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Sender One vs. 2020: A Look Back

Sender One vs. 2020: A Look Back

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Well, we’ve made it to the end of 2020 and maybe we can all agree that this year was not what we had in mind. It’s bizarre to reflect on what this year has been for Sender One. We could not have made it through this year without the strength and support of the climbing community, Sender One members, and our incredible staff. We won’t go into major detail as we look back on 2020 because let’s face it, who really needs to relive every moment this year has provided? Instead, we’re taking this moment to reflect on good news from the year and some of the hard lessons learned.

January & February

We hosted the 2020 Pan American Championships at Sender One LAX, qualifying Alannah Yip and Colin Duffy for the (now) 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Little did we know that this would be the last large international climbing event in the states for the entire year. What an honor it was to experience this!

March:

Both Sender One locations were mandated to close for the first time as the rise of COVID-19 began impacting our local counties. At this point, we thought the closures would be short-lived. A real pandemic causing businesses to close and forcing us to stay inside, mask-up, and physical distance? Nah.

April & May:

Hello, at-home workouts, the Sender One online shop, and virtual yoga classes! With our locations still closed, we took action and got creative. While trying to maintain jobs and community engagement, we launched an online retail shop and provided virtual yoga and fitness classes. We even sold limited-edition Sender One hangboards, personally handmade by a few of our routesetters, and Sender One masks that were handsewn by another ultra-talented employee who is literally a knit-master. 

This was also the time many people and businesses, including ourselves, were reminded to reflect intrapersonally as the Black Lives Matter movement took rise over the killing of George Floyd (10/14/73-5/25/20), Breonna Taylor (6/5/93-3/13/20), and the many other unjustly deaths of Black individuals. We will always have a zero-tolerance for racism and understand that this fight for an equitable and just society is far from over. As we continue to learn from the collective community, we hope to always create ways to foster an inclusive and diverse climbing environment.

June:

Sender One turned 7! Though we didn’t have our typical birthday bash, we were fortunate to reopen both locations during this month. It was interesting to reopen with new standard procedures, health protocols, and navigating through the so-called “new normal”. The amazing Sender One team really climbed together by getting the facilities ready to welcome back our members.

Also during this month, we held a virtual Pride Event, raised money for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Black Lives Matter, and kicked off our climbing camps. We were unaware that youth camps would become our main offering this year.

July & August:

We entered our second closure for both Sender One facilities after being open for a few short weeks. It was time to pivot our business even more so we went a little camp crazy while maintaining virtual yoga classes and running the online shop. Although fitness/climbing centers were to remain closed, youth day-camps were allowed to operate since they provided an essential service for working parents. Being stuck at home as a child can be hard, so we were happy to cultivate an environment for youth to connect through our summer camp, routesetting camp, and distant learning camp (COOL Camp).

September & October:

Sender One SNA got the green light to reopen! During this time, we held a couple of COVID-friendly community events, brought back our popular Bouldering League, and helped form the California Indoor Climbing Coalition. It felt great to bring the community together while uncertainty still loomed. We made sure to cherish and celebrate every moment - big and small.

November & December:

Sender One SNA reopened for 9.5 weeks. These weeks were filled with under-the-mask smiles and laughter, new climbs, new projects, new sends, and a lot of hand sanitizer. We were extremely saddened to re-close our doors again, but fortunate to carry on with youth camps and a virtual raffle for a good cause.

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Looking back at this year, it’s easy to think about all the negative aspects. Don’t get it wrong, this year was extremely hard for us and many others. We have all just experienced a year that will forever change our lives. It’s important to take into consideration the different experiences of those around you and to take time to check in with loved ones. 

Sender One will continue to survive and thrive into 2021, but we are not leaving this year without acknowledging the difficult decisions we made, lessons we learned from, and changes we’ve adopted in order to safe-keep our future. So here’s to a year filled with challenges, growth, adapting, staying resilient, and endless gratitude.

Thank you to the climbing community, Sender One members, our phenomenal staff, and the families and friends that continue to support and be here for us. Lastly, Alice Kao (Co-Founder, CEO) has put together a letter for the community which you can find below.

 

See you in 2021!

Tips on Returning to the Climbing Gym

Tips on Returning to the Climbing Gym

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After months away from the climbing gym, it’s a good idea to ease your way back into crushing those projects -- unless you’re some super human that can climb V15 off the couch. With Sender One SNA open again and LAX following (hopefully) soon, we wanted to provide some tips on returning to the climbing gym.

TIP #1: Stretch before arriving at the climbing gym.

Because time is limited to 2-hour climbing sessions (for now), we suggest doing some stretching at home. You can refer to this warm-up video we made for our at-home iSWOLation workout challenge. Stretching prior to arriving at the climbing gym may help speed up your on-the-wall warm-ups so you can get to sending!

TIP #2: Be kind to yourself and your fingers/skin/tendons.

Take it easy! With the lack of consistent climbing over the past few months, our bodies need to readjust. Don’t overdo it because you may run the risk of getting injured. Listen to your body and rest when needed. You may be surprised at how quickly you will get your strength back!

