Testament to Chicks via Outdoor Women’s Alliance

Anne on Physical Graffiti, Photo by Dawn Glanc

Last week the Outdoor Women’s Alliance featured Chicks Climbing with a week of articles dedicated to our organization.

Through the *magic* of social media (which we LOVE, naturally!), one of the participants of our recent Red Rock Chicks Rock! clinic found the Outdoor Women’s Alliance on Facebook and sent them a message about her time at the clinic.

The Outdoor Women’s Alliance published Anne’s letter (which we are also sharing below) along with this note: “This message is a testament to the organization’s ability to teach every skill level in a personalized way and keeps you motivated to keep pushing yourself long after your time with them is done.”

Here is Anne’s story:

The years were slipping by, the gear was waiting, taking up valuable real estate in a cramped New York City closet, the shoulder surgery was five years ago, plans were made to climb again, plans were cancelled. The expiration date on calling myself a rock climber was fast approaching, the only choices left were to leave my rack and rope on the doorstep of a deserving, ambitious ,yet under-cammed trad aspirant, or get my aging feet on some friendly rock and work out my fears, my quads and my deltoids with some enthusiastic strangers.

Chicks Climbing to the rescue. What better place than Red Rocks, Nevada -my favorite venue, where I was schooled over twelve years ago on how to follow, how to lead and how to race back down the canyon at sunset to the car in order to avoid a ticket? As I packed my bags for the Chicks Climbing clinic, any trepidation I had about being older, being out of shape, about not being a rock climber started to fade away. My new harness, new helmet and new shoes were testament to my renewed commitment, my old, trusted gear was a reminder of who I wanted to be again. I was ready for the harsh reality that bruises were coming to my knees, my shins and my ego. I didn’t care. I just wanted to tie in (providing I could remember how) and climb.

Everything was going to be great -that was my initial feeling as soon as I sat down with our group and our Girly Guides at the camp site near Red Rocks. And it was great. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more supportive, loud mouthed group of climbing chicks. All of them inspired me. Kitty and Dawn were amazing. Not only did they offer encouragement and coaching, they were remarkable in their ability to understand just how best to give each individual climber feedback in a way that was meaningful to her. We were not there to be hauled up the cliff by expert guides, we were there to be taught technique, safety, respect for our sport and its ethics. Each day was thoughtfully planned to build our skills and boost our confidence on the rock.

I am sure that every one of us grew as climbers, and I know that I will hear a no-nonsense, South Carolinian accented voice in my ear, urging me to take on the hard challenges and climb on every time I rope up from here on out.

Thanks for sharing Anne, it’s so great to hear your story and share it here 🙂

And of course thank you to our dear friends at the Outdoor Women’s Alliance for the big feature. We love to support their mission of promoting outdoor education and opportunities for all women in the great outdoors! (Outdoor Women’s Alliance Twitter, Outdoor Women’s Alliance Facebook)

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