sender city Archives - Sender One Climbing
Honoring Disability Pride Month

Honoring Disability Pride Month

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Written by Eric Ho

Climbing is for everyone, including those with disabilities. Adaptive climbing is also called paraclimbing, and we here at Sender One are striving to make our gyms accessible for everyone.

Sender One community member Jenny Choi recalls when Sender One hosted the Paraclimbing World Cup.

I saw Paraclimbing competitions appear on my TV and one day I saw Sender One's flyer about hosting the Paraclimbing World Cup. I texted my school friend/grad school mentor Isabel to see if she'd be interested in trying climbing and reassured her that people climb with one hand, and she immediately got hooked! Spectating the Paraclimbing World Cup later that Fall 2021 moved us both; it was incredible seeing climbers continue to keep on keeping on regardless of how society may view paraclimbers as disabled and unable to partake in climbing among many other sports.

Little did I know that I would soon become a para/adaptive climber, as one month later,  I got (long) covid. The illness intensified to unimaginable extents, but I only continued to feel more settled in and safe as many of my newer friends were so kind to offer help/assistance, both non-employees and employees at Sender. Scleroderma is an extremely rare and extremely painful disease, and it definitely inhibits my climbing since I haven't had much sense of touch.

Sender One community member Isabel Benvenuti shares her insight:

It was pretty recently that I got involved in any meetups or activities specific to paraclimbing. Before that, I didn’t know many paraclimbers and I didn’t know much at all about paraclimbing outside of my own experience as a paraclimber (I am missing my right hand & forearm). I’ve learned pretty quickly that the community is the best part of paraclimbing though. Paraclimbers are incredibly welcoming and supportive (& super strong) and I’m really grateful to be part of such a great group of people.

Sender One LAX is proud to host a monthly community meetup: ParaSenders. It is the 4th Wednesday of the month, where other para/adaptive climbers with physical disabilities and allies at Sender One LAX can send together in a safe and inclusive environment. We hope to see you there!

More thoughts from Jenny and Isabel:

Sender One in general has been the one place where I can continue to turn to as one of my happy places, and the events are so fun! I was very excited when Siddharth started working at Sender and asked for both Isabel's and my thoughts on getting an adaptive climbing meetup started. The first one I attended was so fun and also heartwarming seeing a couple able-bodied climbers attend to support us and curious to hear about our experiences, especially since I look very able-bodied (aside from me climbing in socks due to poor blood circulation).  I hope if you are a recently-disabled climber reading this, this gives you some hope.

I’m also happy that Sender One started a paraclimbing meetup a few months ago. I’ve had a lot of fun getting to know new people who are interested in paraclimbing. I hope to see more paraclimbers there in the future and I’m excited to see the meetup keep growing!

Paradox Mile

Much like our Sender One community, the adaptive community is equally vibrant and diverse.
That is why Sender One LAX is hosting the Paradox Mile, a 5,280 vertical foot climbing challenge to help raise money and awareness for Paradox Sports and Paracliffhangers.

Disability Pride Flag

What do the color stripes mean, you may ask?

  • Green: sensory disabilities
  • Blue: emotional and psychiatric disabilities
  • White: non-visible and undiagnosed disabilities
  • Gold: neurodiversity
  • Red: physical disabilities
  • Black: represents mourning for ableist violence and abuse victims
Acknowledging the Land That We Are On

Acknowledging the Land That We Are On

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Written by Kadisha Aburub


If you’ve ever been to an affinity space meetup or event you’ll often hear a Land Acknowledgement at the start of a meetup. A Land Acknowledgment is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous People as traditional stewards of this land. Land Acknowledgements allow for an expression and appreciation of Indigenous people who have been living here since time immemorial. 

A core value in affinity spaces is understanding the history of the land we reside on. By acknowledging its history, we recognize the impact history has had on marginalized groups and begin dialogue on ways to narrow that gap within our community spaces. 

So then how do we go about delivering a Land Acknowledgement? 

  • Identify tribes 
  • Practice pronouncing the pronunciation of tribes
  • Acknowledge the tribes in the area you are in 
  • Acknowledge that tribes and its people are ever-present today

Here is an example of a Land Acknowledgement of the Garieleño/Kizh and Acjachemen land or what is now known today as the city of Santa Ana, California

“We open our meetup/event by acknowledging that the land where we climb today is the territory of the Gabrieleño/Kizh, and Acjachemen (Juaneno) tribes. In our daily lives, let us remember that the Santa Ana area is home to the Gabrieleño/Kizh, and Acjachemen (Juaneno) people and to many tribes that camped, hunted, and traded here for centuries. Native people of many Indigenous nations live here today.” 

