This year, Flashed Climbing and Cruxing in Color joined forces to create a custom crash pad print, with the goal of raising funds for Cruxing in Color, a Denver-based organization that promotes representation in climbing by breaking down barriers that exclude people of color from the sport. Cruxing in Color provides climbers of color with access to free outdoor clinics, free or discounted gym memberships, gear, and SPI course and assessment scholarships, among other initiatives. The artwork for the crash pad print was designed by local Denver artist Lynn Suyeko Mandziuk, and 100% of the profits from the sale of these pads will be donated to Cruxing in Color.
Cruxing in Color is co-founded by Shara and Flashed Athlete Menesha. From the Cruxing in Color Website:
“Shara is a first-generation Assyrian-American climber, educator, and community organizer based in Denver, CO. After nearly a decade of teaching and advocating for underserved children in early childhood classrooms, she is focusing her advocacy efforts on the climbing community. Her dream is to pair her passions for education and the outdoors in an effort to break down barriers within the sport so that everyone can experience the mental, physical, and emotional benefits. She is a SCARPA mentor, published author, industry model, and co-founder of Cruxing in Color. She also serves the American Alpine Club as the Manager of Climb United where she will continue to shift the culture of climbing towards inclusivity and joy. Learn more about Shara at sharazaia.com.”
“Menesha is a Sri Lankan-American climber who has been climbing for around ten years. She primarily boulders and started climbing in California followed by a move to Colorado five years ago. Professionally, she’s a former lawyer turned product manager. Menesha is excited to see climbing diversify and thinks it’s important to build a space for climbers of color to connect. When she first started climbing, it was hard for her to find and climb with other people of color. As a co-founder of Cruxing in Color, she hopes to make it easier and less intimidating for other climbers of color to access climbing culture and opportunities.”
When Menesha reached out to Flashed for ways to support Cruxing in Color, Flashed wanted to find a way to help that went beyond a one-time donation. Flashed had recently finished a project with their Limited Edition Squamish Chief Drifter Pad, where a portion of the profits went to supporting the Indigenous Women’s Climb, a Squamish-based group. Flashed was looking for a new project that fit into their ongoing goal of creating a more inclusive climbing community.
Earlier that year, Flashed had a team meeting where they discussed what drew them into climbing and what kept them in the sport. All of them cited the friends they had made along the way. That same year, Flashed outlined a new set of values that they would follow moving forward, including support for equal access and participation for all people in climbing.
Flashed loves fostering community wherever they go, whether that be in their local communities, their temporary communities on climbing trips, within their athlete team, or in their workplace. With the introduction of their new Bespoke option, they were looking for new and exciting ways to integrate those communities. Climbing brings people from all walks of life, all parts of the world, and all different cultures together, and Flashed wanted to celebrate the way that climbers can all be themselves and still thrive together. The Bespoke option was developed as a way to do this, allowing customers to print whatever they like on their crash pads.
So when Menesha approached us for ways Flashed could support Cruxing in Color, I thought let’s do a Crash Pad Collaboration! Menesha was psyched, and she and Shara sought out a local artist to source the artwork. The artist they found was Lynn Suyeko Mandziuk and the artwork was a beautiful painted image of a local mountain range in Colorado. Lynn has been attending Cruxing in Color meetups since the founding of the organization and seemed like a perfect fit for the collaboration.
From Lynn’s website:
“Lynn Suyeko Mandziuk is a Denver-based artist, illustrator, and professor. Born and raised in Detroit, she spent her formative years climbing abandoned buildings in a desolate landscape. After attending the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, receiving a BFA in illustration, Lynn fell in love with rock climbing. Spending the next 13 years going on stints of living out of her car and RV traveling the country and climbing, Lynn became infatuated with the desolate landscapes of the desert, reminding her in a way of her youth. Climbing eventually brought Lynn to Colorado, and into the outdoor industry.”
With a one-year license to use the artwork by Lynn, we are already over 8 months into the collaboration and have raised over $2000 for Cruxing In Color. We look forward to finishing off the project strong.
I’m so grateful to be sponsored by Flashed, an organization that has been so supportive of me and my climbing but also truly supports the mission of Cruxing in Color—breaking down barriers to make climbing more accessible. Working on the pad collaboration with Flashed was so fun—from picking an artist from our community, to selecting the artwork, to seeing the pads out in the wild—it’s been an awesome experience. It has been amazing to have the ongoing support of Flashed with this collaboration and we’re excited to use the funds we raise for our programming—specifically our outdoor clinics and scholarships.
In conclusion, the crash pad collaboration between Flashed Climbing and Cruxing in Color is a unique and impactful way to raise money for a worthy cause. By creating a community and providing climbers with access to clinics, free or discounted gym memberships, gear, and outdoor course scholarships, Cruxing in Color is working to foster representation and break down barriers within the climbing community. The custom crash pad print, designed by local artist Lynn Suyeko Mandziuk, is a tangible manifestation of the collaboration between Flashed Climbing and Cruxing in Color, and a reminder of the importance of inclusivity and diversity in the sport of climbing.