RECAP: SheJumps into the Trees

Article by Lori Tuskey, Event Host

SheJumps into the trees was such a neat and different experience. Our small group of mothers and daughters was perfect for this event. It was a beautiful sunny morning and we got to climb a gorgeous tree in Forest Hill Park in Richmond, Virginia. We learned how to climb like an arborist from a professional arborist with Riverside Outfitters.

We met our fellow SheJumpers and RO staff member, Jocelyn, in front of The Stone House. We got some good swag (EcoLip Balm, Treeline Coffee, Essential Wipes and stickers) and took a few moments to get know each other. None of us had a clue what to expect from this event.

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We walked over to the edge of the woods and looked up at the huge, old tree that we were going to climb. The tree was hooked up with a rope system that reached about 70 feet up it’s trunk! I think we all had to take a deep breath.

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Jocelyn, showed us how to use the rope system to climb up and how to belay down. The little girls had to just use their arms to pull their bodies up the rope. The adults had a foot loop that we stepped down on while pulling ourselves up with our arms. When we were ready to come down we pushed down on a knot that released tension and lowered us slowly to the ground. On our way up we could stop at any of the branches along the way to check out the view or just to take a much needed rest.

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The first to climb were the smallest ones of our group who were age 5 and 7. On their first attempt they fearlessly shimmied about a third of the way up and rested on a large branch before coming down. The teenager of our group made it up to the same branch and limb walked.

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Limb walking is similar to walking on a balance beam except that you are pretty high up in the air and you have to watch out for other branches and bumps all while giving yourself tension on your rope. Far out on the branch was a bell to ring your success. To get down from the limb you had to let yourself fall back and swing on the rope. I think swinging down was everyone’s favorite part.

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When the adults went up they all went straight to the top. It was tough and our forearms were burning but we powered through with lots of encouragement from everyone on the ground. On the way down we stopped on the branch to try limb walking. All of us made it out to the bell! Kicking the bell counts too, right?

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The younger SheJumpers had enough energy to try a second time. Two of them went all the way to the top and then limb walked. The youngest decided just to try limb walking.

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I think everyone of us climbed higher and had more grit than we expected. Jocelyn, could not have been more calm and patient as she taught us to climb and belayed us. It was great to have a supportive group to share the experience with and to give support along the way.SE Tree Climbing

Thanks to everyone who came out and a huge thanks to Lori for going out on a limb to put this awesome event together!

 

The Evolution of a Person is the Evolution of a Decision

Logic vs. Emotion when decision making

Written by: Linsey Warren

Maybe I set myself up for this ‘confrontation’. Maybe it was a long-time building. Maybe the water had been boiling for a while and this was the boil over point. Years of relentlessly pursuing the hundred highest peaks in Washington (aka the Bulger list) had pushed me just as far emotionally as it had physically. I was hoping to make this the last year. And that hope was out of control.

It was April. A relatively mild year up to this point coupled with the aforementioned hope convinced me to try and get a jump start on the mountains this season by getting in a window in the Spring. That and I was trying desperately to avoid what I knew would be a monstrous bushwhack later in the year. After a two-day approach, that included a ferry up-lake, a local hitch-hike as far up the road was possible and a day and a half of navigating the untrodden backcountry hills with fully weighted packs on snowshoes, we arrived at the upper basin. We were primed to make a go at the summit the next morning and I was wound like a rubber band. Everything was in place, until we woke the next morning to deteriorating conditions and a hard decision.

We are definitely on a trail! Crossing a boot bridge with snowshoes was part of the early season fun. Photo: Dave Golias.

We are definitely on a trail! Crossing a boot bridge with snowshoes was part of the early season fun. Photo: Dave Golias.

There was a part of my brain that objectively took in the hazards. A foot of new snow overnight, terrain traps, prime slide angles, and if that wasn’t enough, hearing the actively triggering slides go off in the white out dawn conditions. And yet, through all of that, the emotional part of my brain was winning out to make a bad decision. All of the emotions were weighing me down as heavy as the snow continuing to fall around us. A bitter taste of disappointment rose up in me because the weather had fouled up when I’d taken PTO. And overwhelming me was a sense of failure, that anything short of success was letting my friends and family down. The same friends and family who’d supported me for years. Who’d put up with my absences during the holidays, weddings, and birthdays, and who’d still, for the most part, been supportive. Compounding it further still was the fact that I was exhausted. Long weekend after long weekend, despite it being everything I love, left me scrambling to cram social expectations and work onto weekdays as well as researching, packing and trying to squeeze in some sleep. Everyone knew I was aiming to finish the hundred highest this year. I was on a very tight schedule to make that happen and this was a setback.