“Kizh” (pronounced KEECH), the name of the tribe that resided on this land, comes from the dome-like dwellings they lived on. The people of Kizh developed ingenious ways of living off the land, were master boat-builders, and traveled along the coast of Southern California.

Check out Sender One's Land Acknowledgment on our Community Programs page. If you perhaps don’t live in the Santa Ana area and are interested in learning about the tribes and Indigenous people that resided on the land you’re currently on, is a great starting point.

Indigeneous territories of Southern California (Photo courtesy of Native Land Digital)

To note the website is imperfect and is meant as a starting point of your journey in educating yourself on the land you occupy. 

While these acknowledgements can be powerful they can also be easily taken as a token gesture. Going beyond a land acknowledgement is where the work lies. We all have a responsibility to consider what it means to acknowledge the repercussions of colonialism. 

Some action questions to consider: 

  • What are some of the privileges you enjoy because of colonialism? 
  • How can you develop relationships with Indigenous tribes/people in your area? 
  • How can you support/listen/uplift Indigenous tribes/people in your community?
  • Do you have an understanding of the on-going violence and trauma that affects Indigenous people? 

While we cannot undo the past, we can create better relationships through understanding, active participation with Indigenous communities, and having a listening ear. 

Interested in learning more? Here are further resources to explore:

  1. Native Land Community Blog
  2. Kizh Nation
  3. Gabrieleño -Kizh Tribal Territory
  4. Decolonizing Trauma Work by Renee Linklater

Decolonizing Trauma Work by Renee Linklater

What to Wear to Your Sender City Session

What to Wear to Your Sender City Session

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Did Sender City pop up on your Tik Tok and now it’s all you can think about? Or, did you pass by Sender City at the gym and see the enormous slide that brings joy and fear to all climbers that come across it? 

However you got here, welcome! Sender City is a fun, interactive, climbing space that all individuals can enjoy. Before you book your session, you may be wondering what you’ll want to wear, bring, and what to expect from your session. Here is what the Sender City professionals recommend!

The Basics

  • Comfortable athletic clothing is the best for moving up the walls in Sender City. Pants or leggings are a good option to keep you cozy in the harness.
  • Closed-toe shoes are needed for Sender City, we have back-up rental shoes at the gym but highly recommend wearing your own sneakers. 
  • Remember the slide? You’ll want to wear or bring some socks to give it a try! 
  • Jewelry can stay at home, we don’t want it to get caught on anything. We have places to leave your belongings if you want it close by.
  • We recommend having longer hair to be tied up in a low hairstyle.

Climbing Gear: 

  • Sender City climbers are required to wear a helmet and harness during the session. Don’t have climbing gear? No fret, we will provide you with all the gear you need to climb like spiderman. 
  • If you have a helmet at home and would like to bring it, feel free! We have special harnesses for Sender City so don’t worry about bringing your own.
  • Although Sender City is a climbing area, you won’t need your climbing shoes or chalk for this type of climbing. Closed-toe shoes are sufficient!

How do I put gear on!?

Staff will be assisting everyone with getting harnesses and helmets properly fit before the session. If there are any worries about the sizing, fit, or comfort of the gear we have, give us a call!


Book today!

Now that you are a Sender City professional, you are ready to book a session. Book online (Sender City LAX, Sender City SNA) or give our front desk a call to assist you with scheduling a session. 