TIP #3: Keep your mask up, covering your mouth and nose.

Out of respect and to protect yourself and others around, make sure to always mask up while inside. If you need to catch your breath and breathe in some fresh air, you can let the staff know that you’re stepping outside for a few breaths. The ONLY time a mask can be removed while indoors is to drink water or munch on a snack (between bites).

TIP #4: Come prepared to climb in proper attire.

For now, our showers and locker rooms are unavailable until further notice. We highly recommend coming to the climbing gym in your climbing attire so you can be ready to hop on the walls.

TIP #5: BYORWB.

Bring your own refillable water bottle! Only the refill stations at our drinking fountains are available. We do, however, still provide an assortment of energy bars and beverages for sale to help fuel your climbing session!

TIP #6: Hang in there!

This year has been absolutely crazy. Bring on the socially awkward moments since we’ve all been stuck in our homes for 6 months and have forgotten how to act in the presence of other human beings. We love awkward and we will happily welcome you back with open arms, from a distance, with sanitizer and a thermometer in hand. Things are going to be different for a while, but we will continue to be here for you!

Community Update: Health & Safety

Community Update: Health & Safety

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A new announcement has been released about the temporary closure of all Sender One facilities. Read more HERE.

Please note that this is an older version of updates and some things may have changed. Use this as a resource, but please read our most recent update HERE.
The latest section of this announcement was added on 3/14/20.

3/10/20
With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, we want to remind you that the health and safety of our community is of utmost importance. We do not believe there is a need to disrupt your climbing routine, planned yoga class, or reserved Sender City session at this time. However, we'd like to offer precautions and recommendations to our community regarding health practices during this flu season. Preventative actions are also in place at all Sender One locations to ensure our customers will continue to receive the optimal climbing experience.

As climbers, managing risk is a normal part of our sport. The new coronavirus is forcing us to manage a different type of risk. Here are some precautionary tips and reminders that will help prevent the spread of germs and illnesses.

Stay Healthy. Keep Climbing.

Here are some friendly reminders so you can avoid the spread of germs and continue climbing.

• Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and/or sneezing with the inside of your upper arm or a tissue.
• Dispose of used tissues properly after use.
• Regularly wash your hands with soap and water.
• If you have flu-like symptoms, seek medical attention immediately and stay home from work, school, the climbing gym, and other crowded places.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces before and after use.
• Avoid hugging, kissing, shaking hands, and fist bumping when greeting. Instead, use jazz hands to say hello!
• Avoid touching all areas of your face with unwashed hands.

Remember, it's important to properly wash your hands
BEFORE
: Climbing, Sender City, Working Out, Taking a Yoga Class, Eating, Preparing Food, Treating a Wound
AFTER: Climbing, Sender City, Working Out, Taking a Yoga Class, Eating, Preparing Food, Treating a Wound, Using the Restroom, Sneezing, Coughing, Blowing Your Nose, Petting a Cute Animal, Taking Out Garbage

Your health means a lot to us! So much that Sender One will continue to provide sanitary wipes, hand sanitizer, and hand soap for our guests. We've also ensured that our staff will continue to regularly wipe down non-climbing surfaces and areas with cleaning spray. Additionally, we've notified all staff to stay at home if they are not feeling well and/or have flu-like symptoms.

Stay classy and stay healthy, Sender One Community.

UPDATE 3/12/20:

In light of recent announcements by the California Department of Public Health and California Governor, Gavin Newsom, Sender One has the following updates to our programming and offerings.

  • The USAC Youth Sport Local that was scheduled for Saturday, April 4th at SNA is canceled.
  • Sender One’s Bouldering League at LAX, scheduled to start April 8th, is postponed until further notice.
  • All community events involving large gatherings at both SNA and LAX are cancelled until further notice.
  • All community events involving food will be cancelled until further notice. This includes Pi Day and our Member Appreciation Night at Sender One LAX, which will be rescheduled.
  • We are reducing staffing and staff positions in response to a reduction in large group offerings.

Additionally, effective immediately, we are making the following community recommendations:

  • During busy weekday evenings and weekends, please limit your gym visits to a maximum of three (3) hours.
  • For Sender City sessions, although we sanitize our helmets regularly, if you feel more comfortable using your own helmet, you are encouraged to.   
  • For climbing camps, you are encouraged to provide campers with their own snacks as we are reducing group meal times.  

To reiterate, Sender One is continuing to take all reasonable precautions recommended by health and government authorities to curtail the spread of the coronavirus while safeguarding. Read our full letter here.

UPDATE 3/14/20:

Sender One locations will continue to hold a number of yoga classes until further notice. Sanitization and cleaning of the yoga studios will continue to be a top priority. Additional changes to our programming is to follow.

  • Acro Yoga Classes and Acro Jam Sessions will be canceled at SNA and LAX until further notice.
  • Class sizes will be capped at half-capacity at SNA only.
  • Yoga blankets will be temporarily removed from all yoga studios.

Beyond these changes, here's what you can do to help keep our yoga community healthy.

