USA Climbing supports the well-being, development, and competitive excellence of our athletes as we advance the accessibility and growth of the climbing community nationwide.
USA Climbing is the national governing body of the sport of competition climbing in the United States. As a 501(c)3 non-profit, we promote the disciplines of Bouldering, Lead and Speed climbing as well as the Collegiate and Paraclimbing series.
USA Climbing receives sanctioning and is recognized by:
The International Federation for Sport Climbing (IFSC)
The International Olympic Committee (IOC)
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC)
Athlete First. Support the well-being and development of climbers at all levels, abilities and ages – from beginner to elite, including youth, collegiate, adult, and paraclimbing.
Diversity & Inclusiveness. Promote diversity, equity, and inclusion as critical to our success, continuously champion these principles throughout the climbing community, and do not tolerate discrimination in any form.
Integrity & Teamwork. Promote climbing’s culture and ethos of camaraderie and sportsmanship to enrich lives and maximize the full potential of all participants.
Environmental Stewardship. Encourage responsible use, and the protection and preservation of, the natural environment.
Inspiration & Excellence. Be the very best at what we do as an organization, continually challenge our model, identify and adjust if we fall short, and finally celebrate our successes.
Kate Felsen Di Pietro is President of Up Up Communications LLC, with clients focused on transforming education and supporting healthy youth development. In March 2020,Kate, her husband, and their two children, co-founded Feed the Frontlines NYC, which nourishes frontline workers and people experiencing food insecurity while keeping local restaurants alive and their hardworking staff on the job. Kate had a distinguished career at ABC News. As Foreign Editor for the flagship evening news broadcast, she covered breaking and feature stories around the globe, winning 11 Emmy Awards. Kate earned an M.A. in American foreign policy and international economics from Johns Hopkins and a B.A., magna cum laude in history and literature from Harvard. She garnered first-team All-American and Ivy League “Player of the Year” honors in lacrosse, captained the field hockey team and enjoys coaching a club lacrosse team for middle school girls in New York City.
Meagan Martin is a professional rock climber, ESPN commentator, Athleta model, star of American Ninja Warrior, and a former Division I Pole Vaulter at Vanderbilt University who currently lives in Sacramento, CA. It was by chance that Meagan found climbing, growing up in Lake Mary, Florida, back in 2001. Meagan started out in the JCCA, which later would become what USA Climbing is today. Meagan competed for four years Nationally and Internationally before taking a seven-year hiatus from climbing to focus on Pole Vaulting. Upon her return to climbing, she jumped right back into the competition scene and traveled all around the world from 2012-2018 competing at USA Climbing and IFSC competitions. In the last two years, Meagan began to shift her focus into the broadcasting realm and is the color commentator for all ESPN and USA Climbing events. As an elite athlete and a former USA Climbing certified coach, Meagan has made it a priority to be a good role model for the youth. She believes that athletics has played a considerable role in shaping her into the person she is today and wants to share her knowledge with everyone she can. Climbing has forever changed her life, and she hopes that so many other people get the chance to experience what it is that is so special about this sport. Meagan is also a member of the USA Climbing DEI Task Force and is excited to bring her unique experiences within USA Climbing as an athlete, coach, and commentator to the USA Climbing Board.
Current term ends: 1/13/25
Trace Harris joined the board of USA Climbing in 2021. She is a finance and strategy executive with experience in media, education and technology. She is an experienced board member across public, private and non-profit organizations, including board service for the public technology company Altair as well as for the video game developer Bungie, creator of Halo and Destiny. Trace was previously the senior finance and strategy executive in the US for the media company Vivendi, where she was involved with its US businesses, including NBC Universal and Universal Music Group. Trace is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale School of Management. She lives in New York with her husband and excitable dog, Thor. She enjoys running and biking, and she climbs casually with her college-age son.
Maureen Beck was born without her left hand but that didn’t stop her from picking up the sport of climbing at the age of 12. Now based in Colorado’s Front Range, Mo spends her nights training at the gym and her days climbing all over the American southwest. She works closely with the adaptive climbing community as an instructor with Paradox Sports and is the Chair of the USAC Paraclimbing Committee.
As a competitive climber, she has won 6 national titles, a gold medal at the 2014 Paraclimbing World Championships in Spain and defended that title with a gold medal at the 2016 World Championships in Paris. In 2018, she went on her first alpine expedition to the Northwest Territories in Canada’s Nahanni National Park where she and fellow adaptive climber Jim Ewing attempted the legendary Lotus Flower Tower. Maureen starred in the 2017 Film “Stumped” which has won numerous awards and toured hundreds of cities all over the world, and in the 2019 film ‘Adaptive’. Mo is an athlete for The North Face, Petzl, Sterling Rope, TRUBLUE Climbing, Gnarly Nutrition and Scarpa. In addition to climbing, Mo loves gardening, her chickens and dogs, sleeping in cars, and fine Scotch whiskey.
Kyra discovered the sport of climbing at a birthday party in 2009 at her local climbing gym in Minnesota. A natural climber since the day she climbed out of her crib (at one year old!), Kyra was instantly hooked and joined the gym’s youth team.
Kyra made Youth Bouldering Nationals her first year competing. But the next year back pain became a major distraction at practice. She consulted a doctor, only to find that she had a 53-degree curve in her spine—idiopathic, adolescent scoliosis. Not willing to let this dampen her climbing dreams, her family sought out a surgeon who supported Kyra’s climbing. To allow some amount of mobility in her back, Kyra and her surgeon decided on fusing 10 vertebrae together, T2-T12, correcting most of her curvature. Kyra believes the surgery was a blessing in disguise and reignited her desire to train and compete. It was only 2 years later that she became Youth National champion and went on to win 4 more youth national titles.
