The mountains have held the most terrifying and most joyful moments of my life, sometimes within the same day. My mountain education began when I was fourteen, on my first all-girls backpacking trip to the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming. That trip introduced me to bush-wacking, mountain passes, getting lost, lightning drills, external-frame packs, and the “belly-game” (when you put your frozen feet on your tent-mate’s belly to thaw them out). I cried a few times, wrestled a fellow group-member for the last hot chocolate packet, and danced the electric slide in the rain. And I fell in love with mountain travel.
Gender and Education
I was extremely privileged to grow up in all-female spaces in the mountains. For years I didn’t recognize gender as a factor in the mountains, attending a YMCA program that ran single-gender wilderness trips. I now work primarily in climbing coaching and alpine guiding; my early experiences in the mountains with women helped create the best parts of myself, and I seek to facilitate that growth and self-awareness for others. Gender, inclusion, and access to the outdoors has increasingly been a focus of my relationship to the mountains and my work.
The mountains have always motivated my climbing. The only five year plan I have ever made was during a backpacking trip in the Wind River Range in 2013; I saw Pingora Peak from Lonesome Lake and promised myself I would come back and climb it in five years. (Still working on this one – one year to go!) To me, climbing allows a more intimate relationship and experience with the mountains; on a thousand foot face, climbers focus on how their hands and feet fit precisely within two-inch cracks. Climbing stretches the limits of physical and technical abilities to discover impossible spaces.
South Early Winter Spire – Southwest Rib, Washington Pass, WA
Calculus Crack – Memorial Crack – Squamish Buttress Link-Up, Squamish BC
Ginger Cracks, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, NV
West Ridge of Forbidden Peak, North Cascades, WA