Today our Climber Interview feature is with one of our ambassadors, Quincy Berkompas! She tagged our High Maintenance tank top in one of her climbing photos a while back, and we simply fell in love with what she had to share. Since then, we've loved the brilliant colors on her feed and the energy she shares with us, and we are certainly not opposed to loving cats and pizza, either!
To start, what are a few ways you identify yourself? (some examples: name, age, pronouns, type of work you do.) But really, anything you believe is important.
Hi, my name is Quincy, but my friends call me Q!
I was born and raised in Michigan, but currently reside in Washington with my husband and sweet cat Obi-wan.
I identify as a (proud) black woman, house plant expert, rock climber, craft beer snob, and pizza connoisseur. I am passionate about the outdoors, more specifically taking steps to diversify it.
How did you start climbing?
I started climbing when I met my boyfriend (now husband). He was really passionate about the sport and convinced me to try it myself. Initially, I was very reluctant to climb, I remember thinking black girls don’t climb and I don’t want them to have an excuse to laugh at me. At the end of the day those intrusive thoughts didn’t stop me from trying and I’m so thankful because I instantly fell in love with climbing and haven’t stopped since.
What impact has climbing had on your life?
First and foremost, I think climbing helped me realize that outdoor adventure sports are not exclusively for white folks. Climbing pushed me outside of my comfort zone and helped me to see that I also have a place outside.
It blows my mind that in my six years of climbing I didn’t know there was an entire community of black and brown climbers doing the work I have been dreaming of, creating spaces for BIPOC in the climbing gym and the crag (much love to @browngirlsclimb).
Readers, I encourage you to take the time to follow black climbers, listen to their stories, pay them for their work, and amplify their voices. Because black people have been outside, and we aren’t going anywhere.
With that being said climbing makes me feel like an absolute badass and brings me an unexplainable amount of joy! The accomplishment I get from just getting one move farther on a boulder problem or sending a problem I have been working on pushes me to keep going in my climbing life and my everyday life. But climbing has also taught me about failure. I believe with climbing, as in life, you aren’t doing it right if you aren’t failing at some point. Falling off a climb 50 times is what makes the accomplishment worth it.
What are some other things you do that you find most fulfilling?
I absolutely love gardening and caring for my plant babies! I come from a family of green thumbs. Taking care of my plants gives me fond memories of my childhood and helps me find a sense of peace.
If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?
Holy cow, climbing community: When you see someone on the trails or at the crag be kind!!! Smile, say hello, nod, literally acknowledge their existence! It helps people to feel seen and accepted in that space. I can’t tell you how many times my husband (a white male) gets addressed over me and it sucks.
Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?
I love the Dynamite Starfish community. If I didn’t find this brand I don’t think I would have ever been exposed to other climbers that look like me/ share similar experiences as me.
The gear is pretty neat too ;)
You can follow along with Quincy's adventures on Instagram at @quincyberkompas.
Want to get to know more of the climbers in the amazing Dynamite Starfish community? Check out our archive of Climber Interviews here.
We hope you have enjoyed these sneak peeks into climbers' lives. We're on a mission to share diverse stories about rock climbing. Let's push the boundaries of who we know as climbers. Let's use our energy and passion for the outdoors to love our environment and inspire one another.
Have someone you think we should feature? Send us a message and let us know!
Until next time!
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