The Olympics were always a dream of Kyra’s, who grew up watching every Olympics with her mom. In 2016 when climbing was officially included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, suddenly her dream turned into a potential reality. Kyra switched her training and focused on qualifying for the 2020 Games. In 2019, Kyra came in 7th place at the IFSC Combined Qualifier in Toulouse, France, officially earning her invitation to the Tokyo Olympics. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Kyra eventually plans to go to vet school after she retires from professional climbing. She’s currently a member of the USA Climbing Board of Directors, the USA Climbing Athlete Advisory Committee, the IFSC Athlete commission, the IFSC Pan-American Athlete Commission, the USA Climbing DEI Task Force, and the Team USA Community Ambassadors.
She’s passionate about using her social media platform and position as an Olympic athlete to advocate for athletes and the inclusivity of sport. As public figures and role models she believes that athletes share a unique position that makes their voices incredibly important in the fight for social justice and the progression of sport as a whole.
When Jesse was six, his sister started taking recreational climbing lessons at their local gym. He was dragged along with her and couldn’t contain his excitement sitting on a couch. He started climbing on a weekly basis, but his coaches still had trouble containing Jesse’s boundless energy. He eventually moved up to the Senior team (at age nine) and started competing in climbing events fairly regularly on the local, national and international stage.
Jesse says USA Climbing is how he’s met and maintained many of his closest friends. It’s helped build his character as a dedicated, passionate, and community-oriented person. He is so excited to be an athlete on The Board of Directors and help give back to a community that has really helped shape who he is today.
Current term ends: 9/14/22
Alice Kao joins the board with extensive experience in international marketing, sales, finance, and business development. Beginning her career in investment banking, Kao transitioned into the toy industry, working at companies such as Mattel and MGA. Her toy career highlights include the launch of two new brands and numerous product lines in over 25 countries across Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. Kao entered the climbing industry in 2012, cofounding Sender One, one of the most well-recognized climbing facility brands in the world, and currently serves as Sender One’s CEO. Operating two full-service facilities and one bouldering gym in the Orange County / Los Angeles areas, Sender One employs nearly 150 people and has hosted a number of USA Climbing and IFSC-sanctioned competitions.
At the age of 11, Cece found her home in the world of climbing. Instantly enthralled by the mental and physical puzzle that climbing provided, she threw herself into the pursuit of the competitive side of the sport. For Cece, that enchantment with climbing hasn’t faded – and as she is afforded more opportunities to experience climbing in different ways, her passion ever grows. In a year of uncertainty, Cece made the most of the covid interim to pursue a career in Software Development, and she graduated from a Bootcamp program with a part-time job as a Software Engineer in 2020. Working in tech has allowed Cece to support and fund her climbing, and has opened her eyes to aspirations for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Most of all, Cece brings unwavering positivity and a smile to every moment and sees that as the best way of handling any challenge.
The development of the Sport of Climbing is certainly accelerating as it gains popularity and global attention. Cece is excited to have a significant role in defining exactly what that development means within USA Climbing as a member of the Board of Directors.
Connie Lightner is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship at Fayetteville State University (FSU). She has received numerous teaching awards (university and statewide) and published her research in many reputable journals during her time at FSU. She earned her B.S. from Norfolk State University in Applied Mathematics (1994), and her MSc (1997) and Ph.D. (2000) from North Carolina State University in Operations Research-Industrial Engineering.
As the mother of an elite climber, Kai Lightner, Connie Lightner played an instrumental role in guiding her son’s success domestically and internationally; she possesses a unique understanding of the opportunities and challenges presented to climbing families. Prior to joining the Board, Lightner served on the USA Climbing Strategic Planning Working Group, which developed the 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, and is a member of the USA Climbing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force.
Current term ends: 8/31/24
Jason Pill is a longtime climber and a partner with the law firm of Phelps Dunbar, LLP. He practices in the area of employment law and helps employers deal with a spectrum of workplace issues, including employment counseling, policy development, and risk assessment, and he also represents employer clients in state and federal court when litigation becomes unavoidable. Jason is a frequent speaker and author on numerous employment law issues. Jason earned his B.A. from the University of Florida (Economics) and his J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Before embarking on a legal career, Jason managed a climbing gym in Central Florida. Jason and his wife live in Tampa, Florida, along with their very rambunctious golden retriever.
As a USA Climbing Board Member, Struthers continues more than 10 years of service with USA Climbing in a number of volunteer capacities, most recently as one of two National Coordinators acting as liaisons between USA Climbing staff and the 18 sets of volunteer Regional Coordinators across the country. He is the father of two athletes who competed in youth and adult climbing events at the national and international levels. Struthers has also spent 25 years of his professional career serving as a strategic consultant to leaders of public and non-profit organizations, advising on ways to select, communicate and measure their intended goals through consultation with stakeholders.
2021 Audited Financials | 2021 IRS 990
2020 Audited Financials | 2020 IRS 990
2019 Audited Financials | 2019 IRS 990
2018 Audited Financials | 2018 IRS 990
2017 Audited Financials | 2017 IRS 990
2016 Audited Financials | 2016 IRS 990
2015 Audited Financials | 2015 IRS 990
2014 Audited Financials | 2014 IRS 990
2013 Audited Financials | 2013 IRS 990