When I started climbing in high school, I was the only female climber on my team. Surrounded by men, I adapted to the atmosphere and was adopted by the community. My friends took me in and mentored me through the beginning stages of climbing, but there were always some aspects they could not help me with. They did not know how to help when other climbers told me I was “strong for a girl” or when random hikers reprimanded them for “letting a short little girl climb harder than them.” They tried their best to support me, but these sorts of experiences were best analyzed with the help of my other female friends who had been exposed to similar scenarios.
Having female community within male dominated fields is so important, which is why the Trojan Climbing Team hosts a womxn’s climbing trip each semester. This last week, I had the opportunity to lead our womxn’s trip alongside two other amazing co-guides to Bishop, CA. Bishop is one of my all time favorite destinations, and I was so happy to be able to share it with 15 other amazing womxn. The trip was full of climbing to be sure, but also plenty of shenanigans, deep talks, and cafe trips.
As a more seasoned climber, I really wanted the trip to be an opportunity for each of us to climb in a unique, supportive atmosphere. While female involvement in climbing is growing, it is rare to ever climb in a group of all womxn. Additionally, I wanted to make sure newer climbers felt welcome and not limited by their size, athletic background, gender, or any other factor. I believe ALL outdoor sports (including climbing) are for all people, and I think leading special affinity trips like the womxn’s trip allows newer members to explore the sport and discover their passion. I am so proud to be a part of such an amazing group of womxn climbers at USC.