Q&A With Ambassadr Jad El Harake
We are beyond psyched to welcome Jad to the ambassadr team! When not in the lab for his Biomedical Engineering PhD, Jad tears up the slopes and goes on incredible climbing trips in the Gunks.
What are your outdoor activities?
I’m a rock climber at heart (mostly sport and trad), but I’ve recently picked up skiing and snowboarding as my off-season sports. Feels good to be outside year-round!
What’s the piece of gear you’ve owned the longest?
Hmm I’m actually not sure, but the piece of gear I *wish* I could have owned longer is my snowboard. He was tragically stolen after only a few trips, but wherever he is now I hope he’s still shredding mad gnar with a new owner.
What’s your favorite memory with it?
Definitely when I went to Mount Snow in Vermont for Christmas. I got to teach my little sister how to ski on the greens and I rode out some big jumps for the first time on the steeper black diamonds (some jumps I chose to try, some chose me before I knew what was happening hehe). Winter isn’t so bad after all!
Where did you first fall in love with the outdoors?
The Gunks in upstate New York! It’s a world-class trad climbing area (on stolen Munsee Lenape land) that I was lucky enough to explore with my university climbing club. My friend set up a top rope on a classic 5.7, tied me in, and refused to let me off the rope until I made it up the cliff. He encouraged (/yelled at) me for more than half an hour until I got the crux to move off the ground. From there it was a total joy ride, and remains the greatest 5.7 I’ve ever done. By the time I topped out and came back down I knew I was hooked on this silly fantastic sport and the rock that makes it all possible.
If you could change something about outdoor culture, what would it be?
It’s very easy to be impatient when sharing outdoor spaces, especially with beginners. Whether it’s climbing, skiing, surfing, whatever, more and more people are getting into outdoor adventures, and it does put more strain on these areas, and sometimes it means a slower run on the slopes or a longer wait for the climb. But everyone deserves the chance to be a part of the outdoors, and I think we would all be better off mentoring newcomers and working together to establish sustainable local ethics together, rather than gatekeeping our sports.