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WCS22 Headline Speaker: Abby Dione

Woman ice swimming

Abby climbs Obstinada (5.11) in San German, Puerto Rico

Heralded by Outside Magazine as one of "the 20 most influential people in the outdoor industry," our third and final headline speaker for Women's Climbing Symposium 2022 is none other than Adidas Terrex and Adidas Five Ten athlete Abby Dione (she/her)... and we are both thrilled and honoured to host Abby on our main stage!

At the start of 2022 approximately 4000 people in almost 70 years had successfully summited Mount Everest. Of these 4000 people only 8 were black. In May 2022, Abby Dione made history when she and 6 team members climbed Mount Everest in Team Full Circle Everest - the first Everest expedition team comprised completely of black climbers.

Abby coaching at Color the Crag / Abby training with Team Full Circle Everest / Abby in partnership with Adidas Terrex and Adidas Five Ten

Flying over to WCS22 from Fort Lauderdale, USA, Abby is an American Mountain Guides Association-certified climber, delivers coaching workshops at outdoor festivals Color the Crag and Flash Foxy, and serves on the Access Fund’s board of directors fighting for sustainable access, protection and conservation of American climbing areas. In addition to all of this... Abby was also the first queer black woman to own a climbing gym in North America.

Learning to challenge assumptions and racial stereotypes without dwelling on them, Abby has experienced the subtle ways that having to prove yourself as a black woman climber never ends:“I’ve been climbing long enough to remember when people would ask me if I was lost when I was at the crag,” Dione recalled in an article with Melanin Base Camp. Intentionally creating an inclusive, welcoming climbing community for everyone who walks in the door at her gym (Coral Cliffs Rock Climbing Center) and with an emphasis on mentoring young climbers, Abby passionately creates opportunities for people to connect; working to bridge the gap between climbing counterculture and new climbing communities.

In 2021 Abby and Coral Cliffs made international news when her gym was saved from permanent closure (due to the covid pandemic) through a generous outpouring of community support. In less than 48 hours over $120,000 was raised by climbers, customers and perfect strangers across North America. Anaheed Saatchi, the creator of the fundraiser, stated: “This campaign succeeded because of community support and no major brands can claim it. It belongs to all of us. I care deeply for [Dione], a lot of us do, and her success creates a healthier ecosystem for everyone in the climbing industry.”

Abby is a badass, and with our theme of CONNECT this year we are even more thrilled to be welcoming her to the WCS22 main stage on Saturday 12th November at The Climbing Hangar, Exeter. Tickets on sale now.


Follow Abby on Instagram @PlaysWithMountains

Abby's presence as Headline Speaker at WCS22 is supported by:



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