Waiting out the weather. Aka sleeping in since we'd just be descending now. Photo: Dave Golias.

Waiting out the weather. Aka sleeping in since we’d just be descending now. Photo: Dave Golias.

The weight of everything came crashing down on me in that moment. It felt like it all was riding on this one mountain. This one decision. Rationally, a part of my brain knew that wasn’t true. But, the logistics and my mountain math were not far off either. Missing this peak now would make it very hard to make up later, in a summer that was almost entirely booked for the next five months. Something was going to have to give, and in the moment, I just wanted it to be me. To give the mountain a go. I was scared since I knew it was dangerous. However, in this instance, fear wasn’t enough to deter me.

We talked about it as a team. We’d roped up once in the pre-dawn darkness and turned around hoping the conditions would at least clear so we could see the route and make a somewhat more informed decision. But it didn’t. We got out of the tent again as the clouds lifted ever so slightly and light filtered through the thick grey clouds. I knew what the safe decision was, and yet, I was unwilling to make it. My absolutely amazing partners were hesitant because they knew what the safe decision was too, but ultimately, they were supportive of me and my goals and I wanted to do it. And then, as it seemed settled in my mind, I turned around and looked at my partners through vision unfiltered by my own selfishness and saw two guys with friends and family. Two guys with people who loved them. One even with young kids! And it all crumbled inside of me. I may have been willing to take the crazy gamble, but I certainly couldn’t be responsible for pulling them along with me when it was a dice roll, snow loaded against us. I wasn’t willing to gamble for them. I gave it up. I stood there in the basin, looking at the route and let the tears fall. It must have been a pitiful sight. My shoulders gently shaking as I tried to repress the sobs. The setback felt crushing and overwhelming. I felt like the mountains were doing it on purpose; making me fight harder because I was tired. I had personified the mountains into an entity that was just taunting me in my weary state!

Linsey en route down. Dis-spirited but by no means discouraged. Photo: Dave Golias.

Linsey en route down. Dis-spirited but by no means discouraged. Photo: Dave Golias.

My partner came up and put his arm on my shoulder and told me, “It’s alright Linsey. You’ll come back.” He was right. And I did. I managed to carve out another trip in August and it was every bit the heinous bushwhack I expected. My partner who wasn’t as emotionally invested decided to forgo the remaining bushwhack and summit. So, it was with fateful symmetry, in the end I did navigate the route by myself. But this time, it felt better. And though it wasn’t something I started out to summit solo, there was a sort of cathartic release. A deep emotional, soulful exhale. That being said, after I had time to reflect on the situation, I came to the startling realization that I’d unconsciously been driven to a fairly extreme place. It forced me to sit back and evaluate what had happened and why; to take a deeper look at everything that’d led me to that point of nearly risking lives for a summit. In all honesty, I wasn’t entirely pleased with what I found, but I understood it; better than any objective person could understand the crippling weight of emotions.

In this instance, interestingly, emotion is what ultimately made the decision. Just not emotion steeped in selfish desire and disappointed hopes. I prefer to think it was the responsibility and love I felt for others that overrode it all. Ironic really – emotion beat emotion to make the logical decision. But at the time it was hard to see clearly – literally and figuratively! I’m not going to pretend that years of experience in the mountains have made me a great decision maker. In fact, that’s why I’m sharing this. To share a moment when the decision was not clear or easy; at least not for me. And illustrate the struggles we all face. Some days we make the wrong decision and some days we make the right decision. But, before we can even make it, we factor in a lot of our own history, experience and emotions. Every situation elicits a different decision depending on who we are that day and in that moment. I like to think that the evolution of a person is the evolution of a decision; constantly changing.

