All photos via: Melanin Base Camp
When Abby Dione bought Coral Cliffs Climbing Gym in Fort Lauderdale, Florida back in 2011, she became the first Black woman in the United States to own an indoor rock climbing gym. Her passion for climbing not only led her to making history, but empowered her to provide a space where she can nurture young climbers and help bring diversity to rock climbing.
She’s doing this by building a community though her gym and the Youth Coral Cliffs Climbing Team that she coaches. According to the Melanin Base Camp, for Dione, as a woman of color and a climbing gym owner, it’s all about “creating opportunities for people to meet and experience how powerful climbing could be. And doing it in a safe and fun environment.”
Melanin Base Camp reported: “Last October 2017 that meant coaching an introductory bouldering class at the first ever diversity in climbing festival, Color the Crag. (Dione) described it as ‘a cool opportunity to instruct and mentor.’ I know a lot about climbing. I’m still learning but I’ve also had the wonderful opportunity and gift to teach and share it with people.”
With 12 years of climbing experience under her belt, Dione puts a strong emphasis on mentorship and coaching as her goal is to “produce safe, confident climbers who have an appreciation for the sport and its counterculture roots.” Plus, can choose between climbing indoors or outdoors.
For herself, she focuses on building core strength, finger strength, flexibility and “how to hack (her) climbing growth with curiosity and playfulness.”
While climbing helps you gain strength and control, Dione hopes that young people discover much more than the physical attributes of the sport. She hopes “that they don’t limit themselves by chasing numbers or by looking around to see who is doing what.”