Our Board

Photo by Samantha KaneyAngela Fox

Angela Fox, born in Ohio but raised in Arizona, is a desert rat through and through. She began climbing about eight years ago and just can’t seem to get enough. She can be convinced to rope up occasionally, but is always up for a good bouldering session. Angela has climbed all over the world, but her home crag at the Superstition Mountains holds a special place in her heart and will always be her favorite place to climb and explore. When she isn’t climbing, Angela enjoys traveling, painting, gardening, playing with her puppies, and getting psyched to be a first-time mom!

20160918150601_IMG_1408Samantha Kaney

Born and raised in the upper Midwest, Samantha Kaney fell in love with the desert and has called the southwest her home for the last six years. She been climbing for about ten years, and as a geologist by trade, rocks have always been fascinating to her — both to study and to climb. To Sam, climbing is not just a sport, but a lifestyle. Her climbing partners have become her best friends and now feel like family. Climbing has also taken her to spectacular places she could have never dreamed of.

In Sam’s view, Arizona’s climbing community is large and sprawling, and as the sport grows, so does the community. She is honored to be a part of building an organization with strong core values to serve the women of this amazing community and to provide them with the opportunities to connect, grow, learn, and thrive through climbing. In her “free” time, you’ll find her reading, exploring the outdoors, or gardening!

B72T6342Jamie Leland

Jamie Leland began climbing in 2008 when a Cute Boy™ invited her to the climbing gym. Her infatuation with him faded, but her love for bouldering steadily grew. Over the years, climbing helped her cultivate some of her most meaningful friendships (and some pretty sick lats).

After attending the second annual Women’s Climbing Festival in Bishop, she felt a new sense of connection with her fellow women climbers and decided to bring it home, starting one of the Valley’s first women’s climbing groups, the Boulder Broads. The closeness of the community left her buzzing, and when other local women’s group leaders began to discuss creating a coalition, she jumped at the opportunity to cultivate more widespread connections, a sense of safety, and educational opportunities. More than anything, Jamie enjoys bagging double-digit first female ascents and first ascents at local crags, coaching kids at Focus Climbing Center, and lovingly flexing on bros. She is constantly floored by her incredible luck to live and climb rocks with the most amazing people on the most beautiful planet in the universe.

IMG_0750Sarah Meaney

Sarah Meaney first visited a climbing gym five years ago using a Group-on. It was a cheap way to try something new. After her initial visit, she quickly became a member of a local climbing gym, soon after transitioning to outdoor bouldering and sport climbing. She found climbing to be honest, always exposing one’s weaknesses, fear, and level of commitment.

The climbing community in Arizona has become an extended family for Sarah and her two children. This eclectic and supportive band of misfits has cheered for her daughter at youth climbing competitions and shared knock-knock jokes with her son at the crag.

As an AZWCC board member, Sarah hopes to continue to promote acceptance and diversity in her local climbing community.

83065895_10222690217663373_7330172185312493568_oChrista Melde

Christa Melde is a Co-founder, Board Director, and Scottsdale Chapter Lead of the AZWCC. Her focus is spreading awareness and prevention of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the outdoor recreation community. Christa has almost ten years of professional experience in climbing gym operations, climbing coaching, and adaptive climbing programs. Her goal is to cultivate safer, more inclusive climbing spaces that foster more leadership opportunities for women in the sport. In her spare time, Christa enjoys hiking with her two dogs, reading, and traveling.

IMG_7841Laura Schmidt

A Long Island native, Laura Schmidt was introduced to climbing by a friend at the University of Delaware. After graduating in 2010, she moved to Phoenix and fell in love with the desert landscape. She continues to build her life around climbing, but she also loves coffee, strength training, sewing, dogs, and podcasts. And, of course, she feels incredibly thrilled to be part of a badass women’s climbing community in Arizona!