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Meet The Team

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Shara Zaia

Co-Founder
 

Shara Zaia 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. Access to the sport has given her a chance to challenge her deep rooted imposter syndrome and wrestle with her own fears. Most importantly, climbing has given her a 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 works full time at the American Alpine Club as the Manager of Climb United where she works with affinity leaders across the country to continue to shift the culture of climbing towards inclusivity and joy. She is supported by SCARPA, Arc’teryx Colorado, and Wild Country.

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Menesha Mannapperuma

Co-Founder
 

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.

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Michael Reitmeyer

Gear Manager
 

Michael (aka doozer) is a Korean American adoptee, engineer, and climber of roughly 8 years. He attended his first meetup in 2021 and instantly found the community he was seeking. He manages the Gear Donation/Request system, volunteers at meetups and clinics, and aspires to earn his SPI (single pitch instructor) certification to give back to the community through climbing education. Years ago, Michael discovered acceptance and warmth from the community while trying to understand his own identity as an adoptee and person of color. Today, and in the future, he hopes new climbers receive the same. 

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Conner Jhoon Choi (he/him)

Outdoor Event Coordinator
 

My name is Conner (he/him), I have been climbing since 2018 and involved with Cruxing in Color since 2022. Growing up in one of the country's most diverse areas, moving to the Front Range was a bit of a culture shock. Finding community through Cruxing in Color has made all the difference for me here and I hope to give that same gift to others. Combining the sport I love with a mission of promoting access and diversity feels very special to me in this role. Professionally I am a painter/muralist and enjoy working on community focused art projects. When I'm not climbing you can find me painting, hiking, or playing soccer with friends. 

CIC is fully powered by volunteers.
We appreciate everyone who has played a role in building this beautiful community!

Read About Us!

Climbing Has a Diversity Problem. Cruxing in Color is Working to Change That

“They’re Giving it Their All”: The Cost of BIPOC Affinity Groups

Fighting Life's Trials as a BIPOC Through Climbing
 

Outdoors and Free

(pg. 56-57)

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