NEW YORK CITY CHAPTER
Meet your Chapter Leaders
Ramon Montalvo -
Ramon moved to NYC in 2012 right after college from the Dominican Republic with the dream of working on big construction projects. He first climbed on March 2016 at a local gym after a friend expended a month inviting him, not having a clue that day he would find his biggest passion in life, Rock Climbing. He joined the AAC in late fall 2017 looking to meet more like-minded people to go out climbing into the mountains. After offering to volunteer for the AAC he met his friend Conor and on summer 2018 the idea of launching the AAC NYC Chapter was born. The idea was to open the mountains door to gym climbers who did not have the opportunity to go to the outdoors and climb on real rock.Ramon currently serves as the AAC NYC Chapter chair where he works along an amazing team of passionate climbers. Also, he works as a Project Manager in major highway construction projects in the NYC area and is happily married to his high school sweetheart.
Eric Munsing - Co-Chair
Eric learned climbing in New Hampshire, but discovered trad climbing and alpine epics upon moving to California in 2010. Gaining experience on Yosemite granite, he fell in love with easy 5th class ridgelines of the High Sierra, and received a Live Your Dream grant in 2017 for the Evolution Traverse. Since moving to New York in 2018, Eric has focused his energy on ice climbing, gym climbing, and road cycling to stay in shape for outdoor adventures. He lives in Manhattan, where he works as a data scientist.
Sasha Saibruik - Co-Chair
Sasha discovered climbing in 2017 and has been lucky enough to climb on some of the best rock across the country in Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Acadia, Colorado and local crags on the east coast. She enjoys exploring multi pitch trad routes with friends at her home climbing area of the Gunks. Along with like-minded climbers, she started the New York City Chapter of the American Alpine Club in early 2019 where she is giving back to the climbing community by volunteering for local events as well as serving as a member of the American Alpine Club’s Chapter Subcommittee. Sasha successfully completed AMGA Single Pitch Instructor training and constantly learning and improving her knowledge base to bring the best practices to the chapter’s events.
Raja Hamid -
Raja was born and raised on the Lower East Side of NYC. He was first exposed to the outdoors in 2016 through hiking and found joy in landscape photography as a means of storytelling.
After his startup was acquired that year, he took a solo-trip to Patagonia. Near the end of that backpacking trip, he caught his first sight of the Fitz Roy massif. The sight stirred something within him, and he felt compelled to try and climb it someday. Ever since that dream was planted in his head, he’s been on a path of exploring alpinism and has always been drawn to the adventurous side of climbing.
Despite his heart being in the alpine, he also chases the elusive goal of being a ‘well-rounded’ climber: pulling on plastic at The Cliffs, obsessing over hand jamming technique, swinging into ice in the Catskills, making the long drive north to Rumney and south to Seneca, as well as being grateful for our amazing hometown crag: the Gunks.
Besides climbing, depending on the season he’s pushing himself to improve on his skiing, mountain biking, and sailing. Follow along on IG! @rajawashere
Nancy Chan - Co-Chair
Nancy was born in China and is the daughter of American immigrants. She grew up in a diverse neighborhood of Borough Park, NYC and is a self-declared nerd and introvert. Nancy first began climbing at BKB Gowanus in 2013 where her friend and fellow outdoorsman, Dan, showed her the ropes. Terrified of heights, Nancy wanted to overcome this fear, so she continued gym climbing at the Cliffs in LIC. Life happened and Nancy took a hiatus before returning in 2017 where she took her first trip to the Gunks and fell in love with outdoor rock climbing. For her, it was the complement to everything great in the outdoors – camping, hiking, ascending great heights, traveling and the complete appreciation of Mother Nature.
Nancy loves the challenge and exploration of climbing. Climbing is an expression of movement, pushing mental boundaries and discovery of ability through partnership, practice and intention. Combined with 25+ years as a dancer, yoga practitioner and capoeirista in NYC, rock climbing has become a passion in overcoming mental barriers as an Asian female raised in a traditional culture and family. Through the AAC, Nancy aspires to serve the climbing community by providing a connected, supportive, safe and fun outdoor experience. When not climbing, Nancy can be found galivanting through NYC life with her sidekick dog, Baxter Batman.
Franz Buzawa is proud to be the Education co-chair for the newly formed New York City Chapter. He was lucky to have found climbing 25+ years ago. For him climbing, in all its forms and mediums, is the moving mediation he uses to sooth his restless mind. He knows he’ll never be able to give back in equal measure to the community that has given him so much, but that doesn’t mean he’ll stop trying. So go ahead, ask him a question, or maybe just ask for a belay. Whatever it is he’ll do everything he can to help you achieve your climbing goals.
Jason Silverstein - Co-Chair
Jason found rock climbing in 2000 working for a Portage guiding company while in college. Hooked immediately, he wanted to be a part of anything rock climbing. His first experience was being a part of the construction team that built the climbing wall, then, went through education courses and worked his way to becoming a climbing instructor and taught for some of the local universities. Teaching climbing became a passion that he pursued for the next couple of years.
He moved to NYC in 2006 where he pursued some of his other passions; dancing, furniture design, interior design and construction and cyber security. He worked for climbing media and outdoor industry companies as well as NYC Gyms.
In late 2018, his mentor challenged him to give back to the community that he fell in love with. Doors opened and he jumped at the opportunity to work with the NYC chapter of the American Alpine club. Looking to re-engage in educating, he recently completed the Single Pitch Instructor course and has done some 1:1 instructing and led some group outings where he loves to share his knowledge of the outdoors as well as climbing.
His near term adventure goals include trad routes on Wallface in the Adirondacks, some unfinished boulders in Great Barrington and Bradley, and a couple wintery mixed summits in the White Mountains.
As long as it involves rock, and elevation, he’s psyched and hope’s to see you out there!
Zain Sattar - Co-Chair
Zain rediscovered climbing back in 2015 after dabbling his final year in college. Looking for a new way to train he immediately loved the allure of trying hard and using both your mental & physical capabilities to succeed.
Eventually pulling on plastic wasn’t enough and he wanted to take his new-found skills outdoor and discovered a whole new world. Zain joined the AAC in 2018 to be a part of the amazing community (and the gear discounts didn’t hurt). He enjoys all types of climbing but loves the allure of alpine & high-altitude mountaineering, having traveled to various countries across the world to get his fix.
Matt Grabina - Co-Chair
Matt recently moved back to New York City after spending the better part of a decade in Colorado. He has a passion for big mountains and alpine climbing. In 2017 he went on 3 major expeditions to the Andes, the Alaska Range and the Karakoram. He recently enjoyed sharing his love of big mountains with his wife on Kilimanjaro. While his life focus has shifted to his job and his family, he still enjoys rock and ice climbing locally in the Northeast. He Hope's to one day return to the big mountains.
Michael Carroll - Co-Chair
Michael (aka Big Mike) was introduced to climbing by some coworkers while living in Denver in 2009. Since then it’s been on-again / off-again having changed cities a few times since, but has been solidly committed to outdoor sport climbing for the last few years, and slowly wading into trad-leading for 2019. Some favorite trips for climbing have been to Thakhek in Laos, Lao Laing in Thailand, and Owens River Gorge and New River Gorge stateside. When not whipping his belayer to the first clip, Mike manages high rise construction projects in New York City, and enjoys campfire cooking and story time with a big group whenever possible.