Sender One Archives - Sender One Climbing
Honoring Disability Pride Month

Honoring Disability Pride Month

the content

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
Mental Health in Climbing: Keep Climbing

Mental Health in Climbing: Keep Climbing

the content

Written by Hailey McFelia, Edited by Katherine Ku

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month we, here at Sender One wanted to start a conversation about mental health in climbing. We all know working out is great for our overall moods and brain chemicals, but there seems to be something different about climbing. Let’s dive in to see what makes this sport so special.

Recent research studies have shown evidence that climbing can improve overall mood and even alleviate depression. A 2021 paper written by Schwarzkopf, Dorscht, Kraus,and Luttenberger suggests that  “bouldering-Psychotherapy (BPT) has proven to effectively reduce depressive symptoms,” which is further supported by research showing that climbing nourishes an increased sense of one’s capability.

Bouldering Psychotherapy combines physical activity with psychotherapeutic content and stems from the idea that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help with depression. Think of cognitive behavioral therapy as positive brain rewiring –now add that with the gains of a physical sport that also works on problem solving. It makes sense that you would see positive results and the ability to reflect on those results. 

“Research suggests that climbing is therapeutic. Multiple studies indicate that it can help reduce symptoms of depression, perhaps because it demands focused attention and mindfulness. Some practitioners even use climbing therapy in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy.”

More of this article here

Angela Haupt, Time Magazine

Community is another piece to this amazing activity that can make your brain happy. People do a lot of crazy things to be part of a community – climbers aren’t that crazy though. We just climb till our hands bleed, put our lives in other people’s hands (shout out to our belay partners!), and cheer for a stranger when the try hard is on. We put ourselves out there to help each other reach the top of our projects. Connection with others happens so naturally with rock climbing.

Climbers: Zsana Ramsey, Yuri Ohyabu, Bell Sarian Wong  |  Photographer: Alex DelVecchio

Personally, it’s what led me to meet so many climbers who have become my emotional support humans. One of them is my “partner in climb,” Raee Lorton. She and I both have our struggles with mental health and she was kind enough to open up and share her story.

“I started climbing in San Francisco when I was going through a hard time in my life. Climbing routes were something I could control. Something I could breathe through. Something I could do on my own without being entirely alone in a gym. When I moved back to LA climbing continued to save me. It gave me discipline and a love for something to get my body moving. Going through a diagnosis for your mental health and starting medicines is incredibly hard. You go through a lot of stress on your body and your mental health expands and collapses in on itself but climbing was something that allowed me to stop and focus on something other than what was going on in my life. I could see myself in a gentle light and see what I was capable of.”

-- Raee Lorton

Raee at Stoney Point | Photographer: Jovanna Reyes

The ability to be able to focus on a climb or problem, is a beautiful way to shift your focus. Head game and brain rewiring is an essential part of climbing. When it comes down to it many climbers have to overcome the fear of falling. That alone is a big part of the reflection that comes with rock climbing. We also tell ourselves positive mantras to help us push past our limits and in a way rewire our minds. For example, professional climber and slab lover Anna Hazelnutt tends to chant “I am sticky, I am sticky” (check out her Youtube channel here!) It’s the powerful insight we gain from turning in and reflecting in a positive light.

So why is climbing such an aid for mental health? Maybe it’s the satisfaction of solving a puzzle with your body? Perhaps it’s the personal growth that comes with climbing? For you it might be being part of a group of humans who are probably in the same boat as you? We all have those heavy days. Let’s do what we can to keep climbing, we want you to stick around, and we want to see you send!

If you are looking to become more involved with the rock climbing community consider joining us at one of our meetups or check out our affiliate groups.

Acknowledging the Land That We Are On

Acknowledging the Land That We Are On

the content

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

the content

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 vs. 2020: A Look Back

Sender One vs. 2020: A Look Back

the content
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!


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.


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.

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!

Pin It on Pinterest