Climb the Hill Advocate Highlight: Shelma Jun and Pete Ward

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Shelma Jun is the founder of Flash Foxy and the Women’s Climbing Festival. Shelma is a current Board Member of the Access Fund and in 2017, was named one of 40 women who’ve made the biggest impact in the outdoor world by Outside Magazine. A leader in our community, she has written, spoken and presented on the importance of creating a climbing community that reflects and welcomes everyone who identifies as a climber. A California native currently based in Brooklyn, NY, Shelma can often be found plugging widgets into horizontal cracks at the Gunks or getting scared on granite highballs in Bishop.

Climb the Hill Q&A

Q: What about the event excites you?

A: It's always exciting to have climbers come together to meet with our elected officials and let them know what's important to us. I'm especially excited this year to have the additional insight and resource that the Climb the Hill JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) Taskforce are bringing to this event. Super thankful for all the Taskforce members who volunteered their time throughout the year.

Q: What are you most excited to highlight to representatives while on the Hill?

A: I'm excited to highlight how diverse climbing is getting. Also to highlight that Public Lands are for everyone and we need to not only protect them, but also make sure that everyone has access to be able to appreciate them.

Q: Where is your favorite local crag?

A: I learned to climb in the Shawangunks (thought by some to be the Munsee Lenape name of the area) and it will always be a very special place to me. Though not "local," I also spend a lot of my time in the Eastern Sierra (also known as Pamidu Toiyabe by the Paiute/Numuu tribes of the region).


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Pete Ward is a Board Member of the American Alpine Club (AAC) as well as a member of the AAC Policy Committee. He has woven climbing, its values, history, culture and global community into his life and career. He began his climbing journey as a rescue ranger at the Gunks in New Paltz, NY and continued across the US, when producing bouldering competitions with the specific aim of communicating climbing and what makes it brilliant to an urban audience. Recently, he has been living and climbing in Switzerland and Oxford, England where the limestone is proud as is the history on grit. Peter is an entrepreneur, working on blockchain and machine learning technologies.

Climb the Hill Q&A

Q: What about the event excites you?

A: I'm excited to see the depth and breadth of the climbing community advocating on the issues that matter most to us, as well as reaching out to expand our inclusivity and spread our values.

Q: What are you most excited to highlight to representatives while on the Hill?

A: The blinding priority of our time is climate change - that ship is sailing and we need to be focused on it. I'm also excited that the Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (JEDI) Task Force exists and that its perspectives are being represented in a powerful way.

Q: Where is your favorite local crag?

A: I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Farley, MA. It punches far above its weight class in its quality of bouldering problems… Of course, I learned how to climb in the Shawangunk's and I will always love that spot!