to Crag event. As an Access Fund ambassador, Michelle hopes to promote a culture of stewardship, safety, and inclusion in her community of climbers.

WHAT DO AMBASSADORS DO?

  • Represent Access Fund at local events through tabling, membership drives, and high fives.
  • Collaborate with affiliated local climbing organizations and other local entities to organize fun and engaging fundraising events in your area.
  • Seek out outreach and fundraising opportunities.
  • Make strong connections with local climbing organizations and other area partners.
  • Take part in Ambassador-specific initiatives and trainings with Access Fund staff.
  • Excitedly share Access Fund’s social media content.
  • Serve as a community resource and connection to Access Fund.

QUESTIONS?

Please contact Heather Distad, Director of Philanthropy, at [email protected].