by Lily Smith
Memphis Rox draws in all kinds of people based on its unique mission, but most recently they received a visit from Conrad Anker, team leader of the North Face climbing team.
On Aug.18, world renowned climber, Conrad Anker celebrated Global Climbing Day at Memphis Rox as part of a celebration put on in collaboration with Outdoors Inc. It featured a community grill-out, free Mempops, a raffle that included a number of climbing accessories and autographed posters from Conrad Anker himself.
On top of being the team leader of the North Face climbing team, Anker’s many accomplishments set him apart as one of the best climbers in the world. Having climbed at many extremely impressive places throughout the world, he has summited Mount Everest three times. During his third time in 2012, he led an educational and research-based expedition in collaboration with The North Face, National Geographic, The Mayo Clinic and Montana State University. In this expedition, he climbed without supplemental oxygen, which is a distinction that is claimed by only the world’s best climbers. Clearly remarkable and well-known, Anker uses his platform to speak out about issues that are important to him. He encourages other climbers to be ambassadors in observing the changes brought about by man-made climate change, and he serves on the board of a number of nonprofits in his hometown of Bozeman, Montana.
While the majority of Conrad’s accomplishments involve exotic locations and expensive equipment, rock climbing does not have to be this intense. Indoor climbing and bouldering gyms have allowed climbing to become a growing hobby that is gradually becoming available to more and more people. As of March 2018, this form of fitness is available in Memphis at Memphis Rox.
Memphis Rox is not only a multi-million dollar rock climbing gym and community center located in Soulsville, but it is unique as a nonprofit. According to their mission statement, Memphis Rox aims to “bring rehabilitation, healing and a renewed sense of hope to challenged communities by providing a climbing facility and programs to foster relationships across cultural, racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.” Additionally, it is always cost optional; welcoming everyone, despite one’s ability to pay.
While Memphis Rox clearly has a unique mission, its location in inner-city Memphis makes it even more special. When discussing why Anker came to Memphis instead of anywhere else Mary Hays, member of the Outdoors Inc. team, said, “When Conrad found out what Memphis Rox was all about, it was a no brainer. The fact that Memphis Rox doesn’t turn away anyone is exactly what Conrad and the North Face have been looking to support for several years, and this clearly sets it apart from other gyms.”
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