Mount Rainier is the tallest mountain in Washington and in the the Cascade range. At 14,411 feet, the mountain demands the vista from anywhere within 200 miles. From its summit and many, many glaciers you can see other beautiful volcanoes in the area including Mt. Hood, Mt. Baker, Mount St. Helens, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Adams. Also, one rare weekend a year, you can see 20 fluorescent tutus and empowered human beings, dancing, high-fiving, hauling excessive amounts of costumes to base camp, and summiting the mountain for the next generation of female adventurers. We are, of course, referencing the first annual SheJumps Wild Skills Fundraising Climb on Mt. Rainier! We wanted to write this post to share some more background about the event, and thank all the wonderful people who helped this event come to life. – Claire Smallwood, Executive Director
I took a moment to ask the event creator, Christy Pelland, a few questions about the origin of the climb.
Claire Smallwood (CS): What was the process of this event like from start to finish? Where did the idea come from? Christy Pelland (CP): “At the first Wild Skills event [May 2015], Liz Riggs Meder (guide) suggested doing a Rainier climb. I had the climb on the dream list for SheJumps events but didn’t think we’d get to it for a few years. Liz’s push was all I needed, we worked together to set dates, details and launched the climb in March 2016. It filled within 1 day of release, with 9 women on a waitlist. I designed the logo, print materials, fundraising packets and everything else I could think of to keep the climb organized, I asked a few fellow climbers to aid the climb as a support team, Liz pulled together top female guides and coordinated gear with IMG and we utilized Rallyme to facilitate online fundraising. The support, summit and guide teams kept in contact via email and our Facebook group page asking gear questions and recommending training hikes. Claire, Liz and I dialed out meals which were expertly executed by Claire prior to the climb. It all came together rather smoothly due to the determined yet laid back demeanors of the leadership, positive attitudes of the climbers and extensive planning prior to the event. We aimed to make this a unique climbing experience for the climbers and guides, providing a signature SheJumps twist – and I believe we achieved that.”
CS: What does this climb signify for you and for SheJumps? Pelland: “This was a next level event and fundraiser for SheJumps. It proved we are ready to take the next big step for this organization. It was a physical representation of so many mountains we’ve climbed over the years and cemented the feeling that we are ready to launch SheJumps into the realm of a respected and sustainable national non profit that increases female participation (in a big way) in outdoor activities.”
CS: What was your favorite part of the climb? CP: “Sitting above the clouds on Saturday evening watching the sunset. Mt. Jefferson, Hood, Adams and St. Helens in clear view as Rainier cast a shadow over the valleys below. Listening to the ladies around me talk about how much SheJumps has brought to their lives, how awesome this adventure had been and the big dreams they’ve got in mind for their futures. The climb wasn’t over by any means, but in that moment I felt like I had accomplished what I set out to do. I was completely content in that moment and so very thankful for the relationships SheJumps has brought to my life.”
CS: What was your overall emotion of the event? CP: FISTS OF JOYFUL EMOTION! We did it! And people want to do it again! We’ve got a solid start here and will only improve the experience with each year. I loved the energy of all involved and can’t wait to make next year’s climb even better.
CS: How can people get involved in the climb for next year? CP: We will release information in February 2017.
Thank you so much to ALL the climbers! We wanted to take a moment to give special recognition to these climbers for their extra efforts:
Joanne Turner – top fundraiser! $3600!
Alli Christensen, Kristina Whitlow, Stephanie Bennett, & Joanne Turner – They wore tutus on the summit!
Our guides! Liz Riggs Meder (Thanks for being the driving force!) Sarah Cohen Kim Haft Betsy Dain-Owens
Thank you also to Freya Fennwood for providing some of these wonderful images you may have seen on our social media!
IMG (International Mountain Guides) Thank you for donating guides, gear, and support for our climb! Big Agnes – Thank you for donating tents to our climb! Pelland Enterprises – Thank you for donating meat for our celebration BBQ!