A new survey has confirmed what most female climbers already know: being a women who climbs can be complicated. According to this Outside, 64% of women who took a recent survey said they felt uncomfortable, insulted, or dismissed at some point during their training. In the survey, female climbers report micro-aggressions that include unwanted staring and advice, physical and verbal harassment, and general discomfort in the gym.
That sucks—and unfortunately, sexism isn’t limited to the gym. But luckily for all the badass female adventurers in the world, there are an increasing number of resources for women who climb or are interested in learning to climb. Check these out:
If you’re new to climbing or want to improve your skills fast, look into an all-women’s climbing or mountaineering course. Chicks With Picks is a longtime favorite, offering programs that specialize in rock climbing, ice climbing, and skiing, all taught by highly qualified female guides. International Mountain Guides also runs an all-women’s mountaineering course, which is located on the breathtaking Mount Shuksan.
If you don’t have the time or money to take a course, there are several useful nonprofits, too. SheJumps focuses on outdoor education, youth initiatives, and grassroots gatherings for women. The Outdoor Women’s Alliance is a volunteer-run media collective that engages and educates female adventurers worldwide. And the American Alpine Club—which isn’t gender-focused, but is still a great place to meet climbers of all kinds—hosts meet-ups, gives grants, publishes accident reports, and encourages members to seek out educational opportunities.
For some inspirational reading, check out Girl on the Rocks: A Woman’s Guide To Climbing With Strength, Grace, And Courage by Katie Brown and Women Who Dare: North America’s Most Inspiring Women Climbers by Chris Noble. Also, consider supporting adventure-based media that’s run by women with a subscription to Misadventures Magazine. Here’s what the founders say about their publication: “After years of being frustrated subscribers to big outdoors-industry magazines (which are written largely by and for men), and not seeing ourselves on the pages of conventional women’s magazines, we decided to do something about it. [So]…in November of 2013, we founded Misadventures to bring quality outdoor and adventure content about women to an overlooked but hungry audience. [The magazine] champions women who embrace creativity, take risks, and go out and beyond. We spotlight inspirational feats and figures, beautiful spaces, honest-to-goodness adventures, and discoveries of all sorts.”
Online Reading and Inspiration
For further reading, check out She Explores. It’s a website “…for inquisitive women in the outdoors,” and it features profiles of badass women, gear reviews, art, and more. They’ve even recently launched a podcast! For more resources, poke around Whoa Magazine, FlashFoxy, and Dirtbag Darling, fun blogs about women climbing. They’re entertaining reading—and contain some very useful information, too.
Get Out There
Finally, remember that there’s no substitute for in-person interaction. Many women report success in the mountains with female peers or mentors. Poke around social media to find like-minded climbers, and don’t hesitate to reach out to women you admire. Remember: at the end of the day, it’s all about having fun, being safe, and climbing hard.