Summiting the 9,131 feet tall Mt. Shuksan in Washington is no easy feat—from traveling across glaciated terrain to keeping positive at high altitude, the skills needed to climb the mountain are vast. With three expert guides from Alpine Ascents International, SheJumps participants were able to learn those skills to do just that, while also creating an inclusive space for all the participants to learn.
Photo by Regan Haines
“The group camaraderie was one of the many highlights of the trips - it is inspiring, empowering and nurturing to be around a diverse group of women in the backdrop of the beautiful Cascade mountains,” said Anne, one of the participants. “I never considered that I’d become a mountaineer like many of the women on my trip, and it was great to share that experience.”
The Fundraising Climbs allow Wild Skills to continue programs that are free or low-cost for youth education, such as Junior Ski Patrol and Junior Wildland Firefighting. “It’s incredibly important we empower girls and women in outdoor activities,” added Anne. “I grew up in a rural area in the northeast and I really didn’t see a lot of women in the outdoors. It’s important to me that we make the outdoors accessible to everyone - mountain summits shouldn’t be exclusive to one group.”
Photos by Becca Verda, Hannah McGowan, Arielle Todd and Alana Linderoth
While the mountains may call to everyone, solely getting to the trailhead of a climb can be a barrier of its own.
“Fundraising for Shuksan put me in a space where I spent a great deal of time thinking about how fortunate I am to be able to do the things I do in the outdoors,” said Sabrina, another of the SheJumps participants. “It has taken me such a long time to become a mountaineer, van-dweller, river-runner, trad climber, and all the other elements that keep me close to the earth and the rocks. Despite just being, well, outside, there are more and more barriers to access these places.”
Sabrina noted that on top of the hurdles that exist in the mountains, it’s often difficult to find other partners as well, especially women. “But that is changing, and organizations like SheJumps are making the change happen. [Wild Skills] is an amazing program that will hopefully catapult so many young girls into the world of mountaineering in a way I could only dream of when I was their age.”
Photo by Hannah McGowan
"Mountaineering is a pretty tough activity because, like many outdoor sports, it requires a lot of time and energy and mentorship. By hosting these guided climbs, we are not only able to raise money to support SheJumps' programming, but we are also able to provide a safe space for learning and cultivating confidence," highlighted Claire Smallwood, Executive Director of SheJumps.
The Mt. Shuksan Climb is the third of four SheJumps fundraising events for Wild Skills through a mountaineering skills clinic with Alpine Ascents International. The fourth will take place on the Grand Teton in Wyoming August 24th-27th with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides.
Photo by Regain Haines
Want to sign up for a SheJumps fundraising climb? Sign up for SheJumps email newsletters and check your email in the fall to sign up for the upcoming year's climbs.
SheJumps is an inclusive organization. We welcome all women and girls (transgender and cisgender) as well as non-binary people who identify with the women’s community. SheJumps strives to be an ally in the fight against racism and acknowledges that our events and programs take place on traditional, unceded Indigenous lands.