Irina Groushevaia

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Rock climbing has been a male dominated sport for a long time and the first female pioneer, Lynn Hill, changed that in the 1980s. MetroRock of Bushick continues to change that narrative and introduced “Women Crush Wednesdays,” as an initiative to support and welcome femme, trans and non-binary folx. On Wednesdays, womxn climb with a 50 percent discount, making an all-day pass only $15!

Mackenzie Taylor, the Assistant Manager of Programming at MetroRock, and Esther Dionisio, the Assistant Manager of Marketing, introduced this program to start a conversation on how climbing as a female can be an isolating experience.

Esther Dionisio in Action. Photo courtesy of Andy Lu.

“You are either not taken seriously or you try to adhere to the ‘boy’s club,’ mentality,” said Taylor.  “We’ve been lucky enough to have met and been inspired by others, who are showing us the way to create a safe space in the climbing community. Organizations such as Flash Foxy, Brothers of Climbing, Brown Girls Climb, and CRUX are enriching the community, so we thought —how can we bring this concept to Bushwick?”

Taylor and Dionisio have climbed and worked together before joining MetroRock, and sought out support at other minority climbing groups. They hope the discounted rate on Wednesdays will foster a safe space and bring womxn together. Their goal is to create a community, and offer an  inclusive space for climbers regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, and religion. The organizers offer social events twice a month after WCWs, such as happy hours at local bars. To stay tuned and make new friends, follow their Facebook group!

“There is a need to create an accessible avenue for femme persons to feel engaged, welcome, and supported in the gym,” said Taylor. “To let anyone who comes into this space know that they will not be judged on how they look or how they climb. They will be greeted as one of our own.”

Photo courtesy of Esther Dionisio.

Both agree that this incentive let’s womxn feel safe to try a new sport, but also feel comfortable in a social and friendly setting. “It’s not for everyone, but rock climbing is an amazing sport to try once. I for one, love introducing climbing to newcomers,” said Dionisio. “I always have women coming in here with their male friends saying, ‘I’m not strong enough.’ We want to show these ladies that if they surround themselves with other women, anything is possible. You can get up that wall!”  

If you’ve never climbed before, MetroRock offers introduction classes, gear and a variety of routes for all levels. These warm-hearted ladies will make sure you have an amazing workout as you find new friends. And if climbing didn’t work out for you, they also offer drop-in yoga classes.

Photo Courtesy of Charlie An.

Taylor and Dionisio hope to expand their programs to a variety of events. These would include: climbing clinics, lectures, movement therapy workshops, and collaborations with other organizations, that are promoting diversity and accessibility in the climbing community. As Taylor put it, “We are both big believers in the power of collaboration. We are stronger working together than apart!”

MetroRock is open: Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Holiday hours: early close on Christmas eve at 4 p.m., closed Christmas day, opening late on day after Christmas at 10 a.m.

MetroRock is located at 321 Starr Street, between St Nicholas and Cypress Avenues. The gym is two blocks from the L train stop at Jefferson Street.

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Cover photo courtesy of Esther Dionisio.