We may not have gotten a summit but we did walk away with a missing toenail, a handful of bruises, scrapes and a spot of frostbite! Photo: Linsey Warren.

We may not have gotten a summit but we did walk away with a missing toenail, a handful of bruises, scrapes and a spot of frostbite! Photo: Linsey Warren.

And making decisions is deeply personal and difficult for each of us. However, it is universal that a safe decision is never the wrong decision. But does that make it the right decision for every person? This is the crux of the personal choice. It may be hard to understand some people’s choices, but I believe we can all empathize that it’s not usually as simple as it appears on the surface. Maybe one day I’ll share a few of the times I made the ‘wrong’ decision!! Since I’ve made it safely out the other side, I can! There are certainly more than a few to choose from, and some are quite the stories in retrospect!

Featured Image: A beautiful start on the Lady of the Lake boat uplake on Chelan. Photo: Linsey Warren.

SheShreds at Stevens Pass: Biking with SheJumps & Bell Joy Ride – Recap

Opening weekend was one for the books as SheJumps teamed up with Bell Joy Ride and hit the hill for the third annual GTGO SheShreds @ Stevens Pass.

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Attendees broke into groups based on ride levels. Each group was assigned an experienced ride leader from the Evergreen Crank Sisters, Bell Joy Ride, and SheJumps volunteers. We had eight women brand new to mountain biking join us and were teamed with the excellent instructors of Stevens Pass to get the ultimate introduction to Downhill Mountain Biking.
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The stoke was high as we set off on our “No-Drop” group rides.
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The mystical garifficorn was easily spotted all over the hill.
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After lunch, Stevens Pass provided an Advanced Jumps and Drops Clinic with their certified instructor Shannon Mahre-Skouras. The group spent the afternoon working on proper technique and skill building and worked into more technical and advanced riding.
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Lady trains make us smile. Our cheeks still hurt from laughing.
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Our sponsors we’re more than generous and the ladies were hyped.
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The youngest shredders amongst us scored big time.
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THANK YOU to all of our sponsors and a HUGE thank you to Stevens Pass for hosting us for another year. A big Shout out to Shannon Mahre and Kristen Faris for running the advance clinic, as well as Evergreen Cranksisters and Bell Joy Ride gals from Gig Harbor for sending awesome ride leader volunteers our way!

 

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Bell Joy Ride Ambassador

Natasha Weiss

Full resolution photos can be located here (not forever, but at least for now :) ), big thanks to Ryan French for chasing us around all day!

Big thanks to all of our local sponsors!

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And of course another thanks to our national sponsors as well!

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As well as EcoLips and Treeline Coffee.

SheJumps Goat Yoga at Wobbly Ranch – Recap

Sunday, June 25th, in what was the most huggy, kissy and giggly Shejumps event that I have been to, 20 hardy Girafficorns gathered at The Wobbly Ranch in Snohomish Washington for some very hot goat yoga.  We were greeted upon arrival by “Olaf” the pickpocket goat who reminded us to secure all of our belongings!

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The 90 plus degree temps only added to the workout while participants took part in a full yoga class outdoors in a pastural farm setting.  There were plenty of hydration, petting, and selfie breaks throughout the session as the adorable “kids” wandered the enclosed yoga pen interacting, eating grass, and making the most interesting noises.  Giggles and goat sounds made for the noisiest yoga session ever!

Post yoga,  Wobbly Ranch owner Amanda gave us all a brief insight into the past and present lives of these rescue goats.  Their individual stories were heartwarming and heartbreaking.  We all agree, life is now great for these wonderful animals at their new home.

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We then all had time for photos, hugs, visiting all of the larger (horns included) animals, cold beverages,  a little time trial croquet competition in the pasture and a drawing for some great swag.

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Thank you to all who attended and Wobbly Ranch for your chilled out, welcoming atmosphere……and to our awesome donors!

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SheJumps Ambassador 

Cheryl Kochevar

Big thanks to our Sponsors!

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Get the Girls Out at Beartooth Basin – Recap

Not even rain, wind, blowing snow, or broken generators can deter the Girafficorn Nation! Over 25 ladies of all ages from all over the country, braved the extreme weather and joined us for our Get The Girls Out at Beartooth Basin on June 16. Our event was the kickoff for Mountain Riders Alliance’s first annual Summer Shredfest.

