AFFINITY
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE AMGA:

LGBTQIA2S+ CENTERED

SINGLE PITCH INSTRUCTOR COURSE
PROGRAMS
Over the four years the course has been offered, 14 members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community have become Certified Single Pitch Instructors, the most popular climbing guide certification offered by American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). This certification allows individuals with proven skills to serve as leaders in the climbing community as Rock Climbing Instructors and examples to others who aren’t yet widely represented in the sport.  
Sean Taft-Morales leading a Single Pitch Instructor course in Nevada.
Surveys from the American Alpine Club and Outdoor Industry Association confirm what can be observed at most gyms and crags around the country: the climbing community consists predominantly of white men. That means, for folks who fall outside of these demographics—women, queer and trans folks, people of color, or those with any combination of these identities—it can be difficult to access climbing instruction and mentorship.

Safe learning environments is essential for developing the skills associated with mountain guiding. In creating these environments, the AMGA considers diversity and inclusion to be a risk management issue. Emotional safety needs to be prioritized when it shapes the way they participate in a learning space. When educational programs are designed without the emotional needs of underrepresented identity groups in mind, it’s a disservice to the students they’re trying to serve.

Affinity courses bridge this gap to create an intentional and dedicated learning space for underrepresented groups. The instructors for these courses hold under-represented identities in outdoor rec themselves, as well as demonstrated commitments to diversity and inclusion. And, the benefits are clear…

Sean Taft-Morales

LED BY
SEAN TAFT-MORALES

“I’ve been climbing for over 25 years, and in that time, I’ve undergone numerous journeys of self-discovery. I’ve learned that the climbing world was tolerant, if not particularly excited to see and welcome the fullness of my trans and non-binary identities. I was lucky; many others have found their welcomes to be far less warm…



While I have found many strong allies and friends among clients, co-workers, mentors, and colleagues, this course was the first time in over 15 years of guiding that I have felt fully able to be out, to be seen, and to celebrate the trans part of my identity while working. Being able to play a role in creating that space for others queer and trans climbers just starting their guiding careers is one of the most rewarding professional experiences of my career.”

-Sean Taft-Morales (they/them)
AMGA Rock Instructor & SPI Provider

ALL ABOUT THE AMGA

AMERICAN MOUNTAIN GUIDES ASSOCIATION 1979

SUPPORTING MOUNTAIN GUIDES

The American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) is the leader in education, standards, and advocacy for professional guides and climbing instructors. As the leading organization of America’s most vibrant, inspiring community of climbers and skiers, the AMGA offers cutting-edge knowledge and hundreds of years of collective experience.
AMGA course

ALL OUR ALUMNI

Portrait of Janet Tung

Janet
Tung

SHE/HER
2023 ALUM
Portrait of Tatum Scheibler

Tatum
Scheibler

HE/HIM
2023 ALUM
Portrait of Shea Freedom

Shea
Freedom

SPIRIT/HE/THEY
2023 ALUM
Portrait of Nat Vorel

Nat
Vorel

HE/HIM
2023 ALUM
Portrait of Juniper Peters

Juniper
Peters

SHE/THEY
2023 ALUM
Portrait of Matt Moy

Matt
Moy

HE/THEY
2023 ALUM
Portrait of Finn Short

Finn
Short

THEY/THEM
2023 ALUM
Portrait of Elby Jones

Elby
Jones

THEY/THEM
2023 ALUM
Portrait of Elise D'Alessandro

Elise
D’Alessandro

SHE/HER
2023 ALUM
Portrait of Natai Endo

Natai
Endo

SHE/HER
2023 ALUM
Portrait of Riley Nightingale

Riley
Nightingale

SHE/HER
2022 ALUM
Portrait of Sara 
Meehan-Marinich

Sara
Meehan-Marinich

SHE/HER
2022 ALUM
Portrait of Ryan Terry

Ryan
Terry

THEY/SHE
2022 ALUM
Portrait of Son Tran

Son
Tran

THEY/THEM
2022 ALUM
Portrait of Ella Peterson

Ella
Peterson

THEY/THEM
2022 ALUM
Portrait of Sarah E Wassmund

Sarah
E Wassmund

SHE/THEY/HE
2022 ALUM
Portrait of Hann Smiley

Hann
Smiley

THEY/THEM
2022 ALUM
Portrait of Eli Mills

Eli
Mills

HE/HIM
2022 ALUM
Portrait of Grace Fowler

Grace
Fowler

SHE/HER
2022 ALUM
Portrait of Crys Moore

Crys
Moore

THEY/THEM
2021 ALUM
Portrait of Russ Timothy

Russ
Timothy

HE/HIM
2021 ALUM
Portrait of Thomas Bukowski

Thomas
Bukowski

HE/THEY
2021 ALUM
Portrait of Alicia Racine

Alicia
Racine

SHE/HER
2021 ALUM
Portrait of Zoey Grinstead

Zoey
Grinstead

SHE/HER
2021 ALUM
Portrait of Lou Bank

Lou
Bank

HEY/THEY
2021 ALUM
Portrait of Nikki Smith

Nikki
Smith

SHE/HER
2020 ALUM
Portrait of Zoë Rayor

Zoë
Rayor

THEY/THEM
2020 ALUM
Portrait of Ada Jones

Ada
Jones

THEY/THEM
2020 ALUM
Portrait of LB Gunter

LB
Gunter

THEY/THEM
2020 ALUM
Portrait of Mari Simpson

Mari
Simpson

THEY/THEM
2020 ALUM
Portrait of Elli Jahangiri

Elli
Jahangiri

SHE/HER
2020 ALUM
"WHY AFFINITY SPACES MATTER. Relfection son AMGA LGBTQIA2S Affinity SPI Course 2021 by Lou Bank" handmade booklet sitting on top of a pile of red climbing rope.
We all carry things when we go outdoors - affinity spaces lighten the load.
Affinity spaces make us feel invited - You're invited and: your needs will be prioritized, your identity will be repeated, your safety is prioritized, your boundaries will be respected, we will hold space for you, we want you to be a part of this community.
So we can focuse on being present playing + learning.
Affinity spaces build community.
ZINE BY LOU BANK