The group met at Costello’s Street Coffee, Florissant’s quaint brew house, and enjoyed a cup before the morning’s event. As we headed out to Wildgoat, I stopped along the way to point out the perimeter landmarks of COEC’s property, such as PPRS and Witcher’s Cattle Ranch. Once parked at the pull off, we gathered our gear and headed up the singletrack approach to the crag. When we arrived the sky was nearly cloudless, birds chirped and insects buzzed, and the rising rock faces of Pikes Peak granite were warming in the sun. Our group of half a dozen brown and black faces had the climbing area to ourselves.
As a minority group, learning how to climb at a private crag gave us a sense of solidarity and safety. The climbing culture at this moment in time is dominated by a very white male perspective that encourages constant competitiveness and pushing grades of climbing only a small percentage of people on Earth can accomplish. It leaves little room for other narratives - specifically those of women and people of color. The space that COEC can provide to these minority groups not only brings about different perspectives of outdoor recreation, it also shares the openness of camp’s spirit that is rooted in meeting people where they are and providing a respectful, open community where everyone can engage with the natural world.