JEDI Justice | Equity | Diversity | Inclusion



Company Pledge

As ASCEND management, we recognize the systemic racism that impacts past and current members of our community, and see that it has had a part in shaping the exclusivity of our industry. We are committed to making access to the outdoors, yoga, and climbing more inclusive, diverse, and accessible. As advocates of our community and the outdoors, we acknowledge the important intersections of environmentalism and social justice.

As a predominantly white staff, we have to take it upon ourselves — as a team and as individuals — to uphold and model these beliefs. It is important to us that we prioritize listening and unlearning, and that we strive to create change in our community and the space that we inhabit. We will continue to prioritize and share this work, regardless of any backlash, and will stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and POC communities and the Plant.

  • We will intentionally seek and act on opportunities to diversify representation in yoga and climbing and challenge the sport and industry’s history of being predominantly white and male by uncovering erased voices and actively standing against racist and discriminatory narratives in the outdoors.

    • This will look like consciously inviting BIPOC communities and people outside of ASCEND’s close circle to be a part of representing this space, including in our Community Advisory Board.

    • This will also look like purposefully diversifying our staff and leadership teams, including our Board to ensure our staff and leadership is representative of the communities we serve and seek to support.

  • We will prioritize programs and structures that address unequal access to this sport and space, and will incorporate the intersections of environmental and social justice into our mission and messaging.

    • This will look like creating programs that address challenges of transportation, gear, training, cultural histories, and more, in addition to financial support.

    • This will also look like standing in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and POC communities, advocating on their behalf, and amplifying their messages, especially taking a vocal stance in political and cultural moments that impact BIPOC communities.

  • We are committed to prioritizing the safety, health, and emotional/mental well-being of our employees and believe that our staff comes first, and will always seek to support them, above the demands of business growth.

    • This will look like providing equitable pay for all staff and freelance workers and earnestly creating space for employees to live healthy lives.

    • This will also look like respecting the boundaries of BIPOC employees (and customers) and not asking them to perform emotional labor for us in pursuit of these initiatives. Similarly, we will operate from a primary standpoint of believing and trusting our employees when they report issues and ensuring they are safely heard by HR and the appropriate parties.

  • We expect ASCEND staff to abide by these values and beliefs, and to treat every person in the ASCEND community with respect and empathy. We will enforce these expectations in order to create a healthy community space and ask staff and community to hold the ASCEND management team accountable as well.

    • This will look like providing training to staff about racial, social, and environmental justice, and in particular, how it affects BIPOC communities.

    • This will also look like regularly inviting opportunities for the community to be engaged in the conversation and conduct critical self-reflection as a company on how we uphold these values.

  • We will expand our business and influence in the SWPA region and the climbing industry with careful consideration and collaboration with the Pittsburgh communities (urban and regional) that we inhabit, and strive to develop working relationships.

    • This will look like sharing our work and findings with those in our industry.

    • This will also look like developing relationships with local communities and critically examining the impact we are having on the dynamics of our neighborhoods.

  • We will Identify training opportunities for management to learn how to create a culture of accountability, starting with the Intersectional Environmentalist accountability program.


Team Pledge

The Team Pledge is about how we carry ourselves in this workspace — with care and intention. It’s voluntary for our employees to sign, but we’d love for as many people as possible to commit to this pledge, so we can work towards building a workplace and community that puts these values into practice. Our goal is to get 100% of staff signing on to this pledge, voluntarily.

ASCEND Team Pledge

As an ASCEND employee, I recognize the systemic racism that has shaped our society, including in yoga, climbing, and outdoor spaces. I am committed to upholding the following expectations and values, and will model inclusive behavior in ASCEND spaces and activities. I acknowledge that learning more about these values and issues is not for me alone — that I agree to these actions for the sake of making more people, particularly BIPOC communities, feel welcome in this space, knowing that outdoor and recreation spaces have historically silenced environmental justice issues. I believe that it is important to work towards creating good change in our community, and will continue to prioritize this work, support racial and environmental justice initiatives, and will stand in solidarity with our BIPOC community.

  • I will accept and respect all of my coworkers and community members, regardless of their cultural background, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, class, mental or physical ability, or any other identifier.

  • I will use and embrace inclusive language, knowing that language is fluid in its ability to change, be co-opted, and evolve. I will engage in and support ASCEND’s efforts to address racial, social, and environmental justice, including any training that may be required.

  • I will find opportunities to educate myself about racial, social, and environmental justice and implement these values in ASCEND.

  • I will stay open and gracious to feedback I may receive from another staff member or customer about modeling these behaviors.

  • I will build a culture of “calling in, not calling out”, and understand that some people are still learning about JEDI values. I will find opportunities to help my coworkers learn.

  • I will take my coworkers seriously when they report incidents of any kind of distress or harm.

  • I acknowledge that assumptions I have historically made of community members around certain identifiers (sex, race, gender, class, ability, etc) are harmful and I am committed to unlearning assumptions around identity that perpetuate discrimination and exclusivity in outdoor spaces. I will build community with everyone in the gym and work to make them feel welcome.

  • I understand that intent does not equal impact; that behavior may be interpreted in different ways. I will hold space within myself to pay attention to the nuance of each situation and consider where or how I may be wrong or misinterpreting things. I will acknowledge my mistakes and make efforts to try again, and extend this understanding to my coworkers and community.

  • I will speak up for coworkers and community members, especially those who may experience prejudice for any part of their identity, in situations where injustice is occurring, whether it be big or small.

We Rely On Our


We can't do this alone, and so we partner with some incredible partners and organizations to help us along the way.

Explore ASCEND's

Community Programs

Our community programs serve as the core of our mission, business goals, and well, our local communities. The overarching goal is to foster an equitable, holistic, community-based, climbing, fitness, and yoga experience.

Our Equity + Outreach Department oversees all community related programs, including the Equity + Outreach Fund, Clubs, Affinity Sessions, the Community Advisory Board (CAB), and special events like film screenings, fundraisers, and social nights.

The mission of ASCEND’s Equity and Outreach Department is to ensure that JEDI values (justice, equity, diversity, inclusion) are addressed and prioritized in the workplace, among the staff, and within the community. Our driving ethos is to ensure more people have safe and equitable access to climbing and the outdoors.

In short, we believe that climbing is an incredible activity and we want as many people to benefit from it as possible.