Black Diamond Tribe Leaders

Supporting our community.

Through TCA, Black Diamond supports Tribe Leaders each year (an evolution of the Local Heroes scheme). The Tribe Leaders are given some sponsorship to help their climbing.

We want to introduce you to our new Tribe Leaders who are being recognised for a variety of reasons. The thing that ties them together is that they all act as enthusiastic ambassadors for our sport and represent a cross-section of our valued climbing community.

We work hard to ensure that our centres are inclusive and welcoming to all types of visitors and the Tribe Leaders below exemplify this. 


Tribe leaders


L-R: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan, Gordon Robb and Jessica Tang
L-R: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan, Gordon Robb and Jessica Tang


How long have you been climbing? I’ve been climbing since 2020
Favourite type of climbing? Bouldering – especially Dumby

I quickly became hooked on climbing, and the transformative effect it has had on my life continues to grow: on my physical and mental fitness, on my social life, how I structure my calendar and plan my holidays, and how I’ve been able to combine it with my work and other passion, photography. I’ll be a climber for life now, and I love to spread the word.

Follow Tommy on Instagram tgkwan
Read “On the rocks: how I fell in love with bouldering” featuring some of Tommy’s amazing photos.



How long have you been climbing? On and off for roughly 9 years.
Favourite type of climbing? Bouldering. At the moment, Fontainebleau.

I started climbing regularly in EICA after my friend introduced me to it down in Wales. From that first moment in a climbing gym I was hooked: increased adrenaline, great social scene, copious amounts of tea drunk, satisfaction of sending a problem/finishing a route – all of it is such an amazing feeling! At first I pursued climbing leisurely, it was a hobby I did often and I enjoyed it. But after a break in the middle to have my daughter, Mae (who is now 5), it quickly turned into a passion and a sport that I love to ‘train’ for (drinking more cups of tea and chatting all session counts towards training, right?).

Follow Jessica on Instagram jessicat485
Or find her on Facebook



How long have you been climbing? Around 8 years, but 5 years regularly
Favourite type of climbing? I have dabbled with outdoor, but much prefer indoor bouldering at TCA Newsroom and The Prop Store.

Initially I started climbing as something to do with my daughter. Then I found a great climbing group on Meetup.com. Since then, I have got more and more into it. I try to focus on technique as much as possible and am (forever) trying to lose weight. I really want to push the grades beyond the 6As I’m currently doing.

Like my Instagram ID says, I’m a fat old climber. I’m scared of heights but enjoy pushing myself to climb anyway. I love the social aspect of bouldering. I also like how my size, shape and fitness means I often have to find alternative betas for climbs.

Follow Gordon on Instagram fatoldclimber
Read more about Gordon on UKC


Tribe leaders


L-R: Mary Meilton, Carlos Casa (photo by Lena Drapella), Thomas Stockton
L-R: Mary Meilton, Carlos Casas (photo by Lena Drapella), Thomas Stockton


How long have you been climbing? On and off for 4 years. Frequently since 2021
Favourite type of climbing? I love bouldering! Especially for the lack of gear, it’s just the rock and you. Portland (Dorset) holds a special place in my heart. It’s where I first went outdoors with Colour Up. Climbing by the sea is such a joyful feeling, especially if you’re with your best pals.

I discovered climbing at the ripe old age of 24, after moving to the UK from Venezuela. Gyms and crags were full of great people, but with little to no presence of under represented groups. This pushed me into starting Colour Up, a community that celebrates diversity within climbing. We work together to make this sport a place for all.

My favourite part of climbing is not the athletic feats, but the way it breeds friendship and community. I’ve recently finished my Climbing Wall Instructor course and will soon be working in an indoor wall. Exciting! As of today, Colour Up has helped over 100 individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds in their climbing journey.

Follow Carlos on Instagram carloscasash
You can find out more about Colour Up Bristol on Instagram
Book now for Colour Up’s fortnightly get-together in The Mothership



How long have you been climbing? I first started climbing when I was 13 years old
Favourite type of climbing? Indoor gyms in the Southwest.

Having started at 13, for a few years I was hooked. But after becoming disabled as a teenager, I thought climbing was no longer possible for me. Thankfully, I discovered the amazing paraclimbing community and I realised climbing could be more inclusive and accessible than I ever thought possible.In 2019, 5 years after stopping, I began to climb regularly again and have loved it ever since.

Follow Mary on Instagram mary.paraclimber
Visit Access to Climb which Mary set up



How long have you been climbing? I have been climbing since the age of 5, so coming up to 17 years.
Favourite type of climbing? Bouldering has always been my favourite style of climbing however I’m now on a mission to be an all-round climber. I’ve been sport climbing for just over 2 years now and trad climbing for 1 month. I have goals to climb E8, 8b sport and 8b boulder this year. My favourite climbing location is Fontainebleau.

My dad is an avid climber and as soon as I was born I was taken to the crags in the Peak District with him and my mum. I’ve grown up with climbing and it’s been a huge part of my life.

I joined the TCA youth team in 2012, I competed and was coach until 2016. I spent 4 years out of climbing pursuing my mountain biking and after a scary trip to France I sold my bike and focused on my climbing. I worked at TCA for 4 years and I’ve been climbing constantly for just over 2 years now and smashed my goals of 8a boulder and sport in the first year back. Now I’m working towards new goals to push myself further.

Follow Tom on Instagram tom_stockton_

#liveclimbrepeat #bdtribeleaders

We’ll hear more from our Tribe Leaders as the year progresses. If you know someone who might make a good future Tribe Leader, feel free to nominate them via helen@theclimbingacademy.com. Unless otherwise stated all images courtesy of the Tribe Leaders.