03/11/2021

Advocate Spotlight: Josh Jimenez

Categories: Advocate Spotlight

Josh Jimenez is the Director of Routesetting at Memphis Rox, a non-profit climbing and community facility. Located in one of the most underserved zip codes in the country, Memphis Rox’s mission is to help diversify climbing, break down access barriers to the sport, create jobs in an underserved neighborhood, serve the community's needs, and to never turn anyone away—regardless of ability to pay. Josh plays an integral part in this mission. Aside from leading an amazing and diverse team of routesetters, he volunteers his time to take community members outdoor climbing for the first time, is always around to give climbing advice or a helping hand, and even spearheaded a unique woodshop program to mentor community members to create unique handmade wood products that Memphis Rox sells on its website—creating more jobs and job training for the community. Josh truly lives the mission of Memphis Rox and is an embodiment of those ideals.

Five Questions for Josh

What’s your favorite cause in climbing advocacy right now?
All of the large outdoor companies and brands diversifying their athlete portfolio and campaigns. I think some of them are being really genuine in their approach and truly care about elevating underrepresented climbers. Respect.

What does it mean to you to be a climbing advocate?
Being a fairly reserved person, I am not the most outspoken, but I will go out of my way to share my knowledge of climbing. Specifically, I enjoy helping people learn the technical aspects of route setting and climbing. Also, I try to be really welcoming and make sure people know they have a place in climbing. We all started somewhere, and it is always nice to have someone guide you on something that may be out of your comfort zone.

What’s your advice to new advocates?
Be humble in your approach and keep an open mind. Everyone has a story to tell and listening fully is the best way to learn from both sides.

What has excited you the most about getting into the advocacy world?
It’s been exciting to be part of Memphis Rox and being intentional about getting everyone psyched to climb, whether that be inside or outside. Working at Rox has given me the space to be more vocal about the importance of diversifying climbing as well. It does take a lot to get people outside, but I think once they have the opportunity, they realize how gratifying the experience is.

Who is another climbing advocate whose work is really inspiring you right now?
Both Climbers of Color and Color the Crag are big inspirations for me. They share a lot of climbers profiles and stories that are doing really cool things but aren’t getting enough recognition. I believe that it is easy to become intimidated when you don't see people like yourself doing something, regardless of the activity.

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