8 Black Rock Climbers to Follow in 2020

Rock climbing has a serious diversity problem. Looking to diversify your Instagram feed? Here is a list of black rock climbers and climbers of color to follow!


Color the Crag, Brothers of Climbing, and Melanin Base Camp are some of the organizations dedicated to increasing mentorship, visibility, and community among persons of color outdoors. Rock climbing doesn’t have a shortage of talented climbers of color; however, they remain relatively unknown and, importantly, underfunded. Consider donating to the above organizations, and to the Tufas Youth Scholarship Fund, serving youths affected by systematic injustice.



1. Marian Bailey

Not following Marian Bailey on Instagram is acceptable in the following cases: *none*.


Marian Bailey is a Tufas Boulder Lounge Legend and regular. Marian is a founding member of the POC Climbing Club, and was the inaugural Artist of the Month at Tufas. Follow her art Instagram here! Her website can be found here!


2. Favia Dubyk

Dr. Favia Dubyk is a New Mexico based pathologist, climber, and competitor in Season 10 of American Ninja Warrior. She also blogs regularly on Melanin Base Camp and her website, Traverse Girl.




Dr. Dubyck also has an awesome Intro to Roof Climbing guide that I found indispensable.

3. Mickaël Mawem

Mickaël Mawem is currently on his way to the 2020 Olympics, representing France in rock climbing. He often attends comps with his brother Pro Climber brother Bassa, who he calls his best friend. You can find an interview he did with MadRock here.


While Bassa is quite fond of speed climbing, both he and Mickaël can be seen on Instagram tackling some fun dynos!


4. Mélise Marie

Mélise Marie is a Seattle based neuroscience PhD student, rock climber, and mentor. Some of you may know her French bulldog Rupi, or her mentorship program M.U.S.E. (Mentorship for Underrepresented STEM Enthusiasts).


I found out about Mélise through this interview with Melanin Base Camp (give them a follow here). Her comments on diversity in climbing caught my eye, “It is important for youth and adults alike to see men and women of color not just participating, but thriving in a given community or career and represented in a positive way. The climbing community is largely homogeneous and unintentionally alienates a lot of its members when it only highlights or raises awareness about issues that cater to a majority.”

5. Kai Lightner

Kai Lightner was 10 years old when he first his first outdoor 5.13’s, at the Red River Gorge and the New River Gorge. At the moment, the 20-year-old is finishing up his degree at Babson College.



Check out his interview with Climbing.


6. Meagan Martin

Megan Martin is a California based climber and American Ninja Warrior. With more than a few double-digit V climbs under her belt, Martin continues to inspire vertically challenged me to ask, “Did I try all the beta?”



Check out Megan Martin’s website here.


7. Kareemah Batts

Kareemah Batts is the founder of Adaptive Climbing Group. After losing a part of her left leg to cancer, Kareemah found herself revisiting the outdoors. A part of her recovery journey included time at Colorado Mountain School, climbing with other cancer survivors.



This changed the game for Kareemah, “Mentally, this experience was critical. It was the first time I spent so much time just dedicated to climbing. My first climbing experience during treatment made it seem like it would always be impossible, but now it was totally possible. Being away and being out there in a place where your mind can be clear was a huge gift.” Check out her interview with Outdoor Project!


BONUS: Caleb Robinson


Some may accuse me of self-dealing, but I do think Caleb Robinson is definitely a climber to keep your eye on in 2020.

He also happens to be a setter at Tufas Boulder Lounge.




Z. Kudratov wrote this, among other things. They’re an imported Philadelphian with a soft spot for public transportation, public radio, and the PMA.