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Who we are

CRUX Leadership

Nick Brown (Membership Coordinator)

NickBrownNick decided to try CRUX for the first time in December 2012 and had an absolute blast! Didn’t take long for the rock climbing addiction to set in. He started hosting a few short months later, with a goal of making sure new climbers have as good of a first experience as he did. He can usually be found dancing up the walls at The Cliffs, LIC a few times a week. Nick started as the Membership Coordinator in June 2014.

Email: Nick at ClimbCRUX dot org

Matt Mager (Social Media Coordinator)

MattMagerMatt Mager speaks fluent Lolcat, is good friends with Moon Moon and believes that internet memes can be harnessed for good when applied to climbing events.

But seriously, Matt has been climbing with CRUX since late 2012 and it’s completely innovated his life. He is looking forward to helping you know more about what CRUX is up to so you can come to events you’ll love. Matt spends as much time as he can at his home gym The Cliffs, LIC and his home crag The Gunks where he regularly tests his limits trad leading. If you see him at a climbing event, feel free to ask for a belay, an introduction to another climber, a route suggestion, some beta (but only when you ask) or a spot on a boulder route.

Matt’s further thoughts on why he loves CRUX and queer climbing can be found here: http://mojagear.com/journal/2014/7/8/crux-climbing-lgbt-community

Email: Mager at ClimbCRUX dot org

Indoor Climbing

Kris Harbold (Indoor Climbing Coordinator, Brooklyn Boulders)

Kris started climbing in the summer of 2013. What started as a weekend challenge to get out of his apartment quickly escalated to a full blown addiction. He spent upward of a year bouldering on his own at BKB before fate stepped in. Kris happened to skip a company softball game one Friday to go climbing instead, that day, the first friday of August 2014, was also a Newbie Night. After a couple casual conversation, Kris really connected with many of the CRUX members and within a few weeks had adjusting his climbing schedule to align with CRUX events, added a membership to The Cliffs, LIC to meet more members, and signed up as a host to share his passion for the rocks with new climbers. Outside of the gym, Kris has been known to sport lead around the East coast and Europe, and hopes to soon add trad climbing and deep water soloing to his climbing vocabulary.

Email: Kris at ClimbCRUX dot org

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

Outdoor Climbing

Sam Spaeth (Outdoor Climbing co-Coordinator)

Sam’s love of the outdoors and adventure led him to discover rock climbing in 2008. With respect to all of nature’s offerings, Sam loves to spend his time in the mountains from day treks, to multi-pitch climbs, and alpine adventures. Sam believes in sharing of knowledge and respect of each others strengths and weaknesses, from newbies to veterans we all have something to offer. Sam balances his active live with creative pursuits in Biomedical Visualization where he creates animations and interactives drawn from healthcare and biomedical data.

Email: Sam at ClimbCRUX dot org

Phillipe Bojorquez (Outdoor Climbing co-Coordinator)

Phil got off the plane in NYC and travelled to CRUX’s 4 year anniversary event with a suitcase and his two cats in a carrier. He started climbing to get over his fear of heights but climbs today to remind the LGBTQI community there is more to the queer existence than hookup apps and bars — although he still occasionally likes those too. He loves climbing for the beers, camaraderie, camping, and all the new and exciting folk he gets to meet!

Email: Phillipe at ClimbCRUX dot org

Executive Director, Kristen Riani

KristenRianiKristen began climbing with CRUX in April 2014 when, on a whim, she decided to join The Cliffs at LIC. She showed up at the gym one evening and was greeted by rainbow flags and smiling faces – CRUX! She quickly became a regular at both The Cliffs and BKB, and began hosting at events in an effort to spread the love. In the fall of 2014, she signed on as Indoor Climbing Coordinator for Brooklyn Boulders and took over as Executive Director in May 2015. Kristen has lofty dreams of living out of a van and driving around the country to climb. When she’s not on the wall, Kristen is a booty-kicking Pilates instructor and personal trainer.

Email: Kristen at ClimbCRUX dot org

CRUX Board

Linda Keller (President)

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 President.  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

John Bateman (Vice President)

BatemanA recovering attorney, John has been climbing since 2008, when he first ascended a converted grain silo deep in the heart of Texas. Although John successfully left the fly-over states for NYC in 2009, he did not join CRUX until 2010. John is a writer (with a day job to support his literary habits). When not chasing words or dodging taxis, he occasionally climbs a cliff or two and is a keen amateur photographer.

John joined the CRUX board in Fall 2014.

Email: Bateman at ClimbCRUX dot org

Jess Braverman (Treasurer, Vice President)

Jess BravermanJess started climbing in the summer of 2012 and joined CRUX in the fall. She is originally from the Bronx. Jess currently represents kids in Brooklyn Family Court. Before that she had a number of classic NYC jobs such as kiddie ride operator at Coney Island and monorail driver/tour guide at the Bronx Zoo.  Jess joined the CRUX board in the summer of 2014 and is excited to help other city kids learn that nature is not that scary (except snakes). When she’s not climbing, lawyering, or board membering, she is birding, kayaking, or hanging out with her dogs Jerry Coleslaw and Stanley Potato.

Email: Jess at ClimbCRUX dot org

Mike Pittman (Secretary)

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 ClimbCRUX.org 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 Advisory Board

Sara Schwartz (Executive Director 2013-2015)

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

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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