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Who we are

Executive Director, Sara Schwartz

CRUX-board-sara2Sara has always wanted to be a rock star and now she can be! Since childhood, she found herself on rock walls at gyms and summer camps, but didn’t know how to really get involved in climbing. It wasn’t until January 2011, that she attended her first CRUX event at Brooklyn Boulders, and it wasn’t long until she was hooked. She was soon a regular at CRUX events and quickly became a regular host. In 2012 she took on the role of Indoor Climbing Director, organizing and training hosts for indoor events around the city. Sara climbs outside whenever possible at the Gunks, West Point, Rumney and Peterskill.  Sara joined the CRUX Board in 2012 and became Executive Director in 2013.

Email: Sara at ClimbCRUX dot org


CRUX Board

Eric Benzel (President)

Eric began climbing when he stumbled upon CRUX in February 2012 and hasn’t looked down since. A budding traddie, Eric can be found on the weekends making his way up routes at the Gunks. When not climbing outside, he can be found biking around Brooklyn. Eric joined the board in in June 2013, was elected Board President in August 2013, and is looking forward to helping make CRUX even more awesome!

Email: Eric at ClimbCRUX dot org

Linda Keller (Treasurer)

Linda Keller (Treasurer)

Linda has worked many jobs: farm hand, mobile petting zoo manager, and forklift driver to name a few.  Currently a lawyer by day, climber by quitting time, Linda is proud to serve CRUX as Treasurer.  Drawn to constantly challenging herself, Linda trepidatiously entered BKB for her first CRUX Friday newbie night in February 2012 and since then she’s been working the routes.  Drawn to life as a top-roper, Linda’s been stretching her courage and developing some sport leading chutzpah. Linda joined the CRUX board in 2013.

Email: Linda at ClimbCRUX dot org

Mike Pittman (IT Director, At Large Board Member)

Pittman has been climbing with CRUX since late 2011. He joined the CRUX Hosts in the Spring of 2012 looking to share a little  of what he’d learned with new climbers and to give back to the community. During the summer of 2012, he took on the role of Director of IT & Web, and launched as the central location for all things CRUX. In June of 2013, Pittman was selected to join the CRUX Board as an At Large Member and enforcer of Robert’s Rules of Order. His best quality is interrupting Board Meetings by shouting “Point of Order Mister President!!” any time he feels the meetings are getting dull. Outside of CRUX, he is a championship kickballer, unaccomplished bowler, pretend photographer, and world-renowned teller of bad jokes.

Email: Pittman at ClimbCRUX dot org

CRUX Team Members

Climbing Education Committee

Looking for volunteers…

Indoor Climbing

Victor Manibo (Indoor Climbing Coordinator, Cliffs LIC)

Victor is CRUX’s Indoor Climbing Coordinator for The Cliffs at LIC. He started climbing in early 2012 and has not looked back on his non-athletic, non-outdoorsy life since. In fact, he likes climbing so much, he moved to an apartment five minutes away from the Cliffs LIC on a rumor he heard in an underground Hell’s Kitchen bar that a gym might be opening in Long Island City. He top-ropes, leads and (when the moon is full and the stars are aligned) boulders. Victor joined the CRUX leadership in June 2014.

Email: Victor at ClimbCRUX dot org

Indoor Climbing Committee

Sissy Van Dyke
Veronique Bond
Justin King

Outdoor Climbing Committee

Selena Ley
Kate Raddock
Linda Keller

Outreach Committee

Eric Benzel
Karin Magary
John Bateman

Special Events Committee

Anthony Bagnoli
Veronique Bond

CRUX Advisory Board

Danielle Jablonski (Co-founder, Executive Director 2010-2013)

CRUX-board-danielleDanielle was introduced to rock climbing in 2005 and in 2006 spearheaded a two and a half month cross-country rock climbing road trip, securing sponsorship from Urban Climber Magazine, prAna, Trango and a host of other industry companies. She returned from the road to take a position as a manager at The Rock Club where she directed marketing and promotions, group programming and fundraising events, taught group and private climbing classes, and helped run climbing competitions and manage staff. A boulderer at heart, she has climbed around the U.S., New Zealand and Australia (where she is from).

When not busy with CRUX, Danielle is a full-time student at Yale studying environmental policy. In her previous lives she co-founded a start-up new media company and studied cello, performing in such locations as the Sydney Opera House and on tour in Estonia, Finland and Russia.

She is passionate about building community and is always excited to help climbers of every level. She’s also passionate about flying helicopters.

Michael Lambert (Board Member 2012-2013)

CRUX-board-lambertMike started climbing in 2007 on a whim. Bored with running on treadmills, he found his way to a climbing community at the The Cliffs, in Valhalla, NY. Mike was instantly hooked on bouldering – the freedom of not using a rope, the mental complexity of the problems, and the good natured social aspects of bouldering hit all the right spots. Mike has since gotten into sport lead climbing and trad following as well as top roping. Like much of CRUX, Mike is currently obsessed with the amazingly scenic and challenging routes at the Gunks and Rumney, NH, where CRUX often climbs.

Mike also has a burgeoning interest in teaching and coaching beginner climbers. He has helped coach the CRUX climbing team. “I want beginners to feel as welcome as I did the first time I started climbing. It can be intimidating at first, don’t be afraid to ask questions, the veteran members of CRUX are always available to give some pointers.”

When not climbing, Mike is an attorney and has been using his skills to benefit CRUX for several years.

Emily Rinehart (Board Member 2012-2013)

Emily joined CRUX at the beginning of 2010, only a few months after discovering rock climbing for the first time. Thankfully CRUX provided the perfect forum to foster her obsession. Since then, she has tested her limits climbing at the Gunks, NY, Rumney, NH, the New River Gorge, WV, the Adirondack’s, NY, Red Rocks, NV. and Yosemite, CA. Emily’s goal is to give back to the LGBT climbing community – the family she’s gained over the past 3 years. Off the wall, Emily works as a project manager in set design for broadcast television.


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