  • Please try to bring your own yoga mats to class. We will continue to offer sanitary wipes for all yoga mats.
  • If you use a yoga mat provided by the gym, please thoroughly wipe it down with a sanitary wipe after use.
  • We will continue to provide yoga blocks to use, but please use a towel to cover the blocks while in use if possible.

For more updated information and resources about our global health situation visit these websites: City of Los Angeles, Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.

Gearing for the Outdoors: A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Outside

Gearing for the Outdoors: A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Outside

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Words and Images by Brianne Schaer
Instagram: @brianneschaer

Taking the leap from indoor to outdoor climbing is no small feat.  The gym offers a controlled environment to hone your skills and keep your body in shape.  Brightly colored holds guide you to the top of each route and cushioned floor pads protect you when you fall.  The one thing the gym cannot offer is the sense of adventure and freedom that being outside provides.

There isn't a quick and easy way to explain the transition from indoor to outdoor climbing.  The best way to start is to head to your local crag and climb!  It is important to always keep in mind that climbing, whether indoors or outdoors, is an extremely dangerous activity.  The following tips will hopefully help you as you start climbing outdoors.  Climbing, as with most things in life, is a constant learning process, and we are all learning new techniques and skills every day.

Note: I am not a professional guide for outdoor climbing.  These are tips to help transition climbers from inside a gym to the outdoors.  Please climb responsibly.

Hire a Guide

Hiring a guide is the best way to ensure that you are safe when you first start venturing outdoors.  Nothing can replace the knowledge and experience of a hired guide.  A good instructor can show you the best places to learn to climb, any specific rules or conditions of the crag, and most importantly, how to stay safe.  There are a number of well-qualified guides in Southern California.  Spend time researching a guide that will meet your needs and ensure you have a good experience on the rock.

Find Experienced Climbers

Can't afford a professional guide?  Mentorship is another great way to start climbing outside, but tread lightly when choosing a mentor.  You want to make sure they know what they are doing and are willing to help you on your journey.  Since they are dedicating their time to helping you, you should try to return the favor in other ways.  Simply offering to use your gear, or buy gas or food can go a long way.

Take Classes

Professional instruction is a great way to learn necessary climbing skills.  Sender One offers a number of great classes (at both SNA and LAX) that will teach you the basics for lead climbing and belaying, as well as various techniques useful in the outdoors, such as crack climbing.  The more you practice lead climbing and belaying in the gym, the more confident you will be to transition those skills to the outdoor world.  Other important skills to learn include rappelling, knot tying, and building anchors.

Be Aware of Dangers

There are a lot of dangers outside with the potential to kill you.  It is important to keep that in mind and always be aware of your surroundings and potential dangers.  This includes rockslides, loose holds, people above you dropping gear, and you dropping your gear on others.  Also be on the lookout for ledges or bulges that you may potentially fall on if you should take a lead fall.

Always Perform Safety Checks

Make sure that your rope and gear are in good condition before climbing, every time you climb.  Always check your partner, whether you're the climber or the belayer.

Check the Weather

The weather can make or break your outdoor climbing experience.  Of course, climbing during the rain is not advisable.  It's also not a good idea to climb a day or two after rain, and in some crags, it's not allowed because the rock is more likely to break off when it is damp or moist.  It's also important to check the wind conditions, because it is much harder to clip quickdraws, or grab small holds in the wind.

Purchase Gear

Since you climb in the gym, you probably already have your own shoes, harness, and chalk bag. If you don't, it is time to buy them. Once you start climbing outside you'll realize there is never really an end to your list of gear you need to buy. Here is a short list of the necessities for outdoor climbing: shoes, harness, chalk bag, belay device, rappel device, rope, quickdraws, locking carabiners, personal anchor, and helmet.

Do Your Research

Before heading out to the crag, make sure you have a good idea of where the crag is, how to get there, how long the approach is, what gear you need, and how harsh the grading system is.  Always keep in mind that grades outside are harder than inside, so that outdoor 5.7 may feel more like a 5.10 in the gym.

In addition to researching the crag, you can also read up on the basics of climbing in what is often referred to as the Climbing Bible.  Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills provides information on almost everything climbing-related, from tying knots and building anchors to belaying and rappelling.

Leave No Trace

This is a huge one.  No matter how much fun we have climbing, we must remember that we are using public land and should treat it as if we are guests.  Be mindful of others at the crag, whether that means asking to play your music, keeping your gear in one area, or picking up your trash.  As with hiking or any other outdoor activity, you should pack out all trash, park and camp only in designated areas, minimize noise, and stay on established trails.

 

 

Climbing outside offers exciting new variables and challenges. The above points can serve as a good starting point for anyone who wants to start climbing outdoors.

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LAX Spring 2018 Bouldering League Finals Video

LAX Spring 2018 Bouldering League Finals Video

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The highlight reel from Sender One LAX's first Bouldering League Finals! Spring Bouldering League had a phenomenal turnout with
amazing climbers, boulder routes, and vendors. Congratulations to our first ever champions of the LAX Bouldering League!

🎥: @kidbotic

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