To me, above all, climbing is a pursuit, a lifestyle that is best shard with others. For generations of climbers, skills have been passed down through mentorship. The 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s did not have a lot of climbers. Climbing was not apart of the main stream media. Gear was primitive and hard to come by. Climbing was better referred to as an art-form, than a sport. The equipment of the day closer to a hammer and chisel, than to the space age equipment of today. The 80’s brought on the popularity of sport climbing, and as a result climbing became slightly more accessible to the average joe. The 90’s and 00’s made this even more true with the increased popularity of climbing gym’s, ABS, and mainstream media.
It is awesome, especially for a working mountain guide, to have the pursuit of climbing be more popular than ever. However, a part of me feels that the most special part of this life, the mentorship, has been, at least a little, diluted down by the main stream. The main-streamness of climbing has led many young/new climbers into believing that you can learn all you need to know from the gym, that, if you are strong you can go anywhere, and its every climber for his or her self.
There is an individual who I met this ice climbing season that has defied the trend. A relatively new climber, but a lifetime lover of wild places. A passionate people person, Stephanie has created her own climbing community by combining the powers of the mainstream with the magic of mentorship.
Nature Girls is a “Meet Up” group with over 600 followers! Just one example of how modern times are changing the climbing world. Stefanie is the boss and she has done some amazing work this year. On top of her own busy life and climbing goals, she has taken the time to run two ice climbing trips with Mooney Mountain Guides. I’m not sure why the guiding gods were so good to MMG by allowing us to work with such a great group, but I am grateful for the opportunity.
I can’t say enough positive things about this group. Women from all walks of life, getting together to climb frozen waterfalls. So cool! The most inspiring aspect of the Nature Girls is their drive to learn more about the sport, and not in a rapid way, but how they enjoy the process. Through Stefanie the Nature Girls are seeking guidance to help push their limits. I can’t say the MMG is sensei to this great group of gals, but I am honored to have helped provide a little guidance along their way. My hope is that MMG can help Stef provide amazing climbing experiences to her followers, and push them in the direction of seeking a climbing mentor.
I so look forward to many climbing trips with the Nature Girls on the ice and rock. I think there are many great experience to come. I must send out a big Thank You to Stefanie, for being the driving force behind Nature Girls and all the have accomplished.
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