The SheJumps Fundraising Climbs began on Mt. Rainer in 2016 by Creative Director, Christy Pellard, to raise funding of the Wild Skills youth programming and has since expanded to four separate climbs–Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainer, Mt. Shuksan, and the Grand Teton. “There aren't many areas in life that you can't relate to climbing a mountain,” said Pellard. “Our goal with Wild Skills is to merge outdoor education and fun–the climbs allow adult women the chance to tackle a big objective, develop new skills and do so with an incredible, supportive and crazy fun group of like minded individuals. It's any Wild Skills event, just grown up.”
Photo by Monica Welcker
Wind and snow and glaciers–oh my. These are the ingredients that created the first SheJumps fundraising climb of 2021 on Mount Baker in Washington state. With a summit 10,781 feet high, the volcano presents itself as a tall, but attainable challenge for the SheJumps participants alongside guides from Alpine Ascents International. For many of the women, this was a first look into the world of mountaineering–what it entails (pooping in a bag), the skills it requires (a love of uphill walking) and the tools needed to accomplish such objectives (sunscreen, lots of sunscreen).
Photos by Leanna Lynch, Monica Welcker, and Lia Roberds
May 5th not only marked the start of the expedition, but also day one of a wintery storm that kept the summit just out of reach. When not bundled up in tents, the participants worked on mountaineering skills such as crampon use for both boots and skis, techniques for steep uphill travel, and a trial-by-fire version of winter storm camping.
Photos by Lia Roberds and Rosemary Prescott
It wasn’t until the fourth and final day that the storm turned away and a bluebird day was visible. “After three days of white-out conditions, crazy wind, and lots of precipitation, we woke up to a clear sky which meant that we had a chance to summit,” said Monica, one of the participants. “We had already all formed a great bond through the struggles of days 1-3, so we were all giddy being able to see the sunrise and the mountains, and finally having the hope of a summit push.”
Photos by Rosemary Prescott, Lia Roberds, Leanne Lynch, Elizabeth Kutcipal, and Monica Welcker
The patience paid off. On the final day each climber was able to reach the 10,781 foot summit then happily ski right back down to camp with a view of the Cascades as the backdrop. “The highlight of the trip for me was the summit,” said Libby, another of the participants. “I had done a fair amount of ski touring, but nothing requiring any sort of crampons. It was great to learn and apply those new skills.”
Much like the fundraising climb’s younger counterpart, Wild Skills, one of the focuses was to create an encouraging learning environment with support from female mentors. “The organization is exactly what I wish I would have had growing up,” added Monica. “It's such a great all around program, raising money to educate future outdoor loving women while also empowering and educating current women in outdoor sports.”
The Mt. Baker Climb and Ski is the first of four SheJumps fundraising events through mountaineering skills clinic. Mount. Rainier will take place on July 9th-12th with RMI Expeditions, Mt. Shuksan will take place from July 22nd-25th with Alpine Ascents International and the Grand Teton in Wyoming will be from August 24th-27th with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides.
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.