Kristen, Women’s Climbing Festival Attendee | “I started climbing a little bit when I was in university at our campus climbing wall, but just really started getting more serious about it in the past 3 years or so. Most of that time has been indoors at the climbing gym, and I just climbed outdoors for the first time last summer. I’m primarily a sport climber, so this weekend was my first time bouldering outside.
Climbing to me is an opportunity to push my limits both physically and mentally to see what I’m capable of. It’s really empowering to look at a wall or boulder and think, I don’t know how I’m going to get to the top of this, but I’m going to figure it out, and then do it! Climbing is also meditative to me. When you’re climbing a challenging route or boulder problem, it takes all of your focus. You forget about the world around you.
I was attracted to the WCF because I really love participating in female only outdoor events. I find the vibe is really different. It tends to be much more laid-back, and everyone is so supportive of each other. Sometimes when I’m climbing with men I feel like I have to prove that I can climb as hard as them, or that I can keep up with them. That adds an element of fear of failure that can hold me back from really pushing myself to my limit. I find when that pressure is removed, I suddenly am comfortable pushing myself harder, and I have more fun doing it. I also thought the climbing festival would be a great environment to learn new skills. As women, I think we often have really different strengths than some of our male climbing partners, and I really wanted to learn how to approach bouldering and trad climbing from a female perspective.”