Christy and Kim

The ladies started the day by making their own capes and enjoying Geo coffee from Treeline Coffee Roasters in the Sego Skis’ tour bus. While we were waiting to hear the fate of Beartooth Basin’s broken generator, there was no lack of fun, smiles, or entertainment: balloon animals were made, the pterodactyl game was played, and of course dance parties broke out.

SheJumps Ambassador, Betsy Manero, preparing some Treeline Geo's for the participants.

SheJumps Ambassador, Betsy Manero, preparing some Treeline Geo’s for the participants.

A few of the ladies enjoying their time on the Sego Skis bus.

A few of the ladies enjoying their time on the Sego Skis bus.

Once the skies started to clear the ladies ventured out of the bus for a raffle with phenomenal prizes from our amazing partners.

Raffle time!

Raffle time!

Beartooth Group Raffle

Later we found out that due to the generator issue, Beartooth Basin would not open for the day. Again, the ladies were not deterred or discouraged, they just got creative. One group, led by pro skier and SheJumps co-founder, Lynsey Dyer, planned an afternoon backcountry ski mission on the Gardner Headwall, while the rest of the group planned an afternoon hike in the Red Lodge area. Of course both missions were a success! While Lynsey’s group hiked and skied along the amazing Beartooth Highway, the hiking group trekked through the Custer Gallatin National forest on the Silver Run Loop. Along the way they encountered beautiful wildflower meadows and roaring rivers.

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The next day we were able to rally the women and ski all day at Beartooth Basin. The weather was the complete opposite of the previous day. Instead of being bundled up in Gore-Tex from head to toe, the ladies were skiing in tutus, capes, and t-shirts.

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Sego Skis and Coalition Snow were at the Basin all weekend with their demo fleets, so our SheJumpers were able to get out and rip around on some of their fun new skis. Also during our ski day, the ladies were able to watch the Freeride World Tour Qualifier competition and cheer on the competitors. And of course, no ski day is complete without an après session to celebrate the community, Sego Skis provided hot dogs and beer to anyone there.

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A special thanks to all of our amazing partners and the Mountain Rider’s Alliance who helped make this event so special: Treeline Coffee Roasters, Mountain Khakis, Essential Wipes, Kuhl, Eco LipsSunday Afternoons, Coola, Toad&Co., KIND Apparel, Sunski, Western RiseRumpl

SheJumps & Trek Dirt Series Mountain Bike Camp in Park City

Utah Jumpers!

We’re stoked to be partnering with Dirt Series Mountain Bike Camps for their upcoming camp in Park City July 22nd-23rd! Whether you’re new to mountain biking or a veteran of the sport, you’ll finish camp a stronger cyclist and log a ton of miles (both up and down – we’re too tough for lifts!) with a bunch of awesome ladies.

Start each day at Storm Cycles before heading over to the fields at nearby Trailside Elementary for morning skill sessions. Following lunch (sponsored by local favorite Boneyard Saloon & Kitchen), afternoons will see us branching out onto multiple trails so we can all bite off as much of a challenge as we want. A short list of favorite trails includes Mid Mountain, Lost Prospector, Round Valley, Sweeneys, and the ever-expanding selections at Guardsman’s Pass and Trailside Park.

Bring your own bike, or rent/demo with Storm Cycles at $75 per day. To book your rental in advance, call the shop at 435-513-5518. Storm Cycles is also offering series participants 15% off clothing, parts and accessories, and 10% off bike purchases during the camp weekend.

View full details and register on the Dirt Series website, and follow the event on Facebook for updates! See you there!

About The Trek Dirt Series: the series offers twenty mountain bike camps throughout Western Canada and the US — women’s specific and co-ed, cross-country and downhill, and beginner through advanced. The program has such a great reputation for progressive confidence-inspiring instruction that 75% of participants are either referred by their friends or returning campers themselves.

That reputation is built on participant-focused coaching, proven progressions, and an incredibly supportive group of experienced staff to learn from and ride with. Instruction at the Trek Dirt Series mountain bike camps ranges from basic front wheel lifts and switchback turns to technical climbs, descents, drops and jumps.