That night, Aimee started a group discussion with introductions. I was super intimidated hearing the other women’s extensive accomplishments. Everyone was so badass with their alpine climbing experience, while navigating the male-dominated professional guide space. At first, I was cautious to engage with my limited experience of only having my SPI for two years without any big alpine objectives. But that would have been missing the point. Yes, we were there to work on skills development, but also to connect and build bonds with other female climbing guides.
It’s not often that ladies in the guiding/outdoor industry world get to share space outside of work, and as a climber and WOC, surrounding myself with people like me is important. In this case, it was with other women in the guiding world, which was a first for me.
The next day, I was still feeling unsure of why I deserved to be there, but as conversations began to flow, I started to realize there was nothing to be intimidated about. Sure, these women were more experienced than me, but we all shared the bigger vision of how we wanted to see the guiding/climbing world grow. We talked about the hustle and grind of guiding; the lack of women, diversity, and representation in the industry; the physical toll and danger we accept as guides; the importance of mental health; and more.