Colette McInerney: Get Psyched on the Women's Climbing FestivalTuesday, November 22, 2016
You wake up in California’s beautiful Owens Valley on a crisp winter morning. The sun is shining and you’re stoked. You can’t wait to get out to the Buttermilks and crank on some granite. You park in the Birthday Boulders parking lot and start walking. About twenty steps in, you encounter a group of fifteen women bouldering together. You think, “whoa, it’s rare to see an all-women bouldering crew … actually, have I ever seen this many women bouldering together before?” There are shouts of encouragement, try-hard grunts and laughter in the air. You take a moment to appreciate the psych, say good morning and continue walking. Two minutes later, you are at another group of fifteen women climbing together. Feeling a bit like you’re in a dream, you take a moment to look out into the boulders. You see it—there are at least 10 large groups of women across the field.
Are you imagining what we are? If so, it’s pretty awesome.
The Women’s Climbing Festival in Bishop this past February was the first of it’s kind, bringing together 200 women for a weekend filled with clinics, slideshows, happy hours, panels and of course, climbing. But beyond that, it created a space for women—women of all ages and skill levels—to come together, support each other and connect through their love of climbing.
Why were so many women attracted to climbing together and what makes it different? We’ve heard and given an assortment of reasons for why women enjoy climbing with each other—feeling less pressure to “man up,” better beta and even better crag snacks combined with more support, more motivation and less excuses. Ultimately though, do we really need a reason beyond the fact that 200 women chose to come together in the desert to climb together? No, because it was a blast. As Carrie Cooper put it, “Maybe it’s something we were all hungering for, we just didn’t realize it until this festival. Now we’re all seeing the benefits of being here together.
Registration for the 2nd Annual Women’s Climbing Festival opens on December 1st and is limited to 200 participants … so get on it!https://flashfoxy.com/wcf/