Vimeo Feature Film Offers Candid Look at ‘The People of Climbing’

A Vimeo Staff Pick film from 11 months ago is more relevant now than ever. Here’s why.

“The People of Climbing” is a 14-minute short film that sheds light on the issue of racial inequality in the outdoors. The film is set from the perspective of people of color who attended the inaugural Color The Crag Festival in Steele, Alabama.

The festival, founded in 2018, aims to gather communities of color together to climb, strengthen community, and support diversity.

“My goal was to be the first Black woman to climb El Cap,” said climbing coach Emily Taylor. “I [climbed it] back in 2003. Now, in this next generation, I’m raising a whole bunch of Black girls in the climbing gym. It’s a different feeling. It’s 20 years later, and it’s still the same, there’s still that oddity.”

In recent months and years, huge strides have been made in diversity in the outdoors. But we still have a long way to go.

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“[This conversation] can’t be a one-off. It’s a process. Racism is a systematic process,” said Taylor. “I need for there to be a conversation about what it means to create space [in gyms] for Black bodies.”

Organizations like Melanin Base Camp, Outdoor Afro, and Brown Girls Climb are providing opportunities for people of color who previously were not invited, exposed to, or involved in the outdoor community.

Events like Color the Crag (canceled for 2020 due to coronavirus) are crucial in providing that access and increasing diversity in the outdoors overall.

Color the Crag Events

Although Color the Crag had to cancel the 2020 festival, its leadership team will continue to plan and offer other events this year.

“We hope this time gives us an opportunity to take care of ourselves, support community members who are in need, and provide avenues for other groups and organizations to continue their events celebrating diversity and culture in climbing and the outdoors,” the leadership team wrote in a recent post on Facebook.

Follow Color the Crag on social media or visit the website here to learn more.

Mary Murphy

Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and serves as the leader of Lola Digital Media’s DEI Committee. She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for seven years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking at Avid4Adventure. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder.

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