My name is Jacar Baldwin, I'm 25 years old, and I am a Climber and Coach of Color. I'm from Quantico, VA and currently residing in Houston, TX.
How did you start climbing?
I started climbing randomly one summer during an internship in Akron, OH. A gym I was paying for had a rock climbing wall, and I figured that since I was paying for it, I might as well try it out. I fell in love.
I caught the attention of the staff working there, and they invited me to go outdoors with them. They gave me the tools and everything, and I had a great summer. But after that summer I didn't even look at a rock wall for 6 years. I started it back up when I moved to Houston for Grad School in Oct 2021, and then started taking it seriously Feb 2022. The rest is history!
What impact has climbing had on your life?
Climbing has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me, both as an individual and within the climbing space. It's allowed me to continue my passion for teaching through my climbing instruction for both kids and adults, as well as for advocacy in exposing minorities to this underrepresented recreational space.
What are some other things you do that you find most fulfilling?
I find the ability to unlock a new way of thinking most fulfilling, and even more so when you create the space for others to unlock themselves. Whether it be something as simple as unlocking a move for routes or introducing an entirely new mental state, to give someone an experience that hadn't had before is a feeling like no other.
Thankfully with positions I've created and discovered within my community, I'm able to continually do that and bring new faces into the world.
If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?
If there was one thing I could tell the world, it'd be that the greatest gifts you can give yourself are grace and respect.
Life has enough ways and possibilities to go awry — be sure to not be so hard on yourself. Give yourself grace in not always being busy, forgiving yourself for any shortcomings, by being okay with not being okay.
Life is as life is, and things will happen that you won't be able to control. What you can control, is how you feel about yourself and what you do after it.
Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?
My favorite things about Dynamite Starfish is its entire culture of organic relationships. Through apparel, to community, to the owner, every aspect of this has felt like a family rather than a business and I respect that.
Is there something you're working on that you'd like to tell our community about? We love a good story.
Currently, I'm working on creating a space and opportunity for Black climbers in Houston, TX to have their first experience outdoors.
Through my organization Houston Black Climbers United, I plan on supporting 5+ new climbers to take their skills developed indoors to the crag and color the climbing walls. If things go well I'd like for it to be an ongoing relationship to invite more people to enjoy nature.
Want to get to know more of the climbers in the amazing Dynamite Starfish community? Check out our archive of Climber Stories 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.