#OWA: Why Female Focused Adventure Still Matters

❄A guest post by Olivia Kefauver, Outdoor Women’s Alliance New England Grassroots Team Leader❄ At thirteen, I was standing in the stern of a canoe wielding my plastic paddle at a cargo ship slowly passing across the St. Lawrence River with five other girls screaming into the wind. As pirates we were (naturally) threatening to commandeer it, but after five days canoeing through the rivers of New York State, powered by nothing more than our own bodies, we had bigger […]

My Life After The World Has Turned Right

I come from a country deeply affected by racial and religious hatred, violence, and poverty. Although I have been lucky not to experience war firsthand, the same cannot be said for the generation of my parents, and grandparents.I don’t remember the aftermath of the tragic events that shook my country. I remember that the ration stamps were taken out of circulation when I was three, and that a few years later my mother and I were able to obtain passports.

Why I don’t get blown away by #ThisGirlCan

In principle, the Sports England campaign is a great idea. Increasing female participation in sports is an important initiative in the society plagued by obesity, osteoporosis, and, perhaps even more harmful than civilisation diseases, the gender gap. But to be my usual, full of spite and criticism self, I need to list the downsides. 1. The girl grew up some time ago Using the word ‘girl’ in the campaign’s title suggests that sports are for kids only. If you happen to be […]

MA in Anthropology: writing a thesis about climbing

A guest-post written for OWA can be read here. When the time came to choose my MA dissertation’s topic, I was terrified. The plan was to write about something at least remotely connected to my bachelor’s course, but it just wasn’t exciting any more. I watched the eyes of my peers glow as they talked about their topics and I wanted to feel what they felt. I wanted to write about something that continuously drives and inspires me. Climbing. Now, […]

Eva Lopez Interview

TRAINING, FUTURE 9a PLANS AND WOMEN’S CLIMBING Eva is a climbing coach and a scholar researching training methods at a PhD level. She’s forty-two and in October last year she climbed her first 8c+, Potemkin, in the Spanish region of Cuenca. She bolted the route a few years back but didn’t manage the first ascent. Now she’s in her best shape and searching for a new challenge. In November I had the pleasure of meeting Eva during Women’s Climbing Symposium […]

Can the fat acceptance movement help people be fit?

‘Fat acceptance movement’ doesn’t sound good. Let’s face it, it just doesn’t. Being fat is, in most cases, not being fit. Fit is healthy, so we all want to be fit. Not fat. Why would you want to accept obesity? Because according to scientists from Monash University, the University of New England and the University of Canberra, body acceptance can lead to healthier diet and increased exercise. I didn’t want to argue with the result of a study that spanned three […]

Artists, punks and climbers: Dr Julie Angel interview

If you’re interested in parkour and watch a shed load of vids, you’ve probably heard about Julie Angel. If you’re into social sciences and lifestyle sports theory, you’ve also probably heard about Julie Angel. She works closely with Parkour Generations and holds a PhD in parkour film. Her latest series of short documentaries focuses on a new urban phenomenon: buildering. (Bouldering on buildings – clever, right?) And while some crazy guys were already doing it more than 60 years ago […]

It’s good to be a slacker

If Lynn Hill says that something is a good addition to a climber’s training, it means just that. It cannot be questioned. Now, I’m going to assume for a moment some of you are from Mars and haven’t heard of Lynn, so just a brief recap. In 1993 she was the first person to free climb the Nose. And a year later the first person to free climb the Nose in under 24 hours. And yes, she did it before […]

‘Why is fear such a taboo?’

Guest post by Dr Rebecca Williams of Smart Climbing: Fear is a normal human emotion, with many functional benefits. Its role is to alert us to danger and activate helpful responses to get us out of danger – most typically fight, flight or freeze. This means that trying to get rid of fear is not only impossible, but is actually counter to millennia of evolving adaptive survival responses. This might not be a popular view among climbers, particularly those of […]

Tori Allen interview

Tori Allen is definitely one of a kind. She grew up climbing trees with her pet monkey in Benin, where her parents moved on a Christian mission. Extraordinary childhood was a beginning of an extraordinary life. At the age of ten, back in her native USA, Tori saw her first climbing wall in a sports store. From that day it took her mere six months to be crowned Jr. National Champion. Soon after, she became a professional athlete with a […]

Parkour – the first impression

It’s almost nine in Pimlico, Central London. I’m standing on a bench, not more than two feet of the ground. The next bench in front of me seems to be at least a mile away. Eyeing its edge I’m wondering if in the faint light of the street lamps I won’t just smash my shins on it. That would be rather painful. Behind me I can hear the coach’s voice giving instructions to other women. One of them came here […]

We all get scared from time to time… Or, do we?

Do you know the moment in Honnold 3.0 when Alex almost slips before clipping in? Just watching it, I could feel my blood run cold. And do you know how sometimes just before taking a fall your brain ‘forgets’ there is a rope or a pad to catch you? And later it can take a good couple of minutes to recover?  Well, clearly Alex Honnold doesn’t get this feeling. Plus in his case there would be no rope to catch […]

Why Push It is a brilliant piece of filmmaking

Push It Trailer from Jen Randall, Light Shed Pictures on Vimeo.   First of all, timing.  Lately climbing has become less and less of a male domain; this applies both to pushing the grade on the most difficult lines on Earth and to the rising numbers of recreational female gym-goers. Motivations and goals are different, with some doing it because of pure ambition and others to tone their arms before the bikini season, but the trend is here and it […]