Arc’teryx 2018 Climbing Academy

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Arc’teryx Climbing Academy in Squamish, B.C. The motivation: how can we empower more women to participate in outdoor sports?

Our conversations centered around celebrating our humanity rather than celebrity, and creating safe and welcoming spaces for people and underrepresented groups to participate in the outdoors. There are barriers to entry in outdoor pursuits, but also barriers along the pipeline. It is not enough to inspire people to get out once or to try something a couple of times. How do we help others to stay and find a lifelong passion? To feel like the outdoors is a place where everyone belongs.

Most people have different motivations for participating in outdoor activities; it could be relaxation, competition, to escape, or for a sense of community. Whatever the motivations are, compassion should be at the core of it all. A willingness to learn from failure and to help others overcome personal obstacles and barriers. Success does not look the same for everyone and that is a good thing! As long as we are helping each other to be successful in the ways that matter most to each of us.

Another important step is recognizing who is in the room. Whom are the people having the conversations about diversity and ultimately making decisions? When you look around, who do you see? Mostly men? A few women? Are they mostly white? Same questions for the outdoor activities you participate in. This may feel uncomfortable, but critical to acknowledge.

Small steps can lead to a tipping point, which is all it takes to force major change. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate and excited to see how this conversation evolves!

You can also vote for your favorite photo for the People’s Choice Award in the Squamish Exposed Photo Competition here! The competition pairs 6 of the industry’s best photographers, 6 Arc’teryx athletes, and 6 members of the public for 48 hours of continuous shooting and 12 hours of editing. The results were revealed during the Academy.

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