Sender One Youth Team: Lock-In at LAX

Sender One Youth Team: Lock-In at LAX

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Words by Jane Chin, Photos by Cass Chin
Sender One Santa Ana (SNA) and Los Angeles (LAX) both have competitive ("comp") teams that practice at their respective "home gyms". Given the distance between the two gyms, Sender One coaches hold monthly full team practices and an early season "all team lock-in" event. This encourages bonding between comp team members and fosters cohesion for Team Sender One. For the 2018 sport and speed climbing season, the all team lock-in event took place at Sender One LAX on February 17, 2018.
While the Sender One Youth team trained together, coaches Christian and Nate held a parent orientation to discuss team goals and important information about USA Climbing membership requirements for competitors. Many parents were new to the comp team, and climbing in general, and welcomed a forum where they asked the coaches questions about training methods, safety, and USA Climbing rules. Coach Christian Mercene, the SNA youth head coach, really listened and addressed new parents' questions and concerns. Coach Nate Withey, who has extensive personal competition experience, was able to answer technical questions about USA Climbing's rules. Parents are encouraged to visit USA Climbing's rules page and watch the short video explaining its competition rules.
After training and dinner, Team Sender One visited Sender City. Parents were welcome to try out the obstacles, some of which were quite challenging! My husband won the "speed climbing challenge", but I was able to pass his high-point on the the "moving cog-wheel" climbing problem. Many of the challenges required leaps of faith, such as jumping off high objects or platforms into the air, which are wonderful exercises in "trust" and made these obstacles popular in adult team-building/confidence events.
 Groups began to form, with some kids heading to the party room to watch the climbing movie, featuring world class climbers Chris Sharma, Alex Honnold, and Margo Hayes. Others hung out with coach Melanie (who seemed to be exercising for hours at a time!) at the fitness area. The rest of us headed to the climbing walls to work off the dessert we ate! At 10pm, the gym doors were locked and all the other guests had left. Team Sender One and their families were locked in. A few parents collectively took a breath as Team Sender One took over LAX!
Kids ran all over the place, playing hide and seek, clamoring upstairs and downstairs. The main lights turned off, leaving the spot lights shining on the iconic Torch and the other big walls. Those who brought head-lamps did some "head-lamp climbing".Coaches also rigged up a "King Swing" in the middle of the lead climb arch. This was a long rope that required the swinger to climb up the wall, then jump off, for a long fall and wide swing.
By this time, it was past midnight. Many parents were exhausted since it was past our bedtime! People began staking sleeping spots around the bouldering areas. We set up the ground sheet and sleeping bags/pillows, and as things wound down, we settled to sleep. It was quite a pleasant experience to sleep in the dark and quiet building, with the occasional sound of an airliner taking off or landing at LAX.
The next morning Team Sender One campers woke up, packed up, and met for potluck breakfast. Coaches Toby and Christian greeted everyone and asked about favorite parts of the lock-in. King swing, Sender City, Rope swings, the (climbing) movie, "everything" were answers, followed by the next question: "When are we going to do this again?" Looks like the lock-in was a success!
Looking Back, Looking Forward: New Year’s Meetup LAX

Looking Back, Looking Forward: New Year’s Meetup LAX

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Words and Photos by Erin Garrovillas

To kick-off the new year, Sender One hosted a special meetup on January 3, facilitated by staff member Denise.  This New Year’s Meetup was similar to the Monday Night Meetups, with a special addition – at the beginning, everyone was given a questionnaire to fill out.  It prompted us to reflect on the past year – specifically, favorite climbing memories and what we learned about climbing.  It also guided us to think about this upcoming year – what we want to improve, a big climbing goal for 2018, and how we can achieve it.  

Sender City partner climbs!

The meetup started with an icebreaker, each person introduced themselves and shared a climbing highlight from 2017.  Then, everyone paired up for trust falls and a partner exercise where you stand back-to-back, link arms, and try to stand up at the same time. Then, came the raffle.  A handful of lucky winners became the proud owners of beanies, chalk, and a climbing brush.

Denise offered to open the colorful, themed climbing area, Sender City.  It’s designed with kids in mind, but still offers lots of fun for all ages.  A few people opted to jump straight into rock climbing, while the rest of the group suited up for Sender City.The first partner challenge was to climb the cubes while holding your partner’s hand.  It proved to be very difficult because the cubes shake, and you could only climb with one hand!  We also tried the Trembling Towers, where you step on vertical beams that get higher and shakier!  To make it more interesting, we challenged ourselves to close our eyes, and the group coached us through each step.  It’s surprising how challenging it is to balance when you can’t see!  

Definitely a challenge!

Another favorite activity was the Drop Slide.  After donning a jumpsuit, you hold onto a bar, as it lifts you up the nearly vertical slide.  When you’re ready, you let go and rush down the slide!

Going up blind gives the Trembling Towers a difficult new twist!

After everyone got their fill at Sender City, we moved onto top roping in the main climbing area.  Pairing up for belays came natural after the icebreakers and fun climbs at Sender City.  When we weren’t climbing, we got to know each other a little better.  Overall, the New Year’s Meetup was a great way to kick-off the year, meet new climbing partners, and get involved in the climbing community here at Sender One.

Join us for the next Monday Night Meetup, hosted on the first and third Monday of the month at both LAX and SNA. The meet ups are always free with a day pass. Meet new friends, participate in fun activities, and win great raffle prizes. Hope to see you there!

Come to our next Monday Night Meet Up to hang out with some amazing new people!

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